Dr. Denning Buchter was installed by Dr. Wing-Kun Tam of Hong Kong, China, International Lions Club president for 2011-12. Buchter’s wife Kay, first vice president of Whiteville Lions Club, is District 31-F cabinet secretary.
Buchter is the first Whiteville Lions Club member to serve as district governor since C.P. “Smoke” Wayne served in 1970-71, according to Clarence “Dutch” Dine, the new Lions president who checked the club’s history.
Since joining Whiteville Lions Club Buchter has served as first vice district governor, second vice district governor, zone chairperson, club president, secretary, treasurer and director.
District 31-F covers a 12-county area in southeastern North Carolina consisting of 46 clubs and approximately 1200 Lions. Lions are a worldwide organization with 1.35 million members located in 206 countries worldwide. There are 46,000 clubs in these countries.
The Buchters are parents of Dr. Cynthia Kirby of Whiteville, a son and two other daughters. Their son-in-law, Dr. Randy Kirby, is a Whiteville Lions Club member and first vice district governor. Their son Keven is a former airline pilot with American Eagle and Jet Blue but now owns an RV dealership in Wilmington. Kristen is the wife of a Baptist minister, and Kim is a recent graduate of Mesa State College in Colorado. They also have seven grandchildren, including the Kirbys’ three children.
Dr. Buchter holds a PhD in education administration and worked in education most of his adult life, including serving as headmaster at Waccamaw Academy in Whiteville and teaching part time at UNC Wilmington. He taught high school, was a school principal and a central office administrator.
Buchter’s second career was in the Army Reserves, serving two years of active duty and 28 years in the reserve program. He spent 13 months in Vietnam and received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart, along with several other awards. He retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1992.
The Buchters moved to Whiteville in 1999 from Wilmington, where she grew up. She worked for Dr. Ernie Ward as a dental hygienist for 11 years, and although she has retired, she now works one day a week for a Wilmington dentist.
The Lions motto is “We Serve” and the main focus is working with the visually impaired throughout the world. Over the years Lions have eradicated river blindness through administering 131 million doses of mectizarian, which treats river blindness.
Since 1968 Lions Clubs International has given more than $700 million for humanitarian projects, and District 31-F received $10,000 for emergency relief efforts for the victims of 2011 spring tornados in this area.
The new president said Whiteville Lions are actively involved in several projects. Major projects include providing eye screening for primary school students and high school athletes, support for Camp Dogwood, a camp for the visually impaired and blind, Boys and Girls Home at Lake Waccamaw, the Leader Dog School for the Blind, the annual VIP Fishing Tournament on the Outer Banks of North Carolina for several hundred visually impaired and blind people, the Blind Car Rally, White Cane and Sight Day, a fundraiser golf ball tournament and clinical eye research.
For more information on Lions Club visit the new website, http://www.nclf.org.