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Tellico Village Lions Club
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It has been a long fifteen months thanks to COVID and the restrictions placed on our lives to mitigate its spread and impact. With the rise in vaccinations and the decrease in infections, the end of the pandemic may well be in sight. To get a jump-start on it the TV Lions have decided to stage a celebratory picnic at the Yacht Club on Monday, June 21 between the hours of 4:00 and 8:00 PM. Since the club had to cancel its chili/soup dinner this event will serve as sort of a replacement with a different menu.

A picnic calls for hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad and all the fixings as well as ice cream. lemonade and of course, beer. We will have them all. Because of COVID restriction still in effect, the number of tickets being sold is limited, so if you want to go get yours early. They cost $15/person and are available from any Lions, Sloans, the United Community Bank and the Village Salon. Music will be provided by DJ Steve Bartolone.

This will give you a chance to socialize with your friends and neighbors, have a great meal and, most importantly of all, support a club that provides wonderful service to the community. You can’t accomplish more in one evening without a lot of additional effort.

Agencies supported by the funds raised include Tennessee Blind Industries, Vanderbilt Eye Center that supports our under 6 vision program, East Tennessee Eye Bank and several other vision-related organizations. All provide support to the residents of east Tennessee. Your support for events such as this leverages the power of your dollars and enables the Lions to financially support a lot of important sight related organizations as well as conduct a number of vision-related programs by club members. Without your support this would not be possible. THANK YOU.

Click on this link to see the calendar entry and the flyer.


 On an almost monthly basis the TV Lions transport several thousand pill containers to Cincinnati, OH, where they are processed for shipment to third world countries for use by residents of those areas. Because of the quantities being dealt with, it is more convenient to use moving boxes rather than plastic bags in which to haul the containers. So if you have a couple to spare we will take them off your hands. Please contact Dennis VanWormer, the project lead, to arrange for a pickup. He can be reached by phone at 458-8731 or via email at [email protected]. Your assistance will be greatly appreciated. You can also throw in a couple of pill containers, labels removed, along with the boxes.  THANK YOU





Great weather, a dedicated field of golfers and a great cause all went into making the TV Lions 2021 Golf-for-Sight Outing another successful event. A full field of golfers teed off at Toqua on Saturday, May 15 in what was the 21st annual event.


In addition to the golf itself the players competed in various categories for team winners as well as individual prizes. Team winners we declared in three categories – men, mixed and ladies. The winning foursomes were:

Men: (left to right in the photo) - Gary Stuart, Chuck Lammi, Greg Holton, Phil Weis 


Mixed: (left to right in the photo) – George & Sue Biliskov, Kelly & Bruce Cox 

Women: (left to right in the photo) – Cindy Schuler, Jena Feil, Ann Lewellen, Lisa Batton

Individual prizes were awarded to men and ladies in the following categories:


Closest to the Pin – Men              Sid Sherwood                                 

Closest to the Pin – Women        Margaret Sonntag                        

Longest Drive – Men                     Brian Wisner          

Longest Drive – Women              Carla Johnson

Accurate Drive – Men                   Dick McKinsey  

Accurate Drive – Women            Margaret Sonntag


In addition to making for a great day the event has a more serious purpose, raising funds to support various TV Lions activities in the community and east Tennessee. Funds are raised by sponsor contributions, participant fees and cost of various aids available to improve scores – mulligan, pro assists, etc. Area businesses can show support by purchasing sponsorship at various levels starting at the Corporate level, $1000,all the way down to a simple $100 donation. This year’s corporate sponsors were: Santek, Drs. Harold Cates and Conrad Ivie at Tennessee Orthopaedics, Gary Stuart  at Edward Jones and Cook's Pest Control. Donors at the $500 level included – Admiral Title, Christ Our Savior Church, Citizens Insurance Solutions, Cooks Bros. Construction, LLC, Jeff and Linda Svoboda, Lakeside Real Estate Group, Lawncare of East Tennessee, Loan Depot, Otis Termite and Pest Control, Premier Residence of Tellico Village, Zimmerman Wealth Management, LLC and Town Creek Family Dentistry. These sponsors are the backbone of the fund raising effort so if you have occasion to do business with them thank them for the TV Lions.








A Melvin Jones Fellowship, named in honor of the founder of Lions Clubs, is the singularly most prestigious award presented by the Lions for service to the community. That service can be provided by a club member through participation in club activities or by a non-member who, in some other fashion, serves the community in a distinguished manner.  For 2021 the TV Lions have chosen to honor two individuals each of whom has served the community in each of the manners described above.

