EDMOND — Warren Smith, at age 85, picks up more than 200 discarded pairs of eyeglasses every month in support of one of the Edmond Evening Lions Club's programs.
Smith and his wife, Burchie, spent an entire day this week making three gallons of chili for a Lions Club fundraiser.
Warren has been a member of the club since 1964, one year after the club was chartered. Members are celebrating the club's 50th anniversary.
A charter dinner for the new club was held May 21, 1963, at the Student Union Building at what was then Central State College. The club, with 27 charter members, was sponsored by the Village Lions Club. J. Sam Johnson was the first president, a title Smith also has held.
“It has been enjoyable,” Smith said. “It has been rewarding. Three men are still around that were part of the charter membership. Many have passed on or moved on.”
Smith has seen interest in service clubs dwindle over the years.
The Edmond club has about 30 members. The group is older, with the oldest member 95 years old, said Smith, a former biology professor and department chairman at what is now the University of Central Oklahoma.
“We only have two or three who are under 50,” he said. “People are just not as interested as they were in the past for whatever reason. Younger people are just not as interested. Too many are interested in electronics, unfortunately.”
Smith didn't have any problems making the decision to become a Lions Club member.
He was at a downtown drugstore when a friend he knew from his native Ellis County asked him if he was interested.
“It looked like a good thing to do — people helping people,” Smith said. “We serve and we do a lot of things in the community.”
Local members are active with the Oklahoma Lions Eye Bank, the eyeglass program and Boy's Ranch Town in Edmond.
When they were married eight years ago, Burchie Smith said, her new husband kept “dragging” her to club meetings until she broke down and joined the club. She serves as secretary.
The Smiths met while playing volleyball on a senior league after their spouses died. Their relationship began when they went to a church Valentine's party together.
“She is a joiner,” Warren Smith said. “She is a worker, always busy.”