“Our community was small then,” the now 87-year-old Woodstock resident said. “Everybody was joining so I decided to join too.”
Rainey was one of many area residents who banded together to form the Woodstock Lions Club.
Now he is the group’s only active charter member.
“I’m surprised I’ve stayed in it this long,” Rainey said. “A lot of things have changed over the years but our basic principle hasn’t changed.”
This year marks 50 years of community service for the Woodstock club. The club is a branch of Lions International.
The Lions Club’s main initiative is helping people preserve their sight and helping individuals who have vision impairments.
The club travels to Woodstock area schools and festivals providing free vision tests.
For those who can afford eye care, the club provides funding for doctor visits and eyeglasses.
The group also collects used glasses to distribute to those who can’t afford a new pair.
“God only knows how many pairs of glasses we’ve bought and distributed over the years,” said 45 year Woodstock Lions Club member Homer Hughes.
The Woodstock club also makes regular donations to the Woodstock Library and the Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation.
The foundation helps needy individuals across the state pay for needed eye surgery.
The club funds its initiatives by organizing several fundraisers throughout the year. All raised funds go to the club’s mission.
This weekend the club will celebrate its golden anniversary with a banquet at The Magnolia Thomas Restaurant in downtown Woodstock.
As for the future of the Woodstock Lions Club, the group is trying to generate more members.
Membership has falling off for the club; the group now has 35 members.
“The more people we have in the club the more people we can serve,” said Ron Crowe, the current president of the Woodstock Lions Club. “The key is to get our members to ask their family and friends to join. You are going to get a lot of nos but you might get some yeses.”
The club is organizing a job fair to be held at the Woodstock campus of Chattahoochee Technical College where they also hope to scout potential members.
The club also encourages people interesting in the club to attend their regular meeting. The Woodstock Lions Club meets the second and fourth Tuesday each month at 7 p.m. in the New Victoria Baptist Church in Woodstock.