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Lions Clubs International president praises Elburn club

ELBURN – The man who heads Lions Clubs International said members around the world are familiar with the feats of Elburn’s club.

Joe Preston, the organization’s international president, spoke at an event over the weekend at the Elburn Lions Club, a group that is celebrating its 85th anniversary.

A day before his visit, Preston, in a phone interview, praised the Elburn club, which has 184 members, has one of the largest in North America and one of the top 70 in size among more than 46,000 clubs in the world.

“They have so many projects,” Preston said. “They are always doing something.”

Preston’s visit happened only days before the Elburn Lions Club’s signature event, Elburn Days, which kicks off Friday.

Chris Halsey, a longtime member of the Elburn Lions Club and the governor of Illinois District 1-J, said it was impressive that Elburn not only welcomed Preston for a visit, but also Dr. Jitsuhiro Yamada, the first international vice president, and Robert Corlew, the second international vice president.

“It was quite an honor for us,” Halsey said.

Preston, 61, who is from Dewey, Arizona, said he was in town to recognize the key accomplishments of the Elburn club and “thank them for what they are doing.” Also, he said it was important for the club to continue to be strong and stay active and focused on the community.

He said even a large and vibrant club can lose its focus.

“This club seems to do a really good job,” Preston said.

He said the Elburn Lions Club is admired for the way it connects with the community and partners with other organizations. He talked of vision screenings that are done, as well as how the club works with youths in the Elburn Leos Club.

Preston said he had been a member of the Lions Club for 40 years, and he said he helped start the local chapter of his club 15 years ago. He said being a Lions Club member is special and that the act of putting on the club’s pin might not accomplish anything on its own, but “it gives you the opportunity to be involved.”

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