The non-member awardee is Mike Kitchens, a name synonymous with service to the community through his leadership of the Smoky Mountain Service Dog Organization (SMSD). Under Mike Leadership the organization now has 180+ dedicated volunteers, which includes the Board of Directors. SMSD has 23 dogs of various ages in training by a staff of four professional trainers. Training takes place in a brand new 6500 square foot Veteran/Canine Training center.  It takes a minimum of 2 years and costs about $25,000 to train each dog, which is placed at NO charge to the veteran recipient. To date SMSD has placed 42 mobility assistance service dogs with disabled veterans. These dogs provide a wealth of capabilities to the injured service member and enable an enhanced quality of life for them.

The organization was formed 11 years ago by Mike and his wife Suzy, and has grown exponentially over that period of time. What is unique about SMSD is that it is one of only 74 such accredited organizations in the United States. The accreditation must be renewed every five years which is a major task at which Mike excels.

The second awardee is Gerald Knepp, a member of the TV Lions and among other things, a past King Lion (Club President). During his tenure he was instrumental in revamping the club fund raining efforts to concentrate on those providing the greatest return based on the effort involved. In his 15 years of membership Gerry has participated in just about every activity that the club has operated, in some cases playing a lead role in the activity. Born in Pennsylvania, Gerry served in the Navy at the end of the Korean War. He attended college using the GI Bill. In his professional life he worked for a number of firms in, primarily, managerial/technical positions. After retiring and moving to Tellico Village, Gerry and his wife Merlyn joined the Lions Club and proceeded to make significant contributions to the club’s service projects. In addition to work with a variety of community service organizations he was active in the Monroe County Animal shelter. In addition, he and Merlyn fostered some 90 dogs that eventually were placed with families throughout the region. Through both his professional career and his retirement service activities Gerry is well deserving of the award of the Melvin Jones Fellowship.

The photos show King Lion Larry Elder presenting the plaque and certificate to the two recipients, Mike Kitchens and Gerry Knepp. A group of Lions joined Lion Elder for the presentation to Lion Knepp.





 Sixteen members of the TV Lions club joined 30 other east Tennessee Lions in preparing food packages for needy residents of east Tennessee. The event took place recently at the Smokies Stadium in Sevierville. 40,000 meal packs consisting of Mac and Cheese and Rice were prepared for distribution through various agencies who work at hunger abatement in east Tennessee.


The overall project was sponsored by “Operation Inasmuch” and consisted of two packing sessions closely supervised to insure health guidelines were followed. The packages, when completed, were distributed to each Lions Club in District 12N, who, in turn distributed them either directly to needy residents of their communities or through service agencies who support the needy.

In the case of the TV Lions, they received 1000 food packs for distribution. These were given to the Good Samaritan Center in Lenoir City for further distribution to needy residents of Loudon County. This continues the partnership between the club and Good Sam to serve residents of the county. Another example of this partnership, in addition to annual cash donations, is the monthly Health Fair the club conducts at Good Sam. They were suspended for several months because of the COVID-19 pandemic but have recently commenced again. 

The Health Fair, in addition to providing blood pressure and glucose screening, also conducts eye examinations. Those needing glasses and meeting certain US poverty standards receive a detailed examination and free eyeglasses. This portion of the program is conducted by a trained optometrist who is part of the Lions team. A similar program is conducted at the Good Samaritan Center in Madisonville. All told the club supports these programs financially, at a cost of over $20,000 per year.

The photo shows the Lions members preparing the food packs at Smokies Stadium.

This food packaging project is but one more example of how the TV Lions support the residents of Loudon County and east Tennessee to meet their needs, particularly during this pandemic. The capability of the club to execute its motto of “We Serve” would not be possible without the support of TV resident for various club fund raising activities. The TV Lions say “Thanks for the great support”.





As befitting its motto of We Servethe TV Lions launched and successfully executed a campaign to support the construction and initial operation of Our PLACE. The effort had two parts, one funded internally by the club and its members and the other by the club and residents of the community. Taken together they raised $51,000 for Our PLACE. How were the funds raised?

In its initial service budget for the year the club budgeted $10,000, from its flyer delivery program, for a donation to Our PLACE. Internally the club members were asked to make donations in order to match the amount provided by the club. Members responded by donating $8,000. Before the club could use its funds to match that amount, an anonymous donor stepped forwarded and personally matched the $8,000 thus obviating any need for club funds.

With the $10,000 in club funds still available, the Board of Directors decided in August to reach out into the community to raise funds to match its $10,000. A flyer was placed in all village paper boxes describing the matching fund efforts. In effect, the community was told that its donations to Our PLACE, given thru the TV Lions Club, would be matched by the club with up to $10,000 of club funds.

