CANDIDATES SET FOR VICE PRESIDENT The five candidates for second international vice president are Naresh Aggarwal of Delhi, India; Salim Moussan of Beirut, Lebanon; Steven D. Sherer of New Philadelphia, Ohio; Dr. Eugene M. Spiess of Moore, South Carolina; and Dr. Jitsuhiro Yamada of Minokamo-shi, Gifu-ken, Japan. All are past international directors. The election will take place July 9 at the 96th International Convention in Hamburg. The winner will serve as international president in 2015-16. NEWTOWN LIONS HELP SURVIVORS The Newtown Lions Club in Connecticut is raising funds for counseling for the schoolchildren and staff at Sandy Hook School, first responders and families. The club is partnering with the Connecticut Counseling Association to help survivors of the school shooting. Twelve surviving children witnessed the shootings at the 600-pupil school, and 100 police officers, firefighters and EMTs rushed to the school. “The survivors, their families and the first responders experienced a trauma that can require therapy and counseling for decades,” Ray Keegan, president of the Newtown Lions Club Foundation, wrote in a letter to Lions appealing for support. The Lions intend to cover uninsured people and counseling not covered by insurance. The club estimates about $130,000 annually will be needed for 10 years. Visit www.newtownlions.org for more information. VIDEO MAGAZINE SHOWCASES LIONS The April issue of Lions Quarterly (LQ) video magazine includes segments on Lions adopting a village in Indonesia, cultivating healthy eating through the Lions Farm-To-School Garden in Montana, organizing sports events for people with disabilities and working to address hunger, poverty, literacy, gender equality and other important issues worldwide. Share LQ with your club members, project partners and community members. The video is available online at Lions News Network (LNN), YouTube and iTunes. The new LNN page on the LCI website features videos on sight, health, membership, hunger, the environment and more. BURN VICTIM GETS DOG Lions in Texas provided a Leader Dog for Dallas Wiens, who received the first complete face transplant in the United States in 2011. Charley is the new companion of Wiens, who was not able to receive eyes with the transplant. Wiens suffered severe burns when his boom lift hit a power line and after 22 surgeries had been left with a face nearly devoid of features. The Southlake Lions Club raffled off a motorcycle and held a motorcycle ride to raise funds for the dog. “The pain and trauma he went through … he has a spirit like no other,” says Ann Swindell, a past president and zone chairperson. BIONIC EYE GETS APPROVAL A bionic eye was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The artificial retina will help restore partial vision to people with retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited disease that affects about 100,000 people in the United States. The device includes special glasses outfitted with a video camera and a video processing unit that sends signals to a wireless receiver implanted in the eye, according to news reports. The technology will allow users to detect large objects such as people and cars and recognize large letters and shapes. The device is made by Second Sight Medical Products, Inc. of California. 77 YEARS AGO IN THE LION MAY 1936 Admiral Richard Byrd, famous for flights over the North and South Poles, plans to show photos of the polar regions at Virginia Night at the upcoming International Convention in Providence, Rhode Island. Byrd is “a bona fide Lion and on his arctic flight dropped a Lions flag on the North Pole.” BY THE NUMBERS 40 Days of Lent during which participants try to lose weight in the Belmullet Erris Lions Club Annual Slimathon in Ireland. Dieters raise funds for the Lions by getting sponsors. 1 Pound ( about US$1.50) pledged by Ilminster Lions in England to journalist Steve Sowden for each day in a year he does not smoke a cigarette. Sowden will donate the proceeds to a charity. 36 Gabe’s Chemo Ducks, 12-inch stuffed animals, and the activity book “I’m Still Me” given to pediatric patients at Vassar Brothers Medical Center by Hyde Park Lions in New York. 33 Units in the new housing complex primarily for low-income seniors and people with disabilities built by the Parksville Lions Club Housing Society in British Columbia, Canada. The project received $4 million in government funds. 23 Students from AJ Smith Elementary School receiving free magazine subscriptions over the last two years thanks to Union Springs Lions in New York. 8 Teams that competed in an adult spelling bee held by Spotsylvania Lions in Virginia to raise funds for community college scholarships. Among the words spelled correctly by the winning team were “septuagenarian” and “furbelow.” 260 Moviegoers who came to two free films at Valley Cinema in Little Falls, New York, in an event hosted by Herkimer Lions. The freewill offerings of $500 will fund a college scholarship. 