The LIONS OF HAWAII CIRCLE OF SERVICE is a project of the HAWAII LIONS DISTRICT 50. The PURPOSE is to recognize and honor those individuals who have had a significant impact on Lionism in Hawaii and to preserve the memory and record of their service.
Lion Colbert Kurokawa: The first Secretary of the Pan Pacific Lions Club, which would eventually be chartered as the Lions Club of Honolulu. Initially, Lions Clubs International withheld Chartering the club due to a clause in the LCI Constitution which limited membership in the organization to “Whites” only. The Honolulu members refused to cut all non-whites from their ranks in order to be accepted, with Lion Colbert corresponding to LCI’s request with the simple message on the club’s behalf, “We will respectfully have to decline your offer to join the Lions organization due to the current color restrictions in your constitution. Instead of eliminating members from our club to comply with your restrictions, we must ask that you either accept all of us, or none of us.” To argue the Hawaii position, Lion Colbert then personally visited dozens of Lions Clubs on the mainland, lobbying Lions he met to attend the upcoming 1926 LCI Convention in San Francisco and vote to remove the “whites only” clause. By the time of the Convention, his efforts were so successful that the 10,000 Lions delegates in San Francisco voted to unanimously remove the “whites only” clause from the Constitution, thereby opening Lionism to all races and nationalities. Because of the dedication and determination of Lion Colbert Kurokawa, the Lions Club of Honolulu was officially chartered on October 11, 1926, and Lionism quickly expanded to all nationalities throughout the world.
Lion Nolle R. Smith. Sr. The son of a white father and African American mother,Nolle R.Smith, Sr.made history to become the first Lion of African American heritage as a Charter
member of the Lions Club of Honolulu in 1926. His career began after he was refused admission to the Army’s West Point Academy due to the color of his skin. After returning home to Horse Creek, Wyoming, heenrolled in the University of Nebraska, where he earned a degree in engineering. Upon graduation in 1915, he moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, to begin his own construction company and soon became a very influential community leader and territorial legislator. Only 3 years after the Lions Club of Honolulu was Chartered, it nearly folded-up in
1929 due to political infighting, leaving Lion Nolle as one of only 10 remaining members. He made it his mission to rebuild his club by emphasizing greater service in the community, personally recruiting dozens of dedicated professionals into Lionism from all ranks of business, education, and government. Within only a few years, Lion Nolle not only rebuilt the Lions Club of Honolulu to its peak of 169 members, but helped charter several new Lions Clubs throughout the Territory of Hawaii. In 1937, within a year after the Territory had established enough clubs to be given their own District, the Hawaii Lions elected Lion Nolle R. Smith, Sr. as their leader, making history once again as he became the first African American District Governor in North America.