The New Bern Lions Club
The New Bern Lions Club was first chartered by Lions International on February 9, 1937 as part of the largest civic service organization in the world. With the onset of World War II, a majority of the members were invited to join the armed forces. The membership decreased to the extent that the charter was returned to Lions International. At the end of the war in 1945 the club was reorganized on March 27 and officially chartered on June 26, 1945. Lion J. Wesley Morton served as the first President and R. F. Allen was its Secretary. There have been sixty four different Presidents, some serving more than once.
The club had for its main purpose in the community, to help those who were blind or visually impaired and provide education for the prevention of blindness. One of the very early programs to provide funds to carry out its community betterment activities was the production of a movie using local talent, and then showing it around the community to raise money. In the 50’s minstrel show were held; in the 60’s variety shows with bands were popular, followed by horse shows in the 70’s & 80’s. The club also sponsored a Boy Scout Troop #229 which was chartered in 1962. Over the years the Club had sponsored the following clubs: Trenton Lions Club; Minnesot Beach Lions Club; Havelock Lions Club; Tryon Lions Club in New Bern, and the Twin Rivers Lions Club of New Bern.
The club was honored to have many members who went on to serve as District Governors. These Past District Governors are: Lions Carmi Winters (deceased), Edward T. Berry, III (deceased), James (Bob) R. Noble (Ohio District 13H - deceased), John N. Peterson (deceased), John C. Thomas, Richard J. Kerr (Boque Bank Lions, deceased), Curtis Bare (Havelock Lions), John F. Thole (Havelock Lions, deceased), Preston Spence (deceased) and George Fisher. Interestingly enough, Lion C. W. Scott, Jr. served as Cabinet Secretary/Treasurer for four of the NC District Governors.
Today the club is still very active in their community. Fund raisers such as the Stocks Scholarship Fund at Craven Community College, sale of Pepsi & Coke soda products at the annual Chrysanthemum Festival, gumball machines located around New Bern, Wine Tasting & Silent Auction help support our humanitarian activities such as: the distribution of Thanksgiving & Easter food baskets; taking the visually challenged to the fishing tournament in Manteo and summer vacation at Camp Dogwood, Boys & Girls Home at Lake Wacamaw, providing eye exams and glasses, and White Cane Community collections in support of the Camp Dogwood facility. In addition, the Club started a new program for the blind and visually impaired in September 2004. This program provides a weekly activity for our visually impaired and blind friends by providing them with Bingo games; chair exercises; taking them to minor league baseball games and bowling. Club volunteers provide all of the assistance that is needed and the program is totally funded by the New Bern Lions.
Lions Clubs International is the world's largest service club organization with more than 1.3 million members in approximately 45,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas around the world.