Suffolk Lions Club to celebrate 100 years of service

Published 6:17 pm Tuesday, June 27, 2023

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The Suffolk Lions Club is gearing up for a time of celebration July 18 as the club will mark their 100th anniversary. 

As part of the larger Lions Club International, which was founded in 1917 following Chicago businessman Melvin Jones forming the Association of Lions Clubs, the Suffolk club was founded in 1923 and has followed the motto of “We Serve” to a T through giving back to the communities of Suffolk, Smithfield, Franklin, Sussex and Windsor. 

By providing vision and hearing screenings to both adults and children, assisting the disabled, participating in community fundraising and delivering grants to humanitarian projects through the years, the Suffolk Lions Club continues to follow its mission to help those in need.

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With plans underway to celebrate 100 years of service, Club President Charles “Chuck” Britt provided details on the upcoming Charter Night Celebration set for 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30 at the Elks Lodge.

“We plan to invite present and past members of Suffolk Lions Club, other Lions Clubs, District 24I governor and board members, Lions Club International representatives, City of Suffolk guests and their families,” Britt said.

Members Eddie Smith Jr., Ben Ellis III and Treasurer Len Lilley Jr. each shared their excitement for the upcoming celebration, with Ellis saying that he’s “looking forward to it.” 

Before then, it’s business as usual for the club. During the Tuesday, June 20 meeting at Lee Jordan Clubhouse, members discussed the results of prior donation distributions, as well as the results of their community work with events such as the Bon Secours Community Mental Health Walk held in Portsmouth, the Build-A-Vision Workshop and the Surry Juneteenth vision and hearing screenings.

Suffolk Lions Club Secretary Charisse Britt, succeeding Sam Sherard who held the role from 2005-2023, reflected highly of her predecessor’s work and sharing how she is looking positively at her chance to do more great work with the club.

“It’s definitely a great opportunity to learn more about the whole organization,” Britt said.

She commended the organization’s ability to understand the community, especially with helping children by giving screenings at a young age.

“The earlier we can catch a disability, the more we can make them successful for their future,” Britt said.

Sherard, who has been a Lions Club member since December 1980, shared how he has enjoyed his experience with the club.

“It’s not a job with these guys,” he said, while praising President Charles Britt for his work and leadership.

“I can’t say enough good about him,” he said.

Britt said he finds it very rewarding to serve the community and those in need.

“I especially like doing vision and hearing screenings at the schools in our zone and beyond to help children that may not know that they have vision or hearing issues, identify the issues at a young age when these issues are more treatable,” Britt said. “These actions can have a huge impact on these children’s lives. We offer assistance to those families in need.”

For more information on the Suffolk Lions Club or the Charter Night Celebration, go to or email


Editor’s note: Updated seventh, eight and ninth passages at 11:18 a.m., Friday, June 30 to reflect accurate term dates and clarity.