Jay Copp 2015-02-10 20:34:03
We are taught to be wary of pride. Pride goes before the fall is a familiar warning. Calling someone “prideful” is not a compliment. “Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves,” novelist Emily Bronte weighed in. But there is bad pride, involving a sense of superiority and conceit. Then there is good pride, a well-measured understanding and appreciation of achievement and worth. Pride can propel us to stay the course, to do good, to reach our full potential as people—and as Lions. International President Joe Preston is urging Lions to Strengthen the Pride this year. That’s a play on words, of course. A pride of Lions, a club can grow stronger in service and membership. To Strengthen the Pride also means taking pride in who we are and what we do. Only by recognizing and celebrating our service mission can we reach our potential and maximize our impact on the world. Preston has identified 10 specific ways to Strengthen the Pride. It’s not hard to find clubs and members that take pride in Lions and in strengthening their service commitment and capabilities, evidence that any Lion or club can act similarly and achieve similar results. Lions should share the pride by asking others to join. Ray Adams, an active member of the Coventry-West Greenwich Lions Club in Rhode Island since 1979, can attest to that. “As my story shows, you have to ask,” he says. Years ago, after managing his boys in Little League, he told his wife with the extra time he now had he might run for the town council. “Honey, I love you and you can do whatever you want. But the day you get elected is the day I file for divorce,” his wife, who detested politics, told him. Adams told that story to another Little League manager. “If you want to do some community service come to the golf course tomorrow night. After the round we’re having a steak fry, and I want you to meet some guys,” the baseball manager told him. Turns out it was a Lions fundraiser, and the manager, Joe Fryc, became his sponsor. Adams knows asking is essential. A few years ago Leo Lamoureux, a longtime member, died. His family had helped on fundraisers, but he had not asked them to join. The club took care of that oversight, and today his daughter, Barbara Lee Scotti, is president and her husband, Tim, will succeed Adams as treasurer. Lions should take pride in our accomplishments and traditions. Echoing Helen Keller’s call for Lions to be Knights of the Blind, Edgar “Nick” Cleves Jr. of the Alexandria Lions in Kentucky has meticulously repaired 56,000 pairs of eyeglasses out of his home over the past 22 years. Lions clubs bring him broken eyeglasses and parts from optometrists and stores, and Cleves, 87, replaces or repairs the temples and nose pieces for eyeglass missions by doctors and medical students in Haiti, Indonesia and elsewhere. Lions need to take pride in our service projects, as do the Medina Lions in Ohio. It’s not an exaggeration to say they produced a miracle. The Miracle League is for children and adults with disabilities. Lions funded its concrete/ artificial turf infield, bought uniforms and cook burgers on opening day. The pride Lions have in the league is matched and then some by parents who watch their children hit the ball, catch popups and spontaneously hug buddies running to a base. Chris Kungel sat in the bleachers watching her son, Austin, 15, play. “Look at him. He’s so happy,” she told the Sun News. His happiness peaked after he walloped a home run over the fence. “I deserve a milkshake,” he yelled to his mom. Stratton Eustis Lions from Maine and Lac Megantic Lions from Quebec, Canada, recently demonstrated they take pride in being Lions by celebrating 60 years of being sister clubs. More than 110 Lions from 15 clubs from both sides of the border gathered at the Stratton Plaza Hotel, owned by Lion Jeff Brickley. The day was filled with quiet chats, fiery speeches, fond memories, rollicking entertainment and brilliant fireworks as well as somber reflection. The two clubs, chartered on the same day and established by the same club in Maine, get together every 10 years. The towns are 50 miles apart. Eustis, which includes the village of Stratton, has only 800 residents, who often travel across the border to Lac-Magantic, population 6,000, for medical services or for shopping. Emergency vehicles from Eustis were the first from the United States to reach Lac-Magantic on July 6, 2013, after a fire and explosion from a derailed freight train transporting crude oil killed 42 people and destroyed half the downtown. Stratton Eustis Lions donated funds to their sister club for a children’s room at the new library. On their day of celebration, Brickley, who had collected donations from hotel guests, donated more funds on behalf the hotel and Lions to the Lac- Magantic club, says Neil Iverson, president of the Stratton Eutis Lions. Ponoka Lions in Alberta, Canada, show a pride to educate the public and share our accomplishments. The club bought a 48-passenger coach bus for use by the community, including senior citizens and sports teams, and wrapped the bus with its name, the Lions logo and a logo for the Ponoka Stampede, a festival featuring carnival rides and pony chuckwagon racing. Lions purchased the bus with funds from their Stampede food booth and bingos. The bus made more than 100 trips last year. “It’s a moving billboard about our club and our community,” says Barry Neath. We recall the day we receive our pins as Lions. But many of us also proudly remember the day we truly became a Lion. For Terry Loucks, a past district governor and Wellsville Lion in New York, it happened when a mother called him and said her daughter needed surgery. But the family had no insurance. His club happened to be meeting that night. When he gave her the good news the next day that the club would take care of the bills she broke down in tears. Loucks got a little misty-eyed himself. Many Lions have such pride in membership that they desire to be a Lion for life. Harold Porterfield, 87, a well-known cattle rancher, has served as a Dorris Lion in California since 1959. He joined when his wife, Ruth, told him he should be more involved in the community. His pride in being a Lion was part of growing up for sons Chet and Guy, now Dorris Lions themselves. Lion Rennie Cleland says Porterfield is a typical Lion: “He doesn’t do anything for recognition. He just does it because that’s who he is.” Lions ought to invest in our goals and missions. One effective way is to begin a Leo club, as did the Dawn-breakers Lions in Fremont, California. Lions did the spade work that blossomed into an extraordinary Leo club: the American High School Leo Club chartered last year with 212 members. The Leos have been busy volunteering for the California School for the Blind, the Fremont Festival for the Arts and a comfort kit drive for cancer patients. Take pride in our spirit of service as established by our founder Melvin Jones. This year Preston asked clubs to celebrate Jones’ birthday on Jan. 13 by taking part in Lions Worldwide Week of Service. Several Royal Oaks Lions in Michigan served on a Salvation Army’s Bed & Bread truck, distributing soup, sandwiches, coffee, cocoa and blankets in Detroit. “I’ve been blessed in my life. Now that I’m retired, I can pay back for all the blessings in my life,” Bob Westbury told the Daily Tribune. Lastly, Lions should mix in fun in all we do. Projects can be different. Why do the same-old, same-old? The Lake Jackson Lions in Texas staged a common event with a devilish twist: a ZombieFest 5K run. Lions awarded prizes for the bloodiest costume, the best moan, the best shamble, the most imaginative costume and “best in horde.” Halfway around the world, Minnamurra Lions in Australia hosted a “Kiss Goodbye to MS” event in which 55 couples locked lips at the sound of a police siren. Many clubs inject fun in meetings. “When you come to one of our meetings, it’s not all serious stuff. We joke, we crack up, we have a lot of fun,” John Griesheimer, president of the Washington Lions in Missouri, told The Missourian. All that fun retains members and attracts new ones. “They’re hooked because they see how much fun we have,” adds Griesheimer. “Never bend your head,” said Helen Keller. “Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the face.” So from this day forward let’s be Lions who are full of pride, act with pride and build communities that we will take pride in. We’ve enjoyed a proud history, and we need to build on that pride as we near our centennial. Pamela Mohr and Jennifer Gilbert Gebhardt contributed to this story.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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