IN THE SPOTLIGHT LIONS NEWS BRIEFS FIRE DESTROYS HISTORIC CLUBHOUSE A fire in April destroyed the 112- year-old Lions clubhouse in Garnish, Newfoundland, Canada. Formerly a meeting hall for the Society of United Fishermen, the building had been used by Garnish Lions for about 14 years. Lions reportedly recently made a $10,000 renovation to the building’s kitchen. The club lost its banners, historical photos and artifacts in the fire, the cause of which is uncertain. The mayor of Garnish has offered the club temporary use of the town hall. “It’s very sad for the town of Garnish,” Mayor Reuben Noseworthy told CBC News. “They usually put on a great turkey dinner, I tell you.” Depending on how the insurance works out, the club may rebuild, says Enos May, president. He added that the takeout turkey dinner will go on as planned. DRIVE AND PARK: A MASTERS TRADITION Aussie Adam Scott put on the green jacket, Tiger Woods doomed himself with an illegal drop and Lions raised enough in parking fees to send 175 blind children to camp. That all took place at the Masters Golf Tournament in Georgia in April. The National Hills Lions Club raised about $16,000 from charging patrons $20 to park five minutes from the gates of Augusta National. A Pep Boys and Jiffy Lube donated the lot to the club. In return, Lions monitor the lot for the businesses. Some using the lot are Lions, who often give an extra donation, says Past District Governor Cecil Geddings, club secretary. The Lions’ parking–a tradition unlike any other–is 23 years old. LIONS RESPOND TO LANDSLIDE An enormous landslide damaged homes in March on scenic Whidbey Island in Washington. Coupeville Lions helped organize and staff watches from dusk to dawn to prevent looting. Lion Eric Brooks, Island County emergency manager, and Lions Teresa Ellis and Ricardo Reyes, volunteers on the Emergency Management Team, set up the patrols of Lions and other volunteers. Lion Ed Hartin, the fire district chief, also responded to the emergency. Tailtwister Bob Johnson fined Brooks and Past District Governor Bob Clay twice the standard 25 cents for hobnobbing with Gov. Jay Inslee, who visited the disaster scene. A home was destroyed and five others left uninhabitable when hundreds of feet of earth suddenly broke away from a bluff. POLISH LIONS HOLD SONG COMPETITION Lions in Poland are seeking talented vocalists with sight impairments to compete in their world song festival in November in Krakow. The First Lions World Song Festival for the Blind will feature a contest among vocalists. Lions clubs and others are asked to help select worthy candidates for the contest, help them record a song and submit it to festival officials as soon as possible. The four Lions clubs in Krakow sponsoring the contest hope that it will launch professional careers for the competitors. For information, visit www.lionsfestival.jordan.pl. PANCAKE FLAP BECAUSE OF SIGN A small-town diner in Pennsylvania raised a ruckus by claiming its breakfast was better than the Lions’. The Red Plate Diner in Wernersville posted a sign that read: “Our pancake and sausage breakfast is better then [sic] Lions Club.” After one day and nearly 40 irate emails to the owner, which Lion Kevin Snyder was copied on, the sign was taken down. The diner later posted a message saying it supports charity and Lions clubs. The club’s pancake breakfast a few days later “served double about what we typically do,” says Snyder. 51 YEARS AGO IN THE LION JUNE 1962 U.S. President John F. Kennedy privately met with Lions President Per Stahl of Sweden at the White House. Kennedy accepted an honorary membership as a Lion, the first honorary membership he had ever accepted from a civic or fraternal group. Stahl also gave the president the Lions’ Head of State medal, an onyx desk set with the Lions emblem and a rare Swedish plate coin from 1726. Kennedy expressed a “keen interest” in Lions’ youth exchange program. BY THE NUMBERS 169 Blood donations made in Strathmore, British Columbia, Canada, at two clinics held in honor of Lion Ruth Ginn by the Canadian Blood Services. Until she died last year, Ginn led the longtime blood drives of the Strathmore Lions. 1,100 Hours of labor expended by the “Bent Nail Company,” five Smith Mountain Lake Lions in Virginia, to renovate the Lake Christian Ministries facility. The Lions were Steve Dorr, Rick Carroll, Don Jakob, Tom Scott and Win Tennies. 160 Stepping stones installed at Hamilton Middle School by Long Beach Downtown Lions in California. 180 Tables displayed with Hot Wheels, old board games and other classic toys at the Timber Dan Antique and Collectible Toy Show sponsored by Loveland Lions in Colorado. 48 Hours of operation weekly of the Farmington Thrift Shop in Maine, run by Farmington Lions 6,000 Quarts of clam chowder sold annually by Emmaus Lions in Pennsylvania. The club has used the same recipe for more than half a century. 4 Infant CPR manikins ( as well as two automated external defibrillators) donated to Kona Community Hospital by Kailua Kona Lions in Hawaii. 