LARRY ROBERTSON always answered when they knocked on his door selling brooms and lightbulbs each year. He knew a little about their community service, and he wondered why they’d never asked him to join. Harold Armstrong finally extended the invitation one day, and Larry Robertson became a member of the Fayetteville Lions Club when he was 39 years old.
Approaching his 50th year as a Lion this October, Robertson smiles when he says, “I could have been useful before I was 39.”
He found the club’s members to be a friendly group, and as he became more and more acquainted with all they did for those in Lincoln County, throughout the country, and the whole world, Robertson became more and more invested in the club and their simple motto, “We Serve.”
He wasted no time making himself useful, beginning as the club’s treasurer from 1975-76. He went on to serve as the local club’s secretary and president. During his term as president, the Southwestern Lincoln County Lions Club, comprised of members from the Taft, Blanche, Coldwater, Unity, and Cash Point communities, was chartered. There were separate clubs for men and women in the past, and the Lincoln County Lioness Club was also chartered during Robertson’s term as president.
The club has contributed significantly to the health and well-being of the Lincoln County community. Throughout the club’s history, it has contributed to projects such as constructing and maintaining the Don Davidson-Lions Club Complex and the first two community swimming pools. The club sponsors Leo Clubs in area schools, provides scholarships, raises drug awareness, has contributed to the hospital in Lincoln County, and purchased equipment and furnishings for the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Public Library. Local Lions also conduct annual state-required sight and hearing screenings in selected grades and pre-K screenings.
Talk with Robertson for a few minutes, and you’ll likely find the work of the Lions sprinkled throughout your conversation. He’ll share the organization’s humanitarian outreach and commitment to improving people’s lives worldwide.
“What a great organization Lions Clubs are!” he said.
Robertson has seen the club merge its membership with the Fayetteville Lioness Club and move from weekly to twice-monthly meetings during his time. But it’s about more than what he’s seen; it’s about the countless people who see better today, thanks to the ongoing sight-preservation work of the Lions Club.
Robertson has the heart of a Lion and served his community while working as a research chemist for the U.S. Army Missle Command in Huntsville. His employment there followed his Army service in Korea after the end of the Korean War. He retired in 1994, leaving more space on his calendar for his beloved Lions Club work.
His late wife, Beverly, understood his commitment to the club and its mission. She served as First Lady of District 12-S from 1988-89 and Multi-District 12 TN from 1989-90. Beverly encouraged Larry’s club work and served the community in the Lioness Club before it merged with the men’s club.
Larry served as District 12-S zone chairman, region chairman, white cane chairman, membership chairman, vice district governor, and district governor from 1988- 89. At the state level, he has served as council chairman for the 1989-90 district governors. He is the oldest past council chairman in the state of Tennessee. As district governor, he made lasting friendships and memories when attending the Denver International Convention.
“The people in Denver treated us so well. It started my year out great. That was a highlight, but what was really great was the friendships that remain today. Once you find a Lion, you’re immediate friends,” said Larry.
After all these years as a Lion, Larry knows the camaraderie and heart of the club is one to be experienced by potential members; just ask one of the more than 11 club members he sponsored in his time. Although an invitation is necessary, any Lion can provide more information to readers wanting to know more. Larry knows the first-meeting experience is inviting and welcoming, and he’d love to see the local club grow.
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve Lions Clubs International as a member of the Fayetteville Lions Club for 50 years, come October,” he said. GN