IN THE SPOTLIGHT LION COMPETES AT PARALYMPICS Lion Kimie Bessho of Japan competed in table tennis in the recent Paralympics in London. A member of the Akashi Uozumi Lions Club, Bessho, 64, won a match and lost a match and did not medal. She began playing table tennis nearly 20 years ago after a bone tumor forced her to use a wheelchair. Last year she won the U.S. Open. GOOD VIEWING ON LIONS QUARTERLY In the October issue of Lions Quarterly (LQ) video magazine, watch how Lions feed and clothe people in need; support a special school for deaf and blind children; combine fun, fitness and health with community fundraising; and provide handcrafted toys to children during holidays and birthdays. LQ also features the 10th anniversary of Sight for Kids and the Lions’ global Reading Action Program. Share LQ with your club members, project partners and community. The video is available on the LCI website (search for “Lions News Network”) and LCI’s YouTube channel or can be downloaded from iTunes. LCIF COUNTERS DIABETES LCIF recently awarded SightFirst grants to provide laser treatments for diabetic retinopathy patients in Brazil, to train ophthalmologists at a Lions’ eye center in Prague to treat diabetic retinopathy patients and to support eye screenings to detect diabetic eye disease in Turkey. Since 1995, LCIF has awarded $2.8 million for 22 SightFirst grants benefiting diabetic retinopathy patients in Brazil, India, Spain and other nations. These grants focus on training personnel, purchasing equipment and treating diabetic retinopathy, an eye disease resulting from longterm diabetes. LCIF also funds large-scale Lions’ efforts to expand diabetes education, prevention, screening and treatment projects through its Core 4 diabetes program. Since 1999, LCIF has awarded $2 million for 24 Core 4 diabetes projects, including $500,000 this year for projects in Belgium, France, Korea and the United States. Learn more at www.lcif.org. LION EDITORS MEET Twenty-four editors of the official editions of the LION magazines around the world met in Brussels, Belgium, in September to exchange ideas and discuss best practices in meeting the needs of their readers. The editors learned about digital magazine formats, photography, infographics and reader surveys. Ken G Kabira, group manager for Membership, Programs and Communications at Lions Clubs International (LCI), reported on social media as well as on Project Refresh (see page 28), an LCI global membership study. International President Wayne A. Madden encouraged editors to stress the importance of clubs making themselves appealing to the general population. Hosted by LCI in conjunction with the Europa Forum, the two-day meeting is held every three years. Herve Vizzolini, editor of the French LION, makes a point at the editors’ meeting in Brussels. BY THE NUMBERS 51 Consecutive years a star has shone on Mt. Battie from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Eve, courtesy of the Camden Lions in Maine. The star is affixed to a stone tower that commemorates WWI veterans. 1,200 Pounds of chestnuts roasted by Leavenworth Lions in Washington for the annual Leavenworth Christmas Lighting Festival. 5 Donation in dollars required for a light bulb to decorate the Memory Tree displayed on a float in the Brookneal Town Christmas Parade in Virginia. Brookneal Lions sponsor the tree. 200 Christmas hampers given to needy families by the Grand Cayman Tropical Gardens Lions. 1,000 U.S. flags retired in a Veterans Day ceremony hosted by the Mishawaka Lions in Indiana. 4,500 Visitors to the Perth Lions Garlic Festival in Perth, population 6,000. VirtualTourist.com ranks the festival in Ontario, Canada, as the world’s fifth-best garlic festival. 800 Pounds of Fuji apples picked in the Lions Club Apple Project, organized by Olympia Host Lions and involving Lions from many clubs in Washington. The sales of the apples benefit Camp Leo, held for children with diabetes. 400 Hours of labor expended by Ironton Lions and volunteers in Ohio to repair the club’s Haunted Tunnel, damaged by vandals. 72 YEARS AGO IN THE LION NOVEMBER 1940 The Lawrenceburg Lions in Tennessee won $5 from LION Magazine for the month’s best activity photo, taken of their Poultry Festival parade. ONE OF US To say that Dan Cunningham loves Christmas would be an understatement. Each holiday season, this affable Narragansett Lion helps hundreds of people in Warwick, Rhode Island, catch the Christmas spirit. But he doesn’t have to leave his home to do it—from Thanksgiving to January, Cunningham transforms his garage into a late 1800s “Christmas village” with 250 miniature houses, toy trains and even a moving amusement park. Visitors revel in the charm and cheer of Cunningham’s creation, and he’s there every evening to bask in their smiles and looks of awe. From visitors’ donations (ranging from pocket change to $20 bills), Past District Governor Cunningham makes contributions to Lions-supported charities, proving to himself each year that it is in fact better to give than to receive. Know a Lion who you think deserves a bit of recognition? Email us a brief description of your Lion and the reason you’re nominating him or her at email@example.com. Please include “One of Us” in the subject line. HOW DID THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE