Lions of Georgia
District 18 D
Lions District 18-D History 1990-2000
by 18-D Historian Virgil Megill
Lions in northeast Georgia in District 18D experienced in the decade of the 1990s adjustments to the challenges of Lions Clubs International, and changes within clubs of eastern Georgia.
District 18D Lions accepted forward-looking projects to eliminate blindness worldwide, the challenge at the beginning of the decade channeled primarily through Sightfirst, which was proposed in the International Convention in St Louis in 1990.
Concern for youth was another concern at the beginning of the decade. The Quest program was at its height as the decade began. Clubs in District 18D sustained interest in the Quest program, and joined in the opportunities of Peace Poster Contests. They maintained interest in Leo clubs. The proposal for Standard Lions clubs was a challenge unmet, however, by the end of the decade, to reach those reaching eligibility to become Lions at age 18, and who retained the youthful perspectives to age 35.
Within local clubs membership became a major concern within local clubs. Only four years had passed since Lions clubs International opened membership to women. Previously organized in Lioness clubs, after 1987 women were encouraged to be partners of men in Lions Clubs. Gradually the number of women members increased, and ended the decade playing a major role in all aspects of Lionism. The practice of calling women members “Lionesses” was gradually dropped during the 1990s.
The decade began with 63 clubs, and ended the decade with 43 clubs, a decade that primarily was due to redistricting of district boundaries. to prevent the dissolution of District 18F, the clubs in Walton and
Dekalb Counties were transferred from District 18D to District 18F.
At the District 18D Convention held at Winder Lions Clubhouse, Lion M C Stowe was elected District Governor.
At the State Lions convention District Governor C L “Chuck” Wilson participated in the program that reviewed Lions activity during the 1989-90 year, and chaired District 18D breakfast meetings.
District 18D Chairman of State Awards, Bryson Tanner, shared in the presentation of State Awards. Of 38 clubs that submitted entries for state awards, 16 clubs were from 18D. Of these 12 clubs placed in the
competition. Statewide there were 266 entries in 44 categories, and 72 awards granted including the sole winners were from 18D, North Dekalb Lionesses with two first and one second, and Decatur Lioness one first place award.
District 18D awards were 22 first place, 16 second, and one honorable mention. Winning from 18D were Gainesville with four first place and ten second place; Bethesda one first place, one second place; Towns county, one first place; Toccoa one first place; Winder three first place and one second place; clermont three first place and one honorable mention; Banks County one first place; Athens West two first placeand one second place.; North Dekalb two first place and one second; Oconee three first place; White County one first place; Athens one second place. Scrapbook awards were first place Towns County
and Toccoa, second place Winder and third place Clermont.
District 18D of Georgia Lions in 1990 was organized in five regions, with two zones each in Regions I, II, III, V, and three zones in Region IV. Region I chair was J R Phillips from Royston, with Zone 1 Chair Dale
Stone from Lavonia, and Zone 2 Chair Jimmie Johnson from Elberton.
Region II Chair was William “Bill” Owens from Suches (Union County Club), with Zone 1 Chair William “Bud” Duckworth from Tiger (White County Club), and Zone 2 Chair Steve Leslie from Gainesville.
Region III Chair in 1990-91 was John B Goodwin from Bogart (Atens Club), with Zone Chair 1 Steve Helwig from Athens, and Zone Chair 2 A Lamar “Buddy” Ouzts from Winder.
Region IV Chair was Marvin L Maye (Duluth Club), with Zone 1 Chair George Weigle (Bethesda Club), and Zone 2 Chair James Kerlin (Snellville Club).District 18D Cabinet Members with program service promotional responsibilities were Thois Masters, Lighthouse; Donald R. Hardigee, White Cane;
LCIF Don Wagner; Drug Awareness, W H “Bill” Sperry; Ed Snyder, Hearing Conservation and Aids; Bill Bennett, Camp for the Blind; Wilard Kimsey, Leader Dog; Dr Sam A Vickery, Diabetes Awareness; Dan Sullivan, Sight Conservation, Used Glasses; W. Malcolm Reid, Recording for the Blind; Bobby Reynolds, USA/Canada Forum; Donnie Canup, youth Exchange; Dan Start, Leo Clubs; and James H Weaver Jr, Environmental.
