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Lions Travis Keeney and James Thompson. Keeney, who was an Osprey helicopter pilot, recently talked to the Lions Club.

The Marshall Lions Club met at Noon on Tuesday, February 4 and heard from Osprey pilot and veteran Travis Keeney.

Lion Tamer Patrick Owens welcomed all to the meeting. There were several guests today; Donna Lane, wife of Lion Stephen Lane; Alex Keith, new officer at Bancorp South and prospective new Lion, guest of Lion Alan Grantham, Ladarius Carter, guest of Heath Parker, also prospective Lion and Robert Fourd, guest of Lion Robert Wood. The count for the day in the Den is 29.

President Wood asked Lion Dudley Swofford to tell Lions about what jobs need to be covered at the Lions Horse Show to be held February 14 and 15. He said he needed help on Thursday night showing participants their stalls and helping them with anything they need. Lion Dudley said he also needs someone to cover Friday afternoon and night also. Several Lions responded that they would help.

President Wood called on Program Chair for February, Lion James Thompson to introduce the program speaker, Lion Travis Keeney. Travis was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, and was selected for the 2004 graduating class of Annapolis Naval Academy. He was selected for a Fleet Cruise in 2001, and remarked that he snapped a picture of the Twin Towers in New York Harbor and one month later, they were gone! Travis attended officer training in Pensacola, Florida and San Diego, California for two years. He was deployed to Iraq from North Carolina.

Travis trained to fly the “Osprey” developed and manufactured by Bell Helicopter and Boeing. Its first flight was March 19, 1989. It is a tiltrotor aircraft that has the speed and range of a plane, but the agility of a helicopter. He explained that the Osprey is in demand by many countries, and the Army and Air Force are starting to fly the Osprey because of its versatility. Travis said it was a good aircraft with an effective engine, despite its rocky start.

There were several crashes before the developers fixed all problems.

Keeney related he flew a lot of humanitarian and disaster relief missions, including one of the worst typhoons to hit the Philippines. He said he still flies when time permits, and is Commander for the Commemorative Air Force, Lone Star Wing, based at the Harrison County Airport. When asked, he said his call sign in the service was “Hondo” and “Rookie”, but he said he also had one that he couldn’t repeat. This brought a chuckle from the ones who had served in the military.

Travis has been married to Jillian for five years and they have two sons, Cooper and Lane.

President Robert Wood presented Keeney with a Lions writing pen and thanked him for a very interesting program. He asked Lion P. A. Almquist to dismiss with a prayer and adjourned the meeting.