PROJECT BEGIN? It all started in 1989 when my wife bought me five little ceramic houses. From there, I started buying more houses, and it went from a display just for family on a card table to taking up half of the garage to the whole garage. HOW DID THE VILLAGE GROW SO MUCH? The word obsession comes to mind. Also, it took on a life of its own. For example, after an article ran about the village in the paper, a lady called me and said she had 40 houses I could have. I don’t know where I’m going to put them, but I’ll figure something out! HOW DID THE PROJECT BECOME A FUNDRAISER? During one Christmas party years ago, the display was open just for friends and family, and a guy walking by asked if he could bring his kids to see it. I said sure. He did come back, and he asked if he could give me something for it. I thought hmm…maybe I could make some money for charity out of this. WHAT CHARITIES DO YOU SUPPORT? The money goes to a couple of charities important to the Lions, the Rhode Island Lions Cancer in Children Fund and the Ronald McDonald House in Providence. I raise $1,000 to $2,500 each year. SETTING UP THE VILLAGE MUST BE QUITE A PROJECT. I set it up differently each year. There’s no rhyme or reason to my madness. But I do have some help, in addition to my son—through the high school’s community service program, the football team helps bring the boxes up from the basement. It used to take my son and me three days to do this, but the kids do it in about 17 minutes! AND YOU’RE THERE EVERY EVENING THROUGHOUT THE HOLIDAYS TO GREET VISITORS? It’s a task, but it’s a labor of love. Before the holidays, people start asking me when I’m going to put it up. And my wife is my support system—she makes me coffee to keep me going! CLUB OF THE MONTH ABINGTON LIONS CLUB, PENNSYLVANIA YEAR FOUNDED: 1949 COMMUNITY SERVED: Clarks Summit MEMBERSHIP AND MEETINGS: The 35 Abington Lions gather at monthly dinner meetings. Each meeting includes a guest speaker presenting on topics such as recycling and transportation. The Lions hosted a representative from the Northeast Pennsylvania Lions Eye Bank to better understand what happens with the eyeglasses they collect. CREAM AND SUGAR? One of the Lions’ biggest fundraising projects is hosting a “coffee stop” during major holiday weekends. The Lions set up shop at an interstate rest stop and give away coffee, hot chocolate and baked goods to weary travelers and accept contributions in a donation jar. Even with harsh weather, time passes quickly with lively discussions—and a friendly rivalry about which Lion makes the best brownies. HE’S MAKING A LIST…: The Lions’ favorite project is coordinating visits from Santa to the homes of area children—sometimes as many as 450 in a season— for the past 49 years. The lengthy planning process involves purchasing toys, mapping driving routes and recruiting volunteers. For several nights multiple Santas and helpers navigate roads to visit unsuspecting children. Santa has been chased by dogs, stopped by police, braved blizzards and faced crying babies. The payoff: seeing the faces of children light up, enjoying the friendship and sharing heartwarming, sometimes hilarious, memories. SUPPORTING YOUNG SCHOLARS:The Lions help young people achieve their dreams of attending college through scholarships. Each year two students are selected based on an anonymous point system. A connection is forever formed between the students and Lions—one student even later joined the club. TIME FOR FUN: Service is top priority, but the Abington Lions know it doesn’t hurt to have fun. Social outings to the horse races, hockey games and wineries build camaraderie and help retain members. WHY SERVE?“Being a Lion has given me a sense of who I am and why I am here. There always have been and always will be people who can use a helping hand, and by giving one to them they will be able to offer that same helping hand to others.” – Lion Joe Skinner OVERHEARD “It’s like they can see the flag again.” –June Spooner of the Auburn War Eagle Lions Club in Alabama on the Braille U.S. flags presented to vision-impaired veterans. From The Auburn Villager. “We’ve been born with sight. We have all our senses. But there are people out there that never get to see the beauty that God has put out here for us, and if we can help them in one little way that’s what it’s all about.” –Ron Diem of the Salisbury TWSP Lions Club in Pennsylvania at District 14-D’s Ride for Sight. From WPMT-TV. “One of the children ran up to his mother and said, ‘Mummy, it’s the real Santa because he speaks Russian!’ ” –Nick Townsend of the Buxton & District Lions Club on a child from Belarus who met with a special Father Christmas as part of the Chernobyl Children’s Project, a three-week holiday in England. From the Buxton Advertiser. ON THE WEB Do you feel like doing some Lions’ shopping from the comfort of home? Visit the LCI store at www.lionsclubs.org and browse through the wide selection of Lions merchandise. Find the expected such as banners, plaques, awards, vests and clothing. But also find some surprises such as temporary tattoos, folding dog bowls, rain gauges and embroidered golf towels. Check the store for special offers, shipping information and order tracking.
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