03/22/09 — Goldsboro Host Lions Club observes 70th anniversary

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Goldsboro Host Lions Club observes 70th anniversary

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 22, 2009 2:00 AM

The Goldsboro Host Lions Club turned 70 years old on Wednesday and on Thursday night about 70 people helped celebrate the club's anniversary.

The crowd gathered at the St. Luke United Methodist Church and represented numerous area Lions clubs, including the ones the Goldsboro Host club sponsored. The Host club, formed to help the visually impaired, sponsored the Princeton club in 1942, the Pikeville club in 1946 and the Downtown club in 1966.

The club, which started out with 21 members in 1939, had 72 on the roles in 1948.

But membership has been declining in recent years, said Lion Willis Long.

Today, there are only 18 Goldsboro Host Lions.

"Membership is at the lowest level in the history of the club," Willis said. "We need to work on that."

Lions said Thursday night that membership has been dwindling in all the clubs. But those who remain are loyal and steadfast. For example, the speaker for the night, Dr. Lacy Presnell, was the Lions' international director in the mid-1970s and has had perfect attendance at meetings since 1950.

"The big motivation for all of us is to put songs in people's hearts and smiles on people's faces," Presnell said. "The reward is that little tinge of pride when we deliver for someone in need."

Born 10 years before the Host club formed, Presnell watched the men in a little red wagon selling pencils for the totally blind when he was a youngster.

"I promised myself if I ever got the opportunity I'd join a Lions Club. The Lions' motivating passion is compassion," he said. "I congratulate and commend the Goldsboro Host Lions Club and challenge you to keep on keeping on delivering those labors of love to the people who need it."