LIONS NEWS BRIEFS ACCLAIMED FILM HAS LIONS’ LINK The critics say “Pretty Old” is pretty terrific. The documentary about a senior beauty pageant in Massachusetts is making the rounds at film festivals; Sarah Jessica Parker is one of its executive producers. The Ms. Senior Sweetheart Beauty Pageant actually began as a Lions fundraiser. Len “Low Price” Kaplan, a merchant, started the pageant in 1978 as a fundraiser for Fall River Lions. The pageant is now a nonprofit, and Kaplan is its president. A LION AT 17 Nick Naylor, 17, has sung at the governor’s inauguration in West Virginia, at the state’s high school basketball tournament and in churches and halls statewide as part of a gospel ministry. So even at that tender age he broke another barrier–becoming one of the nation’s youngest Lions. He joined the Charleston West Lions Club in February, about a month after his mother died from an illness and two years after his father died. Technically, he is a year too young to be a Lion but the rule was waived considering his family circumstances. “When I told my mother I was joining she just laughed. ‘You’re just like your father. You want to help people,’ ” recalls Naylor, who works after school at a funeral home and plans to be a funeral director. Naylor first attended a Lions meeting as a guest of Billy Surratt, who manages a funeral home. “I love being with people and helping people. I knew Lions was the right choice for me,” says Naylor TAM RECEIVES MAJOR AWARD International President Wing-Kun Tam was honored in March in Beijing by Chinese media for his contributions to society as a Lion. Tam received his honor at the 5th annual “The World is Beautiful Because of You” festival at Beijing University. The festival is organized by China News Agency, Beijing Youth Daily, North America World Journal, Phoenix Satellite TV and other media outlets. The award noted Tam’s role in providing 5.4 million cataract surgeries through Lions’ SightFirst China Action project and in expanding Lions clubs in China. Chinese media hailed Tam as the “father of the Chinese Lions club movement.” SERVICE REPLACES SEMINARS IN VIRGINIA In lieu of a traditional district conference with seminars and sessions, Lions in northern Virginia opted to disperse into the community to do service. More than 200 Lions in yellow shirts in District 24 A recently spent a Saturday at a food bank, a shelter, an assisted living facility, a hospice, a center for the blind, a Head Start site and other venues. Lions who stayed at the conference center crocheted blankets for those who lost loved ones to sudden tragedy, recycled eyeglasses or sorted stamps to be used for therapy for wounded soldiers. Friday evening was devoted to district updates and karaoke. The service day was the idea of District Governor Dennis Kelly. “I said to my wife, ‘What idiot came up with this dumb idea?’” says Past Council Chair Bill Bartlett. “Now that I have spent four hours working in a food bank, my feet hurt, my back hurts and I’m starving. But I had a great time and I think it was sheer genius on the part of the district governor to think outside the box.” WATCH LIONS QUARTERLY In the current edition of LQ-Lions Quarterly video magazine, Lions share a unique partnership with specially trained inmates at Folsom Prison in California, support a maternal milk bank in Uruguay, champion sight and education by providing free vision screenings to children and their parents in Arizona, foster international peace and understanding through our International Peace Poster and Essay contests and provide resources for a disabled vocational and respite center in Japan. Watch LQ online at lionsclubs.org and share it through YouTube with friends. LQ can also be downloaded from iTunes. ONE OF US Rose Kamma-Sarkany, an Alberni Valley, British Columbia, Lion, is no stranger to challenges—she’s completed 10 marathons and is preparing to do her first triathlon. Those are impressive accomplishments for anyone, but Kamma-Sarkany has powered through more obstacles than most people. Born with the genetic disorder Usher’s Syndrome, she has had lifelong severe hearing impairment and her vision has deteriorated since age 16 due to retinitis pigmentosa. Never letting her impairments slow her down, she loves watercolor painting, skiing, rock climbing and kayaking. Along with her friend and guide runner, Lion Chris Morrison, Kamma-Sarkany is opening up opportunities for visually impaired athletes through her Running for Change campaign, which aims to add the visually impaired category to races in Canada. HOW DID YOU GET INTO RUNNING? I grew up with an active family, but my mother was very protective. Eight years ago she passed away and I found myself asking, what do I do now? I thought, I’ve got to stop feeling sorry for myself. I was overweight and decided to start leading a healthier lifestyle. I started walking, and then I thought I would try running. AND MARATHONS? My first running goals were literally telephone pole to telephone pole. Then my goals were minutes, then a half-hour, then a few hours. First I ran a half marathon, and then I tried a marathon. It’s been like that ever since— one challenge after the other. WHAT IS IT LIKE RUNNING WITH A GUIDE? Before I started running with a guide, I was a very stressed runner. I have no peripheral vision—it’s like looking through a tunnel. Having a guide makes a huge difference. It’s a lot of hard work for guides: they’re watching both for themselves and the person they’re guiding. IT SOUNDS LIKE A SPECIAL EXPERIENCE. It takes a special person to be a guide; it’s truly a selfless act. And trained guides are hard to find. WHY DID YOU START THE RUNNING FOR CHANGE CAMPAIGN? I competed in the visually impaired category for the first