Champions for the Cause
Texas Lions Camp has surpassed a number of milestones in her distinguished history, most notably of which is perhaps her 60 Years of Service to 60,000 children. Our founders could not have known all that they were setting in motion so many years ago, but there is no doubt that we all have much to be thankful for as we reflect upon all that has occurred to bring us to where we are today.
In the 1940s, a polio epidemic was devastating America, and the hardest hit were the very young. As Lions do, they began questioning what it was that they should do in response to the crisis that was attacking without mercy and leaving shattered lives in its wake.
An idea sprang up in the minds of several Lions, who decided that a Camp should be built where children afflicted with the aftermath of this terrible disease could attend and begin work on their self-esteem.
There were numerous individuals who deserve credit for their work and courage displayed early on for an idea that seemed impossible and doomed for failure. And indeed, it was not possible, and on paper, probably shouldn’t even be possible now.
In the midst of all that needed to be done, one man in particular stepped forward to Champion this impossible cause. The idea was not an easy sale, but in the end, all Districts endorsed the concept of a Camp for handicapped children, and the Charter of the Texas Lions Camp was signed by seven (7) founding presidents. They were:
- W.R. Rutherford of Dumas, Texas
- Schley Riley of Big Spring, Texas
- Jack Wiech of Brownsville, Texas
- Pat Jackson of Nacogdoches, Texas
- Reagan Smith of Conroe, Texas
- Virgil Minear of Halletville, Texas
- J.I. Moore of Kerrville, Texas
Every great movement has a Champion. And indeed, with an operation the size of Texas Lions Camp, it takes Champions. However, the nature of our Organization requires that Champions be continually replenished. While we celebrate our heritage, and those who brought us to where we are today, it is not enough to rely on their courage and drive to carry us into the future.
We must be ever mindful that the future mission will be in the care of those who will carry the torch where we cannot. Some of these Champions are here now, and are actively working, others have yet to realize their full potential to make a difference, and still others have yet to join our ranks…but will some day.
As we reflect upon the past, and take up position for the future, let each of us consider what we have to offer, and offer it. Let us invite others to join in this noble endeavor called Texas Lions Camp. This goes beyond the issue of asking for money, rather it deals with the heart of the matter, which is an invitation to become actively involved, sharing the God given talents and experiences that each of us can impart. May we be ever more determined, and be… CHAMPIONS FOR THE CAUSE.
Stephen S. Mabry, CFRE, CAE
Texas Lions Camp, Inc.
Chief Executive Officer