Keller Birthplace Gets Even Better The 35,000 people who annually visit Ivy Green in Alabama, Helen Keller’s birthplace, now have another attraction to admire: a life-size statue of Keller and Anne Sullivan, her teacher. The five-foot-tall, 5,000-pound marble sculpture shows the breakthrough moment when young Helen finally understood her first word—water. Commissioned by Lions of Alabama, the outdoor monument includes flowing water. “It’s absolutely breathtaking,” says Sue Pilkilton, director of Ivy Green. “A lot of visitors says it gives them the chills.” To capture Helen’s gaze, sculptor Craigger Browne studied the faces of deaf and blind children at the Helen Keller School at the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind. Other realistic details include Helen’s head tilted skyward in joy, Helen’s thumb on Sullivan’s lips and Sullivan tenderly holding Helen’s hand. The statue is placed outdoors in the Lions Club’s memorial section. The area has gifts from Lions worldwide including lanterns from Japan and a gate from New Zealand. PUERTO RICO STRUGGLES AFTER HURRICANE Hurricane Maria disrupted life in Puerto Rico in almost every possible way including at the Lions Eye Bank of Puerto Rico. Relying solely on generators, it had to cancel eye transplants. “It was too risky,” says Lion Miriam Vazquez, its executive director and a past council chairperson. The hurricane slammed Puerto Rico with winds of 155 miles per hour on Sept. 20. The storm knocked out power to the entire island and overwhelmed the island’s resources. More than half its population of 1. 53 million lacked access to drinking water six days after landfall. Just one of its 69 hospitals was fully operational nine days after landfall. LCIF approved a $100,000 grant for relief and reconstruction shortly after the hurricane. Partnering with FEMA, which designated the 22 most affected areas, Lions brought supplies to people most in need. Ten days after landfall, Lions had delivered 465 cartons of food to six cities. Working with FEMA, district governors distributed 3,300 lunches for 30 days. Lions from New Jersey flew down and volunteered alongside Lions from Ponce. Initially, clubs were unable to meet, let alone handle major relief efforts. “A lot [of Lions] are in the mountains. They can’t travel. They spend most of the day getting food for their families. They need to get home by dark,” recounted Vazquez a few weeks after the disaster. Lions began to do more and more. But the island suffered a terrible blow. “Puerto Rico will need help for a long, long time,” says Vazquez. U. N. Day Held in Geneva for the First Time For 40 years, with only one exception, Lions Day at the United Nations has been held annually in New York. In 2017-18 three U.N. Days are being held-to better advance Lions’ new efforts against diabetes and to promote Lions’ new service framework (vision, hunger, the environment, pediatric cancer and diabetes). The first U.N. Day was held in September in Geneva the day before the Lions Europa Forum in Montreux. “The diabetes epidemic cannot be ignored,” International President Naresh Aggarwal of India told the audience. “The power of we, the power of service, and the power of Lions will take on the challenge of diabetes just as we took on the cause of blindness in 1925.” International First Vice President Gudrun Yngvadottir of Iceland also spoke on diabetes as did U.N. officials. A U.N. official also spoke on the refugee crisis. Entertainment included violinist Anthony Fournier, winner of the European Lions Music Contest; and Szilvia Agárdi, winner of the Lions World Song Festival for the Blind. The other U. N. Days will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, and New York. GANDHI STATUE UNVEILED AT HEADQUARTERS Until a permanent spot is found in downtown Chicago, a large statue of Mahatma Gandhi is being displayed at Lions’ headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois. The 7-foot-tall, 2,200-pound bronze statue was created to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Gandhi, honored in India as the “father of the nation.” The statue was dedicated in October in a ceremony attended by International President Naresh Aggarwal of India; Neeta Bhusha, the consul general of India in Chicago; and Deepak Kant Vyas, chairperson of Redberri Earth Foundation. Vyas of St. Louis-based Redberri Corporation donated the statue, designed