A small, but happy group of Carthage people gathered on Saturday to share 90-years-worth of Lions Club experiences.
Tables of historical information, pictures, hats, pins and newspaper clippings filled the First Untied Methodist Church's community room. Carthage Lions Club members Kevin Holzwarth, Nellie Holzwarth and Chet Holzwarth, Dorsey VanMeter, Les Strait, 95, and Douglas Miner are the only active members of the Carthage chapter.
The Lions Club's main focus is helping the community with sight. Last year, the club provided 26 pairs of glasses to Carthage students. Nellie Holzwarth said the group already has 19 more signed up, who need help paying for vision. The club coordinates with the Carthage R-9 school nurses and Walmart Eye Care. The group also arranges for the local visually-impaired to have trained sight-seeing dogs.
The group organizes two main fundraisers a year; a concession trailer at the Fourth of July celebration and the Maple Leaf car show at the Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix. Lions Club also sells breath mints at local businesses to contribute to their mission of making Carthage a better place.
However, as Nellie Holzwarth said on Saturday, without new members the future of the Carthage chapter Lions Club looks bleak.
“We would hate to shut it down after all these years,” she said. “That's a long time.”
Miner said for as long as the active members were able, the group will continue to serve the Carthage community.
A special letter
NOTE: The Carthage Lions Club received a hat, picture and this letter recently, just some of many historical items in the club's possession.
Dear Wayne Christian,
My sister and I were very glad to know the Carthage Lions Club would accept our grandfather's old cap. We (Mary Ann Springer Whitfield and James William “Bill” Springer) are the children of Roland Angus and Frances Elizabeth Wheeler Springer … and grandchildren of Walter G. and Mary Lowe Springer (and Samuel and Ora Stanley Wheeler). Grandpa Springer had a print shop in Carthage for many years. Their home was on Clinton, as I remember. We don't get back to Carthage very often now, but we still have relatives in the area and have very fond memories of the town. Please give our best to all … especially those who remember our grandparents. (Grandpa Springer died in 1955, just a year after he and Grandma celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. She died a number of years later in Georgetown, Texas, after having moved there to be near our parents. All three of their sons are deceased, but a daughter, Genie, lives in Kansas City with husband Jerry Beaulieu.
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Thanks again for displaying Walter G. Springer's Lion's Club cap. I know he would be proud. He wore it, and displayed his perfect attendance pins proudly!
I am enclosing a picture of Walter G. and Mary Lowe Springer that I took in the early 1950s.
of Houston, Texas