65 Units in the new four-story Jack Nelson Annex seniors affordable apartments, opened by the Sunshine Coast Lions Housing Society in British Columbia, Canada. The Sunshine Coast Lions, government bodies and others partnered on the building, named after a late charter Lion. ONE OF US JOHN MACKIEWICZ In 1978 John Mackiewicz received a phone call that would change his life forever: a friend asked him to be a last-minute replacement clown for his daughter’s birthday party. As a middle school special education teacher, Mackiewicz was good with children and quick on his feet, so he sprang into action. “Bongo the Silent Clown” was soon putting smiles on faces every day around the world. This Brookfield, Connecticut, Lion’s greatest passion is bringing joy to others because he knows that laughter can help transform lives and heal broken hearts, even in the most tragic circumstances. How did that first time as a clown go? When I hung up the phone I ran around and found whatever I could to help me look the part. I put shoe polish on my face for makeup—that was a mistake! At the party I played the simplest games, but the kids loved it. One of the parents even asked me to perform at her child’s birthday party! It sounds like you were a natural. As a special education teacher, I’ve always made connections with my students through being funny or doing magic tricks. If they learn something in a fun way, they hold onto it longer. When Bongo performs I just want to help people smile and forget their problems, even if it’s just for an hour. What’s the best thing about being Bongo? I always have balloons and magic tricks in my pockets. If I’m in a store and a child is crying, I introduce myself and make a balloon animal. Almost always, the tears stop. I love being able to do that for people. When parents ask how to thank me, I tell them the child can write me a letter. My P.O. box is like Christmas every day! What’s up next for Bongo? Years ago I wrote eight children’s books and put them away. My big dream now is to have them published. They’re all stories based on experiences with my students. Another dream is to open a clown museum. I’ve collected at least 9,000 pieces of clown memorabilia. It must be a great feeling to make people happy. The hard part is when there’s nothing I can do. I was with my longtime friend and fellow teacher at my school, George Hochsprung, when he got the news that his wife, Dawn, the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary, had been shot. She was killed while trying to stop the shooter. We had worked together and she was my friend for many years. Words can’t describe … it was and still is a devastating time. Maybe not for a long while, but I’ll be there to try to help people laugh and heal in their own time. Lions may reach Bongo the Silent Clown at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Mackiewicz poses with a small portion of his clown memorabilia collection. LIONS NEWS BRIEFS CLUB OF THE MONTH SUSSEX, WISCONSIN YEAR FOUNDED: 1939 MEMBERS AND MEETINGS: When the 94 Lions meet monthly at a restaurant, everyone knows to bring their automatic $1 fine charged by the Tail Twister. Phones must be turned off, especially the president’s. Members call him several times during the meeting, just to be sure. PRICEY PASTRIES: On occasion the Lioness club visits a Lions meeting to auction off baked goods as a fundraiser. The lively bidding process can be quite lucrative; a lemon meringue pie once went for more than $200. SHARING THE SPIRIT OF SERVICE: Each summer, Lions bring friends to a cookout so they may experience the unique camaraderie of the Lions and learn about their service work. They must like more than the hamburgers—the last cookout resulted in five new members. SUMMER SPOTLIGHT: For more than 40 years, area residents have eagerly anticipated the Sussex Lions Daze each July. Thousands of visitors flock to the parade, tractor pull, firefighter water fights, softball tournament, carnival rides and fireworks. The Lions log more than 900 hours of work over the three-day event; support from 50 Lionesses and 100 Leos helps ensure it goes off without a hitch. HELPING ONE MEANS THE MOST: The Lions have raised more than $1.2 million to support many charities and projects. But perhaps their proudest moment was helping one community member who was losing her sight but could not afford cornea transplants. The Lions held several fundraisers for her and were able to cover the $40,000 cost to save her sight. WHY JOIN? “Most prospective members have had some previous experience with our club, and they want to give back to our community. With an almost 75-year history, people know who we are and that they are welcome to join us in service to others.” –President Jeff Carlson OVERHEARD “We wanted to try something unusual, and we think we’ve found something unusual.” –Gary Schmidt of the Topeka Lions Club in Kansas on the 5K Blizzard Run held in February. From the Topeka Capital- Journal. “This is my first time here, and I am impressed by the professionalism. Even if you go to a doctor you have to wait a few weeks for eyeglasses.” –Araceli Barriga on the immediate availability of eyeglasses after vision screenings held in Lake Elsinore by California Lions Friends in Sight. From the North County Times. “Like my wife says, if I’d save other things like that, we’d be rich.” –Marv Kohlbeck of the Pittsville Lions Club in Wisconsin on his many Lions pins and buttons. From the Marshfield News- Herald. ON THE WEB Expand your professional and personal connections with Linkedin, the world’s largest professional network with 200 million members around the globe. LCI has more than 3,000 followers, as well as more than 4,000 members of the official LCI discussion group where Lions are meeting each other, networking, asking questions and offering answers. Get started by clicking on “Join Today” at www.linkedin.com to create an account. Then search for “Lions Clubs International” and join the LCI network.
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