Clifton Lion Club History
The Clifton Lions were organized on January 13, 1969 with 26 members as the 63rd Lions club in District 24-A, co-sponsored by the Fairfax Host and Centreville Lions clubs. Lion Ed Anderson was the Charter President and the first Charter night was held on March 22, 1969. PID Charles Mowery was the club’s Guiding Lion and PID John O. Gregory was the 24-A District Governor. By 1989, club membership had reached 40 and in 2013 it is currently at 60 members.
The club’s first fund raisers were a raffle of a color television and helping Fairfax Hospital host a carnival. We sold food and drinks at our first Clifton Day in October 1969 and made a net profit of $49. In recent years, we run one or two food locations and make about $3000.
The club’s first Pancake Breakfast was on May 2, 1979. Our first donation in 1969 was to the Old Dominion Eye Bank for $10 – this year the club donated $500 to the Eye Bank and a total of over $5000 to LCI and Virginia Lion charities. On June 10, 1970, we approved the purchase of our first pair of eyeglasses for a needy person for a cost of $15. In 2007 and 2008, the club donated $10,000 to Lion Club International’s SightFirst II campaign. In 1970, the club had $250 in its Admin account and $200 in our Charity account. This year (2014-2015), the Clifton Lions will donate over $60,000 to Lion and local charities.
From modest beginnings, the Clifton Lions have grown into an active service organization in the Clifton-Centreville area. We have sponsored citizenship awards at Clifton Elementary since 1969, supported the Clifton Boy Scout troop, and sponsor two Cub Scout Packs. Since 1976, we have been active in the growth of the Northern Virginia Lions Youth Camp including serving as President, Secretary and District Youth Camp Chairman, sponsoring a scout Youth Camp weekend each year, and building a Clifton cabin at the camp in 1994. We have also sponsored a Leo Club at James W. Robinson HS since 1979.
Our long time major fund raisers are Clifton Day, Christmas tree sales, a cash raffle, and our Pancake Breakfast. In 2000, then Clifton Mayor and Clifton Lion Jim Chesley organized the first Clifton Labor Day Car Show sponsored by the Clifton Lions and the Northern Virginia Custom Cruisers to benefit local charities including Fairfax INOVA's Life With Cancer family support program and Clifton's own Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program. The car show has grown into a major Clifton, and now old Fairfax City, event and raised nearly $400,000 for charity during the past 18 years.