FSK Lions History

The Francis Scott Key Lions Club was chartered in Frederick on November 21, 1959, with 26 members. The man who took the initiative to form the club was Charles Magaha, commander of the Frederick Barrack of the Maryland State Police. He was a member of the Frederick Lions Club which had luncheon meetings at mid-day which he, along with some other members, found inconvenient. They decided to form a separate Lions Club which would meet in the evenings and named it Francis Scott Key. Of the 26 charter members, John Zufall was the last surviving active member when he passed away in 1990.

The first meeting place for the newly-formed club was the Chatta-Box Restaurant on West Patrick Street. After six years, the next meeting place, until 1978, was Betty’s Restaurant on East Street; the club then moved the site for its meetings to Watson’s Restaurant on West Patrick Street. Currently the FSK Lions meet at the Barbara Fritchie Restaurant on West Patrick Street, at the base of the Catoctin mountains.

Over the years, the Francis Scott Key Lions Club has used a variety of sales drives and entertainment programs to raise funds for the financial support to a number of charitable organizations and activities in the area, including the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, and the Maryland Eye Bank. The first one was a drive to sell light bulbs, which, as senior members will recall, produced more headaches than light…or profits.

Among the interesting and sometimes profitable programs that followed were a Western Show with Grand Ole Opry entertainers (including Minnie Pearl), the Clyde Beatty-Coles Brothers Circus, Demolition derbies, and majorette competitions. The most financially successful program was probably the one in the mid-eighties which involved putting on shows for school children; this generated enough profit for the club to establish a substantial financial reserve which still exists today. The average amount of money raised in our fundraisers has reached consistently high levels in recent years.

The largest number of members in our club was achieved in 1973 when it reached 54. Over the years, the club has received commendations for the substantial contributions it has made to the International Lions Club Vision Programs through its energetic and conscientious participation in Candy Day, White Cane, and Leader Dog programs. it is also worth mentioning that every year for many years, at Christmas time, our members have rung the bells for the Salvation Army to help them raise funds for their charitable works.

We look forward to continued success in increasing our membership and steadily expanding the scale of assistance we can provide to people in need. After all, that is the essence of the Lions motto: We serve.

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