time in the Boston Marathon. When I came home to Canada, I couldn’t find any races with that category, and I thought, it’s time to change that. So far, five races have added the category. WHY IS A VISUALLY IMPAIRED CATEGORY NEEDED? It raises awareness for race directors about safety issues like providing specially-labeled bibs and guides. But it also brings awareness that visually impaired athletes are just as able and like to compete just like anyone else. WHEN IS YOUR NEXT MARATHON? With the help of Lions, we’re forming a Canadian team for the California International Marathon in December. We’re hoping that Lions will help visually impaired athletes in their communities to join us. WHAT SHOULD THEY DO? They can start by visiting my Facebook page, Running for Change. Lions can also visit Chris’ Facebook page, Running Eyes, to find out more about becoming a guide. Know a Lion who you think deserves a bit of recognition? E-mail us a brief description of your Lion and the reason you’re nominating him or her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include “One of Us” in the subject line. CLUB OF THE MONTH SHELBYVILLE LIONS CLUB, TENNESSEE YEAR FOUNDED: 1922 MEMBERSHIP AND MEETINGS: Twice a month the 40 Lions kick off their meetings by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and thanking the veterans who have made freedoms, such as participating in a Lions club, possible. This year the club celebrates its 90th anniversary. HORSING AROUND: Each summer as Labor Day approaches, the Lions know where they’ll be for 11 days: the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, an event the Lions helped make a reality for Shelbyville in 1939. The show features horses from around the United States and the world that compete in events in hopes of becoming the World Champion. The historic event draws nearly 200,000 spectators; Lions greet attendees and sell programs at the front gates. The funds raised from program sales are used for vision care and eyeglasses. NURTURING YOUNG LIONS: The Lions have a great partner in the Shelbyville Leo Club. Leos sell programs at the horse celebration and help with the Lions’ Veterans Day and Christmas parade floats. The Leos participate in the Lions Quest program; the Lions make an annual donation to the program. REACHING OUT: The Lions hold a “coffee” (networking get-together) at the Chamber of Commerce each year to connect with the community. The event gives Lions a chance to inform community leaders about the club’s work as well as thank those who support their efforts. PROTECTING CHILDREN’S VISION: What’s the Lions’ favorite service project? Each year they complete vision screenings for all 3,000 elementary and middle school children in the community. They also conduct 900 screenings at day care centers and preschools. WHY BE A LION? “To know that even one child is helped through our eye screening program makes all we do as Lions worthwhile. To see a child smile when clear vision is theirs touches your heart deep down inside.” –Lion Katie Guthrie Photo courtesy of the Shelbyville Times-Gazette OVERHEARD “This is something that will outlive me and all our members, I hope. People will be able to look at the red maples and maybe remember the hope we tried to give to the community.” –Chris Howard, president of the Joplin Host Lions Club in Missouri, on the 200 trees Lions planted in Duquesne, damaged by the tornado that struck in 2011 but often overlooked by the destruction to nearby Joplin. From the Joplin Globe. “Paul loved God, family, country and the Lions club.” –Newspaper correspondent and Lion Noel Hardwick on the passing of Madisonville Lion Paul Hinton. From the Madisonville Messenger in Kentucky. “There aren’t too many sitting around loafing.” –Larry Bemis of the Newport Lions in Indiana on the busyness of club members in preparing for the Newport Antique Auto Hill Climb. From the Commercial- News. ON THE WEB If you can’t make the trip to Korea for the International Convention this month, you don’t have to miss out on everything. Follow along with the online convention on the LCI website, and find election and contest results, view parade photos and even see what the weather is like in Busan. Search for “online convention” and visit the website from June 22 – 26 for updates. BY THE NUMBERS 50 Points spotted to a team of teachers put together by Mattapoisett and Rochester Lions in Massachusetts in a basketball game fundraiser against the Harlem Ambassadors, who still won easily. 26 Length in feet of a box truck filled with food, bedding, cleaning supplies and other goods for tornado victims in East Bernstadt, Kentucky, thanks to the efforts of Nicholasville and Wilmore Lions. 40 Vendors who took part in the Whitefield Lions Club Model Railroad and Doll House Show in Maine. 105 Stalls let at the 50th Annual Lions Charity Horse Show in Marshall, Texas. 190 Barbecued Boston butts wrapped in aluminum foil and handed out through car windows for $30 apiece at the annual fundraiser of the Wetumpka Lions in Alabama. 500 Donation in dollars to the town of Belmont, Massachusetts, by the Belmont Lions after town officials noted that nearly one-third of the land in town is owned by nonprofits, exempt from property taxes. 66 Boats that raced in the Head of the Connecticut Regatta, co-sponsored by the Middletown Lions. 1,100 Anglers who took part in the annual trout derby at the Conococheague Creek held by Chambersburg Lions in Pennsylvania. 48 YEARS AGO IN THE LION JUNE 1964 The 700,000th Lion, Robert McElheney of the Albuquerque Heights Lions Club in New Mexico, is congratulated by International President Aubrey Green. (Membership today is just about double at 1.36 million.)
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