Cabinet members related to District and Club operations were Connie Shirley, Constitution and By-Laws, and also Membership Retention and Development, Regions 1,2,3 and Robert L Smith, Regions 4 and 5; Oscar Battle, Lioness Clubs; Margaret Battle, Co-Lioness Chair; George W Blackburn, Multiple
District Train the Trainer.
Cabinet members related to the District, State, and International emphases were W Myers Banister, Long Range Planning; David Sargent, State Convention; Joe B Davis, International Understanding and Cooperation; Ray Rowell, International Convention; Bob G Pinson, Rules; R E Cross, International Candidate; Joe B Davis, Lions Information and Cooperation; Dr Bill Piper, District Nominations and Elections; and Virgil Megill, Public Relations.
Cabinet members for responsibilities within the State Convention were Howard Whitaker, District Credentials; Dr Irving Hellenga, Resolutions; Dr Bill Piper, District Nominations and elections; Arthur Gurr, district Breakfast; William B Owens, Sergant-at-Arms; Bruce Maney, State Pin; Millard F Havener, Song Leader; Franklin Ginn, Order of the Golden Chain; Bryson Tanner, State Awards; Ray Cox, Outstanding Deaf Award; Paul Kellum, Outstanding Blind Award; a,d Byard Roper, State Uniform.
Past District Governors Chuck Wilson and Myers Banister reported on the International Convention, at the first Cabinet meeting in Snellville, July 29, 1990. Three resolutions were presented nominating Don
Wagner for lieutenant governor and Michael J Higgins Jr and Lloyd Rusgrove as nominees for district governor.
Winder Lions Club chartered its Leo Club in May 1990 before the end of the school year, and installed its members Sept 13 1990.
The second Cabinet Meeting was held November 17, in the afternoon at Holiday Hall in Gainesville, at the District Rally in the evening. Keynote speaker International Director WW “Bill” Webber from St Albert, Alberta, Canada, was welcomed at a reception at 5:45 pm. Gainesville Lion W W Banks announce awards to clubs with he highest percentage of members attending, based on the May 31 membership figure, within categories of small, medium and large.
In the summer of 1990 the north Georgia Fair at Hiawassee, sponsored by Towns County Lions Clubs, continued its multifaceted activities and programs.
District Eye Bank Vice-President and Lighthouse Director, Jim Panter in September challenged clubs to “Commitment,” to have persistence beyond interest, to care beyond talk to act, to act beyond trying when its convenient to fulfill a goal to serve.
Vice-President Camp for the Blind Bill Bennett reported District 18D was third in financial support for the Camp in 1989-90.
President Georgia Lions Eye Bank, Y T Abernathy from Alpharetta, was appointed a second term from the Georgia Governor’s Advisory Board on Anatomical Procurement, that was established in 1987 to identify needs for eyes, organs, and tissues, and encourage cooperation form various organ banks.
In the 1990-91 year Commerce Club placed a wishing well at the restaurant of Dr Sam Vickery with proceeds for the Lighthouse. Gainesville Lions presented a plaque, a dozen roses, and the invitation to become a Lion to Jan Hulsey, director of the Northeast Georgia Chapter of the Red Cross. Athens West granted Melvin Jones Fellows to two members, Nov 27th, at its recapping the “Fright for Sight” project of its Haunted House. Decatur Club collected 800 pairs of glasses of the 1000 donated to the Lighthouse by Region IV Zone 2. LaVista Club gave $6,000 to the Eye Bank. don Wagner offered to provide a Sightfirst program for any club desiring outside assistance.
Athens Club honored the memory of W Malcolm Reid, who was District Chair of Recording for the Blind until his death, Nov 20, 1990.
District 18D sponsored a Telethon on WNGM Channel 34, Feb 23, 1991, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm, that featured the Georgia Lions Lighthouse, the Camp for the blind, Recording for the blind, quest, and programs for Lions, Lionesses, and Leos. Buddy Ouzts, john Goodwin, and Marion May received videos of Lions activities. Host Tom Jackson introduced Miss Georgia Lions of various years, Congressman Ed Jenkins, Doug Bernard, Senator Nunn. Athen’s highest elected officer Gwen O’Nealy, Lieutenant Governor Elect Pierre Howard, Winder Mayor Buddy Ouzts, and Barbara and Vince Dooley. Recorded tributes were secured from Governor Joe Frank Harris, and Zell Miller Governor-Elect. Musicians were 1988 Miss Georgia Lions Denise Daniels, Babbie Mason, Mike Snyder invited from the Grand Old Opry, Terry Gibbs (blind entertainer and recording artist), Bill Anderson and the gospel singing group, New Hearts.
