Lions Go the Distance with Track Competition Herb Nida, president of the Chesapeake Proctorville Rome Lions Club in Ohio, says that for the 42 years the club has been sponsoring its annual track meet one thing has remained nearly constant. “You can count on bad weather,” he laments. “Rain, sleet or snow— it’s a given.” The 2009 event was no exception, but Lions were happily surprised when the sun came out in the morning after a night of hard rain that left grounds muddied but usable. More than 300 students from nine different schools competed in front of parents and friends for a chance to win awards, prizes and trophies. The event usually raises between $2,000 to $3,000 from the sale of programs, tickets and advertising. The money is used to pay for eye exams, glasses and other items for people in need. With the economy taking a hit, Lions believe it’s even more important to help out where they can. There are a lot of people who need assistance now, Nida told The Ironton Tribune. “Young kids whose families don’t have insurance, they aren’t working and they need glasses for school. And there are a lot of elderly people on Medicare, that only pays part. They can’t pick up the rest of it.” Lions don’t look at the track meet solely as a fundraiser, though. They run the meet every year for the kids, too. “They love the competition,” Nida says, and their families and friends also love to cheer them on. “I see neighbors having fun, people who haven’t seen each other in a while running into each other at the track meet. It’s fun for everybody,” he believes. It’s also a project that gets every club member out on the field or stands to help out—all 54 of them. Between overseeing the discus, high jump, pole vault, long jump and 100-meter dashes and high hurdles, Lions may just be moving faster than the kids on the track.
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