UGANDA CURBS RIVER BLINDNESS Uganda has eliminated river blindness as a threat for half a million people in three regions. The disease is endemic in 18 regions in Uganda. Led by the Ugandan government, the health effort has been supported by LCIF, The Carter Center, Merck & Co. and others. Uganda has set 2020 as its goal for nationwide elimination of river blindness, officially known as onchocerciasis. SightFirst has partnered since 1999 with The Carter Center to end river blindness in Africa and Latin America. LIONS SAVE MISSION TRIP Even before it officially opened, thieves broke in and stole six laptops in February from a Lions eyeglass recycling center in Moody, Alabama. The robbery imperiled District 34’s upcoming mission to Mexico since the computers contained crucial prescription information on thousands of eyeglasses. But Lions lent their own computers and found a thumb drive with prescription data on 2,000 of the 7,000 eyeglasses. The mission was expected to distribute, as usual, from 2,700 to 3,500 eyeglasses. “I talked to them [Lions in Mexico on the mission], and everything is going well,” said Past Council Chairperson Vernon Barker, who oversees the recycling center. TORNADO VICTIMS HELPED BY T-SHIRT A tornado tore apart tiny Pekin in southern Indiana in early March. The storm killed five members of one family and damaged or destroyed nearly 160 homes, churches and businesses in the town of 1,400. Based in Pekin, the East Washington Lions Club has sold more than 1,000 T-shirts at $15 apiece to help those affected. The shirt reads: “Pekin, Indiana … A small town with a big heart.” The Ordinary Store in Pekin is providing the shirts to the club at cost. Information on the shirts is available at tshirtsforpekin.org. PANCAKES APLENTY IN LUBBOCK The Lubbock Lions Club in Texas cooked a few pancakes at its 60th annual pancake festival in February: the menu included 57,600 sausage links, 6,000 pounds of pancake mix, 18,200 orange juice containers, 21,000 milk cartons, 36,000 ounces of pancake syrup and 16,416 ounces of margarine. Oh, don’t forget about the 6,840 bubble gum pieces. The club fed 16,469 people and raised $88,818. The 1,069 volunteers included Lions, Boy Scouts, fraternity and sorority members from Texas Tech University and members of church and school groups. In 2009, Lubbock Lions set a world record by cooking 66,459 pancakes, more than doubling the previous record held by a Kiwanis club. ‘MOON TREE’ GETS ITS DUE The 35-foot sycamore in Coudersport, Pennsylvania, is known as the “moon tree.” In 1971 Apollo 14 astronauts had taken seeds to the moon to see how weightlessness affects growth, and Coudersport was given one of the seeds five years later as part of the Bicentennial. The unmarked tree, located behind the Coudersport Area Recreation Park, had languished in obscurity until Lion Lou Karija, Public Works director, learned of its significance. A year ago on Arbor Day the Coudersport Lions Club purchased a plaque and co-sponsored a dedication ceremony. NASA is expected to re-examine the moon trees with new technology. BY THE NUMBERS 302 “Leapers” (born on Feb. 29) who celebrated their birthday at the Worldwide Leap Year Festival in Anthony, Texas, thanks to the Anthony Lions Club across the border in New Mexico. Lions agreed to sponsor the party when the cash-strapped city of Anthony opted out. 87 Height in inches of the granite and basalt memorial to be erected for the 87 airmen killed in a crash on the way home for Christmas from Larson Air Force Base (since renamed) in Washington. Spearheaded by the Moses Lake Lions, the memorial will be 52 inches wide (the crash occurred in 1952). 3,200 Dog licenses issued last year in Salem, Virginia, population 25,000, and the site of a new, two-acre dog park partly supported by Salem Lions. 73 Age of visually impaired, first-time golfer Sally Lynes, who completed all 18 holes in a fundraising tournament put on by the Beaumont and Calimesa Breakfast Lions in California. 7 Men who donned dresses competing for the crown of Miss-ter Lion of the Year in a Seneca Lions Club’s fundraiser in South Carolina. 95 U.S. Army soldiers from Ft. Drum, New York, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan who received birthday gift boxes made possible by the Boston Host Lions Club and a donation from Lion Bob Ryall’s wife, Jeanne Cameron. 80 Pounds of spaghetti cooked in a fundraiser for employees of Giovanni’s, a landmark restaurant in California destroyed by fire. Meadow Vista Area, Colfax and Auburn 49er Lions made the dinner, which raised $27,000. 179,001 Value in dollars of coupons from Sunday newspapers collected in nine months by Brookline Lions in New Hampshire and shipped to U.S. military families in Germany. 