The announcer reported contributions of $300 or more during the airtime for the Lighthouse and other Lions projects. Hoyt Pilcher gave a check of $1000 from Forsyth County Club and Zone Chair Buddy Ouzts reported gifts by Walnut Grove Club. PDG Bob Pinson gave a pledge. Willard Kimsey reported for Leader Dog, bill Sperry on Drug Awareness and Margaret Battles and others on Lioness activity in the district. Leo President Stacy Hogan and Leo Advisor Steve Marine reported Leo activity in the Winder-Barrow High School.
At the District Convention at Winder Clubhouse, March 3, 1991, Lloyd Rusgrove withdrew for health reasons as a candidate for district governor. He died June 2, 1991. Lions elected at the convention for 1991-92 were J. Michael “Mike” Higgins Jr from North Dekalb Club, district governor; Don Wagner from Gainesville Club to succeed Lloyd Rusgrove as Lieutenant governor; Bill Bearden form Gainesville to succeed Jim Panter as Vice-President of the Eye Bank; and reelected were Bill Bennett from Lanier Club as Vice President Camp for the Blind, and Howard Miller as district Librarian-Historian.
PDG George Blackburn was Georgia Multiple District Membership Development Chairman at the Southeast Training Seminar in Atlanta, April 4, for District Membership Chairmen. Past International Director Austin Jennings from Tennessee was resource person.
Oconee Club alerted Georgia Lions to provide of eye surgery in Atlanta for a twelve-year-old blind Turkish boy, Burak Gumas, son of a Turkey naval officer, when previous surgeries in Istanbul were unsuccessful. His father, Sedat Gumas, was taking courses at US Navy Supply Corps schools in Athens, whose instructor was Lion Dick smith from Oconee club. the Lighthouse arranged surgery for the boy.
Marlene Lague from the Lighthouse explained naval personnel in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Pensacola, and Athens paid for Buraak’s mother Nurdan to fly to Atlanta to be present during her son’s surgery. He and his mother were present at the State Convention in Gainesville. President George H W Bush said Georgia Lions and the Navy “demonstrated the same spirit of neighbor helping neighbor that makes America great.” Lions President A Acian Hekimpgio from MD-1187/District 188R in Turkey, responded to M C Stowe, for the befriending of Burak. Metropolitan Hospital in Atlanta agreed to donate its services when Burak returned in the fall for cornea transplant.
At the Lions State Convention, hosted by Gainesville Club, May 17-19, 1991, a barbeque was held in the Gainesville Square. Steve Helwig from Athens West received first place in the District Governor’s Contest. Lighthouse Director Marlene Lague presented Telethon awards. District 18D’s nominee, Jennifer Waldroup, participated in the Lions State Beauty Pageant. International Director Harold Keely addressed Lions at the state convention.
District Chair of State Awards Bryson Tanner, reported for 1990-91. 15 clubs of 18D were among 46 Lions Clubs that entered in state competition, that totaled 279 entries in 44 categories. Clubs in district 18D represented 32 % of entries, but won 60% of awards. Awards went to 14 of the 15 clubs participating from 18D. first place for scrapbook was Winder and Towns County, with Toccoa second, and Dawsonville third.
PDG Chuck Wilson directed the training session for 1991-92 officers June 2, 1991, at Toccoa Falls College.
District Governor Mike Higgins at the First Cabinet Meeting, July 14, held at Toccoa Falls College, heard reports from Cabinet Secretary/Treasurer Dr James R Hunt, Lieutenant Governor Don Wagner, Region chairs, and Committee chairmen. Oscar and Margaret Battles demonstrated their Lions Puppet Show.
Region Chairs for 1991-1992 were Region I Howard Whitaker with Zone 1 Chair Harvey Weiss from Toccoa and Zone 2 Paul Kellum from comer; Region 2 Chair Dan Sullivan from Forsyth County, with Zone 1 Chair Victor Hamburger from Towns County, and Zone 2 Chair Bradley McKinney from White County; Region III Chair A Lamar Ouzts from Winder, with Zone 1 Chair Daniel Stewart from Oconee, and Zone 2 Chair Henry Maddox from Winder; Region IV Chair Edgar Kent from Rehoboth, with Zone Chair Robert L Smith from North Dekalb, and Kenneth A Gilbert from Druid hills; and Region V Chair George Weigle from Bethesda, with Zone 1 Chair Nick Brigham from Bethesda, and Zone II Chair Norman E. Masters from Snellville.
