In the Spotlight LIONS NEWS BRIEFS SOUTH SUDAN JOINS THE DEN South Sudan has become Lions’ 208th country or geographic area. Members of the Juba Host Lions Club were honored during the festive flag ceremony July 7 at the 96th International Convention in Hamburg, Germany. The nation of 10 million people in east-central Africa declared its independence from Sudan in 2011 following a referendum. LAS VEGAS PICKED FOR CONVENTION It’s a safe bet Lions will enjoy the venue for the 2018 International Convention: Las Vegas, Nevada. The board of directors made the choice in the spring. Las Vegas also hosted the 54th International Convention in 1971. Next year Lions meet in Toronto, followed by Honolulu in 2015, Fukuoka, Japan, in 2016 and Chicago in 2017, the centennial for Lions Clubs. LION SAFE THANKS TO COLORADO LIONS An African lion faced an uncertain future after authorities shut down a zoo in Nebraska after animal abuse and safety violations. Now Arthur regally roams The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keensburg, Colorado, thanks to the Sterling Lions Club. Members agreed to feed and care for the lion for a year and possibly longer. JAPANESE DOCTOR ELECTED 2ND VP A Japanese neurosurgeon will serve as international president in 2015- 16. Past International Director Dr. Jitsuhiro Yamada of Minokamo-shi, Gifu-ken, was elected international second vice president July 9 at the 96th International Convention in Hamburg, Germany. (Full coverage of the convention will be in the October LION.) The director of a hospital, Yamada, 69, joined the Minokamo Lions Club in 1985 and served as an international director from 2005-07. His wife, Toshiko, also is a doctor. Yamada will follow current President Barry J. Palmer of Australia and First International Vice President Joe Preston of Arizona, who will be president in 2014-15. ARKANSAS CLUB HELPS NEWTOWN How to respond after the tragic elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut? Camden Lions in Arkansas poured out their sympathies by coordinating the delivery of more than 700 cards and letters to Newtown. Lions set up five drop-off locations in their city of 12,000 and shipped the cards within weeks of the shooting. Many of the heartfelt letters were written by Camden schoolchildren. ONE OF US GWENYTH “WENDY” WILSON Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 2, Gwenyth “Wendy” Wilson lost her eyesight in her early 30s because of diabetic retinopathy. She’s weathered many hardships, including the death of her husband, financial troubles and illness. Through it all, she’s retained an unflappable, positive outlook, an infectious sense of humor and a dedication to serving. Wilson logs more than 100 hours monthly volunteering for causes close to her heart—an accomplishment that merited an award from the Points of Light Foundation. Wilson credits her DeLand Lions family in Florida as a great source of support and inspiration, but they have also learned from her how to better serve the visually impaired. Why do you love volunteering so much? I do it because I love people. And I know how grateful I was when I was in need and someone helped me. Regarding helping visually impaired people, I’ve been there, done that, so I’m happy to help them find the resources. What are some ways you assist visually impaired people? I help out with the National Federation of the Blind Newsline. People can call in and listen to close to 400 different newspapers over the phone. At the Impaired Vision Resource Foundation, we help connect people to resources. I also assist in teaching a class for health care students and professionals called Assisting Persons with Limited Vision. What do students learn in the class? They learn how to properly approach and guide a visually impaired person, arrange things so a blind person can find them, etc. My friend Ray Siracusa teaches the class, and I’m there to answer questions. I try to make the students comfortable so they can ask me anything. What’s the most popular question? They always want to know how I put my makeup on. I tell them I stand in front of the bathroom mirror. Even though I can’t see it, that’s where I’ve always put my makeup on! Why did you help develop this class? People don’t always know how to interact with visually impaired people. When I was in the hospital, they would leave my meals without telling me and I spilled a meal tray. They wouldn’t identify what they were doing or would walk away without telling me. People will speak very loudly and slowly. The point is, we’re human—just because we lost our eyesight doesn’t mean we’ve lost our intelligence or hearing. I often laugh about it, but