WHO ARE THE VENICE LIONS
Our Venice club is part of the largest international service organization in the world. We support international efforts to save the sight of millions, provide measles vaccinations and disaster relief.
At the local community level, Lions provide free vision and hearing services to those in need, screen the vision of preschool children and collect used eyeglasses. They also sponsor and participate in many events such as the Sharks Tooth Festival, Halloween and Holiday parades, Youth Recycle Program, Peace Poster Contest and Easter egg hunts.
Every dollar donated goes back to the community in the form of grants, scholarships, and educational and fun activities for children.
Our members like serving in a club with a purpose. It makes us feel good to give back to our community. We are looking for people to bring inspirations, ideas and talents to our club. We hope you will join us at one of our meetings to see what a difference you could make as a Venice Lion!
Please call us at (941) 412-5288, email us at or through the Contact link above for more information about our Club and to attend a meeting.
WHAT WE DO
Where there is a Need, there is a Lion.
Services we offer:
Vision and Hearing screenings, eye examinations, glasses, hearing aids, and eye surgery for eligible residents of the Venice and Englewood areas.
Children's Vision Screening, targets preschool children to identify at least six treatable eye conditions.
Engaging our Youth:
Sponsor a Venice Little League team and volunteer at the concession stand.
Sponsor three schools for the annual International Lions Peace Poster contest.
Sponsor the Venice Halloween Parade downtown Venice.
Assist Venice Main Street's Easter Egg Hunt, the Eggstravaganza and offer a Beeping Egg Hunt for the Visually Impaired.
Promote eyeglass recycling through the Youth Recycle Program at local schools.
Supporting our Community:
Collect eyeglasses for recycling.
Pick up litter during the monthly Venetian Waterway clean up
Assist in collecting debris during the bi-annual Sarasota County Coastal Clean Up
Man a shark tooth hunting booth at the Shark's Tooth Festival.
Partner with Homeless Outreach Ministries to offer eyeglasses and examinations.
Offering Financial Assistance to our Community Members:
Grants to organizations in the community.
High School scholarships for college and vocational bound students.
Join Us! Bring your time and talents and make an impact in our community. Please call us at (941) 486-6065, email us at or through the Contact link above for more information about our Club and to attend a meeting.
Venice Lions Club Board of Directors (2020 - 2021)
Lion Paddy retired after 40+ years working in the Pharmaceutical Industry. He was in the commercial area mainly in Sales, Marketing and Alliance management area of the company. His wife, Latha, is a retired Registered Nurse, and they have two daughters. The older daughter, Asha is a graduate of the US Air Force Academy, and is currently a Major in the US Air Force. The younger daughter, Tina, is a CPA working and living in New York City.
Lion Paddy and Latha enjoy playing tennis and pickleball, and work out regularly to maintain good health. He is also involved with Literacy Volunteers of South Sarasota County, and helps raise funds for All Faiths Food Bank's Backpack program.
First Vice President
Born in Attleboro, MA, Jeff attended Bishop Feehan High School in Attleboro, and attended St. Michael's College in Colchester, VT receiving a BA degree in English Literature. Jeff tried for a career in teaching after becoming certified to teach K-12 in Massachusetts. Eventually, he found a career in the computer industry, first as a field engineer and retiring as a Quality Engineering Manager.
Jeff has one daughter, Erin, who is a self-employed artist and business owner in Providence, RI. He moved to Venice with his wife , Lion Carole, in 2015. Having previously been a member of the North Attleboro, MA Lions, Jeff was reintroduced to the Venice Lions in 2016 and was inducted in October 2016.
Second Vice President
Louise grew up in Clifton, New Jersey as the youngest and only girl with three older brothers. Following schooling, she made her way across Pennsylvania and played golf with Arnold Palmer in Latrobe, PA and lived there for 10 years. She relocated to Cary, North Carolina in 2000. Heading South was always in her future.
Louise was blessed to have found her soulmate Keith in North Carolina and married him in Capri, Italy in October 2014. Their family consists of two Macaw Parrots, Ollie and Casey.
Louise has held several managerial positions in the medical device, pharmaceutical and technology fields. Her last position before retirement was 15 years at Cisco Systems. In her spare time she loves to be active playing tennis, golf, water aerobics and traveling the world. Her next adventure is a Safari to South Africa in October 2020.
Louise finds happiness helping those who can't help themselves. Colon Cancer and Alzheimer's are close to her heart; she lost her parents to these deadly diseases.
Louise is proud to be a Venice Lion and recently received the Governor's Award from her sponsor Agnes Woros.
Lion Beverly joined the Venice Lions Club in 2006. For over twenty years she had participated with the Lions Club providing eyeglasses for the needy in our community through her optical business. During that time, she realized the importance of the service that the Lions Club provided. She decided to become a member of the organization that provided vision with the same dedication that she has had since becoming a licensed optician.
