Globe Trotter: Sid Scruggs Next In 'Lion' for
As second vice-president of Lions International, Sid Scruggs will spend the next year traveling around the world promoting the work of organization.
Scruggs, a member and former president of the Vass Lions Club, was elected second vice president on June 27 during the 91st convention of the International Association of Lions Clubs in Bangkok, Thailand.
"It was a great day for Lions in North Carolina," says Scruggs, who lives in Woodlake Country Club.
His election places Scruggs in line to become the Lions International president in 2010. That will make him the third North Carolinian to head the international service organization and the 13th to serve as an international director.
Election to second vice president is the final contested election in the process toward election of an international president. On an unofficial basis, the second vice-presidency is rotated between the United States and an international Lion, and the only serious opposition to Scruggs' candidacy was in this country.
However, by the time he reached Thailand, the opposition from a Lion in India dissolved before the convention opened.
In Bangkok, the Indian candidate called Scruggs to advise that he had some 1,700 delegate votes pledged to support the North Carolinian. The two Lions had known each other from previous club work.
"I guess you could call it an unchallenged election," Scruggs says.
After the convention ended, Scruggs and his wife, Judy, remained in Bangkok a few days to see the sights. They then traveled to Calcutta, India, where they inspected a school and a hospital sponsored by Lions Clubs and he filled several speaking engagements.
From Calcutta, they went to Mumbai (Bombay) to dedicate a new road built by Lions Clubs and to carry out miscellaneous duties, such as installing new officers and new members.
Their more than three weeks in Asia hints at the schedule to be followed in the coming year. It is estimated that Scruggs will travel about 200 days during the year, visiting clubs around the world, helping to plan club programs and develop initiatives and promoting Lions education and charitable endeavors.
When he becomes president of Lions International, Scruggs can expect to devote about 300 days to such duties.
His next official duty will be a visit to Oakbrook, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, headquarters of Lions International. He will meet with the 42-member Global Membership Team to work on strategies for building membership in Lions Clubs.
In August, he will return to Chicago for a meeting with executive officers and to engage in long-range planning. He will also attend a Lions Quest meeting to discuss educational measures.
Lacy Presnell has made arrangements to present Scruggs with a flag that has flown above the state capitol in Raleigh. The presentation will be made in Oakbrook, and Scruggs will keep the flag for his personal office. Presnell, an attorney active in state government and politics, was a researcher for the late Sen. Sam Ervin and the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (Watergate Committee). A Lion, he is a former president of the N.C. Society to Prevent Blindness.
Lions International claims almost 1.4 million members in more than 200 countries around the world. It is the largest service organization in the world, according to the club Web site. The official language is English, but Scruggs says translators are on hand at many meetings to assist if some Lions officials are not proficient in English.
The service organization, long known for its outreach to the visually impaired, also conducts programs benefiting young people, education, health, the environment, responds to natural disasters and provides a broad range of civic and social services around the world.
A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Scruggs is a retired Navy pilot who was deployed to Southeast Asia and Vietnam for two tours aboard a naval aircraft carrier. He later served as an instructor at the Advanced Jet Training Command in Beeville, Tex.
Retiring as a lieutenant commander, he went to work for American Airlines as a pilot and eventually as flight standards superintendent.
Scruggs says he was involved in Rotary in earlier years but became interested in Lions Clubs upon retirement to Woodlake Country Club. With encouragement from the late Phil DeLozier, he joined the Vass Lions Club in 1992.
"I've been extremely active since then," Scruggs says.
Up the Ladder
A former Vass club president, Scruggs was Lions district governor in 1995-1996 and worked his way up the Lions ladder to service on the International Board of Directors, one of the requirements for election to the presidency.
Scruggs has also been active in his home club and in North Carolina. Gov. Mike Easley appointed him chairman of the Governor Morehead School for the Blind, and he serves on the Board of Directors for the Raleigh Industries for the Blind. He is also active in the First Baptist Church of Southern Pines.
He remains active in the Vass Lions Club, which sponsors such things as golf tournaments, raffles and pancake suppers to raise funds for Lions programs.
Among his honors is the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian award presented by the governor of North Carolina. The long list of awards includes Ambassador of Good Will and International President's Award, Governor of Excellence Award and Lion of the Year.
World University recently conferred an honorary doctorate upon Scruggs.
On most of his travels in the coming year, Scruggs will be accompanied by wife, Judy, also a member of the Vass Lions Club and a Progressive Melvin Jones Fellow. A bench is dedicated in her honor at Camp Dogwood. Her husband is a former director of the foundation that supports the Lions camp.
They have four children and 15 grandchildren, who will be eyeing the map in coming years to keep tabs on their illustrious globe-trotting favorite Lion.
Scruggs has a Web site, www.sidscruggs.com, that tells about his life and work and Lionism. Among the numerous photographs is a picture of Scruggs enjoying a kiss from Tau-Pru, a nine-month-old Lion cub at Zoo Thailand. The cub is part of an exhibit focusing on conservation work of Lions International.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at 947-4962 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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