FEE WAIVER FOR VETERANS A pilot program to waive the charter or entrance fee for U.S. veterans of all ages has been started by Lions Clubs International. The $30 charter or $25 entrance fee is waived for any qualifying veteran who joins a new or existing Lions club between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2015. This is a U.S.-only pilot program for the first 5,000 qualified veterans who become Lions. Eligible veterans include retired U.S. military personnel or honorably-discharged members of the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard Services, Marines, National Guard, Navy or Reserves. Those currently serving in the National Guard or Reserves are also eligible. “Veterans have made so many great contributions and sacrificed so much to serve our country,” read an LCI email to Lions. “As service members are honorably discharged from the military, let's offer them an opportunity to get involved in their communities.” For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. LIONS RADIO NETWORK BEGINS The Lions Radio Network is now operating from the home page of Lions Clubs International (www.lionsclubs. org). The online radio station offers free streaming music and news and announcements for and about Lions. Four music stations are available: oldies, hits, country and classic country. The radio icon is located in the upper right corner. LIONS HELP THE PHILIPPINES LCIF has gathered more than $1 million in contributions and commitments to help those in the Philippines affected by Typhoon Haiyan in November. The funds were or will be used for food, water and medicine and for long-term needs such as rebuilding. Supported by Lions from England, Germany and Sweden, LCIF sent 575 tents and 190 water filtration units to the Philippines shortly after the disaster. The $1 million includes a Major Catastrophe grant of $100,000 from LCIF. Lions from OSEAL, meeting in Singapore when the storm struck, donated $370,000. Called the worst storm to make landfall in recorded history, the typhoon killed at least 3,500 people, left a half million homeless and affected 11 million. There are more than 12,600 Lions in the Philippines in 380 clubs with four clubs in Cebu and one club in the disaster epicenter of Tacloban. Lions on the ground were already busy serving people affected by a major earthquake in nearby Bohol in October. LIONS’ PLAYGROUND SEEN BY THE WORLD Matteo, who was blind and had cerebral palsy, died at age 11 in 2010. But before he died Lions helped build Matteo’s Dream, a playground for disabled children in Concord, California. The Lions Clubs International float in the 125th Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1 was modeled after the playground. An estimated 400 million people watched the parade. The $750,000 playground was the idea of Lion Liz Lamach, Matteo’s mother. Three thousand volunteers built it over eight days. Lions and LCIF provided major financial support and manpower. The playground has rubberized flooring, metal slides that do not disrupt hearing devices and xylophone-like instruments that permit children to hear and feel the vibrations of music. Digital LION Watch an inspiring video on Matteo’s playground at www.lionmagazine.org. GAIL HAMILTON Just before she was crowned 2013 Ms. Colorado Senior America, Gail Hamilton asked to feel the tiara. The first blind woman to win the pageant, 60-year-old Hamilton wowed the judges with her performance of Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma”— with beloved guide dog Juno at her side—an eloquent interview and her moving “philosophy of life” statement. Hamilton, an inspirational speaker and memoir author, wanted to uplift the audience through her triumphs over life’s obstacles. Englewood Lion Hamilton says that after years of struggle, her desire to fly is now bigger than her fear of falling. Being of service is helping her spread her wings and soar to new heights. How did it feel to become Ms. Colorado Senior America? It was so joyful, and I was in disbelief. When I won best talent I had hoped it wasn’t just because I was blind. Sometimes it’s either people think you’re wonderful because you’re blind, or they pity you. I didn’t want to be viewed just as blind, but for who I am. When I won I realized that I really can create my destiny, and I just want to keep inspiring people to live their best lives. Have you always loved singing? Yes, since I was young I’ve enjoyed the creativity of music, the emotional release and the connection with the audience. When I was a kid it was the only thing I could do by myself, so it gave me a sense of independence. How did you develop such a positive outlook on life? For 50 years I lived as a victim, and then I decided to turn it around. I began by trying to think thoughts of gratitude every morning. I started to realize that it was my head stopping me, not my blindness. Once I changed my thinking, my life began to change for the better. It’s not always easy, but I’ve learned to live in joy. When I speak to groups, I hope that my story can help them overcome challenges. What is your book about? I tell my story of losing my sight [partially from complications from premature birth, then completely at age 11 due to cataracts] and what I’ve learned throughout my life. Because I’m blind, I’m able to see people from the inside out, not the outside in, and I can live guided by my heart, not my eyes. The working title is “Soaring into Greatness: A Blind Woman’s Vision to Live Her Dreams and Fly On Her Wings.” How do you like being a Lion? When the Lions invited me to join I was excited, but I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into! I’m so happy I joined. I’m glad I can help with identifying the current needs of blind people like transportation, employment and technology. Lions can help the visually impaired live their dreams, just like I am. Find out more about Gail Hamilton