Lion Beverly has served the Venice Lions as our Tail Twister, Secretary, 2nd and 1St Vice President, and then President for two 2 year terms. She has served as our Zone Chair and the District’s Hearing Foundation president as well. In 2006-2007 she was presented the “Rising Star” award. She received the honor of “Lion of the Year” for 2007-2008, was a recipient of the Melvin Jones Award in 2010 and a Progressive Melvin Jones in 2012, and received a life membership in the Florida Foundation for the Blind, Inc. District 35I awarded the Mildred Conklin Crusader Award to Lion Bev in 2016 for her service in Lions.
Lion Bev has also served as co-chairperson of “The Mane Event Fashion Show” since its inception in 2008. She enjoys designing and decorating for all of our social events.
Born in Covington, Kentucky, Lion Bev moved to Bradenton, Florida when she was two. She now resides in Venice. She loves to travel and spend time with her family. Her hobbies are gardening, reading and event planning when she is not participating in a Lions project.
Treasurer - Administration
Lion Dave became a Venice Lion in 1995 sponsored by his Father-in- Law, Norman DeLanoy. Since 1996 Dave has served as Administrative Treasurer and starting in 2014, has been the chairman of the Children Vision Screening Program. Through his years in Lionism Dave has served as Chaplain, been a member of the Scholarship Committee, a member of the Board of Directors, and participated in various events such as Halloween Parade, Sharks Tooth Festival, Easter Egg Hunt and the Holiday Food Wagon.
Lion Dave and his wife Sue have been married for fifty years. They have three children, Karen and Pam(twins) and Peter. They have been blessed with eight grandchildren - Louie, Bobby, Sophia, Andrew, Sonia, Emily and Penny. Dave retired from banking in 2011 and his wife Sue retired from teaching First Grade at Venice Christian School for 25 years in 2014. Dave's hobbies include reading , travel and being Grandpa.
Two years ago he and Sue went on a tour of the Holy Land providing them an opportunity to visit the Sea of Galilee, Jerusalem, the Judean Wilderness and Bethlehem. Last year, they returned to Israel and visited Old testament locations. Dave and Sue are the facilitators of a weekly small group Bible Study at their church. The Lion Motto "We Serve" in both our local communities and around the world with humanitarian aid, providing the gift of sight through eye clinics and screenings are reasons that "It's Great to be a Lion."
Treasurer - Foundation
Lion Barbara learned about Lionism at an early age as her dad was a Lion in Bridgewater, MA. Years later when her husband Joe decided it was time to give back to their NH community, she suggested the Hampstead Lions Club. They both became involved and he steadily worked his way through all the club and district offices reaching the position of District Governor of NH District 44-H.
Lion Barbara has been a member of the Lions family since 1974 when she joined the Hampstead (NH) Lioness Club. She became the first Lioness District President in New England and earned five club extension awards. When Lions International dissolved the Lioness District organization she joined the Hampstead and then Portsmouth (NH) Lions Clubs and served as Treasurer of Lions Camp Pride (NH) for 4 years prior to relocating to Venice in 1994. Upon her departure from NH the Hampstead and Portsmouth Lions Clubs joined in naming her a Melvin Jones Fellow and in 2009 the Venice Lions Club awarded her a Progressive Melvin Jones Fellowship.
Since then Lion Barbara has served the Venice Lions Club as Secretary, 3rd, 2nd, 1st Vice President, as well as two terms as President in 1998-99 and in 2008-09.
Dr. Ric Namikas
Lion Dr. Richard Namikas was invited to join the Venice Lions by Past International Director Charlie Mowery. He was impressed with the Vision Clinic that the Englewood and Venice Lions provide and offered to add a professional hearing screening to the program. Soon not only did the Venice/Englewood program have a hearing screening, but he began a program to assist the needy throughout District 35-I with hearing aids.
Lion Dr. Ric was President of the Venice Lions 2000-2001, 2011-2012, and 2016-2017. When not participating in Lions activities he works as a private practice Audiologist. He is an avid traveler and amateur photographer. Cars, plants, and cooking round out his spare time. He likes to share all of this with his wife of thirty-nine years, Lion Dusty Namikas.
Immediate Past President
Lion Bob was born in Madison, WI and grew up in suburban Milwaukee. After graduation from the University of Wisconsin, he accepted a sales position selling laboratory instruments in St. Paul. That is where he met his wife Jill. They moved to continuously warmer climates over the years and now reside in the Venice area. Their son and two daughters live on the eastern seaboard between New York and Washington DC.
