BILL DAVIS Thornton Lions Club, Colorado “I have achieved my goal at last,” Lion Bill Davis wrote in a letter to the LION. Although that sounds like he’s finished, he isn’t. A Lion for almost 50 years, Davis has reached his goal of collecting more than 100,000 eyeglasses for Lions, and he’s still at it. Davis has personally seen to it that there are collection boxes in about 40 locations around town and nearby communities, including every optical shop, doctor’s office and the recreation center. And he personally sees that the boxes get emptied. Then he stores them in his home until they get moved on. “It’s a lot of driving, but it is well worth it because it helps a lot of people,” he says. Davis’ passion for collecting began years ago when he was a Lion in Kansas. Because of his job as an executive at Boy Scouts of America, his family moved often, and with each move he joined another Lions club. In Wichita, Kansas, Davis filled his whole garage with glasses. “We couldn’t get a car in there anymore, and my wife [Marylee] said, ‘If you ever volunteer for that again, I’m going to divorce you,’” he says, laughing. But he’s grown smarter. Now he stores the glasses in a spare room, a room separate from his Lion’s den where he displays his Lion memorabilia including more than 1,000 Lion pins from around the world. “I’ve learned,” says Davis. “As long as I keep the glasses moving and don’t leave them there too long, it’s OK. Yes, I’m still collecting. And yes, I’m still married. 52 years.” Davis, who has four children, plus grandchildren and great grandchildren, says collecting eyeglasses has been fulfilling for him. “It makes you feel so good when you see a kid try on his glasses for the first time. It does my heart good to help somebody else.” Thornton president Mary Smith adds that it does the whole club good to have Davis among them. “We’re honored to have him in the club. He works hard. He’s a dedicated Lion, and he has a great sense of humor,” Smith says. Over the years and through his moves, Davis also joined a few other service organizations. But he quit them, he says. “I like the Lions best. It’s great to be a Lion.” —Joan Cary CHARLES MOORE JR. Eagles Mere-Laporte Lions Club, Pennsylvania That’s Lion Charles Moore Jr., 88, standing along the roadway in Sullivan County in Pennsylvania picking up trash. He’s stood in offices of local businesses soliciting sponsorships for the golf outing of the Eagles Mere-Laporte Lions Club. But it’s where else he’s stood that he made his mark−on top of the gold medal stand at the Olympics. And before CEOs in New York City when he’s made highly successful appeals for their Fortune 500 corporations to be more charitable. Moore keeps pretty heady company. He was enticed to head the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy in New York in 1999 by actor Paul Newman, Goldman Sacks leader John Whitehead and real estate titan Peter Malkin. He met with CEOs for 13 years, telling them that profits were a legitimate goal but the fundamental mission of corporations ran deeper than that. “It’s not giving back but investing forward. They should be investing in their communities,” he told them. The corporations of the 150 CEOs he spent time with eventually donated $20 billion to good causes. Moore had practiced what he preached. He had run several multinational manufacturing companies, notable for their philanthropy and community concern. He now tries to motivate through books: he recently authored “Running on Purpose: Winning Olympic Gold, Advancing Corporate Leadership and Creating Sustainable Value” and, for middle school children, “One Hurdle at a Time.” His business success was predated by athletic glory. Moore won a gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki. But that hardly captures his dominance and influence on his event. Never losing a race and the runner-up for the Sullivan Award for the top U.S. athlete in 1952, he pioneered the use of 13-steps, instead of the standard 15, between hurdles. “It was a 14 percent longer stride. Everyone else did it differently,” he says. He dedicated his race to his father, who qualified as an alternate to the 1924 Games in Paris and watched his victory from the stands. “I was a surrogate for him. I loved doing it for him,” he says. “To stand on the platform and to hear the U.S. anthem played−it’s indescribable.” The competition was heightened by the tensions of the Cold War. Russia had entered its first Olympics since 1912. Russians had nine of the 10 best times in Moore’s event, and the top Russian had never lost. Yet Moore did not view the Games as nationalistic. “In the Olympic Village we ate together and talked together. It’s an amazing conglomeration of people. That’s the true essence of the Olympics,” he says. The Russian who lost to him smiled and shook his hand after the race. A few years later Moore ran into him at a track meet. “We saw each other, and right away we hugged. We didn’t need a language. There was warmth between us,” says Moore. Moore was a West Chester Lion in Pennsylvania for a few years in the 1950s before being consumed by his business responsibilities (and his eight children). He even attended the 1958 International Convention in Chicago. “When you’re from a small town in Pennsylvania, you have no idea how big Lions is,” he recalls. He rejoined Lions in 2015. “For the first time in years I have some time,” he explains. “It’s a great club. We have a lot of great spirit.” He’s quickly established himself as a key member of his club. “He’s the go-to person for advice. He’s so respected in our community,” says President Corky Engel. “He’s a good example of what a Lion should be. He definitely ‘serves.’” −Jay Copp JORDON KNUTSON Cologne Leo Club, Minnesota Lions frequently involve young people in their activities and introduce the next generation to a life of service and Lion fun. But enthused Leo Jordon Knutson of Minnesota