PAST PRESIDENT ÅKESTAM DIES AT AGE 89 His youngest daughter had died of kidney failure when she was 14, and Sten Åkestam of Sweden was a staunch advocate for health, particularly diabetes education, when he served as international president in 1986-87. He urged diabetes testing in a letter he wrote to popular syndicated columnist Ann Landers, and his appeal was printed in more than 1,200 newspapers. A Lion since 1956 and a groundbreaking leader as a club president, district governor and international president, Åkestam died in Stockholm on Dec. 18. “He will be remembered as a compassionate man with smiling eyes who touched many lives,” read an email sent to LCI staff. As president, Åkestam expanded Lions Quest beyond the United States and the United Kingdom into seven new nations. He also favored admitting women as Lions, and at his outgoing international convention in 1987, held not long after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a case involving Rotary that excluding women was discriminatory, Lions voted to admit women. As a school boy, tall and fit, Åkestam was a champion sprinter and sports fanatic. He first learned of Lions while in his 20s when he saw the logo on car windshields in Stockholm. “At first, I thought it was some sort of organization of automobile owners,” he told the LION. It didn’t take long for Åkestam to get up to speed–and then zoom ahead as a trailblazing Lion. He organized the first International Youth Camp in 1961 and four years later initiated Sweden’s First Red Feather Campaign. Lions smashed the non-Lion fundraising record in Sweden by raising 1 million kronor ($183,000). Lions who served under Åkestam’s leadership cherished his willingness to lead by example. In his farewell message to Lions in 1987 in the LION, identifying himself as an intrepid Viking, he wrote, “It was my honor to have served as your helmsman during this voyage.” LILY JAMESON Lily Jameson might be a 15-year old Girl Scout who voraciously reads paranormal teen romance novels and loves to play with her dog Lexi, but a young leader emerged recently when she took a deep breath and spoke up to a room full of Lions that included the international president. As secretary of the Lago Vista Leo Club in Texas, Jameson wants everyone to know how valuable and active Leos are, even if it makes her blush. This spirited, friendly high school sophomore serves her community, excels in school and is already on her way to seeing the world. Can Lions look forward to a future International President Jameson? Why did you want to speak at the Texas Lions Leadership Forum meeting? I went with my mom to a meeting of women Lions led by President Palmer. I was nervous and feeling out of my element, but I was surprised to hear that some Lions didn’t work closely with Leos or didn’t know if they had a Leo club in their area. I was practically sitting on my hands until finally I raised my hand. I wanted to tell everyone how dynamic our Leo club is and all of the useful, fun things we do for the community. We love to work with the Lions and want to touch lives and make an impact. Did you receive a positive response? At first they were surprised. But then people stood and clapped! The next day while I was in a Leo meeting, President Palmer walked in and gave me a copy of his book, “Follow Your Dream.” My face turned red, but it was really cool. After this experience, do you think you’ll want to speak out more? I think so because I recently joined my school’s debate team and the coach already put me in varsity. I guess I talk a lot! What else do you enjoy in school? I love to write, but I’ve also had fun making school projects out of cakes. I made a Tudor castle for history class and a volcano cake for science class. Magma oozed out when we cut into it! You also serve as a student ambassador for President Eisenhower’s educational travel program, People to People? I’ve traveled to six European countries so far, and I’ll visit four countries this summer. We get to do more than an average tourist. Last year we made stained glass windows at a cathedral, rappelled down a castle wall and spent a school day with students in France. I love the sights, food and people, and I hope to travel more. My plan is to study abroad when I go to medical school. You’ll have no problem achieving that goal. If we know what we want in life, there’s nothing stopping us but ourselves and we shouldn’t settle for less! I learned that from the Lions. CLUB OF THE MONTH BOISE BENCH, IDAHO YEAR FOUNDED: 1951 MEMBERSHIP AND MEETINGS: The 59 Lions gather every Wednesday at noon at a Mexican restaurant. Members take monthly turns as program chair and welcome a different guest speaker at every meeting. Ranging in age from 21 to 96, club members are a mix of retirees and professionals. The club has embraced its active website and Facebook page to attract younger members. SWINGING FOR SIGHT: The Lions plan all year for their annual summer fundraising event, “Hit the Jackpot,” held in Jackpot, Nevada. This golf tournament, banquet and auction has raised more than $250,000 for the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation in the past 18 years. The event’s jackpot hole-in-one prize—which was an airstream trailer last year—has gone unclaimed so far. A STRONG FOUNDATION: Club members take pride in their support of the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation. Both the current board president and one of the foundation’s founders are Boise Bench Lions. The Lions have donated many volunteer hours and dollars toward the foundation’s mobile screening unit, eye surgery assistance, eye glass recycling and cornea and hearing aid bank programs. Two members recently traveled to Mozambique for a vision mission, helping to distribute several thousand pairs of eye glasses provided by the foundation. SPECIAL SERVICE OPPORTUNITY: Already avid supporters of the Idaho Special Olympics, when the 2009 International Special Olympics Winter Games were held in Boise, the Lions jumped at the chance to help out. Throughout the games they could be found volunteering on the slopes and at Opening Eyes’ vision screenings. WHY SERVE?“Joining Lions was an excellent way of becoming aware of what is going on in our community and is a fantastic way of giving back and making a difference in the quality of life. Friendship and good fellowship are a bonus.” - Lion Curt Kelley OVERHEARD “I spent time all along the coast there. I know those people.” –Fred Parrish, president of the Chubbuck Lions in Idaho, on his service as a missionary in the Philippines region hit hardest by typhoon Haiyan. His club raised funds for victims. From the Idaho State Journal. “The things we do–worldwide, in the country and even the community–if these things went away, it would be a pretty sad world out there.” –Past District Governor Kay Metz of the Kennewick Lions in Washington on Lions clubs from kndo.com. “We have a need out here. When people tell me I can’t do something, that’s not the thing to say to me.” –Larry Hudson, president of the Imperial Lions Club in California, on the club’s Glasses for Kids event. From the Imperial -Valley Press. ON THE WEB Tune in to the new Lions Clubs International online radio, streaming free at www.lionsclubs.org. Choose a station from Lions Greatest Hits, Lions Oldies, Lions Country Hits or Lions Classic Country to enjoy music as well as Lions news and announcements. Look for the headphones in the upper right corner of the LCI website homepage and start grooving to Lions radio today. BY THE NUMBERS 60 Bouquets of flowers delivered on Valentine’s Day by Douglas County Lions in Georgia to benefit those with vision impairments. Frances Florist, co-owned by Lion Lori Cowie, donates $5 for each delivery. 12 “Beeper eggs” for visually impaired children included in the Easter egg hunt of the Collegeville Lions in Pennsylvania. 512 Number of items donated to Mountain Home Lions in Arkansas for their annual radio/TV/Internet auction. 107 Charter members of the new San Diego Pathfinders Lions Club in California. 38 YEARS AGO IN THE LION MARCH 1976 Members of the Monterrey Lions Club in Mexico, the world’s largest with 1,480 Lions, “make it possible for the crippled to walk again” by completely funding and operating the Luis Elizondo Rehabilitation Center. 75 Newspaper stories that mentioned the Athol Lions Club in Massachusetts in 2012-13, leading to an increase in membership. 32 Bankers boxes packed with school supplies to be distributed to students thanks to a “stuff-the-bus” drive held by Louisburg Lions in Kansas. 209 Eyeglasses collected for recycling for the Benton Lions in Illinois by Benton Grade School students. 130 Pounds of venison received anonymously by Olivet Lions in Michigan for the local food bank that had to be stored temporarily in multiple locations after the food bank’s freezer died.
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