Jimmy Carter 2016-12-28 05:17:43
I CHOSE “SEARCH FOR PEACE” AS THE THEME OF MY YEAR AS 18 C DISTRICT GOVERNOR IN GEORGIA IN 1968-69. IT BECAME A THEME OF MY CAREER AS A PUBLIC SERVANT AND AS THE FOUNDER AND LEADER OF THE CARTER CENTER. MY EXPERIENCES AS A LION FOR MORE THAN 60 YEARS HELPED SHAPE MY LIFE. I WITNESSED FIRSTHAND OUR HUMANITARIAN CONTRIBUTIONS TO COMMUNITIES IN GEORGIA AND THE POWER OF LIONS WORLDWIDE. My father was a charter member of the Plains Lions Club. When I resigned from the Navy in 1953, I became a member myself the first week I was home. I later became Tailtwister, bulletin editor and president of our club from 1957-58. During my term as president, our club built and began operating a community swimming pool for Plains. Our club also supported blindness prevention projects through the Georgia Lighthouse Foundation and in Honduras. Being a Lion gave me a way to engage in public service. It helped me expand my horizons and contributed to my success in both business and politics. Key lessons I learned as a Lions leader helped form my career as a politician and peacemaker. The Lions’ commitment to service taught me about caring for others. I served in many roles as a Lion: zone chairman, district governor and then chairman of the Council of Governors in Georgia. As a result of my visible involvement with the Lions, I was well known in the 208 clubs throughout the state during my second campaign for Georgia governor in 1970. During my presidential campaign in 1976, my civic involvement as a Lion contributed to my identity as a community leader. As president, I had the opportunity to meet with several Lions international presidents in the White House. Whenever I was asked to discuss civic clubs, I always used the Lions as my example. District Governor Jimmy Carter pays a visit to a Lions club in Georgia. Photo courtesy of the Jimmy Carter Library My involvement with the Lions began a wonderful new chapter in the late 1990s. After leaving the White House, Rosalynn and I founded The Carter Center in 1982 to advance human rights and alleviate suffering across the globe. The Carter Center eventually began to counter two blinding diseases, trachoma and river blindness, and in 1999 Rosalynn and I travelled to Mali with Lions International President Jim Ervin of Georgia to formally launch our trachoma program. Among the world’s most successful sight initiatives, the various Lions-Carter Center SightFirst programs significantly impacted the lives of millions. From 1994–2015, the partnership led to the distribution of more than187 million treatments for river blindness and over 127 million treatments for trachoma. More than 538,000 sight-saving trichiasis surgeries were performed, and nearly 3-1/2 million latrines were built. I meet regularly with the international Lions leaders. Rosalynn and I have enjoyed hosting them for visits to our home in Plains and The Carter Center in Atlanta. Just a few months ago, 2015-16 International President Jitsuhiro Yamada came to visit me in Plains with 22 other Lions leaders from around the world. As a Lion for more than 60 years, I am amazed at what Lions from all walks of life have accomplished. The service of Lions is even more important today than when the association was founded in 1917. With the accomplishments of the first 100 years as a foundation, the next 100 years of service will be life-changing for millions of our world’s citizens. Thank you, Lions.
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