History of the Lions Club of Kingsport

The Kingsport Lions club was organized in 1946 and was sponsored by the Lions Club of Bristol, VA.  An organizational meeting was held on June 27 at the Kingsport Inn which used to stand where the Regions Bank building is now located.  The formal Charter Night occurred at the Kingsport Inn on August 20 when the club charter was presented by District Governor E. M. Kaylor of Chattanooga.  Guest speaker was Dr. D. Trigg James, pastor of Broad Street Methodist Church.  There were 25 charter members and the initial slate of officers included W. B. Halbach, President, R. O. Peters, 1st Vice President, Lake Butcher, 2nd Vice President, J. B. Regan, 3rd Vice President and Hayden Huddleston, Secretary-Treasurer.  Meetings were scheduled for each Tuesday noon at the Kingsport Inn.  The club continues to meet each Tuesday at noon but now at Giuseppe's Restaurant on East Stone Drive.

The major, although not sole, area of service of the Kingsport Lions Club is sight conservation, that is, helping to prevent blindness and providing services for those already blind.  In pursuit of this objective, the club arranges for the vision testing each year of about 8,000 children in some 35 Kingsport and Western Sullivan County schools.  A recently developed test procedure which requires no response from the child is used to test the vision of children in the age range of 12-60 months.  The test results are sent to experts at the Lion's Children's Center at Vanderbilt University where experts can determine apparent vision problems with about an 85% accuracy.  Parents are notified if there appears to be a problem, and the children can be referred to the family ophthalmologist.  This service is offered to many preschool and day care centers in the vicinity.  Some of the services for persons who are already blind are the Lion's Recordings for the Blind which reads and tapes text books for students; Leader Dogs for the Blind which provides trained dogs for use by blind persons; Volunteer Blind Industries which provides training and employment for blind persons at our Morristown and Johnson City locations.  From time to time we have also made help available to the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Boys Club, Girls Club and Fun Fest in the form of a picnic for physically and emotionally challenged individuals.  In 2004 the local club with the help of Lions Clubs International built a Habitat House for a family with a disabled child.  All Lions Club services are provided without charge.

The club is a part of District 12-N which is one of five districts in the state of Tennessee. This District stretches from Mountain City to Harriman and includes 42 clubs. The Kingsport Club has furnished four District Governors in the past: Lake Butcher (1950-51), Cecil Dougherty (1962- 63), Fred Kays (1983-84), Bob Miller (1987-88) and Kingsport Lion Bill Moore served as District Governor in 2005-06. The Lions Club is the world's largest service club organization with more than 1.3 million members around the globe.



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