By Debbie Adams
The Vinton Breakfast Lions Club installed new officers for 2023-2024 at their annual Awards
Dinner on August 24.
Those officers, installed by Lion Hal Mabe, include President Jeff Mason, 1st Vice President
Zach McCarty, 2nd Vice President Justin Fix, Secretary Gary Myers, Treasurer Bob Benninger,
Tail Twister Zach McCarty, Lion Tamer Keith Lafferty, Lions Club International Federation
(LCIF) Club Coordinator Gary Myers, and Past President Hal Mabe. (The Lion Tamer is in
charge of setting up meetings and greeting members and guests. The Tail Twister is charged with
setting a mood of harmony, fellowship, fun, and enthusiasm in the club and assisting with
Board members were recognized. Those with one year left to serve on their term are Jeff Stovall,
Richard Goad, Sam Cundiff, Joel Lytton, Eric Mills, and John Berry. Board members with two
years left in their terms are Dave Jones, Anthony Conner, Keith Lafferty, Steve Haldren, John
Dyer, and Chris McCarty.
Lion Eric Mills, Past District Governor, inducted five new Lions members: Gwynne Myers
(sponsored by Gary Myers), Steve Newcomb (sponsored by Tammy Newcomb), Terrence Kelly
(sponsored by Sam Cundiff), Ryan Mason (sponsored by Jeff Mason), and William Perrin
(sponsored by Eric Mills).
Mills pointed out the diversity in Vinton Breakfast Lions Club membership with members of all
ages and occupations and including both men and women.
Lion Gary Myers was named Vinton Breakfast Lion of the Year, chosen by the membership.
Attendance pins were presented to several members with 100% attendance at Lions Club
meetings in the past year. A Membership Key was presented to Tammy Newcomb for recruiting
Mabe received a plaque for his “exceptional service” as Past President.
Lion Lisa Stover, who teaches and sponsors the Leo Club at William Byrd High School, was
presented with a Leadership Award for her work with the LEO students. The Breakfast Lions
sponsor the LEO Club at William Byrd, which is one of the most active chapters in the district.
Leo members and Stover participate in almost all local Lions events, including the Christmas
Shopping trip, and the Pancake Breakfast and Spaghetti Dinner fundraisers.
The special guest speaker at this year’s Awards Dinner was District Governor Jean Cook from
Wytheville, who emphasized recruiting new Lions to “provide needed services where we live
and make the world a better place for all. If you weren’t here, who would do the things you
touch?” she asked. She noted that one of the district goals for the upcoming year is to charter a
new Lions Club in the district.
She commended the Vinton Breakfast Lions and the William Byrd High School LEO Club for
their contributions to the community. The LEO Club has over 100 very involved student
Cook encouraged the Lions to continue supporting international relief through Lions Club
International, such as aid to the victims of the recent fires in Maui.
She announced that the District Lions will be adding some new technology to assist their
communities. Currently, the Vinton Lions provide vision screenings for private preschools and
for public schools at selected grade levels. The Lions plan to purchase a new hearing screening
device, the OAE (Otoacoustic Emissions) machine for use with children as well.
The Vinton Breakfast Lions Club was founded in 1985 and has diligently puts the Lions’ Motto
– “We Serve” – in action every year since. The Lions fund eye exams, eye surgery, and
eyeglasses for needy area children and adults. They provide four $1000 scholarships to William
Byrd High School seniors, two $1000 Ryan Chambers Scholarships to Staunton River seniors,
and a $1000 Leo Club Scholarship to a graduating senior at WBHS. Each year during the
holidays, they sponsor a Christmas Shopping trip for 18-20 needy children in the Vinton area,
purchasing over $120 per child in clothing and toys.
The Lions have recently financed two bus stops for the Vinton area and a picnic shelter at
Herman L. Horn Elementary School.
Through State and Lions International, they support Diabetes Awareness, Disaster Relief, the
Lions International Peace Poster Contest, and the Bland Music Scholarship Program for area
students each spring.
They also stock the local elementary schools with extra clothing, school supplies, snacks and
refreshments, and materials for school projects.
They hold three major fundraisers each year – their annual Drawdown, the Pancake Breakfast on
Fall Festival Day, and the Spaghetti Dinner on the evening of the Vinton Christmas Parade.
Over 60 members and guests attended this year’s awards dinner at the Vinton Moose Lodge.