Bob and Jill joined the Avalon, NJ Lions Club in 2012. Bob served as the Club’s Foundation Treasurer. In 2016 after moving to Englewood, he transferred his membership to the Venice Lions Club. Lion Bob is very excited about all of the great services we provide enhancing life for a large number of people in our community.
One Year Director
Lion Tom was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, but as an ‘army brat’ he lived in twelve states, Germany and France before graduating high school in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. He attended the University of Arizona for three years and then did a tour of duty with the United States Marine Corps. Upon returning to the University of Arizona Lion Tom graduated with B.S. in geology and a minor in microbiology. Later he received a M.A. in Public Administration and Policy. Lion Tom worked in both the public and the private sectors as an Urban Planner for 45 years, the last 19 years being spent in Florida.
Lion Tom has been married for 47 years and has a daughter and son who live live in Denver, Colorado and Miami Beach, Florida respectively. His past times include volunteering at the Bay Shore Hospital, Venice Island library bookstore, Venice Island Downtowners, Venice Theater and serving on the City of Venice Historic Preservation Board. Lion Tom also enjoys pickle ball, walking/hiking, theater and music.
Lion Tom has only been a member of the Venice Lions Club since 2019, however, he is very excited about the Club’s continued commitment to and scope of community participation. Through his involvement on the Board he hopes to continue the Club’s legacy.
One Year Director
Ann Favreau is a retired educator formerly from Feeding Hills, MA, the birthplace of Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller’s teacher. Ann has been a Lioness and Lion for over 45 years. She served as President of the Agawam, MA Lioness Club. In Venice she has been membership chair, clinic coordinator, initiated the eyeglasses for the homeless program and served as editor of the newsletter. Ann is a published writer of prose and poetry and enjoys giving presentations to local groups.
Two year Director
Lion Jeff Sterne has lived his life in thirds, 20 years in Cumberland, MD, 20 years in Johnson City, TN, and 26 years in Lexington, KY. Jeff splits his time between Venice and Lexington. He has been married to his wife, Ginnie, for 48 years. They have two children, Bryan and Cindy, and four grandchildren.
Jeff’s career included working 16 years for a Milk/Ice Cream manufacturing and distribution corporation. He held positions as Region Controller, Corporate Sales Manager, and Region Operations Manager. Jeff also spent 25 years with a $500M Buying Association in Lexington, KY as President/CEO. He retired in 2017.
Jeff joined the Lions Club in 2017 in memory of his dad who was a Lion in LaVale, MD for many years holding various leadership positions.
Jeff is a huge sports enthusiast, especially golf and three major sports (baseball, football, basketball), all of which he played in high school. He also enjoys boating and volunteering.
Two Year Director
Until moving to Venice, Florida in 2015, Lion Bob lived in Cincinnati, Ohio. While attending the University of Cincinnati, he started his working career in the trucking industry, working in various aspects. For the last eighteen years of his working career, he was a General Manager for a regional tire and service company.
Lion Bob and his wife, Lion Cheryl, a retired Physical Education teacher, have been married for 35 years. Lion Bob's hobbies are diverse: woodworking, biking, kayaking, shooting sporting clay, and driving his Corvette. He has owned Corvettes for the past 40 years and belongs to the Venice Corvette Club and Corvettes of Hamilton , Ohio.
Lion Robert Spong invited Bob and his wife Cheryl to join the Venice Lions and the experience has truly enriched their retirement.
Dr. Robert Spong
Dr. Robert J. Spong was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and filled professional positions in the states of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Tennessee and Virginia. Robert is married to Edith M. Spong and together they have raised Amy King, a Lt. Col. In the U.S. Army and Stephanie Spong, a professor at Valencia College in Orlando, Fl. Prior to retirement Robert served several college presidents and school superintendents in the capacity of Director or Vice President of Physical Plant Operations. At the age of 53 Robert returned to Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee to pursue a doctoral degree in education. Robert successfully completed the Ed. D. degree in 2006 representing a life long commitment to learning and to inspire his daughters to continue their education.
Robert first became associated with Lions clubs in Lynchburg, Virginia as a member of the Forest Lions Club. As a member of the Forest Club Robert was responsible for collecting thousands of eyeglasses and conveying them to the processing center in Roanoke, Va. Robert also worked to assist in the creation of a Leo club at the local high school.
Robert also is very active as a volunteer for Tidewell Hospice in Sarasota County, Fl. visiting with patients and driving a van for the Hospice Thrift Store supporting children’s services. For recreation Robert enjoys Boating, Fishing, Kayaking, Tennis, Pickleball, Bowling, Softball, Cycling and Camping. Robert is also a member of the Venice Coast Guard Auxiliary where he has received a great deal of useful boater safety training.
To give is to receive has been the driving force behind Robert’s volunteer efforts and work within the Lions organization.