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Members sought for new Lathrop Lions Club
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LATHROP –  Wanted: A few good men and women in Lathrop and surrounding area. Twenty, to be exact.

But more than that would really make Ron Valverde and his fellow Lions in the South Stockton Lions Club happy. That’s the group that’s trying to organize a Lathrop Lions Club.

“ We have to have 20 members to charter a Lion’s Club,” explained Lion Richard Alvarez, Sr. who is one of the three contacts for anyone interested in signing up or just wants to find out more about the organization.

A follow-up organizational meeting to the first one held in November will be held Monday, Feb. 23, at 6:30 p.m. in the Lathrop Community Center on Fifth Street. Anyone interested in becoming a charter member of the Lathrop Lions Club is invited to attend.

Membership is open to “both men and women and anybody over the age of 21,” Alvarez said.

One does not have to be a Lathrop resident to become a member, added Alvarez. “They can live outside of Lathrop; they can live in Manteca, French Camp, Stockton.”

An initial membership drive was held in November during the rededication ceremonies for the new and improved Manuel Valverde , a $3.4 million project that included a state-of-the-art interactive water feature, basketball courts, a bocce court, and the town’s long-awaited War Memorial honoring all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and fellowmen.

“We had a sign-up sheet and about 20 signed up. But unfortunately, they didn’t all show up at the (follow-up) meeting” held earlier this month at the Community Center, Alvarez said.

Only a half-dozen of those who signed up in November were there. “This is why we are having another meeting; we’re trying to get more people involved,” he said.

“After we get 20 who decide they want to become a (charter) member, we have to fill out a charter (form) to be submitted to the Lions International. That takes about 45 days,” Alvarez said.

Would-be charter members have to fill out a club application form. “In that application are the dos and don’ts about what it takes to become a Lion,” he said.

Membership dues will depend on what the newly organized club will decide, Alvarez said. They will also have to decide where and when they plan to hold their meetings.

The South Stockton Lion’s Club took the step of organizing a sister chapter in the city that Leland Stanford founded because “we think that Lathrop is growing,” said Alvarez, a retired cabinet maker who has been a Lion for 33 years.

They also want to be a unifying influence in the city and try to “keep the east and west part together” by sponsoring youth programs and activities in partnership with the school district and the city, Alvarez said.

“Here in Stockton, we give out scholarships to students and help with less fortunate people,” he said.

They intend to do the same with the new club in Lathrop, he said.

“The Lions Club’s motto is ‘We Serve,’ which we think would fit in just right with the community and people of Lathrop,” reads the flyer being distributed in the community to drum up new membership.

It further states, “Although Lions clubs are noted for their assistance to the blind and visually handicapped, Lions clubs are involved in many other projects that reach out to seniors, children and physically disadvantaged in their community. By forming a Lion’s Club in your community, you will encourage service-minded and women to serve their community without personal financial reward, and promote high ethical standards in commerce, professions, public works and private endeavors.”

The Lathrop Community Center, where the next organizational meeting will be held on Feb.  23, is located at 15557 Fifth  Street in the Old Town district.

For further details, contact any of the Lions below:

Richard Alvarez, Sr. – (209) 951-8188,

Ron Valverde (209) 952-0735

Francis Bognuda (209) 931-2789