Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Alisa Boswell
Portales managing editor 

Lions Club has long history of community service


March 22, 2017

FLOYD — It all started in 1917 with 38-year-old Chicago business leader Melvin Jones telling members of his local business club that they should reach beyond business issues and address the betterment of their communities.

In 1925, Helen Keller addressed the Lions Clubs International Convention and challenged Lions to become "knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness."

The rest is history.

And it was this history that drew Floyd Lions Club member Wade Carter into joining his local Lions Club.

“I’ve always been concerned about donating to places and the money going where they say it goes, but the Lions Club has always had a good track record with putting all the money back into the community ... That’s one of the things that appealed to me about it,” Carter said, adding that he began researching the international club online and liked what he read regarding its long history.

The Floyd club is not much younger than the international club, and plays host to an annual fundraiser that members say is the longest standing amateur music show in the nation, if not the world.

“It’s awesome; that’s what it is,” said Floyd Lions Club member Dave Nash of the annual Floyd Country Jamboree, which is to take place Thursday through Sunday.

Member Paul Benoit said not only does this annual fundraiser provide two to three Floyd High School seniors with $1,000 college scholarships, but it provides a lot of eye care and glasses to students in local, rural school districts.

“The parents more often than not, make it a point to stop the Lions Club members and say thank you,” Benoit said of the eye care provided to students. “I think that it's our civic duty, period, to participate in various activities and give back to our communities. Lions Club International — I love their passion for serving the community. The Floyd Lions Club, we are just blessed to serve students in our community."

And as another way of honoring the long and proud history of their own local Lions Club, Benoit said this year, the program for the event will have stories paying tribute to original performers in the jamboree, such as Frida Miller and Sonny Russell, as well as include a list of all the people who have received the Citizen of the Year award each year.

It is usually given at the Saturday night performance to a citizen chosen based on their service to the local communities.

"We're going to try to add little stories like that every year now,” Benoit said, adding that the Citizen of the Year started in 1966.

But, Benoit said, “Just seeing the crowd enjoy the show is always my favorite part."


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