Lions Club Honors Community Supporters for 2023 Fair Success: Jimmie Duvall Steps Down as President after 45 Years of Service
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
It was a bittersweet night on Thursday at the Heritage Centre in Brownsville as the Lions Club hosted a dinner of gratitude on behalf of those that supported the 2023 Edmonson County Lions Club Fair, held this past September.
The fair was the most successful event the Lions Club has organized in several years, boasting a new and improved carnival that drew hundreds to the fairgrounds each night. The dinner was a token of thanks to those that bought in to what the newly appointed Fair Board Chairman, Donnie Turley, and others tried to sell. The selling worked, and those that supported the idea were honored with a dinner and personalized plaques.
"COVID really changed what the Lions Club was trying to do, and we just wanted to bring back the excitement of the fair like we used to have when I was a kid," said Turley, a 25-year member of the Lions Club. Turley, along with Corey Culbreth, the Kentucky Farm Bureau representative of the Fair Board, went seeking a new carnival company. While they knew they could find one, finding the funding to get them here would be another story.
Longtime president of the Lions Club Jimmie Duvall gave the closing remarks.
"Donnie called me and said they found a good carnival company," he said. "He said we'd have to give them $15,000 up front and half the gate. I told them, boys, 'we can't keep up what we've got with just half the gate,' but he said they could raise the money from the community.
Duvall continued, saying that most people couldn't raise $300 for something around here, much less $15K, but saw what an effort and the energy that was put forth in order to make it happen. He applauded the efforts of Turley, Culbreth, and others for their focus and determination. He also became emotional several times during his remarks about how he loved his community, county, and of course, serving on the Lions Club for 45 years, acting as president in different intervals during the period.
He spoke of how the things of old still have value but as time changes, changes have to be made. He praised the vision of the younger Lions Club members and said it was time for him to retire as president, a move that shocked everyone in the room.
Duvall received a standing ovation with handshakes and hugs upon the conclusion of the program. He also gave a heartfelt benediction.
While most everyone in attendance discussed their surprise of the announcement, they also understood Duvall's reasoning behind the move.
The Lions Club sold different levels of sponsorship for this year's fair, which resulted in 84 different sponsors at four different levels, including eight platinum level sponsors. Over $20,000 was raised in sponsorship this year.
"We're putting that money back into the county," said Turley. "We're going to support our local charities and organizations with some of this and you'll be hearing about it really soon."
Also in attendance was Bro. Jerry Patton, who gave the invocation. He has been a member of the Lions Club for 53 years. Scottie Woodcock (age 90) was also in attendance. He is the last living charter member of the Edmonson County Lions Club.