The first installment in this series on the history and community contributions of the Cambria Lions Club presented the story of the Veterans’ Memorial Hall, but that contribution to the community was not the first for the new Club, which was chartered in December of 1945. The first project initiated by the Club concerned healthcare in Cambria or, more specifically, the lack of available health services. In the late 1940s, Cambria had no resident physician and no ambulance service, so the Club took up that challenge and developed a project to bring ambulance service to Cambria.
In creating a special subscription program for ambulance service, the Club raised over $600 and purchased a used ambulance from an ambulance company in San Luis Obispo. Initially, the project was controversial in the community with some voices arguing that Cambria did not need such a service and, therefore, should not subscribe (pay a fee for service). The objectors lost the argument and, ironically, one of the loudest voices to object was one of the first to need an ambulance ride – a life-saving experience that silenced his objections.
The Lions Club assigned operation of that first ambulance to the Cambria Chamber of Commerce, because the Club was not then incorporated and not legally authorized to provide ambulance service. However, as enthusiasm grew for the service, the Lions Club also was instrumental in forming a “hospital district” (now the Cambria Community Healthcare District), and the Club then donated the first ambulance to the newly formed District. Subsequently, the Club, collaborating with the “hospital district,” purchased and moved a building to house the ambulance.
The Lions Club of Cambria has deep and supporting roots in the community, and future articles will tell the stories of the Pinedorado Days celebration and of the lighthouse lens.