Del Von Almen from Lanier was named District Chaplin, a position he held for ten years. Other changes in cabinet members were Bob Bearden, Eye Bank Coordinator; District Convention Nominations, Dr Bill Piper, Lyle McCurdy, Paul Scales, Anne Mundy; District Credentials, James R Hunt, Jonathan Ledford, Tom Sexton, Alex Wu; District Membership, W Myers Banister; District Tail Twister, Jimmy S Moore, held for ten years; Environmental, J Rich Harrelson; Extension, Charles C Schockley; International convention, Ray Rowe; Leader Dog, Steve Helwig; Leadership Development, Chuck Wilson; Legal Liability, Jim Panter; Leo Clubs, William “Bill” Owens; LCIF, M C Stowe; Lions Information, Ron Cowley; Parliamentarian, George Blackburn; Past District Governor President, Thois Masters; Recording for the Blind, Acton R Brown; Rules, Chuck Wilson; State Uniform, Byard Roper; State Convention, David Sargent; Used Eyeglasses, Hearing Aids, Robert A Mitchell; USA/Canada Forum, bobby Reynolds, James Muenster; White Cane, Donald Hardigree; Youth Exchange, Steve Leslie; Golden Chair, Franklin Ginn; Multiple District Lion Tamer, William Bross.
Memorial service were held June 7, 1991 for Past President LaVista Lions Club and Melvin Jones Fellow, who was Lions District Drug Awareness chairman 1987-88. He instituted Lions Quest’s “Skills for Adolescence” in 75 elementary schools and for middle schools in Dekalb County. He was an administrator for the US Department of Health and Human Services, and served an extended term on DeKalb County School System’s Drug Prevention Advisory Council.
Miss Georgia Lions Denise Daniel 1988-89 sang the national anthem and other music at Lions Night with the Braves, June 8, 1991.
At the first cabinet meeting, July 14, 1991, Winder Club submitted the resolution recommending A Lamar Ouzts as a candidate for lieutenant governor.
Region V Zone 1 met Aug 8 at Duluth to coordinate Gwinnett County’s Quest program.
Clubs heard the recommendation of the Council of Governors, Aug 10, 1991, to withhold contributions to the Georgia Eye Bank, as set up in 1977, until clarification is resolved with Lions of Georgia.
Eight of the 16 clubs of Region IV participated in the Dekalb County School system Drug Prevention Convention in September. The Lions clubs gave 70 hours of labor and $250 toward snacks for a nearly 4,090 students, staff members, and parents from 75 elementary schools in Dekalb County.
Immediate International Past President Bill Biggs addressed the Second Cabinet Meeting in Gainesville, Nov 9. He made a presentation at the Cabinet Meeting to Walter R Sealey Jr, President of the Georgia Camp for the Blind. District Lionesses met during the Lions Cabinet meeting, together with Mike Hall, liaison of the Gainesville Club.
Following the Cabinet Meeting, Immediate Past International President Biggs was speaker at the District Rally choir at the assembly dinner. Lion W W Banks was given an engraved nameplate for his thirtieth year, on behalf of the Gainesville Lions Club, as District Assembly chairman. Biggs extended the International President’s Certificate of Appreciation to Lions Dan Stuart (Oconee), bill Owens (Union County), Bob Smith (North Dekalb), and Virgil Megill (Toccoa). district 18D gave Biggs an inscribed granite pen set at the dinner. More than 600 attended the 1991 District Rally.
Zone Chair Dan Stuart received $1355, “Running for Sightfirst” Thanksgiving morning, in the Atlanta Half-Marathon, and was among 5200 runners.
Athens West gave a hearing dog to Clara Garrett, who although wearing hearing aids in both ears, was turning deaf. Elberton Club gave a TV Set to help a first grader at Blackwell Elementary School in her schoolwork. Toccoa Lions arranged for eye surgery for Sol Kes, a Toccoa Falls College student from Cambodia.
Athens Lions club was one of 27 groups in the “adopt-A-Highway” project in Athens-Clark County. Colbert Club shared in the shredding of telephone books project for Colbert Elementary School. Winder Leos distributed Christmas cards to residents of Four Seasons home. The Winder Leos visted Tucker Lions about beginning a new Leo Club Snellville Club set up a “Lion of the Month” project, to promote exemptions from fines and other benefits, to stimulate Lions retention.
