AZERBAIJAN BECOMES 209TH LIONS’ NATION The Republic of Azerbaijan is Lions’ 209th country or geographic area. 2013-14 International President Barry Palmer honored members of the Baku Lions Club during the flag ceremony on July 6 at the 97th International Convention in Toronto. The nation of 10 million people located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. VIDEO SPOOFS PANCAKE BREAKFASTS A funny video spoofing Lions pancake breakfasts and featuring performers from a famed Chicago comedy troupe can be seen on YouTube and the LCI website. The short video was made by Lions Clubs International to go viral and spread the message that Lions have fun doing service. The video features real Lions as well as members of Second City, whose alumni include Mike Myers, Bill Murray, Tina Fey and Steve Carell. Some Lions have posted on Facebook that the video perpetuates stereotypes about Lions. But others defended the video. Lion Frank Conforti wrote, “The mere fact that Lions Clubs International and not some late night show presented this refutes the stereotypical image. Now it is up to all Lions clubs to prove them right. I hope they continue to shake things up with messages like this.” TENNESSEE JUDGE ELECTED 2ND VP A Tennessee judge will serve as international president in 2016-17. Past International Director Robert E. Corlew was elected second international vice president July 8 at the 97th International Convention in Toronto. (Full coverage of the convention will be in the October LION). A state chancellor, Corlew joined the Murfreesboro Lions Club in 1978 and served as an international director from 2011-13. Corlew will follow current President Joe Preston of Arizona and First International Vice President Dr. Jitsuhiro Yamada of Japan, who will be president in 2015-16. LIONS BATTLE BREAST CANCER October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Lions have done much to promote early detection and support treatment for those impacted by the disease. Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) has provided more than $3.6 million for cancer-related grants including more than $800,000 for women’s cancer support. Lions and LCIF team up to provide cancer screening equipment to hospitals and establish or expand cancer clinics and mobile screening units. For example, Lions in Lebanon received a $66,000 Standard grant from LCIF to equip two breast cancer screening clinics in Lebanon and one in Jordan. The clinics screen approximately 10,000 women each year for breast cancer. ONE OF US DHARAMDEO SAWH Life is good for retiree Dharamdeo Sawh in Roanoke, Virginia. Sawh’s time is filled with his nine grandchildren, his wife of 52 years, Angela, his therapeutic golf game and his Cave Spring Lions Club. Sawh is so dedicated to Lions service that he has the rare distinction of having been club president on two continents. A native of Guyana, Sawh is a descendant of indentured laborers who traveled from India in the 19th century. While a Georgetown Lion, Sawh helped his family’s lumber business become one of the top in its industry and had an unexpected stint in the Guyanese government before following his children to the United States in 2000. What was it like growing up in Guyana? It’s a wonderful mix of different cultures living together and a beautiful place with a tropical climate. I do miss sleeping with all of the windows open and the abundance of fresh fish, fruit and vegetables. You sound like you could work for the tourism board. I did serve in the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Industry from 1990-92. I worked hard to put Guyana on the map for ecotourism. Prior to that, I served as Minister of Forests and in the Ministry of Public Utilities. I helped restructure the forestry industry and made it more sustainable. Did you always want to be a public servant? In 1986 I was called in to meet with the new president. I didn’t know what it was about. I had been recommended from my work in the timber industry, and he asked me to be the Minister of Forests. The meeting lasted no more than two minutes! I was stunned, but my first reaction was to say it was an honor to be asked. I believe that it was my Lionism that made me quickly agree to serve my country. Was it difficult to leave Guyana and come to the U.S.? It’s wonderful here. My four sons, three of whom are in the States, encouraged my wife and me to come. And I found the Lions—by coincidence, the house we moved into in Roanoke turned out to be right across the street from the clubhouse! When you’re not busy with Lions or your family, where can you be found? I play golf a lot. I’ve been playing since the 1970s in Guyana, although