by acclaimed Scottish artist Philip Jackson. Skype Party Honors Longtime Lion Lions in Massachusetts used a modern-day technology to honor their oldest member. Tewksbury Lions chatted with Fred Baldwin, 96, via Skype. “It was just like I was there. I was able to thank everyone,” says Baldwin, who recently moved in with his daughter in Maine. Baldwin became a Lion in 1958 when a friend asked him to join. He sold light bulbs door-to-door on Sunday for the club among many service activities. “It was a joyful job [being a Lion] for me,” says Baldwin, who owned a hardware store. “I enjoyed being a Lion as much as anything else in my life.” During World War II he was a gunner on a B-24 in the Pacific, and the club presented him with a baseball card with his photo as a soldier on one side and his military honors and medals on the reverse. “Who is that young whippersnapper? He sure is handsome,” Lion Jerry Selissen, 71, kidded Baldwin at the video party. “I was 12-years-old on October 1, 1958. You’re the only one here old enough to be my dad.” Editor’s note: Lion Baldwin died Nov. 9. LION TO PUBLISH EVERY OTHER MONTH The LION will now be printed six times a year beginning this month, instead of the current 11. Next month a digital edition of the LION, with new stories and photos, will be posted at lionmagazine.org. Print and digital will alternate each month. The March issue will be a print issue, April a digital and so on. Each of the six print issues will continue to be digitized and include bonus content. Recognizing the demand for digital content, Lions’ International Board of Directors decided in 2015 to reduce the number of print issues. In 2016 the LION upgraded the digital LION with videos and bonus stories and also optimized it for smartphones, iPads, tablets and Web browsers. The digital magazine remains available as well in a second format—a “flipbook” version that mirrors the print issue. OVERHEARD “These are the people that built the city with bricks and mortar.” —MARK CAVALERI, of the Woodbury Lions in Minnesota, referring to three charter Lions who were prominent members of the community. From the Woodbury Bulletin. “My issues seem so much smaller when you know a kid in fourth grade on the honor roll is taking baths in a sink.” —AVA COMER, 2016-17 president of the Hardeeville Lions Club and executive director of the South Carolina town’s chamber of commerce, whose club collected goods for the homeless. From the Jasper County Times. “I’ve seen some videos of people on these [vision mission] trips, and the lines are blocks, if not a mile long. People come to get tested and fitted, and the smiles! The tears! It’s powerful stuff.” —JEFF FENSKE, a St. Paul Midway Lion and a board member of the Minnesota Lions Vision Foundation, on Lions’ eyeglass recycling. From the Star Tribune. BY THE NUMBERS 12 New wooden eyeglass collection boxes deployed around town by St. Peter Lions in Minnesota in memory of 60-year member Jim Jacobs, who died in 2016. 15 Chess players taken on simultaneously by chess master David Ouellette of the Cumberland Lions Club in Rhode Island in a fundraiser for his club. 5 Rolling Bots members, the team name for eighth-graders who competed in a robotic competition thanks to the support of Truckee Host Lions in California. 188 Rain barrels sold through social media and flyers by Amherstview Lions in Ontario, Canada. 229 Volunteer hours selling tickets at Caledonia High School events logged by Caledonia Lions in Minnesota. 2,750 Households provided with food over three days by the Shelby Lions in North Carolina through their participation in the distribution program of the Cleveland County Department of Social Services. 18 Pots of chili, each holding 10 to 12 gallons, sold at the annual Chili Day of Danville Lions in Illinois. 175,200 Hours of service tallied by Taber Lions in Alberta, Canada, in its 81-year history. 54 YEARS AGO IN THE LION JANUARY 1964 The LION mourned the death of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in November and recounted his admiration for Lions. Twice Kennedy had met representatives from Lions Clubs at the White House. He especially appreciated the Lions for their person-to-person service, which, in his words, was “the most effective means of achieving mutual understanding and trust.” Extra Digital Content Read the complete story.
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