turned the tables. Knutson, 17, president of the Cologne Leo Club, is the one who introduced her family to “the whole Lions’ world.” Since she became a Leo, her parents, Chad and Karen Knutson, have joined the Cologne Lions Club, and her younger brother, Trenton, has become a Leo. Knutson saw a flier about Leos when she was in junior high, and she attended the first meeting. “I was hooked,” she remembers. “I knew this is where I want to be. I was already doing a bunch of volunteer work at a nursing home and the library, but I knew Leo projects could have a bigger impact.” “I’m not trying to get anything out of it but the good feeling you get from helping,” she says. “I like knowing that a bunch of people are going to benefit from what I just did.” And she does a lot. The Cologne Leos collect school supplies for children in the Bahamas every year. They organized a drive for Puerto Rico hurricane victims after Knutson reconnected with a Puerto Rican Leo she met at the USA/Canada Lions Leadership Forum in Portland. The Leos support a program for single moms, entertaining their children while the mothers meet. And at the town celebration this fall, they sold suckers at a booth announcing “Hurricanes Suck.” Knutson says 10 people approached the booth with interest in joining the club. She followed up by inviting them and their families to the next Leo meeting, but also invited current Leo families so parents could meet and see what their teens are up to. A senior in Waconia High School, Knutson plans to major in nursing at South Dakota State University next year, but right now she’s busy. Her days are a steady mix of homework, dance team practice, a job as a nursing assistant at a nursing home and Leos. The push is on, she says, to convince her parents to accompany her to the 40th annual Lions Day with the United Nations in 2018 and to go with her to the international convention next summer. She remembered to take a notebook with her to the Portland forum. “It’s filled with ideas,” she says. −Joan Cary AMADIO “MADDY” RICCI Southbridge Lions Club, Massachusetts Some Lions collect pins. Some save stamps. Lion Amadio Ricci collects so he can give. Ricci, best known as “Maddy” by the other Southbridge, Massachusetts, Lions, is the king of tab collecting. He recently gave four 5-gallon pales of aluminum can tabs to the Shriners at Shriners Hospitals for Children in nearby Springfield. Shriners has long been known for collecting the tabs to cash in and help fund new hospital equipment. Ricci, 84, a Lion for half his life, says he sees no reason why Lions and Shriners can’t work together for a good cause like children. “It’s just something I’ve been doing for a long time,” says Ricci, who has multiple friends and family saving tabs for him. “I happened to have some I’d collected, and I asked members to contribute. Everybody’s been cooperative.” How many tabs are in four 5-gallon buckets? One online estimate suggests about 80,000 because a one-gallon milk jug holds approximately 4,000. President Scott Garieri says Ricci’s been collecting forever, with no plans to quit. “He’s the kind of guy you can always count on to help,” says Garieri. “But he did miss our meeting last night because he was making wine.” AMANDA DE LA ROSA El Paso Executive Women’s Lions Club, Texas Amanda De La Rosa longed to be in the company of people who would help her grow. She wanted mentors. And she wanted to do what she loves most: community service. But in the process of finding mentors, she discovered her own strengths. She’s the cheerleader for her Lions club in those frustrating moments when things aren’t going quite right. “They say I’m the little bright light,” she says. “The busy bee. But I like being a busy bee.” “Busy” might be an understatement. A member of the ROTC at the University of Texas in El Paso, De La Rosa, 29, will be commissioned a second lieutenant in the Texas National Guard this month. She is studying for a master’s degree in business administration, works part-time and serves as an alumni adviser for her college sorority. She rises at 4:30 to arrive early for ROTC physical training at 6. That’s followed by school and work, then a community service project either through Lions, ROTC or the university, and then at night, her studies. And she couldn’t sound much happier. “Lack of sleep,” she responds when others ask how she balances it all. “Just kidding. It’s all about prioritizing.” Community service has long been a top priority. “I grew up very blessed. My family never had to worry about having food on the table or clothes on our backs. But going to a high school where many students were very underprivileged, I realized that not everyone has these things. I’m very observant. I’m not naive,” she says. “I cannot fathom being selfish. I’m always doing community service and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s fulfilling.” De La Rosa became a Lion last year, joining her mother, Ellie, in the club. The El Paso Executive Women’s Lions Club consists of women who take leadership roles in their industry. Club members work as teachers, lawyers, company leaders, firefighters and more, most juggling the demands of work, family and Lions. The club’s projects vary from painting houses and collecting food to gathering interview clothing for people looking for jobs and teaching them interview skills. “She’s [De La Rosa] a great example of a strong independent woman who maintains that feminine, nurturing quality in her service to others,” says Yvonne Rosales, a charter member of the Executive Women’s Club and now charter president of the El Paso Centennial Lions Club. De La Rosa says she doesn’t do it alone. “You see the benefits of the work that the Lions do, and it’s because everyone does their part,” she says. “If everyone does one little part, the puzzle falls together on its own.” —Joan Cary
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