98 years ago, my great-grandfather, George H. Henderson, Sr., along with 36 other men, organized the Lufkin Host Lions Club. Though none of those men are living today, their legacy and foundation has impacted generations. The Lufkin Host Lions Club has now grown to one of the largest clubs in the world and one of the most dynamic civic organizations in our community. It is genuinely my honor to serve as the Club President, and it is my goal to continue the social and philanthropic endeavors of those that have served before me, including my dad who served as President in ‘87-‘88.
As far back as I can remember, the Lions Club has been a part of my life. I can remember several times my dad taking me out of school as a young kid, so I could come hear R.C. Slocum or Larry Dierker speak at the Days Inn. And I can remember the time my dad let me stay late after the rodeo only to be hit by one of Dubby Perry’s errant water balloons. Though I didn’t know of all the fun that was taking place, I did know that the Lions Club was the place to find a good friend and a good laugh.
I encourage you to get to know your fellow members. You’ll be amazed at the unique backgrounds and stories that are spread throughout our club. Fight the urge to sit at your regular table on Tuesday and sit with someone you don’t know. The friendships and connections that can be made within our club are endless. I also encourage you to invite a friend that isn’t a member. As we continue to serve our community, we want to bring in new people to join us.
I also urge you to get involved. “We Serve” is our motto, but we must make it more than words. The Angelina Benefit Rodeo and the Z&OO Railroad continue to be successful endeavors that allow us to give back to our community, but it isn’t without exceptional volunteerism that we continue. I sincerely thank each of you that have worked many years towards these efforts. Walking the stands with a tray full of ice cold coke at the rodeo or spending a few hours on a Sunday afternoon selling train tickets at the Zoo is part of the experience of being a Lion, and its essential that we have people willing to do every job that is required.
I am excited about what I know will be another great year. Let’s work hard, have a lot of fun, and at about 11 pm on the last Saturday of April I’ll treat each of you to a cold drink and semi-fresh chili dog!