A Partial History
West San Jose-Campbell Lions Club
In May 1952, a small group of businessmen, led by Enoch A. Davis Jr., established the Hester Lions Club in San Jose to do community work. In 2002, following in her father’s footsteps, Lois Davis Murray became the 51st president of the West San Jose-Campbell Lions Club. In 2017, the club is celebrating 65 years of service.
The club’s name and service area have evolved over the years. It first changed its name to West San Jose Lions Club. Later, it merged with the Campbell Golden Lions Club, changing its name to West San Jose-Campbell Lions Club. At that time, it expanded it’s service area from the western portion of San Jose to also include the city of Campbell.
The West San Jose-Campbell Lions Club (WSJ-CLC) has a reputation as one of the most active clubs in its district. It has been an active fund raiser, trying out a variety of methods: hosting events like Pancake Breakfasts, Flea Markets, and Crab Feeds; staffing ice cream and other booths at local festivals; selling coupon books, and calendars; and volunteering as ballot couriers for the local Registrar of Voters in return for the volunteers’ stipends.
The club also conducts service projects. Utilizing District 4-C6’s A.J. Robinson Mobile Screening Unit, the WSJ-CLC has conducted health and vision screenings in the community. The club has also helped provide or sponsor eye glasses, hearing aids, ear surgery, and eye surgery for a number of needy individuals in the local community. The club has also distributed American flags and talked about flag history for local veterans ceremonies and elementary school classes. The WSJ-CLC has also collected toys for Christmas, and provided and distributed holiday food baskets. It has also donated to disaster relief efforts locally, nationally, and internationally. And this is only a small part of it’s activities.
Back in 1953, the Lions in the area established the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center. The center is open to all people who are sight impaired. The Center remains at its original 101 North Bascom Avenue address and still looks to the local Lions clubs for volunteer assistance and partial funding. The WSJ-CLC continues its support of the Blind Center to this day.
The Lions of WSJ-CLC also helped with the founding of Books Aloud, Inc., which records and supplies books on tape for those with visual impairments. Incorporated in 1973, it has supplied books on tape to thousands of permanently and temporarily disabled listeners across the U.S. Its “Reading by Listening” program consists of some 8,000+ unabridged titles, with numerous selections suitable to patrons of all ages. The club continues to make donations to Books Aloud, and one of its members volunteers his time to record for Books Aloud.
Each year, along with Lions Clubs throughout the state, WSJ-CLC collects thousands of pairs of used glasses to be used in other countries, such as Mexico, for people who cannot afford vision care or supplies. The San Francisco based organization Lions in Sight receives the donated prescription glasses, which it then categorizes, sterilizes and packages. Accompanied by an eye surgeon and an optometrist, Lions Club members travel to many countries to test eyesight and find suitable glasses for those in need. Lions from WSJ-CLC have participated in many of those missions.
Now 65 years old and still going strong, the West San Jose-Campbell Lions Club and its members continue to embody the slogan of Lions Clubs around the world – We Serve.