Lions Club meeting

The Marshall Lions Club presented Mission Marshall, represented by director Misty Scott, with a donation of $5,000 for the Read to Ride program at the Club’s recent meeting.

Special to the News Messenger

The Marshall Lions Club met Tuesday, June 4, at the Panola-Harrison meeting room, 410 E. Houston. A lunch of deep-fried catfish was served by Betsy and Catfish Express Catering.

President James Thompson called the meeting to order and welcomed Lions with a reminder to turn off or silence cellphones. Lion James asked Lion Kenneth Poindexter to open the meeting with prayer, followed the Pledges of Allegiance to the US and Texas flags led by Lion Bob Swanson.

Two verses of “Little Brown Church” and “America, the Beautiful” were sung with gusto, led by song leader Lion Dudley Swofford and accompanied by pianist Arnola Zabokrtsky.

Lion James announced that Zabokrtsky told him that she would be retiring at the end of the month ... she will truly be missed.

Lion Tamer Patrick Owens welcomed Lions to the meeting along with guest Donna Lane, guest of Lion Stephen Lane. He asked Lion Jimmie Van Norden to read another thought: “You can’t be a good egg forever; you’ll either rot or hatch!”

Lion Patrick reported that there were 21 in the Den today. He also read the Thought for the Day: “Kindness is the oil that takes the friction out of life!”

Tail Twister Chris Horsley levied some fines and collected money from almost everyone. He told a joke that had everyone laughing. He bragged that the Astros won last night, even with five starters on the disabled list.

Lion Chris announced that Lions Travis Keeney and P.A. Almquist celebrate their birthdays.

Lion Kent and Mary Beth Reeves will celebrate their anniversary June 9 and Lion Bob and Laura King celebrated their anniversary on June 6. He appointed Lion Robert Wood to lead the Club in singing our “Happy Song” to them.

President Thompson read the slate of officers for the year 2019-20 — president Jimmie Van Norden; first vice president Robert Wood; second vice president Stacy Bowen; Lion Tamer Patrick Owens; Tail Twister Chris Horsley; secretary Brenda Wood; treasurer Alan Grantham; 2-year directors, Lion Bob Swanson and Lion Liz Whipkey; 1-year directors, Lion Paul Martin, Lion Dare Westmoreland and Lion Lindsey Spiller; and immediate past president James Thompson.

These names will be read again next week and installation will be June 25.

President Thompson called on Lion Jimmie Van Norden to introduce the speaker, Misty Scott, Director of Mission Marshall.

Scott began by thanking Marshall Lions for being a “faithful supporter of Read to Ride since its inception.” She advised that some say, “Will it work?” The answer is a resounding, definite “yes!”

The statistics are compelling — David Crockett, Price T. Young, Sam Houston and William B. Travis campuses have all shown increases in the reading levels.

The program is available to third-graders who are able to show one grade level growth. Most were at 2.3 before and have risen to 3.1, 3.4 and 3.8 in the three years. The prize — a brand new bicycle and helmet.

Scott also explained that it has been proven that if a child does not read at level in the third-grade, they will probably not stay in school long enough to graduate high school.

The program has proven popular with these third-graders, with second-graders standing in the wings. Scott related that during the bike presentations, second-grade students are invited to see what they will be trying for next year. She said it’s quite a motivator. A side benefit is that the STAAR test levels are up, too.

Funding for the Read to Ride program comes from various sources in the community, Scott explained. She said civic clubs, such as Lions Club, churches and private and corporate donations keep them going.

Christus Good Shepherd sponsors the helmets at a low cost of $6 per child. Scott praised Walmart as a good partner, and said all the bikes are assembled by them.

One Lion suggested that the kids who are in the program could ride in the Wonderland of Lights Christmas Parade. She also informed the club that Waskom has a Read to Ride program successfully in place also.

Scott said Mission Marshall has other programs that need volunteers. They have a mentor program where an adult reads with second-graders for one half hour a week for eight weeks. There is a spring and fall session.

The other program is “Jobs for Life,” where volunteers work with people to practice interviews and show how to dress for a job interview.

Volunteers can contact Mission Marshall at 903-472-4944 or go by the facility at 2109 South Marshall. The website is

Scott said other needs include grocery bags, magazines, old Sunday school materials as well as prayers!

Scott answered many questions from Lions and President Thompson thanked her for a very interesting and informative program, presenting her with a Lions writing pen. Lion James closed the meeting with prayer and adjourned the meeting.