Lions Club International District Governor visits Brookhaven

Published 1:58 pm Tuesday, February 13, 2024

BROOKHAVEN — Lions Club International Brookhaven Chapter met in a private room at Poppa’s Buffett Tuesday afternoon. The club welcomed District Governor Tom Corlett to the meeting. 

Jim McKinnon, State Membership Chairman, said he was glad to have Corlett in Brookhaven to speak about the future of Lions Club International. District 1st Vice Governor Elijah Mitchell, Elijah’s wife Miriam Mitchell and daughter Juanita Mitchell from Biloxi were guests of Corlett. 

Corlett grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota and served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. His father was the occupational mayor of  Sendai, Japan for the US Army where he lived for a couple of years. 

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After serving in Vietnam, Corlett spent 28 years working in the transportation industry with Burlington Railroad, Northwest Airlines, National Airlines and Pan American Airways. He oversaw service, budget development, expense analysis and administrative areas. His next career step was working in the power industry for 13 years. 

In 2007, Corlett joined the Lions Club where he has served as club treasurer, secretary, president, lion tamer and director of the Canton Club. He is now a member of the Madison Lions Club. Last week, he visited the Lions Club in Magee. 

“My speech has been cut down considerably,” he said. “I try to emphasize service. After all, our motto is ‘We Serve.’ What constitutes service? Most think collecting food for the food pantry or feeding the homeless. It’s the little things too like the proverbial helping the little old lady cross the street.” 

Lions Club helps those who are hearing impaired or visually impaired. The club collects discarded glasses to send to people in need overseas. Additionally, the local clubs are often the first to help respond in the event of a disaster. Lions Club International Foundation helps fund those aid efforts. 

“When Russia invaded Ukraine, $1 million went to help Ukranians relocate. Several thousands of dollars went to help earthquake survivors in Turkey ,” Corlett said. “Any kind of tragedy or event like that LCIF is there to help.” 

Membership was another key point in his address to the club. Lions Cub International has a goal to reach 1.5 million members by 2027. Currently, 1.37 million people worldwide are members of the Lions Club. 

His district including Brookhaven, Wesson and McComb needs 77 net growth in members to help the Lions Club reach their 2027 goal. Altogether, the 30-S District has 747 members. Corlett quipped he can remember the number with ease because of his time working with airplanes. One of his pins features a 747 with the words “Soaring to Serve.” The average age of Lions Club members in his district is 64. 

“If the numbers go down it will be tougher to be a Lion,” Corlett said. 

Jim Hickman took to the podium to close out the meeting. 

“We appreciate you coming and talking to us,” Hickman said. “It is a real shot in the arm. It is okay, we are growing and this is what we are going to do. You are a wealth of knowledge so thank you.”