Lions Club meeting

Lion Robert Wood, left, and Lion Harold Raines, right, welcome guest speak LaJuan Gordon, center, from Habitat for Humanity.

Special to the News MEssenger

The Marshall Lions Club met Tuesday at the Panola-Harrison meeting room, 410 E. Houston. A luncheon of deep-fried catfish fillets was served by Catfish Express Catering. Vice-President Robert Wood called the meeting to order and welcomed Lions. Lion Robert asked Lion P. A. Almquist to open the meeting with prayer, followed the pledges to the U.S. and Texas flags led by Lion Travis Keeney.

“Little Brown Church and “America, the Beautiful” were sung with gusto, led by song leader Lion Dare Westmoreland, accompanied on the piano by Lion Stacy Bowen.

Acting Lion Tamer Jimmie Van Norden welcomed all to the meeting. Guests included Donna Lane, spouse of Lion Stephen Lane; Angela Parker, spouse of Lion Heath Parker; and prospective member Robert Coleman, guest of Lion Ken Poindexter. The count for the day in the Den is 25. The Thought for the Day is: “There are two theories about arguing with a woman – neither works!”

Tail Twister Chris Horsley levied several fines, one to Lion Paul Martin for being late, as usual. Donna Lane informed the club that her quilting club is taking 50 quilts to Brooks Hospital next week to give to patients. Lion Chris auctioned season tickets for the ETBU men’s and women’s basketball games. He also had a $2 bill to auction, with the winning bidder Lion Jimmie Van Norden, who said she was buying it in honor of her brother who would have had a birthday today.

He announced that Lion Bob King was celebrating his birthday this week and that Lion Alan Grantham joined Marshall Lions in November, 1989; 30 years ago. Lion Tim Young reported that November is the 244th birthday of the U. S. Marines. Lion Chris assigned Lion James Thompson to lead the club in our “Happy Song” to Lion Bob King on his birthday!

VP Wood introduced the speaker, LaJuan Gordon, Executive Director for the East Texas Habitat for Humanity, headquartered in Longview. The organization covers Harrison, Gregg and Upshur Counties. She related that she has 24 years’ experience with Habitat. She told about Mr. G. in Marshall, whose house was going downhill, literally. Habitat was able, through a program for veterans, to rehab his family home to make a comfortable home for him and his wife.

Another person helped was Gladys, a disabled widow of a Vietnam veteran, with a damaged room resulting in leaks. Through the veterans program, she was able to get a new roof, repairs to her laundry room, with openings allowing snakes to enter her home. The repair team replaced the sheetrock, insulation and exterior walls, ridding the home of mildew and ending access to snakes and other crawly things.

Gordon said that “It’s all about humanity and dignity!” There are 52 families in Harrison County who live in a Habitat home, with 112 homes built in the three county area. She said in 2019, Habitat repaired 31 homes in Marshall. She named grants from the city of Marshall and East Texas Baptist University to thank for making this possible. LaJuan stated that the Brooks family is the next home to be built, at the corner of Franklin and Locust, to begin in March, 2020.

A hand up, not a handout is the byword of Habitat according to Gordon. She related that the families chosen for a home must attend classes to qualify for the program. This consists of 60 hours of everything from budget to maintenance, and prepares the family for success rather than failure. LaJuan informed Lions that most houses built are three bedrooms, 2 baths and are very comfortable residences. She explained that the Dodd-Frank bill in Congress regulates mortgages, avoiding what happened a few years ago with the “housing bubble” when mortgages given to unqualified people were recalled and sold for enormous profit for the lending institutions.

LaJuan said the budget for the three county Habitat for Humanity is currently 1.7 million dollars and that if anyone would like to volunteer, they can contact East Texas Habitat for Humanity in Longview at 905 McCann Road, Longview, Texas, 75606, 903-236-0900, by email at info@netxhabitat.org. The website is www.netxhabitat.org. LaJuan encouraged people to become involved in this most worthwhile project.

Lion Wood thanked LaJuan for her interesting and informative program and presented her with a Lions writing pen. He asked Lion James Thompson to close with prayer and adjourned the meeting.