Depending on your length of Lion service, you may be surprised to learn that there is a written record of the Lions in North Carolina. You may be even more surprised to find that there are 3 books on our organization so far. The first volume is called, “Toward the Dawn” and is a history of the first quarter-century of the North Carolina State Association for the Blind. Written by the associate editor of the Durham Morning Herald, Herbert Clarence Bradshaw, in 1961, it records in detail the story of the Association from its organization in 1934 through 1960. This organization would continue and be re-named the North Carolina Lions Foundation.
The next book is titled, “A Brief History of Lionism in North Carolina – 1922-1966”. Authorized and published by the NC Lions State Council and the NC Past District Governors Organization, it covers 45 years of service to our fellow man and chronicles the growth of Lionism in North Carolina. It was the first permanent record in book form of Lion service in our state, based on a 22-page booklet titled, “International Lionism in the Old North State” compiled by Lion Charles Spencer.
The most recent book is “Lionism in North Carolina – A New Era 1967-1988”. Since Lionism is an active and ever-evolving story, this book represents a snapshot of history in the making. The book has several parts, the first being a recap of the early years and a review of the projects and services supported by our organization. The second part is a roster of clubs, a listing of past-district governors and various chairmen of projects listing the funds we have raised in our White Cane drives. There is also a listing of the state conventions and mid-winter conferences and a roster of Melvin Jones Fellows.
The ambitious goal of this year’s Council of Governors is to sell, print and distribute the next installment in Lions history, a book that chronicles the Lions in North Carolina from 1988 through 2011. It will include an overview of our journey thus far, some of those great stories that are always being told at every Lion gathering and a history of each club in the state.
Starting with the new Lion year in July, the district chairs will be checking in with every club to verify the written history we have on file and will give each club an opportunity to refine it. We will be printing a history of each club and will include photos from them as well as the District Governors of their club and any NCLF presidents.
Please take a few minutes and read this to your club members. Find the person who has written the previous history or select someone new as your historian. They will be contacted as this project gathers steam. Search through your records and find that perfect photo that embodies your club mission and chronicles your service. More information will be forwarded to you; but for now, reflect on what has gotten you where you are and think about the best way to tell it to the world.
Valerie Carpenter – State Chair Historian Committee