The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023

Optimist Club celebrates years of service

Submitted information 

The Optimist Club of Van Wert celebrated over 40 years of service with a dinner for current and past members on Saturday, November 19 at Willow Bend Country Club.  

The club was chartered on January 7, 1981 with 36 members and the motto, “Friend of Youth.” Three original members were present at the dinner: Ray Able, Kevin Taylor, and Gregg Bashore.  

Charter members of the Optimist Club of Van Wert who were in attendance Saturday night were (left to right) Ray Able, Kevin Taylor, and Gregg Bashore. Photo submitted

Currently, the Optimist Club has 32 members and provides programs to benefit young people throughout Van Wert County.  

Optimist Club programs include after-prom activities, plush toys for hospitalized children, bicycle safety, Christmas Lights at Fountain Park, youth baseball sponsorship, recognition of first responders, essay and oratorical contests, scholarships, and recognition of youth accomplishments.  

The Optimist Club is funded primarily through its “Avenue of Flags” program, which places American flags at homes and businesses in the community around five major holidays. The Optimist Club introduced this project in 2016 and it has grown to about 500 flags.  

As a part of Optimist International, a worldwide volunteer organization made up of more than 2,500 local clubs, members work toward a brighter future by bringing out the best in children, in their communities, and in themselves.  

At the dinner celebration, a congratulatory letter was read from Optimist International President, Bob McFadyen, and Tom Kennedy, Ohio District Governor-Elect, and Tom Kendo, Past Distinguished Governor, delivered remarks.  

The Optimist Club of Van Wert invites everyone to join them in practicing optimism as a philosophy of life and providing a positive vision for youth and for our community.  

The club is seeking new members and meets every Thursday at noon at Willow Bend Country Club.  

To learn more about the club’s volunteer service opportunities, visit or OptimistVW on Facebook. 

POSTED: 11/24/22 at 11:18 pm. FILED UNDER: News