UNION — The Union Lions Club — a local chapter of Lions Club International — inducted a new member Thursday.
Father Louis Miller of the Episcopal Church of the Nativity was inducted as the newest member of the Union Lions Club. Miller was sponsored by Johnny Sinclair, and the induction was conducted by former district governor and local Lion George Goings as well as current District Governor Charlene Frye.
“This is the first-ever double-team induction — conducted by both a current and former district governor — that I know of,” Goings said.
Miller said he has been a Rotarian for 30 years, and the Rotary motto is “service above self.” The Lions Club International motto is “We serve,” and Miller said that is what attracted him to the group.
“To do something beyond one’s self,” Miller explained.
Frye said many people are unaware that “Lions” is actually an acronym for “Liberty, Intelligence and Our Nation’s Savior.”
Lions Club international is the largest service organization in the world with more than 44,500 clubs and more than 1.35 million members in 207 countries. The club provides many services but, most importantly, its members are the world leaders in blindness prevention and work extensively in their communities.
Lions’ volunteers provide humanitarian services such as eye glasses, eye surgeries, and hearing aids for those who cannot afford them. Other local Lions projects include eyeglass recycling, a Mobile Health Screening Unit that travels the entire state of South Carolina, camps for blind youth, sponsorships of local youth groups and educational scholarships.
Sight and hearing conservation have been the major projects for Lions Clubs International since Helen Keller challenged the Lions to be her “knights of the blind.” Together with the S.C. Lions Charitable Services organization, the Lions Clubs of S.C. have developed programs to educate the public about health issues, and to fight sight and hearing impairment.
During Miller’s induction, he was blindfolded — to illustrate the Lions’ dedication to aiding the blind — and asked to walk from the back of the room to the front. He then removed the blindfold to see a lit candle, from which he and Sinclair each lit their own candles.
“I’ve asked you to spend a few moments in darkness because this symbolizes the life of the blind and hopefully this will be the only time you spend in darkness,” Goings said.
Sinclair then placed a pin displaying the Lions emblem on Miller’s left lapel to signify his new membership.
“The emblem being pinned on you has great significance to the Lions throughout the free world,” Frye said. “The large letter ‘L’ stands for law, liberty, labor, loyalty, love and life. The letter ‘L’ is placed within a circle, representing the unity of each individual member with each local club, with Lions International and with Lions throughout the world.”
The Union Lions Club meets at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the Lions Club building, located at 134 E. Main St. in Union.
Staff Writer Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 29, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.