AUBURN LIONS CLUB
History & Activities
An Auburn Club was chartered in 1924, with Dr. B. F. Thomas as president. There were between 40 and 50 members. Members of the club built the Boy Scout hut as a service project. In 1925, the club hosted the State Convention. In December 1927, the club was inactivated and the charter returned to Lions International. Shortly after inactivation a new club was formed. On the night of January 30, 1928, 23 Auburn men and their wives gathered for the new charter dinner meeting at the Smith Hall cafeteria of Alabama Polytechnic Institute. The founder of Lionism, Melvin Jones, presented the charter to L. S. Blake, first president of the Auburn Club.
Many of the former Lions Club members decided to form the Auburn Kiwanis Club in 1928.1 They had 58 members, almost all of whom had been Lions. Ironically, members of the newly-formed Kiwanis Club had nicknames just as has been the tradition of Auburn Lions for many years.
Membership of the new Lions Club was limited to 30 and included some of the youngest men in Auburn. The club grew over the years. It reached a membership of 100 in 1978-79 and presently includes 56 members.
During the more than eight decades, many distinguished citizens of Auburn have contributed to the record of community service and assistance to the medically indigent of Auburn and Alabama who suffer from vision problems. Each Auburn Lion is a member of the Alabama Sight Conservation Association, Incorporated, and many have served on the Board of Directors and as officers. Much of the work of the club is done by committees. Each Lion is expected to serve on a committee.
No doubt the project that has raised the most funds for sight conservation and community service through the years has been taking and selling tickets and providing managerial services at Auburn University athletic events. This activity was started in 1953, and continues to the present. Over $750,000.00 has been generated through this fund raising activity. Light bulbs, brooms, and mops produced by the Alabama Industries for the Blind at Talladega, AL were also sold to help support this vital facility. Through the Lions Clubs International Foundation, the Auburn Club also helps support world-wide service projects.
Sight conservation is not the only objective of Auburn Lions Club. A number of activities and projects are carried out each year in the areas of youth, community, and health services such as diabetes awareness. In 2001-03 the Auburn Lions Club sponsored and supplied a portion of the funds for a Habitat for Humanity house for an indigent person and family.
Almost since the beginning of the club, it has contributed to both boy and girl scouting programs. In support of school programs, the club has provided funds for band uniforms, worked booths at the annual Halloween Carnival or Fall Festival, provided funds for lighting athletic fields, and carried out a scholarship loan program. Local youth have been sponsored to Boys and Girls State and various leadership camps. The Auburn school dental clinic has been supported for a number of years.
The Auburn Lions Club does not measure itself by how many projects have been carried out or how many dollars have been raised. Its value is based on how good we have been in solving problems and rendering service to our community and our fellow man.