I also want to help people understand these things. You also have a passion for animals. I’m a sucker for animals. I have a full house—two dogs, three cats, a parrot, two doves and a disabled macaw. Once a month I volunteer for HELP Animals, Inc., when they hold low-cost vaccination clinics. I get to play with the animals and hold them. It’s like therapy. Find out more about the NFB Newsline at https://nfb.org/audio-newspaper-service. CLUB OF THE MONTH TOWNSEND, MASSACHUSETTS YEAR FOUNDED: 1966 MEETINGS AND MEMBERS:The Townsend Lions gather twice monthly for meetings. A board meeting is held the first Tuesday of the month, and the Lions enjoy a dinner meeting on the third Tuesday. Members range in age from 45 to 80 and include a real estate agent, chef, bank manager and contractor. RUGGED RACE: For the past 30 years, one of the Lions’ annual highlights is their Squannacook River 2 Man Canoe & Kayak Race. Approximatly 100 participants navigate their canoes and kayaks down the six-mile route. Because the area is environmentally protected, debris is not removed, so racers have the added challenge of carrying their boats over or around several natural obstacles on the course. The Lions work for months to prepare for the event, and on race day they do everything from registering racers to cooking breakfast to presenting awards to the top finishers. AN EVERGREEN TRADITION: Lions can’t be found shopping the day after Thanksgiving—they’re busy with their first day of Christmas tree sales. For more than 40 years the club has sold locally grown trees on the Townsend common, ordering between 300 and 350 trees and staffing the sale until the last tree is tied. The Lions’ trees are an important part of many residents’ annual Christmas traditions. MOVING FORWARD: To build on their successful longstanding projects, the Lions have recently tried out some new ideas. They held their second annual benefit concert last spring featuring a Beatles cover band, Rubber Soul, and have held an electronics recycling event each fall for the past couple of years. Both projects have proved promising, helping the Lions achieve and expand their service goals. WHY BE A LION? “Community service is its own reward. The Townsend Lions Club is focused solely on service, with no ulterior motivations.” – Lion Laura Harrington 29 YEARS AGO IN THE LION SEPT. 1984 Lions Clubs International teams up with Quest, which develops programs for youths, and entertainer Bill Cosby to curb drug abuse among youths. Cosby writes an essay for the textbook for the project’s Skills for Adolescence program for grades 6 to 8. “I’m a parent of five children and, believe me, there have certainly been occasions when I wished I had the benefit of Quest’s programs,” Cosby tells the LION. LCI’s partnership with Quest later evolved into Lions Quest, LCI’s school-based, life-skills program for youths. BY THE NUMBERS 20 Eyeglasses collected by Greenfield Lions in Indiana at performances of “The Miracle Worker” at the H. J. Ricks Theatre. 80 Bottles of wine available for patrons at the Wine & Epicurean Delights Extravaganza of the Coon Rapids Lions in Minnesota. 4 Bulletproof vests provided to the Haddonfield police auxiliary by Haddonfield Lions in New Jersey. 23 Pans of hot lasagna fed to 250 people at a food pantry at a dinner held by Elverson Morgantown Lions in Pennsylvania. 80 Hours of labor spent by Sunshine Coast Lions in British Columbia, Canada, to build a wrap-around deck at a new community center. 64 Graduates in 2012 of the Muskingum Valley Safetytown in Ohio where children learn about fires, poisons, dogs and other threats. Beverly Lions sponsor the nine-day camp. 300 Young students in Hawaii whose eyesight was tested in a joint project of Lions and soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team’s 1st Battalion 27th Infantry Regiment. 3 Digital recording cameras installed on police car dashboards in New Holland, Pennsylvania, thanks to donations of New Holland Lions and two businesses. OVERHEARD “It’s hard to hate someone you know.” –Past Council Chair Melvin Murphree on the Pelham Lions Club Multicultural Festival in Alabama. From the Birmingham News. “When I was there, I didn’t feel like I was ‘the only one’ like me.” –Emily Clark, 10, who has battled cancer, on her time at the Louisiana Lions Camp program for children with special needs. From NOLA.com. “We started volunteering for the community theater as ushers. People like to see the Lions and their yellow vests.” –Past International Director Art Marson on the involvement of the La Crosse Lions in Wisconsin. From WKBT News8000. 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