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The Idle American
Loudest Roar of All
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 • Posted June 29, 2011

Origin of the proverb—“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”—dates back to 1659. It might have been worded differently had Lions Clubs had been around back then.The Lions, largest of all service clubs, didn’t show up until 258 years later.Since their founding in 1917, however, Lions have worked for the betterment of humankind. But, not without “fun moments,” of course. Their meetings—with commitment to service as a backdrop—are “fun” events. Lions often “let their hair down” all the way to meltdowns of merriment and laughter. “Dull moments” are held at bay….* * * * *A wonderful example is the recent Texas State Convention in Beaumont. Planned and executed by Lions in the “Golden Triangle,” the activities were headed by Stump Weatherford of Orange. They carried out the “i-dotting and t-crossing” for the four-day event. Fingers and toes are too few to number the activities.The Lions arose early and stayed up late, repeatedly urged to “sleep faster.”Three international past presidents attended, and two of them—Ebb Grindstaff of Ballinger, TX, and Brian Stevenson from Calgary, Alberta, Canada—might challenge the “hoopla” about the meticulous planning….* * * * *Such dignitaries are typically beneficiaries of much “bowing and scraping.” Not so this time.Ebb and Brian partnered to win the convention golf tournament, always adding the “fair and square” assurance at the end of each re-telling. They joked about having to find their own transportation from the golf course.Their spiel: “We had to hail down a pick-up truck to get back to the hotel.” Numerous witnesses saw them nimbly climb down from the truck bed after the hair-blowing ride….* * * * *A “no-show” at the Lions Foundation breakfast created the most “buzz.” Lubbock’s Marshall Cooper, Chief Operating Officer of the Texas Lions Foundation, made several awards, including one—in absentia—to David W. Hearn for 65-year membership in the Beaumont Founders Lions Club.Hearn, a 102-year-old known for “keeping commitments,” was scheduled to attend an annual meeting on family business interests in New Orleans, so he was in “commitment keeping” mode.Beaumont area Lions spoke in respectful tones of the man who is more than a corner post in life’s fence row. Hearn’s accomplishments suggest that he’s a giant sequoia, towering above all the rest in the forest….* * * * *If the Lions—or all service clubs for that matter—decided to hold up a life for all the rest to model, it might well be his. For many decades, he led club singing, read the news and upon a member’s death, sang all verses of “Taps.” His record of public service, generosity, patriotism and leadership cuts across the spectrum of life’s worthwhile causes. In many organizations, he was “first president,” including the American Cancer Society. Other service was on the school board, and the war bond sales he spearheaded during World War II led the state and nation in per capita participation.He remains a stalwart at First United Methodist Church, where he has served in numerous leadership capacities. Hearn dons suits and ties most Sundays, and someone from the church brings a limo to take him to services….* * * * *Hearn’s the stuff legends are made of at Lincoln National Life, where he served for some half-century. He continues to impress with his sharp mind, keen wit and dapper appearance.His hearing, though, is failing. During our phone conversation, he was able to hear just a “smidgen.” He perked up greatly when I said “Lions.”With bits and pieces of information from various individuals, I was able to gain numerous vignettes from his life. When I’m in Beaumont again, I’ll look him up. A proud man, on his “up” days, he’s in his “Sunday clothes,” moving about, albeit with the aid of a walker recently….* * * * *I’m glad that he got into Lionism, and that Lionism got into him. His high standard of service has been cited by two Beaumont mayors, both of whom decreed “David W. Hearn Days,” once on his 81st birthday and another almost three years ago, when he hit the century mark. Who better represents Lions’ motto: “We Serve”?This day, I think of darkest Africa. It is morning, and a fleet-footed gazelle awakens, realizing that if it doesn’t outrun the fastest lion, it will be eaten. Only a few yards away, a lion awakens, knowing that if it doesn’t outrun the slowest gazelle, it will starve. It is a given that both the gazelle and the lion will start the day running.I have no doubt but that David W. Hearn’s days, until the ones here lately, began the same way. And I salute him….* * * * *

Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Metroplex. Inquiries and comments may be sent to newbury@speakerdoc.com. Call: 817-447-3872. Web site: www.speakerdoc.com.

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