"I was a lion member for several years, but this little five year old girl opened my eyes, said Bill Teague, founder of the barbecue. "You have to see a miracle and the magic in the miracle, then you want to go to work, promote and raise some money. Well, I saw this through this little girl."
The little girl went in and out of Teagues grocery story everyday with a family member, who helped her find her items. Guy Beard was the president of the Lions Club at the time, and the little girl was brought to his attention.
Beard and John Hurd, the sight-chairman 40 years ago, decided to inquire with the small childs family to see if the Lions could help with her blindness. The Lions Club has a mission of providing vision to children through taking care of eye screenings, glasses and other treatments.
According to Teague, after speaking to the family, the girl was taken to the hospital in Memphis to see if there was any way the club could help.
The next week, he [Beard] came back to the meeting and said the little girl had her surgery, and he would let us know how it went when her bandages came off, he said. The third week, he said the surgery was successful and she had perfect eyesight.
Teague added the fourth week after the surgery, Beard came to the Lions Club meeting with a handwritten letter from the doctor that performed the surgery on the child.
He took his own time to write us a letter to tell us he was so proud to be a part of that little girls miracle, he said. I seen her every week for most of her little life, because she would come in our little grocery store. She came in my store weeks after the surgery, and she could pick out her own candy with nobody to lead her or help her. Seeing that just did something to me that I would never forget. Thats when I started putting this project together.
It was 2 years after the girls surgery that the Lions Club agreed to hold the annual barbecue as a fundraiser to support the blind and visually handicapped. Teague and his wife, Mary, have cooked prepared and cooked the barbecue every year. He added his wife has been a sole contributor with time, effort and dedication to the fundraiser.
This year, the annual barbecue is going to be held in honor of Teague for all of the work he and his wife have put forth over the years to make the Lions largest fundraiser of the year a success.
The 37th Annual Lions Club Barbecue will be held from noon until 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2. All proceeds will go to the blind and visually handicapped for eyeglasses, eye surgery and job training.