NEW YEAR, NEW LION We hope you noticed the LION this month looks different—and looks better. We’ve redesigned the magazine. Our basic content has not changed—you’re still getting stories on Lions’ projects and concerns. But we believe we’ve improved its appearance by making it more inviting and more modern. Our last redesign was in 2009, a long time for a magazine. So we hope you continue to enjoy learning about fellow Lions and their wonderful service. ECUADOR ELIMINATES RIVER BLINDNESS Ecuador has become the second country to eliminate onchoceriasis, known as river blindness. Since 1990, Ecuador’s Ministry of Health has distributed the medication ivermectin to halt the blinding disease. The ministry’s partners in the initiative included Lions Clubs International, The Carter Center, the Pan American Health Organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Merck (which donates the medication) and others. River blindness is caused by the bites of flies that live near rivers and transmit parasitic worms. The disease, besides its debilitating personal effect, takes an enormous economic toll, preventing people from working, harvesting crops and caring for children. Some 600,000 people in six nations in Latin America—Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Venezuela—had been at risk of contracting the disease. In 2013, Colombia became the first nation verified by the World Health Organization to be free of river blindness. Guatemala and Mexico have eliminated disease transmission and soon are expected to ask WHO for verification. Transmission continues in parts of Brazil and Venezuela, as well as in large swaths of Africa, where Lions, The Carter Center and others work against the disease. LCIF has provided The Carter Center with millions of dollars in grants to fight river blindness, and local Lions clubs provide logistical support and help mobilize communities to receive ivermectin. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter told the LION last year, “The Lions Clubs and LCIF are important partners of this river blindness work and have provided wonderful support in the Americas, Cameroon, Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia.” LCIF BATTLES EBOLA Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) has committed US$150,000 for Ebola aid. Lions in several countries including Japan and Sweden have already committed support to the fight against the disease. “We Lions have a longstanding history of helping those who need us around the world,” says Barry J. Palmer, LCIF chairperson. “With 167 clubs and more than 8,000 Lions in affected countries, Lions and LCIF are pledging their support for those most in need.” The outbreak of the disease in West Africa has taken more than 5,000 lives, and an estimated 4,000 children have been orphaned. To donate to LCIF, search for “ebola” at lionsclubs.org. LIONS CELEBRATE WORLD SIGHT DAY Lions Clubs International held its 17th annual Lions World Sight Day (LWSD) celebration in Reykjavik, Iceland, on Oct. 14. LWSD promotes preserving and restoring vision and helping those who are blind or visually impaired. Lions International President Joe Preston and Iceland President Ólafur Grímsson headlined the event. Lions presented ophthalmic equipment, funded by a SightFirst grant of US$70,000, to the National University Hospital of Iceland. A public exhibit, attended by more than 2,800 people, featured information on vision health as well as free vision and diabetes screenings. Lions clubs also showcased their service work. Worldwide, Lions clubs marked LWSD with vision screenings, eye camps, cataract surgeries and eyeglass collections. 100-YEAR-OLD MADE PRESIDENT Joe Scott served as president of his club in 1954. So on Oct. 23, six days after his 100th birthday, District 22 W Governor John Parker in Maryland inducted him as honorary president once again of the Williamsport Lions. A Lion for 65 years, Scott robustly rang the bell to adjourn the meeting. “It was just a great evening. Every moment was so inspiring,” says Lois Conrad, president. Scott still attends meetings and fundraisers. A World War II veteran, he taught and then served as principal at Williamsport High School. Lions and former students praised him for inspiring them during the meeting. He missed a meeting recently, which worried Conrad until she discovered why. “He was visiting another club!” PERKS OF SERVING AS OFFICER In sports, to bobble is to err or misplay. But a club in Multiple District 300 Taiwan certainly did not drop the ball in saluting club officers by presenting bobbleheads to them. The personalized bobbleheads made for the Taoyuan Linghang Lions Club include officers’ names and titles on the bases and Lions’ vests. By the Numbers 11 Days in November of airtime reserved on radio station B99-3 for ads sold to businesses by Potsdam Lions in New York with the club getting all the ad revenue. 2,300 Attendees of the annual Turkey Day held by Cody Lions in Wyoming in which more than 2,300 turkeys and game hens are won and a pickup truck is raffled off. 85Voices in the Tullahome Civic Choir that ring in the holiday season at a concert sponsored by Tullahome Lions in Tennessee. 1,255 Tree seedlings given out on Earth Day last year by Longview Kelso Earlybird Lions in Washington. 91 Years Ago in the LION JANUARY 1924 Ralph E. Fike, a “newsboy” for 25 years who could not sit up, received an electric wagon after Lions of Long Beach in California donated $100 and encouraged further donations. “He can drive it forward or in reverse, put up or take down the storm curtains, turn on and off the lights, recharge the batteries and sell his papers and candies at his ease,” the LION reported. Previously, Fike “had been wheeled about the streets in an old push cart.” Overheard “To see the kids crawl up on Santa’s lap and talk to each other in sign language just melts your heart.” –Dan Basalone, who is hearing impaired and played Santa for hearing-impaired children at a party held by Aurora Lions in Illinois. From the Beacon News. “People plan their vacations around us.” –Norene Butalla of the Cook Lions in Minnesota on her club’s Million Dollar Garage Sale. From wdio.com. “They took the plain, the barbecue, the Hickory Sticks, but they left all the all-dressed and sour cream and onion.” –Carol Morash of the Shelburne Lions in Nova Scotia, Canada, on the break-in and theft of potato chips from the kitchen of her club. From the Chronicle Herald.
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