The Lions Toast: "Not above you, not below you, but with you." Lions live these words every day.

Friday, October 15, 1943, was the Medina Lions Club Charter Night, held at the Masonic Temple. Friday, November 2, 2018, was the celebration of the club's 75th Charter Night, held at Williams on the Lake - and what a great party it was!

Following the social hour during which the 100+ guests mingled and enjoyed a warm camaraderie, Bill Nicolay called the meeting to order and led the Lions' protocol. He welcomed guests, including many present and past officers from neighboring clubs, before inviting everyone to stand and sing 'America the Beautiful' and recite the Pledge to the Flag, which was led by Randy Schmidt.

Special guest Ava, the seven-year-old great-granddaughter of committee member Sandy Sampsel, delighted the crowd by singing 'You Are My Sunshine' in honor of the late Lion Don Maletz; she was presented with a bouquet of flowers afterward. Joyce Bonitz delivered the invocation before the buffet dinner was served.

Throughout the early part of the evening, Nicolay portrayed many characters, beginning with King Lion, and used some clever props to entertainingly share some of the history and accomplishments of the club. Nicolay and Sampsel shared duties with Kent Von Der Vellen and Roger Grabowski as event committee members.

Every guest present received a token memorabilia "ticket" to the original Lions club Charter Night that was held October 15, 1943, at the Masonic Temple.

The Ron Retzler Band entertained with the performance of mostly familiar songs that quickly had people on the dance floor - some Elvis favorites, a little jive and jitterbug - along with a few extremely moving showcase numbers that reflected the turbulent times in this country, beginning with "Has Anybody Seen My Old Friend Abraham (John, Martin, Bobby)" and "What a Wonderful World." Their outstanding performance was well received.

The first guest speaker of the evening was Corporate Secreetary for A.I. Root, Stuart Root, honoring his father, who was a Medina Lion charter member and a "high energy guy who was only idle when he was sleeping." Root's great-grandfather A.I. Root's beekeeping and candle store was the first industry in Medina, founded in 1869. Root commended the Lions for their ongoing, unselfish service to the community, and for the great way they celebrated the occasion.

Medina City Mayor Dennis Hanwell spoke after being introduced by Nicolay as a man who from an early age embraced hard work, community involvement, and strong family values. Hanwell, who firmly believes Medina is so special and blessed, congratulated the club on its 75 years; he noted how very much Lions have always done for the community before presenting a proclamation from the city.

District Vice Governor Josie Prokop described a sampling of the many service projects undertaken by the Medina Lions (Medina Lions Miracle Field) as well as how frequently and unselfishly they immediately step in to help others in need (the local apartment fire that cost two lives and displaced so many others). She pointed out how they truly live up to the the belief: "Where there is a need, there is a Lion."

With their sponsors Rich and Joyce Bonitz at their sides, Lion Carol Lester inducted two new members to the Medina Club, Bob and Carol Latchney, who were warmly welcomed by the members.

Raffle winners' names were announced, among them Nancy Hanwell, Sally Gunner, David Espe, Kelsey Nicolay, Roger Grabowski, Kathy Forster, Greg Copen, and Billie Frambaugh.

Save the date: the 26th Annual Don Maletz Memorial Reverse Raffle hosted by the Medina Lions Club will be held Friday, March 1, 2019, at Guy's Party Center.

The Lions International is the largest service organization, with 1.4 million members worldwide.