before I tried it I thought it was a game only for old people. My first time it took me six tries to hit the ball! I love the challenge and being out in nature. It helps keeps me sane. CLUB of the MONTH BRANDERMILL-MIDLOTHIAN-WOODLAKE (BMW), VIRGINIA COMMUNITY SERVED: Chesterfield County, Richmond, Virginia DATE FOUNDED: 1978 MEMBERS AND MEETINGS: The oldest service organization in the community, the 33-member club meets on the 2nd and 4th Thursday evenings at the Brandermill Country Club. After the Pledge of Allegiance, the Lions’ toast, a joke and a Lions’ history factoid, the members get down to business. The club president, 38-year-old state Assistant Attorney General Patrick McDade, claims the title of youngest member. NETTING REWARDS: In March, May and September, the Lions’ schedule is packed to the gills with three fishing tournaments and a youth fishing clinic. Held on the Swift Creek Reservoir, each tournament brings out up to 50 teams that vie for the top prize of $1,000 for the heaviest catch. Last year’s top honor went to the team with a catch weighing 20 pounds 8 ounces. The fish are released, but the Lions retain the funds raised to use for vision service projects. THE SOUND OF SERVICE: The Lions helped found the Communication Center for the Deaf in 1982 and the Central Virginia Lions Hearing Aid Bank in 1993. They collect used hearing aids and purchase new aids for low-income community members, averaging about 150 hearing aids provided each year. FUNDRAISING FEAST: For 35 years, hungry folks have showed up in droves to the Lions’ annual Crabfest. At a bargain of $20, happy campers chow down on blue crab, jambalaya and corn on the cob. Last year, turnout improved after the event’s chef did a pre-event demo of his flavorful jambalaya on the local TV news. Funds raised enable the Lions to provide holiday gifts to families in need. WHY SERVE? “It doesn’t take much effort to reach out and help someone. I’m physically challenged, but I forget my own limitations when I put others first. Being needed and having a purpose is the gift I receive in return. That is what it means to be a Lion.” –Elizabeth Binnings BY THE NUMBERS 127 Donors who took part in a bone marrow drive held by Harrison Lions in Arkansas for the bone marrow registry. 3,300 Daffodil bulbs planted in 40 minutes at Ella Sharp Park in Jackson, Michigan, by members of the Jackson Host, North Jackson, Jackson Eye Openers and Vandercook Lake clubs. 604 Suitcases and travel bags collected for a family crisis intervention center by Parkersburg Lions in West Virginia. 24 Hours teenagers spent in or near cardboard boxes during the “Homeless Sleepout” staged by Minersville Leos in Pennsylvania to raise funds to help the homeless. 15 Interval in minutes between prizes awarded for the largest perch caught in the Perch Derby held by Oxford Lions in New York. 6,000 Wheelbarrow-loads of concrete, in addition to 3,000 feet of lumber, 3 tons of steel, 165 meters of plastic and 2,000 hours of labor by Orangeville Lions, needed to complete an outdoor concrete sports pad in Ontario, Canada. 34 YEARS AGO IN THE LION SEPTEMBER 1980 Mother Teresa accepts a check for $26,000 for her recently opened Missionaries of Charity facility in Dar es Salaam from Tayab Nurbhai, president of the Dares Salaam Host Lions Club in Tanzania. Looking on are (right) Tanzanian President Julius K. Nyerere and Cardinal Laurean Rugambwa. The Missionaries of Charity Home for Peace and Joy taught the needy trades and crafts. OVERHEARD “I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day./When it’s cold outside I’ve got the month of May.” –During Marvelous Motown and More, a show staged by Cambridge Lions in Ohio. “What in heaven’s name brought you to Casablanca?” “My health, I came to Casablanca for the waters.” “The waters? What waters? We’re in the desert.” “I was misinformed.” –At the Century Cinemas in a showing of the film classic “Casablanca” by Letterkenny Lions in Ireland to raise funds for a bus for St. Bernadette School. Some patrons dressed as Rick, Ilsa and Sam. “I’ll never forget when he [late Lion Russ Stetler] stood up and announced it. I just wrinkled my nose and thought why do we want to do this? Russ said, ‘To make money.’” –Past District Governor Bill Dubats, longtime concert chairperson, on the Anoka Lions Music Show in Minnesota, begun in 1988. From ABC Newspapers. “A lot of the music is taken from the college days of the chorus members. I’m surprised they can remember their college days.” –Keith Ashley, show director, on the annual variety show of the Simcoe Lions in Ontario, Canada. From the Simcoe Reformer.
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