Brundidge Lions still roaring

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 13, 2001

after 50 years of service


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The Brundidge Lions Club is celebrating its jubilee year during 2001.

In honor of this special event, the club hosted a 50th Anniversary Celebration April 30 at Salem Baptist Church.

The banquet room was filled with those who have committed themselves to "Service Above Self" and two of those who had upheld that commitment for all of the club’s 50 years received special recognition.

Charter members, Emmitt Boutwell and Kyle Roberson, were honored for their many years of dedicated and unselfish service to the club and, therefore, to the Brundidge community.

The late William Smith, who was known as "Mr. Lion," was also a charter member of the Brundidge Lions Club and served faithfully until his death last year.

"By their works these men shall be known," said the Rev. Mack King. "They have been an inspiration to other Lions and to the people of their community. Emmitt and Kyle continue to be an inspiration and William Smith is now an inspiration to the Lord’s house."

Over the years, the Brundidge Lions have made their community a better place to live and improved the quality of life for many of its citizens.

Perhaps, the Lions are best known for two of their projects – the involvement in the Alabama Lions Sight Program and their flag project.

Tommy Strother, a former Lion with 31 years of service, gave the club’s history and cited the club’s first "case" submitted to the Alabama Sight Program.

A lady from Tarentum got a piece of wood in her eye and didn’t seek medical attention for a week. When she approached the Lions Club for help, they got her the medical attention she needed. Alabama Sight paid for the $1,600 surgery necessary to save her sight.

"The eye specialist said she was 12 hours away from blindness," Strother said.

For that time forward, the Lions realized that the work they did with Alabama Sight was extremely important and they committed their resources fully to that end.

In 1960, the Lions embarked on another project for which they are widely recognized.

They purchased American flags, which they rented to business owners for a small annual fee. The flags were to be flown on eight patriotic holiday and the Lions accepted the responsibility of displaying the flags – a responsibility they have up held for 41 years.

The Lions have been involved in many projects including safety signs along the highway; wheelchairs, medical bills, eye examinations, glasses, food and Christmas baskets for the needy; the Pike County Christmas Program; and the Easter Seal and March of Dimes.

The Lions have also support youth programs including fund raising for local athletic teams and the high school band, transporting football players home after practice, funding trip for students, sponsoring youths to Camp Seale Harris Diabetic Camp and sponsoring the Boy Scout troop. They also erected one section of bleachers for the football field.

The Lions were instrumental in the organization of the Brundidge Rescue Squad and also sponsored the dedication of the National Guard Armory.

Monetary support for the Lions projects came from a variety of fundraisers including the sale of mops, brooms and light bulbs,

operating a concession stand at home football games, pancake suppers, fruit cake sales and the flag subscriptions.

Strother has the Lions roaring with laughter with is remembrances of some of the Lions’ fund raising efforts.

"One year we had the idea to raise sweet potatoes and sell them," he said. "We planted five acres of sweet potatoes, but some members of the club got so caught up in campaigning for George Wallace for governor that they forgot to tend the crop. We didn’t sell a single potato and so we lost our $750 investment and George Wallace lost the election."

Another project almost split up the club.

"We had a plan to secure a billy goat and stake him out of someone’s lawn," Strother said. "They would have to pay a fee to have the goat moved to another lawn. We got into such a heated discussion over the billy goat project that we almost broke up the club. We didn’t get the goat, but we still lost three members."

One of the club’s most profitable projects was the concession stand at home football games.

"One night it was absolutely freezing," Strother said. "People kept coming back for coffee trying to keep warm and we started giving out of coffee, so we just kept adding water to the pot. By the end of the game, the coffee was almost nothing but water – but it was hot water. We sold more than 200 cups and that turned out to be one of our best projects as far as profit margin."

Perhaps, the loudest Lions’ roar came when Strother told about the time the Lions posted the flags on the wrong day.

"We got the days confused for Confederate Memorial Day and put the flags out a week early," he said. "It just so happened that the door of the post office got shattered on the same day. The talk around town was that the postal workers saw the flags and thought they were working on a holiday and shattered the door trying to get out of there."

The 50 years of Zionism have been filled with ups and downs but there have been far more ups than downs.

"The measure of a person’s life is how much misery did he/she dilute," Strother said. "The Brundidge Lions Club has diluted a lot of misery over the past 50 years. By this measure it shall be known."