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Olney Lions celebrate 50 years of service

by Judith Hruz


We serve through any challenge.

Countless acts of kindness.

Local and global kindness matters.

If you visit the website of Lions Club International, it is filled with good news stories of serving communities close by and far away.

The Olney Lions have spent half a century of living up to the organization’s motto of “We Serve.”

That motto “means a lot to me and fellow Lions, here locally and throughout the global community,” said Olney Lion Joe DeCicco, who has been a club member since 1992.

“Services provided are rendered with no expectation of a return, and all monies raise from the public are distributed out to those in need,” he said.

DiCicco said most people associate Lions and Lions clubs with vision and eye glasses collection, but Lions do much more.

“Since I have been a Lion, our club’s membership has changed members, but the membership has been fairly steady with normal attrition,” he said. “Individual activities of the club have changed with the times, but the objectives and focus of the club has been on the community.

We improve the community not only by monetary help, but also by providing services to community activities.”

The Olney Lions Club was founded in 1972 and celebrated its 50th anniversary in June.

The club was founded by a handful of men from the Sandy Spring Lions and currently has 46 men and women members.

It is part of Lions Clubs International, which had its start in 1917, and now has 1.4 million members worldwide.

As part of Olney Lions Club golden anniversary celebration, the club was recently recognized as the Greater Olney Civic Association Citizen of the Year for its continuous service to the community, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The club’s service includes volunteer support for local activities such as Community Night and National Night Out, as well as maintenance of the corner at Georgia Avenue and Route 108. The Lions sponsor an online Silent Auction each year (see more information on page 13) and sponsors the Olney Open Golf Tournament every fall. The Silent Auction and golf tournament raised approximately $25,000 last year and may well surpass that total this year. The club also sponsors the annual holiday toy drive, which includes the collection and distribution of thousands of toys to local children.

Another birthday gift came in the form of Club President Wendy Hoover being recognized by Lions Clubs International for her leadership.

Earlier this year she received the International President’s Certificate of Appreciation.

Hoover represents a club whose members feel good about what they do for others.

Lion Mike Fekete said he was brought up “to be charitable and give back to the community.”

He was an Eagle Scout and later a Master Counselor and Representative of DeMolay, a youth organization sponsored by his local Free Mason Lodge. He spent his entire career at Potomac Electric Power Company (Pepco), which promoted community service, he said. He helped the American Diabetes Association start the annual Tour de Cure bike ride and regularly participated in United Way activities. He also represented Pepco as a member of the Olney Chamber of Commerce (as president in 1996-98).

He was about to take early retirement when he was asked to join the Olney Lions Club.

“What better way to give back than to be a Lion,” he said.

Fekete said 100 percent of the funds raised for the Lions’ foundation go directly to charity.

Maggie McCready has been a member of the Olney Lions Club for six years.

“I joined the club because I wanted to meet more of the people in and learn more about the Greater Olney community, which has been a wonderful place to live,” she said. “Being a member of the club has provided me the opportunity to engage with so many people during our community activities and to experience what a generous and caring community it is. The most rewarding part is to see how appreciative the community is when the club provides any kind of service.”

McCready said the Lions’ efforts are tireless.

“Over just the few years since I joined the club it has become even more involved in community activities,” she said. “The club always supported the many existing community gatherings in the Greater Olney area as well as the club’s existing charitable activities, but now the club coordinates many of its own new activities that support and provide additional services to the Greater Olney area.”


    For more on the Olney Lions, visit www.olneylionsmd.org.  


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