21 YEARS AGO IN THE LION MAY 1991 Then-Senator Al Gore of Tennessee views the winners of the 1990 International Peace Poster Contest displayed at the Russell Senate Office Building. “Truly moved” by the posters he saw in Nashville, Gore sponsored the exhibit in Washington. ONE OF US Jim Schiebel’s enthusiasm for Lions is contagious—so much so that he’s sponsored 131 new members over his 43 years as a Hilton, New York, Lion. A retired middle school science teacher, he modestly accepted an award in recognition of his sponsorships at the 2011 International Convention, but he has plenty to be proud of. Schiebel has held just about every Lions’ leadership position. His biggest hobby is even Lions-related: Schiebel has been an avid Lions’ pin collector and trader for more than three decades. He doesn’t have an accurate count of the number of pins he has, but estimates them in the tens of thousands. DO YOU HAVE A SECRET TO YOUR SPONSORSHIP SUCCESS? You just need to ask. I’ll extend invitations to club dinner meetings to new people I meet. I stress the miracles that Lions perform. I developed role-play scripts for clubs in my district on how to approach (and how not to approach) prospective members. Sponsoring isn’t hard when you believe in the product and ask. And mentoring is important—I was very fortunate to have a great mentor and believe that everyone should have one. DOES ANYONE EVER TURN YOU DOWN? Yes. I’ve invited some people to join the Lions several times over a few years. You never know when they may be ready to get involved. I also realize that not everyone joins for life, so I ask if they can join for a few years. HOW DID YOU GET STARTED COLLECTING PINS? At a state convention in the late 1970s, a few Lions were talking about their pins, and it looked like fun so I joined in. Since then my wife, Donna, and I have attended 22 USA/Canada Lions Leadership Forums and 27 international conventions, and we’ve had opportunities to trade pins at most of the events. We’ve also enjoyed attending pin swap events around the country. WHERE DO YOU KEEP THEM ALL? We purchased a few acres behind our house and had a 42-by-60-foot barn constructed for our pins and other Lions collectables. There are walls of glass frames displaying all of the pins, organized by country, U.S. state and different themes. I also display Lions items like medallions, belt buckles, shirts, vests and hats. HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR NON-LIONS TIME? When I retired from teaching 11 years ago, I joined the local volunteer fire department; I’m currently a life member and lieutenant. I enjoy gardening and we grow apples, peaches, pears, cherries and English walnuts in our yard. Basically, my wife and I enjoy life! OVERHEARD “God gave me a heart for service.” –Penny Smith, a volunteer with an adult literacy group and chairperson of the sight and hearing committee of the McMinnville Lions Club in Oregon. From the News-Register. “When someone in Oden says they’re going clubbin’ they’re coming here.” –Chris Miller of the 43-member Oden Lions Club in Indiana on the ubiquity of Lions’ projects in the town of 1,400. From wthitv.com. “There’s really no strategy.” –Cole Christianson of the Swamp Donkeys, a team in the Big Lake Lions Club Mud Volleyball Tournament in Alaska. From the Frontiersman. ON THE WEB Find a digital version of LION Magazine on LCI’s website each month. The online LION allows you to click on links within articles, share the magazine on social networks and print magazine content easily. While you’re there, find past issues, listen to an audio version of the publication and find out how to get your club covered in the magazine. Visit www.lionsclubs. org and search for “LION Magazine.” CLUB OF THE MONTH SANFORD LIONS CLUB, NORTH CAROLINA YEAR FOUNDED: 1935 MEMBERSHIP AND MEETINGS: The 107 Sanford Lions meet weekly at the Lions’ Den at the Sanford Lions Fairgrounds, where members enjoy a home-cooked meal prepared by Lions. Each meeting closes with either a roar and saying “We Serve” or singing “Smile Awhile.” A FUN FUNDRAISER: Since 1938, the Lions’ central project and fundraiser has been the Lee Regional Fair, the region’s largest agricultural fair. The event takes place on the club’s 42-acre fairgrounds and welcomes more than 30,000 visitors each year. Activities include an ice cream “churn-off,” bird and animal exhibits, a battle of the bands, tractor and truck driving competitions, a “diaper derby” (where the first baby to crawl across the finish line wins) and an antique farm machinery display. TOP-NOTCH CITIZENS: The Lions were surprised and honored to be the first civic organization to receive the area’s Citizen of the Year award in 2011, presented by the local newspaper. ON A MISSION FOR VISION: Lions hit the streets twice a year with the Lions Vision Van, providing vision screenings and referrals for hundreds of people in need. They have also conducted vision screenings for thousands of schoolchildren. Sanford Lions collect and process more than 2,000 pairs of eyeglasses each year and work with the medical community to distribute them. LAND THAT MULTITASKS: When the Lions’ fairgrounds and facilities are not busy with the fair, the property is put to good use. The grounds are offered free-of-charge for purposes such as the youth soccer league and Relay for Life for cancer. If disaster strikes, the fairgrounds are transformed into an emergency services staging area. WHY SERVE? “I’m a Lion because we help make a difference in people’s lives. We enjoy great fellowship with others who want to make Lee County a better place to live and work while giving back to our community.” –Lion Phil Bradley
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