March 11, 2006 - Ft. Thomas & Thatcher, AZ - USA

View Photos of Event President's Bio.


International President Mehta dedicated the Historical Marker at the Melvin Jones Memorial  at Fort Thomas. which was approved by the Arizona Department of Transportation.  This event culminated five (5) years of intense effort on the part of the Safford Lions Club.

 It was a cool windy day on March 11th at the Lions International Melvin Jones Memorial at Fort Thomas. The Lions a guests gathered at 10 AM in the memorial’s museum building awaiting the arrival of the president’s party from Tucson. Due to his busy schedule the president’s time was limited because he had to leave for Tucson early for his departure flight.

On his arrival PDG Ernie Soto (The MJM secretary) and board Member PDG Ralph Williamson assisted President Mehta to lay bricks in the brick-way for himself and his wife Lion Kokila.

President Mehta was so impressed by the memorial that he donated $1000. This will be memorialized by a gold plaque on our wall of honor.

At 10:30 am everybody gathered before the impressive 50 foot spire to dedicate the beautiful marble historical plaque to memorize the site to Melvin;s birthplace.

The previous plan was for the Safford Lions club to hold a picnic style cookout on the memorial grounds. This had to be cancelled due the impending weather. The Safford club did a remarkable job in obtaining a local restaurant in Thatcher for a indoor cookout. The club served delicious steak-burgers to over 100 people.

President Mehta was a good sport a joined the “Red Hat Society” by wearing a bright red sequined hat. He then presented his personal trading pin to each of the Lions in the room. He apologized for his short visit and left with his party a little after 12 noon for the airport at Tucson.

It was lucky that he left that early, because many of the guests at the event that departed later had difficulties getting home, The worst snow storm in recent years blocked all highways except route 70. Some Lions waited hours at Miami for route 60 to open and then had to backtrack to Safford. Some Lions stayed at Safford, Those that went home had to take rout 70 to Lordsburg New Mexico and take Interstate 10 home. The power went off at 7 PM in Miami and Globe and stayed off till Sunday morning.

Many thanks to the members of the Safford Lions club for making the event a success under difficult circumstances.

Lion Past President Ashok Mehta, of Mumbai, India, is the  President of Lions Clubs International for 2005-2006. President Mehta’s theme is “Passion to Excel.”

 President Mehta is actively associated with more than a dozen major medical, educational, welfare, social and cultural institutions.

A Lions member since 1963, PIP Mehta organized more than 30 eye camps all over India and Africa. He mobilized international support during major catastrophes, including earthquakes and super-cyclones in India. His peace mission to Pakistan, promoted by Lions of the two nations, added to the spirit of building bridges between the people of these countries.

PIP Mehta served on the Campaign SightFirst International Committee from 1990-95., collecting US$150 millions for the project.

PIP Mehta has received many awards including Lions clubs coveted “President’s Medallion” for the last 23 years, the Lions International Key Award and Medallion for sponsoring 250 new members and 19 extension awards for organizing new clubs.

PIP Mehta was chairperson of the District Governors Orientation Program at the 75th International Convention in Hong Kong.

PIP Mehta and his wife, Kokila, and daughter Sheetal, are all progressive Melvin Jones Fellows.