Salesmanship is second nature to Al Rowe, an account executive with the Queens Chronicle.
And in his new role as president of the Laurelton Lions Club, he can make a pretty good pitch for the organization.
“Our motto is ‘We serve,’ and we are the largest volunteer service organization in the world,” he said.
Rowe, 75, is a native of Jamaica in the West Indies. Even he marveled when he realized upon reflection that he has been an active member of the Lions for about 35 years.
He is serving his second stint as president of the Laurelton chapter, having last held the post in the late 1990s.
The organization consists of business and community leaders who organize to pool their talents and contacts for community projects both local and worldwide.
Lions Club International has an estimated 1.4 million members in 184 countries across the globe.
“Lions is the only service organization recognized by the United Nations,” Rowe said. “We were the first nongovernment agency they recognized.”
Laurelton, he said, has about 30 active members, and is part of Lions International’s District 20-K1, which includes 74 chapters and more than 2,000 members in Queens and Brooklyn.
The international organization has been leading the charge to help people with lost or impaired eyesight for nearly 100 years. Efforts range from raising millions for treatment and medical research to its prominent display boxes encouraging people to donate their old eyeglasses for the needy.
“Pretty much anything to do with eyesight,” Rowe said.
He is most proud of and most hopeful for the group’s Leo Clubs, which are aimed at youths ages 8 to 20 who have an interest in the Lions’ missions.
“It is very rewarding,” Rowe said. “We have a training-school-in-a-box program where we try to educate children, train kids so they can become better citizens, to stay off the streets.”
He said the Leo Clubs have programs of their own fully independent of the Lions.
“They train children to become leaders, people who are proficient in various aspects of social work and education.”
A Lions youth program that Rowe supports fervently is the annual peace poster contest sponsored through the United Nations.