Gwinnett County Lions sold tickets for pancake breakfasts, Feb 8, 1992, to benefit Lions Quest in seven Gwinnett County schools. Originally Gwinnett County with $130,000 initiated Quest in thirteen middle schools, and spent $46,000 each year to maintain the program. Snellville Lions held a series of breakfasts at Snellville, Shiloh, and Trickum middle schools to support the Quest program.
Winder Club paid $2000 for Lions Quest “Skills for Adolescence” for middle schools students and “Skills for Growing” for elementary children. Quest has stimulated awareness for the Drug Resistance Awareness Education (DARE) project. Toccoa Police chief John Taylor, formerly on the faculty of the Police Academy of the University of Georgia, who pioneered in DARE at St Simons Island, reviewed to Toccoa Lions drug apprehension and prevention activities. In November 1991 Winder Club began support of DARE in fifth grades in Barrow County schools.
At the District Convention at Winder Lions Clubhouse, March 1, 1992. Don Wagner was elected Governor-Elect, A Lamar Ouzts Lieutenant Governor-Elect; Bob Bearden was re-elected Eye-Bank Coordinator, and Howard F Miller re-elected District Librarian.
In the Third Cabinet meeting, March 1, 1992, that followed the District Convention, District Secretary Jim hunt continued at this desk, and Region Chairmen Howard Whitaker, Dan Sullivan, Buddy Ouzts, Ed Kent, and George Weigle each gave reports. Thois Masters reported for the Lighthouse, Lawrence Sutherland for the Camp for the Blind, and Don Harigree for White Cane and Sightfirst. Bob Norman from Norcross explained the Lions Canine Companions for Independence for the hearing impaired.
In the 1990s Lionesses were invited to become Lions and Lioness Clubs to become Lions Clubs. There were nine Lioness Clubs in the district in 1991: Cornelia, Decatur, LaVista, Lavonia, Queen city, Snellville, and Winder.
Winterville Lioness club, now unorganized, in July 1991 contributed $961.70 to the Camp for the Blind. Cornelia Lions and Lionesses worked together on projects, and during 1991-92 Lions President R C “Doc” Thomas presented $1000 to Lioness President Ruth Crow for their use from the joint fund
rasing projects. Queen City Lionesses Peggy Pinson and Carol Pinson presented clothing from the club to leukemia victim Jason Edge and his two sisters before his death. Snellville Lionesses held their fourth annual spaghetti dinner, March 7, in the American Legion Hall in Snellville.
Decatur Lionesses Jan 16 enjoyed “Fun with Poetry” by Max Barlow, Jan 16. On Feb 20 Carla Relaford shared recordings about love, which she signed in American Sign Language.
North Dekalb Lioness Club sponsored a pancake breakfast in December, and in March collected $8,000 in Kroger food tapes for Brook Run home, bringing the yearly total to $28,000. The club also provided soup tables, plastic bags, paper, cans, and glassware to Brook Run, and gave $75 for the artist honorarium at the Brook run Special Arts festival, May 6. volunteers for eye screening and fitting glasses to needy children in Atlanta included North Dekalb Lionesses Margaret Battle, Josephine Goodroe, and Marilyn Caldwell.
The fourth Cabinet Meeting was held May 3, 1992 at Toccoa Falls in charge of Governor Mike Higgins and Secretary James Hunt. Don Hardigree reported for White Cane, Thois Masters for the Lighthouse. Steve Helwig for Leader Dog, and Bryson Tanner for State Awards. Region chairs reporting Howard
Whitaker, Region I; vic Hamburger, Region II; Dan Stuart in place of Don Sullivan for Region III; Ed Kent for Region IV; and Norman Masters in place of George Weigle for Region V. for his public relations presentation for the Lighthouse, Oscar Battle and crew produced their puppet show. The program was
videotaped to be used at Channel 34 for the date, and that videotapes have been received for the 1992 telethon.
At the International Convention in Hong Kong, Past District 18C Governor James E “Jim” Ervin from Albany was elected International Director, and Lieutenant Governor E Don Wagner was installed as Governor of 18D. Wagner reviews Lions Themes of 1990 and 1991 as commitment and involvement, and
acknowledged 1992 to be the year of opportunity. He quoted International President Robit C Mehta, “Every Lion must seize the opportunity.”