300 Mile-long laps completed by 28 pro snowmobile racers in the inaugural Kinross Lions Club 300 in Michigan. Proceeds from the event, which also included an antique snowmobile display and an antique sled parade, will support a Lions’ playground. KELLER JOHNSON THOMPSON When Keller Johnson Thompson was a young girl in Tuscumbia, Alabama, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to be when she grew up. But she knew one thing—she wanted to follow in the footsteps of her great-great aunt, Helen Keller. Thompson, the great-granddaughter of Keller’s sister, Mildred, grew up knowing that any obstacle in life can be overcome if one works hard, has faith and strives to make a positive difference. As vice president of education for the Helen Keller Foundation for Research and Education, an ambassador for the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and a Tuscumbia Lion, Thompson’s great-great aunt would be very proud of how her legacy is being carried on. Do you remember when you first became aware of who Helen Keller was? There was never a time that Helen Keller wasn’t part of my life. My earliest memories are of spending time with my grandmother at Ivy Green, Helen’s birthplace. In elementary school almost every report I wrote was about her. By junior high they made me choose someone else to write about! Did your connection to her grow stronger as you got older? Yes, I was really drawn to her and her legacy. I wanted to help people, not only those who are deaf or blind, but anyone facing obstacles. I considered being a lawyer or going into politics, but after college I went to work for the Helen Keller Foundation, which my grandmother helped start. I developed a character education program, and we’ve taken it to schools across the United States. You’ve also carried on your aunt’s legacy at the AFB. She was the first ambassador for the AFB, and I was honored to be named its second. It’s so special to be a part of the organization she spent 44 years working for, advocating for the blind. I work with archivists, help with fundraisers, answer questions from children about Helen submitted through our website. Most importantly I help people realize that she was more than just the little girl at the water pump and what she did with her life. What’s something that might surprise us about Helen Keller? She loved hot dogs and martinis! Also she was a very humorous person. She was serious about her work, but she enjoyed life. She loved gardening; she could smell and feel a flower and tell you exactly what kind it was. Why do you think history was made when Helen Keller spoke to the Lions in 1925? She knew that if anyone was going to accept her challenge to be Knights of the Blind, it was going to be the Lions. And was she ever right. I’m just grateful for everything Lions have done for the world, and I’m honored to be a small part of that. 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. Keller Johnson Thompson at the historic water pump at Ivy Green where life forever changed for her remarkable great-great aunt. Find out more about Thompson’s work and Keller’s legacy: www.helenkellerfoundation.org www.afb.org www.helenkellerbirthplace.org CLUB OF THE MONTH IRRICANA, ALBERTA, CANADA YEAR FOUNDED: 1976 MEMBERS AND MEETINGS: The 31 members who range in age from 20s to 80s hold twice-monthly evening meetings. The first meeting of each month covers club business, and the second meeting includes socializing, guest speakers and welcoming new members. Many members are farmers. FANCY FOOTWORK FUNDRAISING: The Lions hold three dances that the community counts on for a good time each year. The Halloween Dance (costumes required) and Valentine Sweetheart Dance raise funds for varying community needs. A New Year’s Dance gives the Lions a chance to show appreciation to the many non-Lion volunteers who help the club throughout the year—the Lions pick up the tab for them. THE SPORTING LIFE: The Lions help kick off Irricana’s annual community event, Sports Day, by providing a fortifying pancake breakfast before the big parade. The day’s festivities include favorites such as sack and egg races, a slowpitch tournament, equestrian events, a car show and farmer’s market. To top the day off, the Lions Community Hall hosts a fun-filled cabaret show. A SPECIAL BIRTHDAY GIFT: The Lions’ major project to celebrate the town’s centennial transformed an empty lot into the Irricana Lions Centennial Park, a state-of-the-art playground and community gathering place. They continue to work on final touches such as a courtyard, information kiosk and picnic area, ensuring that the park will be a gem until the town’s bicentennial. WHY BE A LION? “Our goal is to give what we can to help make Irricana and the surrounding community an even better place to live and grow, because we have a great mix of Lions that reflect our community.” –Thomas Blasetti, club president OVERHEARD “I can’t see the computer giving you warm, enjoyable feelings from working with your fellow men and women.” –Brett Flipse of the Holland Lions Club in Michigan comparing social media with service clubs. From the Holland Sentinel. “If you don’t have that grave marker, you have no place to honor your fallen. All we have is the sea.” –Jay Jannson, a Navy veteran who lost four shipmates in the Vietnam War, speaking at a Memorial Day ceremony for those lost at sea held by Cayucos Lions at Cayucos Pier in California. From KSBY.com. “You don’t even need a license to use the surf chair. This was a great idea.” –Frank Pickett of the Delray Beach Lions Club in Florida after his club read about a surf chair for those with disabilities in the LION and then raised funds for a Rolleez-4 All Terrain Surf Chair. From the Sun-Sentinel. ON THE WEB The Lions Quest website has a new look and is easier to navigate. Visit the Lions Clubs International Foundation’s youth development program’s website at www.lionsquest.org to find out about Lions Quest programs, teacher trainings, evaluation tools and grants. Get inspired by videos and stories about how Lions Quest is improving the lives of youths around the world. Stay informed by signing up for the Lions Quest newsletter or following Lions Quest on Facebook or Twitter.
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