By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Reidsville Lions Club celebrates 1944 Charter
The Reidsville Lions Club celebrated their 80-year charter on Monday night, February 19, 2024.  That original charter was issued on February 15, 1944, in the midst of World War II.  About 32 people attended the event Monday night. Reidsville Mayor Vickie
Pictured l-r: Reidsville Mayor Vickie Nail and Lions Club President Bobby Kennedy. Reidsville Mayor Vickie Nail used the occasion to issue her first proclamation of recognition to honor the Lions Club on the occasion of their 80th Anniversary and proclaimed February 1st from this year forward as Lions Day for the City of Reidsville.

The Reidsville Lions Club celebrated their 80-year charter on Monday night, February 19, 2024.  That original charter was issued on February 15, 1944, in the midst of World War II.  About 32 people attended the event Monday night. Reidsville Mayor Vickie Nail and her husband, Attriss; Sheriff Kyle Sapp and his wife, Gloria; and Commissioner Bill Kicklighter and wife, Robbiette, were present at the meeting. 

President Bobby Kennedy called the meeting to order at 6 pm and introduced the Chairman of the Tattnall County Commissioners, Jackie Trim, who provided the invocation. Then Kennedy introduced Ronnie McCall, who provided some history of the original 20 signees of the 1944 Charter.  McCall identified some of the more well-known individuals, such as R.P. Balkcom, E.L. Grinstead, L.R. Jelks, Wilton Hill, E. B. Register, and Russell Rhoden and asked for a show of hands of those who remembered them.  An average of about 12 to 15 hands went up along with big smiles when those people were recalled.  There was interesting additional information, such as Wilton Hill was the father of Senator Jack Hill, and E.B. Register came to Reidsville as part of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) from South Georgia and became President of the Tattnall Bank. All were obvious pillars of the local community during the days of the Greatest Generation and the most destructive war in the history of the world. To contrast living conditions during 1944 to the present, McCall listed the costs of some common household items, including white bread, 9 cents per 20 ounce loaf; grade A eggs, 45 cents per dozen; peanut butter, 21 cents for a 1 pound jar; and laundry soap, 19 cents for 25 ounces.  Five years later in 1949, a new 6-cylinder Ford truck cost 1,212 dollars.  A V-8 engine cost 20 dollars more. A new truck wasn’t available in 1944 because auto manufacturers were building military jeeps, aircraft, ships or other war related items.  Ration stamps were necessary to buy gasoline.  It wasn’t the grinding hard times of the Great Depression in 1932, but a nickel in 1944 would purchase much more than a dollar’s worth today.

McCall pointed out that most of these men were beyond the draft age for military service or they would have likely been in Europe or the Pacific in a military uniform. He noted that a dire situation was a probable factor for the founding of the Reidsville Lions Club.  “They were not serving in the military so they were looking for ways to serve the local community and the nation,” he said.  “Founding a Lions Club was a good way to do that.  It was a very visible way to serve on the home front.  These men felt the need to serve.”

After McCall completed a short history of the original 20 signees, a meal catered by Southern Flair of roast beef in gravy on rice along with green beans, corn, sourdough bread, and a seven-layer salad were served along with chewy bread and a fluffy dessert that would make a good Christian boy talk back to his mama. 

After the meal, Mr. Kennedy introduced Shellie Smith, who is the past District Governor from Glennville and currently heads up the Leo Club at Tattnall County High School, which is a Lions Club program designed to encourage students toward a life that includes service. Ms. Smith spoke briefly about what the Lions Club is about and the need for such services in the community before introducing the keynote speaker, Jim Mock, who is the District 18N Governor from Alamo, Georgia. District 18N covers 47 Georgia Counties, 58 Lions Clubs totaling 1210 members and four Leo Clubs. Mr. Mock explained that the Lions Clubs work to support funding for vision, diabetes, childhood cancer, hunger, and more recently, environmental issues such as the growing problem of plastics in our environment. He spoke briefly about the Lighthouse Project, the Waycross Camp for the Blind, and the Melvin Jones Foundation Award for Lions Club Members whose accumulated donations to support the above listed projects total $1000.  His presentation was warmly received.

After Mr. Mock, Reidsville Mayor Vickie Nail presented President Bobby Kennedy with a proclamation recognizing the 80-year service of the Reidsville Lions Club.  Specifically, it was Mayor Nail’s very first proclamation of recognition, and she proclaimed February 1 as Lions Club Day for the City of Reidsville from 2024 forward. It was a fitting conclusion to a warm celebration of 80 years of service by the Reidsville Lions Club.

For information on how to become a member of the Reidsville Lions Club, contact Bobby Kennedy at 912-237-3021.