Legacy Lions from Orange County Lions clubs gather for the recent Centennial Celebration in Beaumont. Clockwise from bottom left, they are Herb Beers, Derrick Bolt, Pam Honeycutt, Patrick Thibodeaux and Chris Kovach.




By Dave Rogers
For The Record

Orange insurance man Herb Beers was feeling pretty proud of his 37 years of service to Lions Clubs International.
Then he said hello to a Jefferson County Lions member he met at the District 2S-1 Centennial Celebration in Beaumont.
“He had 43 years AND perfect attendance,” Beers marveled.
It was that kind of night, and occasion.
The event a few weeks back at the downtown Beaumont Event Centre was celebrating 2017 as the 100-year anniversary of the founding of Lions Club, a service club with a worldwide reach.
Beers, a member of the Orange Noon Lions Club, is one of five top Lions named to represent Orange County this year as a Legacy Lion.
The others are Pam Honeycutt and Chris Kovach of the Orange Lions Club, Patrick Thibodeaux of the Little Cypress Lions Club and Derrick Bolt of the Vidor Lions Club.
Each of Orange County’s five Lions Clubs was allowed to pick a Legacy Lion, with each club free to decide the requirements as they saw fit.
Bridge City elected not to participate. Honeycutt and Kovach tied atop the vote-getters and the district governor said two Legacy Lions were OK.
“It was a big honor for me,” Honeycutt said. “I was very very touched.”
Thibodeaux, owner of Dixie Glass on Strickland Drive, is a 37-year Lions member like Beers.
“Our club looked at time served, who did what, what honors they had won, and came up with me,” said Thibodeaux, a three-time president of the Little Cypress Lions.
“They wanted to find somebody alive that could be there.”
Honeycutt has been in the Orange Lions for 29 years. She was only the second female member of the Orange Lions Club and the first to become club president, in 1995-96.
Kovach, who is a manager at Wells Fargo Bank in Beaumont, helps his wife run two dance studios in Orange. He has less than a decade of experience in the Lions Club.
“In our case, they got both ends of the [experience] spectrum,” Honeycutt said. “I’ve been here for 29 years; Chris for six or seven. Our club members were told to vote for the person who embodied what Lions stand for and we ended up tied.”
Honeycutt was a member of Rotary for nine years before switching to Lions Club. Thibodeaux said he was active in Jaycees before moving to Orange in 1985 and being recruited “out of my motel room.”
Kovach, immediate past president of the Orange Lions Club, said he joined in 2010 “to honor my father-in-law,” Ken Thayer, after the death of Thayer, a member of the Orange Lions Club for years.
Both Beers and Bolt have been president of their clubs three times. Bolt, director at Memorial Funeral Home of Vidor, is a charter member of the Vidor Lions Club and a Lion since 2007.
Bolt was instrumental in creating the Vidor Lions Club Fields of Freedom Veterans Park.
“I joined the Lions Club for the reputation of the club and the things they did for the community,” Beers, owner of Herb Beers Insurance, said.
Worldwide, Lions Clubs International is known for its eye care initiatives. Statewide, Texas Lions Camp in Kerrville for children with medical conditions is another key cause.
And in Orange County, the Lions Club Carnival is both a community event and major fund-raiser. Thanks to the hard work of all the county’s Lions, the two-weekend fall event has grossed more than $200,000 the past few years, all of which is used, among other things, to sponsor trips for local youth to go to Texas Lions Camp.
“We’re very involved with the children’s camp,” Honeycutt said.
Said Thibodeaux: “I’ve been to camp probably 28 out of my 32 years. They teach kids how to do activities that other kids do while taking care of their illness.”
“At the end of camp, they have an awards ceremony and those kids are so appreciative,” Honeycutt said.
“It’s a tear jerker,” Thibodeaux said.
Kovach said besides the community service activities Lions are best known for, members rarely say no. It could be pitching in after disasters such as last spring’s flooding or more routine stuff like building wheelchair ramps.
“We try to live up to the saying, ‘Where there’s a need, there’s a Lion,’” Kovach said.
It’s simple, Honeycutt said: “We serve.”