A FEW YEARS AGO, LION BILL HASLETT AND HIS WIFE, LINDA, TRACED HER FATHER’S FOOTSTEPS ACROSS EUROPE DURING WORLD WAR II. JAMES MOONEYHAN, A CAPTAIN IN THE ARMY, LANDED IN NORMANDY AS PART OF D-DAY, ROLLED INTO PARIS SHORTLY AFTER ITS LIBERATION AND SURVIVED THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE. THE ENEMY—AND DEATH—WERE OFTEN PERILOUSLY CLOSE. ONE EVENING HE STOPPED HIS JEEP AND NOTICED HE SAT DIRECTLY UNDER THE BARREL OF AN UNSUSPECTING GERMAN TANK. “WHEN IT’S DARK, I NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE,” HE THOUGHT TO HIMSELF. Haslett was especially moved when he stood on the cliffs of Normandy. “The Americans had to scale the cliffs. They were mowed down by the thousands. To look down on the ocean and think about that …. ,” says Haslett, a member of the Winnsboro Lions Club in South Carolina. Mooneyhan made it back alive, secured a job selling oil to farms and stores and served as a civilian—as a Lion. But 22 other soldiers from his small county were killed in action and 14 others died during the war. It’s those men Haslett wanted to honor, so he persuaded his Lions club to erect a memorial to those killed in the war. Lions quickly raised $45,000 by selling commemorative brick pavers. Legacy Projects run the gamut. Winnsboro Lions in South Carolina erected a World War II Memorial. The Fairfield County WWII Memorial was dedicated on Memorial Day in 2015. More than 500 people attended, and the guest speaker was Lt. Clebe McClary, who lost his eye and the use of an arm in battle in Vietnam. The new memorial sits near three other granite memorials—for Vietnam, the Civil War and a “tent” monument marking where British Lord Cornwallis encamped during the Revolutionary War. The WWII memorial was not just another club project: the club designated it as a Legacy Project of Lions’ centennial. Lions Clubs International has been encouraging clubs to celebrate the centennial by initiating Legacy Projects. Lions are asked to serve the community and at the same time alert or remind people of who Lions are and what they do by building or developing something concrete and lasting. Carterton Lions in New Zealand commissioned a statue of the town’s founder, philanthropist Charles Rooking Carter. So clubs worldwide have been constructing piers, erecting clocks and installing park benches. They’re renovating Scout lodges, constructing bus shelters and planting trees—and typically leaving behind a plaque or sign with the Lions logo. So far, 9,641 Legacy projects have been reported to LCI. Ponce Inlet Lions in Florida decided to honor past members through a Legacy Project. The late Connie Hunter, a charter member, was a dynamo. “She just loved the town so much and did so much,” says President Shirley Okhovatian. In her memory, the club paid for a decorative fountain at a new park in town. The $5,000 needed came from club coffers, filled by its annual fundraisers such as Barktober Fest, Western Night and a fish fry. For good measure, the club also dedicated two memorial benches for charter members Bill and Hazel Dauksis, though the latter is still very much with us. “She sat right on it and said, ‘This is my bench,’” says Okhovatian. Ballinger Noon Lions in Texas also sponsored a Legacy Project that benefited the community, spotlighted the centennial and honored an outstanding member. Lions in the small town of 4,000 dedicated the Ballinger Noon Lions Club Plaza in April in honor of member Everett “Ebb” Grindstaff, the 1982-83 international president. The Grindstaff family had owned the lot until they donated it for the plaza. As president, Grindstaff, believed to be the longest serving attorney in Texas, rallied Lions against diabetes and drug abuse. Clubs should report their Legacy Project using the MyLCI Service Activity Report, under the Community and Culture activity type. Clubs earn a special banner patch for completing a Legacy Project. LEGACY PROJECTS DON’T HAVE TO BE BIG, SPLASHY OR EXPENSIVE. LCI HAS DESIGNATED THREE LEVELS OF PROJECTS. LEVEL 1 These Legacy Projects raise Lions’ visibility through Lions signs, park benches, a statue or a park fountain. LEVEL 2 These projects involve a community gift. Examples include refurbishing a park, building a footbridge over a heavily-traveled road, funding resources for the visually impaired, planting trees or donating a vehicle to a community organization that needs one. LEVEL 3 These large-scale efforts make an impact on the community. Examples include building a clinic, expanding a library or school, equipping a hospital or developing a training center to teach new work or life skills.
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