by Gerald Landrum
After 70 years in existence, the Westmorland Lion’s Club had on their Tuesday agenda a vote to disband. Club president Sally Traylor brought the meeting to order at noon and Thomas Landrum gave the invocation. The meeting proceeded as normal with business, both old and new, including correspondences to the Navy League, City of Hope, and the Imperial Lion’s Sight project.
“I think we need to try once more to reach the community before voting on disbanding,” remarked a somber president Traylor. The other members agreed to table the vote on the hope that new members will join or existing members will show an interest before the next meeting, May 9th, which will fall a few days short of the 70-year anniversary of the founding of the club.
The Westmorland Lion’s Club has been a staple of community support, donating their time and treasure to various community programs. The closing of the club will affect the local community by the loss of scholarships, no Student Speaker’s Contest or Flag Day, no Imperial Valley Food Bank donations or supporting summer youth programs, 4-H Clubs, and or collecting medical supplies like glasses, crutches, and wheelchairs.
Members of the community look forward to the Honey Festival pancake breakfast which draws around five hundred people. Westmorland sees the event as a fun, community bonding time, for the servers- the Lions Club, Brawley Elks and community members- and by those who partake of the breakfast.
The club has a long, noble, history. If disbanded, the club will lose not only the history, but the community will lose a valuable resource.
Current members number only eight, with three in Tuesday’s attendance. Like many other Lions’ clubs throughout California, the atrophy is due to the younger generations showing no interest in joining clubs like the Lions.
The Brawley Lion’s Club shut their doors a few years past and merged with another Lion’s Club for the same reason. Few Lions’ clubs still operate in the Imperial Valley.
“We need an infusion of new members to keep operating,” said Sally Traylor at Tuesday’s meeting. The Westmorland Lion’s Club #4L6, which was founded May 27, 1947, has been on a decline for the past 10 or so years. In its glory days, the Club has won awards for best club, membership excellence, 100% member support, plus others.