Lions host ‘unforgettable’ convention in city

Published 4:30 pm Monday, March 30, 2009

View more photos of the Lions District Convention in Greenville by clicking the following link:

Lions District Convention

The Lions of District 34-N came marching in to the Camellia City last weekend for a convention Lion District Governor Mary S. Turner declared “unforgettable as promised.”

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The historic final convention of the district (which is being absorbed into a three-district plan for the state next year), dodged the weather bullet and drew Lions from Atmore, Eight Mile, Thomasville, Northport, Robertsdale, Gulf Shores, Mobile and Brewton along with local Lions. Even Fergus Falls, Minnesota was represented by “snowbirds” who traveled with Gulf Shores members to the convention.

Attendees got a generous taste of local talent and hospitality with a dinner Friday night at The Chef’s Table, followed by a visit to the Ritz Theater, where Greenville Area Arts Council director Nancy Idland shared a brief history of the former movie palace. The audience was then treated to an array of numbers from past and present Ritz Player productions, including seven tunes from the upcoming GAAC fundraiser “Shine!” A District Governor’s reception capped the evening back at The Chef’s Table.

On Saturday, the Lions convened their meeting at First Baptist Church’s Family Life Center. Saturday morning’s Stride Walk for Diabetes netted $565 for diabetes education and awareness. As “knights of the blind,” Lions’ chief charitable concern is sight conservation on local, state and international levels.

An additional $50 was collected during the convention for the upcoming Lions Sight Mission Trip to Mexico. Lions learned 4,000 patients were seen in four days during last year’s trip.

Here in Alabama, it was reported Lions Sight has seen 634 people over the first seven months of the fiscal year, with 303 individuals provided with glasses, 143 with surgeries and 186 with eye medications. With Project 30/30, Alabama’s Lions were able to raise $45, 611 toward the purchase of a state-of-the-art eye laser for UAB.

A local Lion was honored during Saturday’s award presentations. Lion Gene Hardin, who has been a Lion for 58 years and is a past District Governor, received the International President’s Commendation as an “Everyday Hero” serving his community. Hardin was lauded for being instrumental in the Greenville Lions WW II Memorial Project, helping raise $50,000 for a memorial to the county’s WW II servicemen. He also spearheaded what has become a community-wide annual event, the Lions Memorial Day Celebration in Confederate Park.

“Lion Hardin promised us a convention here that would be unforgettable . . . and I can say that it has,” said Hunter in her closing remarks on Saturday afternoon.