Believe it or not, there are many good deeds happening in the Beaumont area every single day. From free eyeglasses and eye screenings to school mentors and support for Habitat for Humanity and the Wounded Warrior Program… members of the Lions Club are always busy helping others. And while you’ve probably heard about the Lions Club you might not know about all they are doing behind the scenes for people in Southeast Texas.
“Our mission, our motto is ‘we serve’ and all the clubs serve the community they are in,” said Robert Blackburn, from the Lions Club Centennial Planning Committee, “There are Lions Club chapters all over Southeast Texas; in Beaumont, Lumberton, Orange, Bridge City, Little Cypress, Port Neches, Port Arthur, Nederland and many more even!”
Robert Blackburn has been a part of the Lions Club for as long as he can remember.
“I got in Lions Club because my father was involved,” said Blackburn, “I went with him everywhere he went and helped with all the projects. I just thought that’s what all the kids did. When I got older I officially joined but you could say I’ve been helping with Lions Club since I was five or six years old.”
Lions International is celebrating their 100th Anniversary in 2017. Both Beaumont and Port Arthur are founding clubs that are also celebrating their 100th Anniversaries! Blackburn has been working with the Beaumont and Convention and Visitors Bureau to help plan a huge 100th celebration to be held on January 14, 2017 at The Event Centre in Downtown Beaumont.
“I’ve worked with the CVB for years planning conventions and meetings,” said Blackburn, “they are extremely helpful in the planning from beginning to end. I couldn’t ask for better help.”
Centennial celebration events include presentations from past International Director Marshall Cooper, recognition of each club’s Legacy Lion, a tribute to the two Southeast Texas Founder Clubs, videos of Centennial Service projects and music and dancing with the Livingston Swing Band. People are expected to come in from all across the country to help celebrate the Lions history of helping in Southeast Texas.
“Whatever the needs of the community has, the Lions do that. It varies from community to community and I’m proud to help out where I can here in Beaumont.”
While the Beaumont Lions are involved in dozens of projects in the area, their biggest mission is to make sure people of all ages can see.
“We have vision screenings all over our district. We collect eyeglasses, clean them, fix them up and redistribute through the community as needed,” said Blackburn. “We have a program for children that is new where we go into day cares and pre-k and we check kids to see if they have vision problems. We have a new machine that is able to test kids as young as six months old. It identifies problems before the child can even tell us.”
Besides celebrating the 100 years so far, the Lions are always looking for new recruits to help carry on the tradition of giving back.
“We help where others don’t. In the event of a disaster, we are the first ones in,” said Blackburn. “We don’t blow our own horn, we just go do it and go about our business. Wherever there is a need, there is always a Lion.”