180 village residents responded to the appeal with donations of $25,000. That amount with the $10,000 from the club and the previously $16,000 raised by Lion members means that the

Tellico Village Lions have raised $51,000 in support of Our PLACE.

This amount combined with the already raised $300,000+, will help move the Our PLACE fund drive well on its way to the goal of $620,000. A ceremony was recently held where the site near Food Lion, on which the facility will be built, was deeded to Our PLACE. The facility, when completed, will provide a program of therapeutic activities for senior residents suffering from

Alzheimers or Dementia. Its programs will, at the same time, provide respite care to these individuals caregivers. Given the aging of the population of Tellico Village, this is a much needed facility which will add greatly to the quality of life in our village.

The TV Lions are proud of their accomplishment in this effort. It would not have been possible without the support of the 180 donors to the matching fund drive as well as residents of the community who support the various fund-raising events the club holds annually. A BIG THANK YOU for the great support.





In a previous article there was an error that indicated that white opaque pill bottles were acceptable. THEY ARE NOT. The only ones that are acceptable are the two types shown in the photos. The amber and the blue. I apologize for the confusion created because of my error.


Now, many have indicated they have difficulty getting the labels of the bottles. Unfortunately, the bottles will not be accepted if the labels are not removed. There have been a number of suggestions provided to get the labels off. The product GOO-GONE seems to work well. Other suggestions made include microwaving the bottles, or soaking them in hot soapy water for an extended period. I use this latter method and the labels scrape off quite easily using a knife. Whichever method is used, involves some degree of effort. Fortunately, many of you expend that effort and enable the TV Lions to have a successful collection program. As previously mentioned, over 25,000 bottles have been shipped to Ohio for processing and further shipment to Africa.


I apologize for the confusion the previous message on this topic generated. Please accept my apology for the confusion generated by including the wrong photo. The TV Lions appreciate your support of these collection efforts – they do much to help your needy neighbors, far and wide.

You might ask, “How are the collections going?” Over the course of the last several months, mostly prior to July 1, we collected and shipped the following:

  • 2555 pair of used eyeglasses were delivered to Roanoke, VA for processing and forwarding overseas. With these we do not need the cases;
  • 34 pair of hearing-aids were sent to the Hearing and Speech Foundation in Maryville for refurbishment and issuance to indigent residents of Loudon County. In the cases of the aids, include the cases and batteries, if you have them;
  • 10,123 used clean pill bottles were taken to Ohio for processing and forwarding to Africa.

As mentioned above the labels must be removed. The collection locations are behind the Welcome Center, Sloan’s, the library and the Gary Stuart Edward Jones office.

If possible, put them in a plastic grocery store bag. This outstanding community effort is only possible with your taking the time to prepare and drop-off the items. It’s success is reflective of your kindness and generosity towards your neighbors, both locally and overseas.



Who We Are:

The Tellico Village Lions Club is comprised of men and women who volunteer their time to humanitarian causes serving the community and those less fortunate worldwide.   Please visit our website to look over the various service projects and fund-raising events that we do for the residents of Tellico Village and the surrounding community.

The Tellico Village Lions Club meets from 8:15 to 10:00 AM on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month at Little Italy Restaurant, 316 Lakeside Plaza, Loudon, TN. Our meetings are open to everyone. Go to http://tellicovillage.tnlions.org and contact any person on the Membership List, so we can give you an appropriate welcome.

We encourage you to join us at our meeting and learn about our club. Please visit our website, TellicoVillage.TNLions.org, and Member List page to contact any member with questions. 

The Lions Motto is “We Serve” and as members of this club, we are proud to serve.

Click on the Lions logo below to see a short powerpoint presentation on our club’s many service projects and fund raising activities.



Seven organizations operating independently, each accomplishing their organizational missions, can do a lot of good for the community. But when they band together to help each other accomplish those same missions, the synergy generated by those relationship magnifies the impact each can have. This is exactly the mission of the newly formed Tellico Working Together Group. While still in the start-up stage generating plans and ideas, the future looks very promising.  

The seven member Tellico Village organizations, four service clubs and three churches, include the Lions,  Kiwanis,  Rotary, the  Women’s Club (GFWC), the  Community Church, the  First Baptist Church and the  Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church. Collectively, their membership represents a significant percentage of the population of Tellico Village. Each has a different mission focus area. For the Kiwanis it is children; the Lions, vision and sight, the Rotary is schools and dental health; the Women’s club focuses on social issues affecting women and families in the community; and the three churches on serving the spiritual needs of their congregants as well as filling unmet needs in various social and economic areas in Loudon County

Click here for more information.


To access this page directly, bookmark: www.tellicolife.org/tv-lions-club