Canton Lions Club to celebrate 75 years

Aug 07, 2013
Photo by: Donated photo The Canton Lions Club celebrates its first anniversary Sept. 26, 1939.

The Canton Lions Club will celebrate the 75th anniversary of its organization at a special event held at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24 at the Imperial Hotel in Canton. Special guests attending will be past International Lions Club Director Lacy Presnell, District Lions Club Gov. Will Hicks and past District Gov. George Suggs.

The Canton Lions Club was officially organized Aug. 24, 1938, also at the Imperial Hotel. There were 20 charter members. Today, there are 31 members. Dr. Al Cline is the longest serving member, having joined January 1, 1955.

The Lions Club motto is “We Serve,” and throughout its history Canton Lions Club has done just that. Traditionally, Lions have sought to serve the blind and those who are visually impaired, and the Club provided vision screening in the public schools of Canton, arranged for eye exams and given glasses to those who cannot afford them.

The Lions have also helped with an annual Haywood County party at Christmas time for the visually impaired and have sent the visually impaired to Camp Dogwood in the summertime and to the VIP Fishing Tourney in the fall.

In addition, the Canton Lions have supported many other worthy causes in the community. Early in its history, the Club began a marching band at Canton High School. Last year, it donated over $20,000 to various causes, such as the Pisgah Band, the needy children’s fund at the three middle schools, the heating fund of Haywood Christian Ministry and the ARC of Haywood County, to name a few. Funds have been raised by selling brooms made by the blind, sponsoring the Labor Day carnival rides and recently by the Pisgah/Tuscola Alumni Football Game.

Following a dinner at Sid’s on Main in Canton, current Canton Lions President Ryan Jacobson will give a history of the Club, and past International Director Lacy Presnell will speak. Special recognition will be given to those members who have given outstanding service.

A silent auction will be held under the direction of Lion Jim McGovern in which those present will be able to bid on many items donated by local businesses. Funds raised will go to charitable causes.

Spouses and former members of the Canton Lions Club are invited to attend. If the public wishes to attend or knows of an individual who was a charter member, contact Lions Secretary John Dobbins by Saturday, Aug. 17. at 734-2819.

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