In 1917, Melvin Jones, a Chicago business leader, contacted business groups around the United States to develop a group dedicated to the improvement of their communities and the world. They held an organizational meeting June 17, 1917 in Chicago, Illinois and held their first national convention in Dallas in October of that year where a constitution, by-laws, objects, and a code of ethics were approved. Within three years, Lions became an international organization.
In Lubbock, Texas on a very hot July 29th, 1929 evening, sixty-one business and professional men met at Our Cafeteria to organize the Lubbock Lions Club. Little did any of those sixty-one charter members realize that the club would succeed beyond their wildest dreams and become the largest Lions Club in the United States. The names of those of great stature have graced the rolls of the club—people of science, education, law, business, and politics. But, the Club has held to the policy that any person willing to work for those in need shall be eligible for membership.
The very first community project for the young club was the planting of trees at Shannon Park which became Lions Park and is now Mckenzie Park. The Club organized the Littlefield Lions Club, its first of many throughout the years. That first year, the Club also placed benches at the courthouse square and provided eye surgery for a needy child. The Club had filled a benevolence void in the community and the Spirit of Lionism had taken root in Lubbock.
The members of the Lubbock Lions Club have gone beyond fund raising and have a history of contributing their labors for improving the life of those in need. Those trees at Shannon Park were planted by members, and they cleared the city streets and alleys of weeds, purchased and installed a water heater at Milam Children's Home and water dispensers at grade schools. There are many other activities in which Lions dedicate their labor as well as fund raising dollars.
In 1925, Helen Keller challenged Lions to become "knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness." And we accepted. Today, sight programs remain one of our defining causes. Lubbock Lions Club, as part of the international organization, have worked on projects aimed at preventing blindness, restoring eyesight and improving eye care for hundreds of millions of people locally and worldwide.
"Lions are people cut from a different cloth. They are people of indomitable spirit, of compassion, people who live by the Golden Rule and see themselves as their brother's keeper. They extend a helping hand to the down-trodden, they ...replace dismay with hope. They address the needs of the community...standing ready to respond to any call for help in times of need."* Over the years, they have supported many worthy organizations who help those in need. The Lubbock Lions Club has remained the largest Lion's Club in the US since 1972.
*Pettey, Weston. 1983. The Big Story. Eakin Publications, Inc.: Austin, Texas.