Leos Lose Hair for Shear Fun When the idea was first proposed by Fort LeBoeuf High School Leos Eli Miller and Donovan Owens to have athletes shave their heads during a school American Cancer Society Relay for Life campaign, adviser and teacher Angela Tarr says she had some doubts. “I wasn’t sure we’d find 11 students to volunteer,” admits Tarr, a member of the Summit Lions Club in Pennsylvania. Not only did Leos find 11 male athletes to submit to having their heads shaved in front of the entire school during an assembly, they also had two teachers volunteer. Both Miller and Owens were among the group getting buzzed by volunteer stylists from a salon recruited by Miller. “I changed my look to help change someone’s life,” Miller says. “I was so excited to get my head shaved that I was counting down the days,” adds Owens. “Then when the assembly came, it hit me like a brick wall. I was nervous to see what I’d look like. In fact, the week I got my head shaved, I found out that my friend’s mom had cancer, and it felt great that I did something to help her.” Each agreed to get either a buzz cut or a Mohawk and had their names attached to buckets so that classmates could donate cash and change. Leos raised nearly $2,500 to fight cancer, with Waterford and Summit Lions also donating to the club’s effort. Leo Kevin Stebick, whose father, Matthew, is a Waterford Lion, calls it “a little nerve-wracking” to lose his hair in front of the entire school. “I usually keep my hair short, but not this short! Even though I’ve never known anyone with cancer, this felt like the best thing I could do to help people,” he says. There was only one slight snafu, says Tarr. “We were originally going to shave heads the day of the relay, but the girlfriends of the volunteers didn’t want bald dates for the homecoming dance the next week. We changed the date.” Children’s Book Promotes the Environment Teachers at Mill Creek Elementary School in Williamsburg, Michigan, including Elk Rapids Lion Kim Ranger, wanted to create for children an easy-to-read publication about native plants. What began as a simple idea for a collection of photocopied pages soon grew into a beautifully-illustrated book that is now sold locally and has been shipped to eight other states. Funded in part by grants from Elk Rapids Lions, the book shows children how to be good stewards of the environment. The first Lions grant for $800 was soon followed by another for $1,500. Third- and fourth-grade students released a hardcover book that grew into a narrative tale complete with watercolors by fourth-graders created under the guidance of a local artist. The classes also turned their paintings into notecards that also helped raise money for publication. Going the Distance When 80-year-old Marjorie Lewis joined the Chilliwack Mount Cheam Lions Club in British Columbia, Canada, in 2009, Jim Cumyn says he knew she’d be a great addition to the club because of her commitment to helping others. He just didn’t know how far she’d be willing to go—or more accurately, plunge. Lewis rappelled down a 20-story building to raise $10,425 for Easter Seals. One of 70 who participated in the BC Lions Society Easter Seals Drop Zone fundraiser in Vancouver, Lewis was the oldest and the second-highest fundraiser. Lewis’ most ardent supporters were her club and her seven grandchildren. “One arranged for a day off work and bought a plane ticket as soon as she heard what I was doing. Two of them offered to rappel with me, but I wanted to do this on my own,” she says. Heights don’t scare her. “I was just afraid I’d do something stupid and have to be rescued. I trained on a one-story building, and it was just stepping off backwards. But I was shocked when I learned I had to climb a fence to start the descent,” she says. The rope’s weight also surprised her. “I never considered that 20 stories of rope weigh more than I do,” she says. “I was about three stories down when I realized I wasn’t going to make a fool of myself. I was going fast enough that I felt the warmth in the glove of my rope hand as I was rappelling.” She made the descent in less than 15 minutes. Lewis says she wouldn’t mind rappelling down a building again for charity: “Yes, in about 10 years.” Digital LION Watch a video about the Easter Seals’ Drop Zone adventure at lionmagazine.org. Lions Find Strength in Numbers Strasburg Lion Mike Antonacci knows many clubs sponsor chicken and pork chop dinners, 5K runs or even tractor pulls, which his own club in central Illinois does. He’s also village president, and knows well both his community of 467 people and a club crowd pleaser when he sees one. The club’s Strong Man or Woman contest consisted of four events—a tractor tire flip, the “farmer’s carry,” the Atlas stone lift and pulling a truck. Twelve women and 16 men competed in three divisions. Lions Brian and Lisa Shelton first organized the contest four years ago during the club’s Homecoming Days celebration, a tradition for 58 years. “We have a lot of people who work with their hands since we’re a farming community,” Brian explains. “I thought this would be a good way to showcase their abilities, so we just sort of ran with it.” Lions may have been running the events, but contestants did all the heavy lifting. Women’s overall champion Mollie Adams, a crossfit trainer who grew up on a dairy farm, says farm life prepared her for events like the farmer’s carry. “It’s exactly like carrying a five-gallon bucket of grain—you can feel the burn in your shoulders,” she explains. “You just have to grit your teeth and tell yourself you aren’t going to drop it.” For the women’s portion, the weight was 70 pounds on each arm. Men carried 110 pounds. Both had to carry their loads for 90 seconds. Homecoming Days raises approximately $5,000 annually from concession sales and contest entry fees. The money helps fund vision and hearing programs and pay for park and community building upgrades. “Our club really supplements services in the community that the village can’t quite afford,” says Antonacci. Iowans Feed the Hungry When West Branch Lions decided to feed people in need overseas and in their own state as part of the Hoover Hunger Project, Lion Jerry Fleagle, executive director of the Hoover Presidential Foundation in West Branch, asked them to think even bigger. “I just thought we could do more,” he says simply. “Instead of the 15,000 or 20,000 we were first thinking about doing, we put together close to 85,000 packages.” Half the meals were donated to food banks in three counties to help Iowans in need; the rest were shipped to West Africa. The Hoover Hunger Project, sponsored by Lions and the foundation, commemorated the 50th anniversary of the president’s state funeral in West Branch, which drew more than 75,000 mourners. A West Branch native, Herbert Hoover helped launch food assistance programs in Europe. “The raw ingredients were delivered the night before our packaging event. Each meal that volunteers package costs only 25 cents,” explains Lion Andy Corr. Lions donated $22,000 to Outreach, Inc., which bought rice, soy protein, dehydrated vegetables, vitamins and minerals for international recipients. In the United States, food bank recipients receive packages that also contain macaroni and cheese, protein and vitamins. Corr says he was at first concerned how the event would go. “We had solid commitments from only 75 to 80 volunteers, including Lions.” Again, Iowans came through. “We had 212 volunteers show up. The whole packing process was completed in less than three hours,” he recalls.
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