Long-serving Lions have perfect records

January 11, 2011|By ANDREW SCHOTZ |
  • Joe Scott, left, 96, has been a member of the Williamsport Lions Club for 62 years and Pat Patterson, 80, has been in the club for 53 years.
Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

WILLIAMSPORT — With pride, Joe Scott and Pat Patterson have been perfect Williamsport Lions for nearly 115 years combined.

According to club records, Scott joined in January 1949 and Patterson signed up in October 1957.

"Perfect" means they've been to every club meeting in all of those decades — or they made up for missed meetings by attending other activities.

"After so many years, you decide to keep going," said Patterson, 80.

Scott joked that it's his best remaining social circle.

"When you get 96 years old," he said, "you don't have many friends left."

Lions Club International has about 45,000 local clubs and 1.35 million members, according to the organization's website.

Lions Club chapters support and raise money for charitable causes.

Patterson said the Williamsport club has had pancake breakfasts, sold brooms and had food stands at community events. Last week, the club had its annual screening to check the eyesight of young children.

Patterson said the good deeds and camaraderie of the club are magnetic.

"You get involved and it's automatic," he said.

Patterson grew up in Winchester, Va. He was with the U.S. Navy in Norfolk, Va., for four years.

He said he and his wife moved to Williamsport so she could manage her stepfather's drugstore, called Staff's Cutrate.

Patterson said he expected to work at Fairchild, but in 1953, his landlord suggested getting a job at Washington County National Bank. Patterson rose up through the company, and retired in 1997 as president and chief executive officer.

In 1957, Patterson joined the Lions, figuring he should get involved in the community.

"Then, I became very active," he said. "Three months later, I became secretary. I held that for 13 years. I went on to be president and served on the district Cabinet."

"I enjoy it," Patterson said. "The fellowship's great and (so is) the community work we do."

Scott is from Port Republic, Va., south of Harrisonburg.

After college, he taught agriculture.

During World War II, he served with the U.S. Army Air Force. He said he was assigned to the 509th Heavy Bomber Group and worked on B-29s on the Island of Tinian, part of the Northern Marianas, east of the Philippines.

Scott said he was about 300 or 400 yards away, asleep, when "Little Boy," an atomic bomb, was loaded onto the Enola Gay, to be dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

He got home to the United States after 3 1/2 years of military service during the war.

Scott returned to teaching and ended up in Washington County. He taught at Williamsport High School for 20 years, then was a principal for 10 years before retiring in 1978.

Scott said he heard about the Lions when the club helped pay for one of his students to go to a Future Farmers of America convention in Kansas City, Mo. He joined the Lions Club and became president two years later.

"It was a way to get a little more better acquainted in the county," Scott said.

Richard Nye, the current secretary of the Williamsport Lions, said Patterson and Scott have the longest stretches of service in the club and are "our best examples of great Lions."

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