PAST PRESIDENT BANKER DIES Past International President Donald E. Banker, who served as the association’s 75th president, has passed away. A resident of Rolling Hills, California, he was elected president at the 74th annual international convention held in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, in 1991. A life member of the West Torrance Lions Club, Past President Banker visited Lions in 52 countries and geographic locations in 1991-92. A Melvin Jones Fellow, he received a Key Member Award, 12 International President’s Awards and the Ambassador of Good Will Award, the highest honor granted by the association to its members. Under his leadership, the first Lions float was entered in the New Year’s Tournament of Roses Parade and continues as an annual tradition. KELLER, JONES APPEAR IN ARIZONA A club in Arizona recently hosted two distinguished guests: Helen Keller and Melvin Jones. No, it wasn’t a séance. Barbara Dienes and Jim Heig of the Sun City West Sunrise Lions entertained their club in a 30-minute skit and hope to take their impersonation show on the road. “A lot of people don’t know the story of the Lions and we can help recruit new members,” said Dienes, who recruited Heig as Jones (the Arizona native who founded Lions Clubs) because “he looked the most like him.” Already, a local association for the blind has asked the two to perform. A Lion since 1994, Dienes writes historical scripts and impersonates figures such as Martha Washington. Heig first joined the Lions in 1960 and later rejoined in 1968. WANGARI NAMED HUMANITARIAN Noble Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai of Kenya will receive the 2010 Lions Humanitarian Award. Maathai is the founder of the Green Belt Movement, a grassroots group that reduces poverty and protects the environment. In 2004, she became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace. Maathai’s en Vironmental efforts have resulted in women planting 40 million trees on community lands since 1977. She was instrumental in peacefully restoring democracy to Kenya in 2002 and then served in the Kenya parliament from 2002-2007. She will accept her award at the International Convention in Sydney. USA/CANADA FORUM SET FOR SEPTEMBER Reduced registration fees are still available until June 15 for the 34th annual USA/Canada Lions Leadership Forum. The forum is Sept. 23-25 in Milwaukee. The forum features 2010-11 International President Sid Scruggs III, other inspirational speakers and more than 70 seminars. The registration form, Forum newsletter, seminar list, information on tours and other material can be found at www.usacanadalionsforum.org. WELCOME TO THE CLUB! Helen Kingdom, 81, is a new Lion, but the Lions aren’t new to her. A retired postal worker, the Surfside Beach, South Carolina, resident attended meetings with her husband for years. But after he passed away, Kingdom decided she wanted to join the Lions and continue the projects he was involved with. Richard Phenegar, the secretary of the Myrtle Beach Socastee Lions Club, said Kingdom is a great addition to the club. “I was very pleased to see that Helen continued to attend club functions and exceptionally pleased when she indicated she would like to become a member of the club,” Phenegar said. LION: Helen Kingdom, 81 CLUB: Myrtle Beach Socastee Lions Club, South Carolina FAVORITE FOOD: Plain American food. I was raised on a farm where we always had good home cooking with plenty of fresh vegetables and meats. FAVORITE TV SHOW: Sports programs, especially baseball because I am an avid Atlanta Braves fan. WHY I BECAME A LION: My late husband was a member of the club for 15 years. I attended many Lions events with him and witnessed firsthand the good work that Lions do. When he died of cancer in May of 2009, I felt I wanted to continue my close association with the Lions and continue the good work he had done as a Lion. FAVORITE PLACE TO VISIT: Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Georgia. Members of my family live in these areas and I always enjoy visiting them. MY CLUB DOESN’T KNOW: My husband and I won the Pennsylvania lottery before we moved to South Carolina. We won $1.25 million paid out over 20 years, minus taxes, of course. We traveled to Hawaii and Nevada, toured the East Coast by bus and went on an Alaskan cruise and our home is paid for. We also donated to our church and purchased a pew. The payments have long stopped and even though we moved here in 1993, most people are just now learning about our lottery winning. I wanted people to know me before they know we won the lottery. We live just like regular people. Helen Kingdom with her late husband, Robert, who introduced her to Lions. Welcomed a new Lion into the club who you think deserves a bit of recognition? E-mail us a brief description of your Lion and the reason you’re nominating him or her at email@example.com. Please include “Welcome to the Club” in your subject line. HUMANITARIAN DIES Dr. Arnall Patz, the Lions Humanitarian Award winner in 2005, died March 10 at his home in Pikesville, Maryland. Patz, 89, was an ophthalmologist whose research in the 1950s saved countless babies from blindness. He discovered that high doses of oxygen given to premature infants caused a form of blindness called retinopathy of prematurity. Clinging to the standard medical practices of the time, many doctor and nurses initially fiercely rejected his findings as unproven. The Humanitarian Award is Lions’ highest honor. In 1956, when he received a research award, he met a woman who greatly inspired him. “Helen Keller’s eyes were so sparkly," he once told a reporter. A former director of the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University, Patz received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2004. Helen Keller presents an award in 1956 to Arnall Patz. FOUNDED: 1924 COMMUNITY SERVED: Groesbeck and Limestone County, Texas. The combined population served is about 20,000. MEMBERSHIP: 39, with members ranging in age from the 20s to 80s. MEETING MATTERS: At noon every Wednesday at Mi Rancho Mexican Restaurant in Groesbeck. The club has a tradition of voting a resounding “yes” when a new member is proposed and then a resounding “no” in the same vote. New members are always warned of this tradition beforehand so they won’t be alarmed or upset and can have fun with it. FUNDRAISING EFFORTS:The club has four annual fundraisers. The largest is the Groesbeck Lions Club Car Show in the Groesbeck City Park in May. This year was the 12th annual show. The Kosse Leo Club provides concessions. The show usually features between 65 and 85 cars and has a reputation as one of the best because of the abundant shade trees and relaxed atmosphere in the park. SERVICE PROJECTS:The group is most closely associated with projects benefitting children, including purchasing eyeglasses for students in the Groesbeck school district whose parents cannot afford them. The club generally purchases between 20 and 25 pairs of eyeglasses per year. The club also awards two $1,500 scholarships to graduating seniors, purchases school supplies for needy children and supports a plethora of Lions- and community-based programs assisting children in need. WHY BE A LION?“We have great fun, whether we are meeting or working a project. There is always a lot of laughter! We have the best programs hands down. We have a great mix of Lions that reflects our community and who are interested in giving back — especially if it benefits children.” Lion Jan Bohls, immediate past president. Groesbeck Lions Club Car Show Chairman Lion Cody Campbell (in left photo) discusses the car show entries with Lion Jim Bohls OVERHEARD “I am thankful to see flowers blooming. I am thankful for the small things–to see the sunlight, see the rain, experience life.” —Monica (who did not want her last name used), a Texas woman after a spinal tap procedure following a Lions vision screening that revealed a swollen optic nerve. On WFAA TV in Dallas/Fort Worth. “Everybody needs somebody to do something and it seems to be the same people all the time who go from hockey to soccer to maybe the Lions club.” —Werner Heine, a manager of a youth soccer association in British Columbia, Canada, decrying the lack of volunteers. From the 100 Mile House Free Press. “Merlin’s got an attitude.” –Kym Thompson, owner of the pig not chosen as a prognosticator for the Groundhog Day celebration of the Cottage Grove Lions in Wisconsin. From the Wisconsin State Journal. NEXT MONTH’S LION Meet our new international president, Sid L. Scruggs III of North Carolina, and learn how he will urge Lions to let their service shine and be beacons of hope. 0 Dollars lost when the honesty box at the vegetable stand of the Temuka Pakeke Lions Club in New Zealand was stolen. Lions had emptied the box the day before. 102,000 Vitamin-fortified casseroles prepared by Kids Against Hunger and sent to an orphanage group in Haiti. The Willmar Noon Lions in Minnesota helped prepare the packages. 150 Veterans served at a thank-you dinner by the Lynden Lions in Washington. 6,500 Energy-efficient light bulbs Balla Balla Lions in Australia expect to swap for regular bulbs in local homes and businesses. Lions earn $2 for each blub replaced. 40 Length in feet of a tractor-trailer filled with eyeglasses collected by Lions in New York. About 100,000 eyeglasses were recycled. 4,500 Food items for pantries collected at a high school football game by Defiance Lions in Ohio in partnership with two school districts. 100 Age of Lash Field at the birthday party for him by Jamestown Lions in Pennsylvania. A Lion since 1948 and a charter member, Field is a former Lion of the Year. 51 YEARS AGO IN THE LION JUNE 1959 Lions International advertised its latest Lions wear in advance of the international convention in New York. The zelan sport jacket was $5.50; club lettering on the back was an extra 50 cents.
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