Fellsmere Lions Club dissolving after 20 years of community service

FELLSMERE — The Fellsmere Lions Club will be no more in two weeks, when it holds its final meeting as the Fellsmere Lions Club.

The group’s remaining seven active members will roll their membership into the Sebastian Lions Club organization and don yellow vests proclaiming themselves as such.

“I want to thank everyone for coming out tonight,” Fellsmere Lions Club President Bobbie McFarland said, addressing the remaining members and a few guests who were invited to receive donations.

The club turned 20 years old on June 6 – after having formed in 1991.

“That’s what hurts,” McFarland said, trying to hold back her emotions.

Looking back on the years of service the club has performed, she said her favorite memories are that of working the Frog Leg Festival – selling refreshments and chatting up the club to festivalgoers.

“We work together as a team,” she said, adding that she’ll also miss the pancake breakfasts and making pancake deliveries to the Fellsmere Post Office.

What gives her comfort, though, is that many of the programs and activities the Fellsmere Lions Club had taken part in can continue – under the Sebastian banner.

“It’s kind of sad to do this,” McFarland said of handing out checks while the club is shutting down.

The Fellsmere Lions Club has to donate the funds it has before completely dissolving – and funds left to the group by fellow member Dr. Keith Finger, who received a large settlement from “We are doing our best to find kids’ programs,” McFarland said.

At Tuesday evening’s meeting, the group presented a $2,000 check to the Indian River County chapter of Special Olympics, and a couple other $1,000 checks to the Fellsmere and Sebastian Boys and Girls Clubs’ programs.

“Thank you so much,” Special Olympics coach Darla Danis said of the donation. The group plans to use the funds to help pay for supplies – goggles, kick boards, swimsuits and the such – for the athletes.

Along with receiving funds from the Fellsmere Lions Club, the Fellsmere Boys and Girls Club also received the club’s pancake griddles, coffee pots, a tent and other items to help them take over the pancake breakfasts the Lions routinely hold in town.

It’s all part of dissolving the club – finding new homes for the equipment and tools the club used to serve the community.

The Fellsmere Lions Club members still plan to hold a Memorial Day ceremony at Lions Park next year, though another local group would need to sponsor it.

“It was the best one yet,” member Wanda Szeman said of this year’s remembrance, adding that the Sebastian veterans groups are willing to participate again next year.

McFarland said the club decided to disband due to a lack of membership and advanced age of its remaining members. Of the 10 registered members, three are ailing to the point where they cannot be active.

“We’ve done a lot of good,” Szeman said. “It’s been a great club.”

The Fellsmere Lion Club banner and bell will be retired to the Fellsmere Boys and Girls Club and put on display after the final meeting to be held June 21. The items could be called into service sometime in the future when interest in a Fellsmere-specific Lions Club is reignited.

The final meeting of the Fellsmere Lions Club will be held at 7 p.m. at Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant, 4 S. Bay Street, at County Road 512, Fellsmere.

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