Fruits of their Labor Benefit Others A son’s solemn vow to his father is helping to feed those in need in Louisiana. Lionel Boudreaux of the Marrero Lions Club once promised his father, also a Lion who is now deceased, that he would never sell any fruit picked from trees on the family’s farm. Boudreaux allows Lions to harvest the crop of oranges and grapefruits from fruit trees planted 14 years ago and then donate it to the Gretna Food Bank. Before the donation to the food bank, Boudreaux donated fruit to local schools and senior centers. The food bank, managed by Lion Eileen Kush, received enough fruit in the second year to give to 50 families. The Marrero Lions Club’s first priority remains sight and hearing conservation. But in these tough economic times Lions have expanded their service. “If we hear of any person in the community who’s having a hard time, we’ll give them a donation,” says Bernadette Hines. The club raises funds from bingo games, fruitcake sales and poker tournaments. They pay for disabled children to attend the Louisiana Lions Camp, serve free refreshments at senior centers and sponsor a Policeman’s Day where officers receive a dinner and a Family Day for community members. Lions in Tennessee Aim High, Hit Mark The Grist Mill Trail that climbs upward for nearly a mile on a steeply wooded hill provides an unparalleled view of the forest and Clinch River in Tennessee. The observation point at the pinnacle features a welcoming pavilion where backpackers and hikers can relax and enjoy the cooler sheltered air. Norris Lions regularly braved the climb and undertook the tough task of rebuilding the pavilion’s 20-year-old shake roof. “There was a hole up there so big you could have dropped a cat through it—a good-sized cat,” says Lion Susan Daniel. Lions replaced the old shake roof with metal for longer life. The Norris Watershed Board paid for materials, and city workers helped haul materials to and from the trail’s peak. The job began in the fall and ended in the spring. “The shake shingles had deteriorated to the point that only moss was holding them together in many places,” says Steve Painter. “In many places the underlying decking was rotten.” Lions took down the old roof with reciprocating saws. Painter’s workshop was crammed with not only wood, but also Lions as they built fascia boards, rafters and plywood decking. Putting up the new metal roof, steeply sloped, proved a bit trickier. For support, Painter used a harness tied to an eye bolt at each end of the structure. The harness held tight while he drilled and riveted the hip cap in place. The observation point is a favorite destination of area hikers. The vistas are gorgeous. Says Daniel, “Don’t lose track of all that might and majesty, but look up at the rafters overhead. Consider how that roof got there. If you have even the slightest fear of heights, catch your breath again.” Sight and Service Guide Lion’s Mission There have been many defining moments during Dr. Jim Weyrich’s 16 vision missions to the Philippines. During a recent trip, a 93-year-old woman received eye care for the first time in her life. She was thrilled to finally see clearly the faces of her children and grandchildren. Two adult brothers, both legally blind, could finally see the world without blurriness after receiving eyeglasses. “You can’t beat that,” says Weyrich. Weyrich, an optometrist, and his wife, Ellen, belong to the Aberdeen Lions Club in Washington. They and other volunteers help the poor in the Philippines through the EyeCare WeCare Foundation, founded by Weyrich. For the past eight years, the Weyrichs have gone twice yearly to the Philippines, where the foundation has established a branch office and mobile clinic. A 40-foot bus equipped with vision care equipment and supplies is housed in the Philippines to facilitate travel between many of the country’s 7,107 islands. Thanks to the missions, more than 23,000 men, women and children have received eyeglasses and 500 cataract surgeries have been done. The missions involve many Lions and partners. More than 50 Lions from the Olangapo/Subic Bay area helped during a recent five-day mission. An LCIF International Assistance grant and the generosity of District 19 G Lions, including the Weyrich’s own club, helped fund a recent mission. Organizing trips is never an easy task even with local Lion coordinators. “After arriving in Manila, it was a 6-hour ride to Olongapo,” Weyrich says of the latest trip. “Just to get the mobile clinic to Olongapo, the 25 EyeCare WeCare volunteers had to endure a 48-hour ferryboat ride from Negros Island to Luzon Island. It’s worth it because so many lives are changed.” Recycled glasses are donated by the Northwest Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center in Olympia, the Oregon Sight and Hearing Foundation in Portland and the Northwest Kiwanis SOS (Save Old Spectacles) program. Bausch & Lomb donates provisions including intraocular lenses and medications. SEE International provides surgical supplies. U.S.-based Resources for the Blind assists with medical staffing. Hawaiian Air transports for free many surgical supplies from the United States to the Philippines, helping conserve the foundation’s shrinking budget. It had averaged $40,000 a year, but with the economy’s downturn its budget was nearly halved last year. Volunteers such as the three primary physicians and their friends who went on a mission last year pay their own way. The budget may be down, but the need is definitely up. When missions first began, the average number of patients seen daily was around 70. Now it’s as many as 400. The joy of patients is priceless. “No one can put that experience into words,” says Weyrich. Painting the Playground Members of the Strathroy-Caradoc Lions Club in Ontario, Canada, took up their paintbrushes–and an assortment of other tools–to give a new look to some old playground equipment in Alexander Park in Strathroy. With paint donated by the municipality, Lions got to work quickly alongside a sign identifying the club and proudly proclaiming, “Men, women and families— Together We Serve.” Chartered in 2009, the club isn’t much older than the community it serves. The town of Strathroy and the township of Caradoc merged in 2001 to form a new municipality of 20,000 people. Lions collect eyeglasses and hearing aids for recycling, support Camp Dorset for families of kidney dialysis patients, Leader Dog and Lions Quest, and sponsor beautification and cleanup projects. Roadside Cleaning Earns Award For the past 30 years, members of the Hanford Breakfast Lions Club in California have diligently been keeping the roadside along busy Highway 43 clean and clear of trash and debris. “We do two highway cleanups a year,” says Lion Chiragkumar Patel. Lions collect approximately 40 bags of trash each time. Bags are supplied by the California Transportation Department, which named the club a “Volunteer of the Year” for the area in 2012. A prominently displayed sign on the highway identifies Lions as participants in the Adopt-a-Highway program.
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