Woodbury Lions Club
A Brief History

      In June 1935 Deputy District Governor Minor Bragg, former Cannon Countian from Murfreesboro, explained Lionism to a small group of men gathered in Lee Baker’s Drug Store.  In the same month 21 men met in S.D. Wooten’s Grocery story and formed the Woodbury Lions Club.  Hayden Smith was charter president.  Other officers were D.F. Williams, William Bragg, T.H. Bratten, Charles Hawkins, Lee Baker, and C.B. Stone. 
     Other charter members were: James E. Campbell, H.S. Barrett, S.M. Jennings, O.R. Holley, Walter L. McCrary, S.D. Wooten, Dr. C.M. Grizzle, Alfred Roach, Gail Knudson, James H. Cummings, L.H. McCrary, M. Fine, Jack Davenport, and J.T. Alexander.  

Two International Presidents
     Soon a young school teacher named Walter H. Campbell, known as “Squint”, joined them.  He became the 49th president of Lions International, elected from Miami Beach, FL.  In 1988-89 Austin Jennings was the 72nd International President after serving as District Governor in 1971-72 and International Director in 1976-78.  He is internationally known as the “Father of SightFirst”.
     The club has been honored with visits of eleven International Presidents: Pierce, Petry, Lindsey, Campbell, Mason, Mehta, Akestam, Kusiac, Scruggs, and Corlew.  Several International Directors have also been visitors. 

District Leadership
     Cliff Swoape served as District Governor in 2010-2011.  Carl Hirlston serves as District Governor for this year, 2017-2018.  Other members have served at various district leadership levels from time to time. 

Places We’ve Met
     The club met in the library of the Good Samaritan Hospital for the first ten years.  Other meeting places include Clara’s Café, the Tea Room, Golden Spur, and the Adams Memorial Library.  In the spring of 1980 Lions Memorial Building became the club’s permanent home. 

Early Projects
     In its early years the club was instrumental in promotion Armour Creameries and the dairy industry.  Registered Jersey bull calves were given to famers during the late 1930s to upgrade their herd quality. 
     Lions Field was also an early project.  This field, still in use, provided space for the fairgrounds, football field, Lions Memorial Building, horse show ring, and later the little league fields, 4-H building, Health Department (now the Extension Agents’ Office), community building and swimming pool. 
     After WWII the club was responsible for locating Colonial Corp. in Woodbury.  Club members loaned money for its first payroll.  In 1964 club members formed the group that raised funds for the Adams Memorial Library. 

Adams Memorial Library
     In 1964 a committee of club members were instrumental in organizing the Dr. and Mrs. J. F. Adams Memorial Association, which raised funds and build the Adams Memorial Library building in memory of Dr. and Mrs. Adams.  Dr. Adams was a member of the club until his death in 1964.  He was recognized as an outstanding community leader. 
     A majority of the board members of the association have been Lions from the beginning.

Ongoing Projects
     Over the years the club has provided eye testing in the schools, purchased glasses for the needy, and provided treatment and surgery for hundreds of needy citizens in the county.  In recent years we have added a hearing aid program that makes digital hearing aids available to those who cannot afford one otherwise. 
     The club is activitely involved in the KidSight screening program of the Tennessee lions Eye center.  This is a new technique that saves the vision of our pre-school children. 
     The Boy Scout and Cub Scout programs have been club projects as has been help with the 4-H Club work in the county.  Each year the club sponsored a student to Boys State and Girls State until the American Legion took that project in 2012.  The Citizenship Award for outstanding senior boy and girl at Cannon County High School is given annually by the club.  A tour of homes, Christmas parade, and Christmas lighting of the town are all club projects. 
     The Lioness and Leo Clubs at CCHS are traning grounds for future Lions; one of our best programs!
     Not only is the annual horse show a major fund raising project for the club, it has consistently been named the best one-night horse show in the country. 
     The Christmas Ornament project has proven to be a successful fundraiser.  The first year we offered beautiful brass ornaments depicting the Cannon County Courthouse.  Then we offered the Readyville Mill followed by the Cannon County Central High School building that was built in 1936 and replaced in 1971.  Then came the Good Samaritan Hospital building, Adams Memorial Library, the Brevard House, the shirt factory, and Cannon County High School.  This year’s ornament will be of  the historic Church of Christ.    
     Each October we collect donations during “White Cane Days” to fund district and state projects such as the Middle Tennessee Lions Sight Service and help at the Tennessee School for the Blind. 

District and State Leader
     Always a leader in district and state projects, for several years the club has earned the ranking of Superior Club for its outstanding performance.
     The club was among the first to pledge $100,000 to the Tennessee Lions Eye Center at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, thus becoming a Founders Club.  PIP Austin Jennings directed the campaign to raise $4 million for this project.  Since then we make annual contributions to help fund the KidSight screening program.

     The membership has grown since the club was organized and chartered over 80 years ago with 21 members.  Currently the membership totals 60, still one of the largest in Tennessee. 
     New members are always welcome!  So please bring a friend to the next meeting!

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