at spreadyourwingstofly.com. Do you know a Lion who you think has a great story or deserves a bit of recognition? Email us a brief description of the Lion and the reason you’re making the nomination to email@example.com. Please include “One of Us” in the subject line. Digital LION Watch a video of Hamilton singing “Nessun Dorma” at www.lionmagazine.org. 73 YEARS AGO IN THE LION JANUARY 1941 Tired of seeing vacant chairs at meetings, Fort Wayne Lions in Indiana decided to make a “horrible example” of someone. A posse of able-bodied Lions drove an ambulance to the home of unwitting Ed McBride when he failed to show for a meeting and had him “lay in state” holding a lily. OVERHEARD “It was a crime reminiscent of the ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas.’” –From a Cecil Daily story on thieves brazenly stealing the huge steel grill box including the stakes and poles of the canopy used by North East Lions in Maryland for their semi-annual chicken barbecue. Community members quickly donated materials to make a new grill. “You have to stick your tongue in it.” –Jillian Forde, 6, on the best way to taste the locally produced maple syrup used by Paris Lions in Ontario, Canada, for their popular Maplefest pancake breakfast. From the Brantford Expositor. “My thinking is that it’s like that book [‘The Five People You Meet in Heaven’] where you find out about those people whose lives you affected. When you join the Lions, everywhere you turn, you find people who come up to you and tell you your club did something for them, for a family member or friend.” –Ron Papa of the Sterling Heights Lions Club in Michigan in the Macomb Daily. ON THE WEB Did you take a memorable photo on your summer vacation or over the holidays? Do you think it could it could stand out among other stunning shots in the Lions Environmental Photo Contest? Find out the rules, categories and deadlines on LCI’s website. See last year’s winners and purchase a 2014 wall calendar featuring many of the entries while you’re at it. Visit www.lionsclubs.org and search for “Environmental Photo Contest” to get the details. BY THE NUMBERS 445 Fire hydrants painted by Carbondale Lions in Illinois during the summer and fall. 13 Charter members of the Hershey Lions in Nebraska, still alive a half century after the club was chartered, honored as grand marshals in a Hershey parade. 255,018 Dollar amount of taxes paid by the Maple Grove Lions Club in Minnesota as it netted $85,888 from gambling operations at two bars. 1,800 Miles of sidewalks in Honolulu needing maintenance, a project undertaken by Lions. 50 Vintage boats displayed at the 22nd Annual Antique & Classic Boat Show held by Bass Lake Lions in California. 2,515 Pounds of food collected by Evans Lions in Georgia in a food drive contest for a county pantry narrowly won by the Salvation Army. 12 Portraits of children in need of adoptive parents shown at the Cayuga Lions Club. The Indiana Heart Gallery is a traveling exhibit. 330 Pairs of slippers collected by West Maui Lions and then distributed to schools. CLUB OF THE MONTH LANGLEY LEO CLUB, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA YEAR FOUNDED: 2009 MEMBERS AND MEETINGS: The 82 Leos hold efficient meetings every Wednesday at lunchtime at R.E. Mountain Secondary School, alternating each week between junior members in grades 8-9 and senior members in grades 10-12. MUSIC TO THEIR EARS: Residents at a home for senior citizens are treated to a concert once a month. Leos lend their musical talents and practice their singing and instrument skills by serenading the seniors. LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT: Every holiday season the Leos fill 50 shoeboxes with a variety of everyday personal items. They deliver the boxes to the Salvation Army homeless shelter so that those struggling through hard times don’t go without basic necessities. FESTIVAL FANS: The Leos participate in community events such as the Cranberry Festival, Country Celebration, Apple Day and Langley International Festival. They smartly use their 209-member Facebook group page to recruit event volunteers, make announcements and share photos. THE BEST KIND OF SECRET: During the stressful spring season of exams and college applications, the Leos decided to anonymously spread some happiness at their school. Called “Project Post-It,” the Leos handwrote more than 1,200 uplifting messages and posted them on every locker in the school, as well as on staff mailboxes. On a Monday morning, the mood of stressed-out students quickly improved when they were met with personal messages such as “Note to self: you are awesome” or “It only seems impossible until it’s done.” (See a photo of the Leos in action on page 56.) DOUGH FOR DOUGH: Teenagers have big appetites and sweet tooths, so the Leos design their fundraisers to make everyone happy. Funds raised through holiday candygrams, doughnuts and bake sales go to the Leos’ charities of choice such as homeless shelters and animal welfare. WHY BE A LEO? “We can be part of something big by contributing a little bit of time, ultimately creating an enormous positive impact on those who need it most.” –Julia Chung DIGITAL LION CLUB OF THE MONTH MCGAHEYSVILLE-MASSANUTTEN LIONS CLUB, VIRGINIA Visit the McGaheysville-Massanutten Lions’ website, and you’ll be greeted with a colorful checkerboard of photos and links. Recipients of a 2013 LCI International Contest honorable mention award, the Lions have created a fun and easyto- navigate website. The club mascot, a cartoon lion named Mass McGahey, brings a cheery whimsy to each page. Visitors can get to know the Lions through thumbnail photos of all 58 members on the Members page and bios and photos of club leaders on the Leadership page. A helpful FAQ section for newcomers explains what the Lions are all about and sets a friendly and inviting tone.
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