Howell Skeen awarded Lions Club’s highest honor

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, August 28, 2012

J. Frank Moore, a past president of the International Association of Lions Clubs, was the featured speaker at the Brundidge Lions Club Monday night.

Brundidge Lions Club President Howell Skeen, left, was awarded a Melvin Jones Fellowship at the club’s meeting Monday night. The Fellowship Award is the Lions Club’s highest form of recognition. J. Frank Moore, a past president of the International Association of Lions Clubs, presented the Fellowship Award to Skeen.

However, Moore attended the meeting for an even more important reason. He was invited to present Brundidge Lions Club President Howell Skeen with a Melvin Jones Fellowship award.

“Lions International recognizes outstanding individuals by bestowing on them an award that is named for its founder, Melvin Jones,” Moore said. “This Fellowship Award is the highest form of recognition and embodies humanitarian qualities consistent with the nature and purpose of Lionism – qualities such as generosity, compassion and concern for the less fortunate.

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Moore said that, as a recipient of the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award, Skeen becomes a model of exemplary service to his club and the community for which it serves.

Skeen expressed appreciation to Moore and to the Brundidge Lions Club for the recognition.

“I’m honored and I’m humbled,” Skeen told the Lions. “I don’t know if I deserve to be a Melvin Jones Fellow but I’m honored that my club would think I am.”

Skeen said that, six years ago, he was invited to attend a meeting of the Brundidge Lions Club and was impressed by the good work that the Lions do all around the world.

“I wanted to be a part of all that,” he said.

Skeen is serving his third term as president of the Brundidge Lions Club and is an outstanding leader, said Lion John Shipman.

“Lion Howell does a mighty good job,” Shipman said. “He is a dedicated Lion, a hard worker and a good man. He is all that a Melvin Jones Fellow should be.”

Other recent Melvin Jones Fellowship recipients include, Shipman, Emmitt Boutwell, Jamie Boutwell, Earl Helms and Oscar Fleshman.

“The Brundidge Lions Club has always had Lionism at heart,” Moore said.

“This club is always ready to help when help is needed, as are all of our clubs. When disasters happen, the Lions Club International is there. And, donations that are made to Lions Clubs go directly back out. There are no administrative costs. The money that is donated goes directly to the project, all 100 percent of it.”

Moore said the United States was on the receiving end of the generosity of Lions Clubs around the world when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.

“There was an outpouring from Lions Clubs everywhere,” Moore said. “There are disasters that you can’t handle by yourself. And, when that happens, Lions Clubs around the world respond no matter where it is.”

The Brundidge Lions Club has recently supported the Miracle Field in Troy, Alabama Lions Sight and the refurbishing of the Alabama Lions’ eye clinic in Birmingham.

For nearly 100 years, Lions Clubs have worked on projects designed to prevent blindness, restore eyesight and improve eye health and eye care for hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

Lions Clubs International has more than 45,000 clubs and nearly 1,400,000 members. It is headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill.