Joan Cary 2017-09-19 13:27:23
Lions Leave a Big Legacy Minnesota Lion Paul Drotos had a big idea for his club’s Centennial Community Legacy Project, and it involved eyeglasses. Not just any old eyeglasses. BIG eyeglasses. “I wear eyeglasses. As Lions we collect glasses. We donate glasses, and we’re all aware of how important eyeglasses are,” says Drotos, a Lion for 33 years. “Go big or stay home.” So the Red Wing Lions went big—big with “Spectacles,” 4-foot-tall, 12-foothigh and 12-foot-wide, powder-coated steel eyeglasses designed by a Red Wing artist and created by metal fabricator Justin Neufeldt. Neufeldt, a new member of the club, had won the local Lions Peace Poster contest as a child and volunteered his labor. Located in Colville Park near a playground, these eyeglasses will never be misplaced or left behind like others, and hopefully never break. They are made to last 100 years or more and invite children to have a “hands-on” approach to art, says Drotos. They also meet the three conditions LCI suggests for choosing a Legacy project: raise community visibility of Lions, provide a community gift and make an impact on the community. Since LCI added Centennial Community Legacy Projects in February of 2016, more than 20,000 projects have been reported on MyLCI with 20 percent of clubs participating. Clubs are asked to have the projects completed by June 30, 2018. “Spectacles” appeared in June, but along with the unveiling of the sculpture came lots of regular eyeglasses. With support from District 5M 1, schoolchildren and many individuals making donations, the Lions also collected 30,200 eyeglasses. Nearby, Wisconsin Lions in October of 2016 launched their Centennial Eyeglass Challenge, challenging nearly 18,000 Lions in the state to collect 100,000 eyeglasses by the end of the 2017 state convention in May. But by January they had already passed their goal, and the convention was four months away. They upped the goal to 250,000. The final number of eyeglasses collected: 295,308. “We refreshed a long-standing project, created a MD 27 Legacy Project and implemented the first-ever Statewide Eyeglass Tour [a friendly contest between districts],” says Lion Jodi Burmester, the Centennial Celebration co-coordinator. “Most importantly, almost 300,000 people’s lives will be changed when they are fitted with a pair of eyeglasses. That, my friends, is what it means to be a Lion.” But that was not enough. As Lions enter the final year of the Centennial Celebration, the Wisconsin Lions have taken on another challenge. They want to screen the vision of 100,000 children by June 20, 2018. Back in Red Wing, “Spectacles” has already become more than art. It’s a magnet—a magnet for kids, a magnet for new members and a magnet for smiles, says Drotos. “It’s really a masterpiece.” Follow the Legacy Trail through Lions Park What the Jarvis Lions in Ontario, Canada, have long envisioned is now a reality. The mile-long Jarvis Lions’ Walking Trail, commemorating 100 years of Lions as well as Canada’s 150th birthday, invites residents and visitors to stroll or bicycle through Jarvis Lions Park and on. The 10-acre park located in the small community of 2,000 has been the pride of the Jarvis Lions since the club was formed in 1948. Although the $220,000 trail project was planned for a few years, work was begun and completed over the summer, including the addition of solar lighting, benches and mature shade trees. In August, the Lions celebrated with a grand opening. The project was developed in partnership with Haldimand County and originally planned to be completed in two stages, says Lion Rick Fess. “Once we figured out the budget, though, and got a sense of the community support for the initiative, we realized it might make more sense to try to do it all at one time.” And with the support of a generous community that helped the club raise almost two-thirds of the budget, and the hard work of committed Lions, they did. Legacy Projects Meet Community Needs The 20,000 projects clubs have undertaken to commemorate the centennial display ingenuity, enterprise and a servant’s heart. South Philadelphia Lions are donating 100 books to the library, feeding 100 veterans and cleaning 100 city blocks. Martins Ferry Lions in Ohio built a 37-foot-long stone wall in the city park honoring veterans from the five branches of the U.S. military. Devon Lions in Alberta, Canada, erected an LED sign to publicize events for nonprofit groups. The Taylorsville Winfield Lions in Maryland installed a welcoming oak bench near the playground in Krimgold Park where families can enjoy time together. Michigan Lions led by District 11 E1 Diabetes Chairperson Bill Bradfield raised $4,300 through their Centennial Motorcycle Ride and $18,500 through their Snowmobile Centennial Ride for their Defense Against Diabetes program. Red Deer Central Lions in Alberta, Canada, came roaring through with $50,000 toward the cost of the Red Deer City Soccer Association’s much-needed indoor soccer field that accommodates more than 4,000 soccer players during the winter season as well as sporting events. Garrison Lions in Minnesota built two giant yellow chairs for visitors to enjoy outside a coffee shop and hosted an ice cream party for the community. The small but mighty Ellicottville Franklinville Lions Club in New York, with six active members, donated more than 100 hours of labor refurbishing 50 benches throughout the community. They finished by adding a Lions emblem to each bench. Mount Cheam Lions partnered with the Steller’s Jay Lions and raised $600,000 for cataract surgical equipment for the Eye Centre at Chilliwack General Hospital in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada. Three western New York Lions clubs joined forces for a murder mystery dinner, a 1920s adventure that resulted in a $1,500 donation to the Olmsted Center for Sight. Streator Lions in Illinois are constructing a 20,000-square-foot fenced dog park that includes a water station and a shelter with benches and tables. In Hot Springs, Arkansas, the Breakfast Lions and the Evening Lions are coming together to create a community garden including a tool shed, a hoop house, meeting facilities, a gazebo, a butterfly garden, fruit trees and 40 raised bed plots. The garden will provide a place for educational seminars on healthy eating, growing organic produce and more. Lions in Wainwright, Alberta, Canada, donated a bench to the Wainwright Medical Center and in their local parade had the first-place float, celebrating Lions’ and Canada’s birthdays. The Maryville Pride, Maryville Host, Pickering, Hopkins and Graham Lions clubs in Missouri have joined forces to support an Iowa artist who is painting tributes to veterans on large boulders in all 50 states. His national project follows his efforts to paint “freedom rocks” in each of Iowa’s 90 counties. Each mural is inspired by local history, and the Lions of Maryville are also selling commemorative bricks. Lions in each of the seven Ohio districts sponsored “Steps,” a walk or run to support Ohio children’s hospitals’ pediatric cancer research programs. With the help of a grant from LCIF, Lions clubs in Brazil will provide the Santa Izabel Maternity Clinic with an updated ultrasound machine and the regional hospital with a cryostat machine that quickly freezes tissue samples from biopsies for immediate analysis. Lions regularly volunteer at the Bauru Association to Combat Cancer and prepare clothing for newborns at the maternity clinic. About 40 Lions clubs across the Humber district in England placed more than 20,000 cans of food along a mile stretch of the Humber Bridge before donating them to local charities and communities. A soup kitchen was set up at the end of the bridge, and 100 lanterns were lit in memory of Lions who have died. Gdynia Lions in Poland are building a yacht for those with disabilities. Fundraising is under way, and construction has started on the “STS Melvin Jones” at a shipyard in Gdansk. Lions clubs of the British Isles and Ireland sponsored 10 runners named “Team Lions” in the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon, raising money for the Blind Veterans United Kingdom Facility in Llandudno, a seaside community in Wales. With the assistance of an LCIF grant, five clubs in Brazil furnished and equipped a new hospital wing with cardiac monitors, wheelchairs, oximeters and more. The wing is designed for patients with long hospitalizations, primarily the elderly, lowering their risk of infection during their stay. In England, Lions in the 45-year-old Redditch Lions Club celebrated by inviting 100 “pensioners” or retirees to a traditional English tea party for tea, sandwiches and cakes enjoyed with music and entertainment. Mijas Lions in Spain created a monument using handmade Spanish tiles to create a centennial logo that says “Desde 1917” (from 1917) and “100 anos serviendo a la humanidad,” which means “100 years serving humanity.” The Hyderabad South Lions Club in India constructed a concrete bus stop at the entry point to the city that will protect thousands of daily commuters from heat and rain for years to come. The Goolwa Lions in Australia celebrated the centennial by donating two sailing boats to the Goolwa Aquatic Club to help local youth learn to sail. Each boat has a new sail that displays the Lions’ centennial logo.
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