2010-2011 International President
Taking Lions to New Heights
His club in North Carolina adopted families in need, so Sid L. Scruggs III and another Lion walked through the woods to a rundown trailer. The mother had terminal cancer. When the Lions dropped off a box of food, the mother wanted to talk. “I have two small children and I can’t do much for them. How will they remember me?” recalled Scruggs. Scruggs flew planes for a living. But he is a husband, a father and a Lion. So he gently assured her. “They’ll remember you loved them and cared for them,” he told her.
Scruggs knows those kinds of experiences will define his year as our leader. He’s given back as a community leader and a Lion and he wants Lions everywhere to rededicate themselves to hands-on service.
One of Scruggs’ favorite Lions activities is the three-day Visually Impaired Person (VIP) Fishing Tournament in North Carolina. More than 500 people participate. Scruggs enjoys baiting hooks, seeing familiar faces and talking with the participants. He doesn’t stand by or stand back; he jumps right in.
Driven to Succeed
Scruggs has a drive to excel. He knows where it came from: His sports-filled childhood and a parent who encouraged him. His father worked for the Chattanooga Times newspaper. He also played the piano, wrote music and championed the underdog. His mother “was very competitive. She loved to win,” says Scruggs. “She never cut me any slack.”
Neither did his coaches. In a track meet, his coach, Buddy Gedrun, walked away when Scruggs’ broad jump was poor. “I am not watching if you are not putting your best effort in every jump,” he explained. On the next jump “I literally jumped out of the pit and set a record,” he says. But the importance of that day paled in comparison to a defeat on the wrestling mat. Scruggs was ahead but relaxed and lost with one second to go. “I quit with victory one second away. That one defeat has driven me all my life,” he says.
Scruggs excelled in the classroom and was accepted to the Naval Academy. After graduating, he entered the Naval Aviation program at Pensacola, Florida, and received his “Wings of Gold” in 1961. He was assigned to an aircraft squadron aboard an aircraft carrier and made cruises in the Pacific Ocean. He was also an Admiral’s Aide. While serving as a flight instructor in the Advanced Jet Training Command he left the Navy to take a pilot’s job with American Airlines.
Scruggs met Judy the night he bought his first car. While at the Naval Academy, one of Scruggs’ best friends set up a blind date for him. That evening Scruggs made a wrong turn on a one-way street. Two police officers “invited” him to the police station. Scruggs called Judy to say he was at a police station and be would be a little late. When he arrived, she sent her roommate to check him out. Her roommate gave him a “thumbs up” and the date was on. “He’s a very caring individual,” says Judy. “I saw that early on even before we were married.”
The two were married in the Naval Academy Chapel. While Sid was in the Navy, they had three children, Cyndi, Debbie, and S. Lee, IV. Their fourth child, Kevin, was born later. The kids were their focal point in their family life. Scruggs took an active interest in his children’s education – even helping to found one school and run another. Sid and Judy also volunteered with various youth activities.
Scruggs joined the Vass Lions in 1992. The club had 18 members and a dozen active members. Scruggs volunteered to be membership chair. “We don’t need any more new members,” his sponsor told him. Scruggs found them anyway.
The club expanded and became more active in the community. Scruggs helped start a Leo club and his club became more involved with the local schools. Membership grew to more than 65. Scruggs helped energize and transform his club. He also helped bring in women members and form specialty clubs, such as the Raleigh Elite Lions Club, composed of people with vision impairments and employed at the Raleigh Clinic for the Blind, where Scruggs serves on the