Lions Kick Off a Legendary Performance The Bolton Lions in Massachusetts were searching for ways to raise money to support numerous causes. Then just like magic, an idea was born. In October, they hosted the first of their Legends of Music Concert Series featuring Peter Yarrow of the famed 1960s folk music trio Peter, Paul & Mary. Yarrow, who is credited for co-writing the hit “Puff, the Magic Dragon” in the 1960s, performed for an excited crowd of 200-plus, and Lions took in more than $10,000. “The concert was nothing short of amazing,” says Lion Terry Tvrdik, who leads the project. “People had the times of their lives.” Tvrdik says the intent of the music series is to raise money for the many causes that Bolton Lions support, but also to give back to the community and raise awareness of the local and international work performed by Lions. The club plans for this to be the first in a series that will continue next spring when members hope to have located a corporate partner willing to serve as a co-sponsor. In addition to Yarrow’s performance and the excitement for many who got to meet the musician, Lions auctioned off the guitar from Zager Guitar in Nebraska that Yarrow used to play his hit, “Puff, the Magic Dragon.” It brought in $2,750. Lions contributed in various ways to get the event organized and promoted, says Tvrdik, and now that one concert is under their belt they look forward to more next year. He originally came up with the idea when he was home with his dogs and listening to music. When Bob Dylan’s iconic “Don’t Think Twice,” sung by Peter, Paul & Mary came on, Tvrdik says he thought, “That’s it! I know what I have to do.” And so, with the help of fellow Lions, he did it. Recycling, Creativity and Service Come Together In Sonora, California, a wooden snowman on the lawn says much more than “Happy Holidays.” The snowmen, like the wooden pumpkins that decorated homes at Halloween, are a sign of support for the Sonora Lions’ Tree Mortality Aid Program (TMAP). Through TMAP, Lions are using the wood of beetle-killed trees to create decorative lawn ornaments that they sell to raise money. That money helps low-income and elderly with the cost of removing other beetle-killed trees on their property. Sonora lies in the middle of the Central Sierra where state officials estimate about 66 million trees have died from the lethal combination of drought and beetle infestation. While most of these trees are on land owned by the federal government, not all are. For homeowners, taking down one dead tree can be difficult and expensive. Many people have more than one. Removal of the dead trees is essential, Lion and retired Forest Service employee Glenn Gottschall explained to his club last year. Dead trees near the home present a falling hazard and a fire hazard. But many people cannot afford to have the work done or cannot do it themselves. Faced with that problem, Past District Governor and Sonora Lion Tom Penhallegon came up with the idea to organize the TMAP. With the support of other Sonora agencies, more than 100 people have been identified as in need of assistance, and more than 150 trees on private property have been cleared, says Penhallegon. “The fire hazard has become so apparent this year. The average cost to remove trees around a residence is $1,000 per tree, and many of these homes have between four and 14 trees that need to be removed to bring them into compliance with the state,” he says. Lions get the 3-inch-thick rounds of wood, and with some dowel rods, buttons, paint, a hand-me-down scarf and a little artistic talent, they take a bad situation and turn it into a fundraiser and smile inducer. The festive pieces have been popular, and the program has raised $27,000, he says. The Lions and other civic organizations want to increase that to $1 million. TMAP has also received grants from state, corporate and local entities totaling more than $100,000. The rest is being raised by projects from Lions, Kiwanis and Rotary clubs, and local donors, and Lions expect the project to be ongoing for at least two more years. Traveling Back in a 1917 Oakland Whether they were on time or fashionably late, cruising like kings or huffing and puffing up the hill, when Lion Dave Sarna and his friend John “Gunner” Gunnell arrived in a Wisconsin town this fall, curious Lions were out to greet them and their “new” car. With the support of the Manawa Lions, Sarna and Gunnell, a noted automobile author, drove Gunnell’s 1917 Oakland Model 34 touring car on the Yellowstone Trail across Wisconsin to raise money for Wisconsin Lions Camp and awareness of Lions’ centennial. It wasn’t a fast ride with them averaging about 25 mph, but both would say that despite the occasional hiccup and the need to use the trailer that followed behind, it was a fun one. “I expected we would cover the entire route in 20 hours at that magical 25 miles-per-hour average, but with some of the mechanical difficulties we experienced I was behind the wheel for 12, about twice as long as a modern automobile would need to cover the entire 400 miles,” says Sarna, a mechanic whose ride for Lions followed a trip to Utah where he drove a race car at 206 mph. The Yellowstone Trail was the first transcontinental automobile highway in the U.S. that passed through the northern tier states, including 406 miles of Wisconsin road that meanders through 17 counties. Sarna and Gunnell estimate the Oakland’s wooden wheel tires saw 200 miles of that road, and spent the other 200 on the trailer. Occasionally they also had to push the car, although they say “it pushes very well.” And on a few occasions, it had to be brought in for repairs. “Things that are done electronically on modern cars all had to be done manually then. We were worried about the wooden wheels breaking. And the tires are kind of on the old side, and we didn’t have a spare,” says Gunnell. But they forged ahead. “Dave is a guy who doesn’t give up. If Dave wasn’t involved in the Yellowstone Trail Tour I probably never would have started. He doesn’t know what the word ’quit’ means,” says Gunnell. Lions’ donations for the trip totaled more than $7,000, and while many Lions were able to sit in the car and ask questions, some also got a ride they will never forget. Sarna was asked which modern convenience— heat, air conditioning, radio, adjustable seats—he missed the most during his travels. “Let’s reflect on what a convenience the Oakland was in 1917, when the rest of the country was getting around by wagon and horses,” he replied. “Makes you think.” Teaching Fire Prevention The people of Brome Lake in Quebec, Canada, have not forgotten the cold night in 2008 when a fire took the life of a young girl asleep inside her family home. Nor have they forgotten that the home did not have a smoke detector. “How do you keep the citizens, especially your children, safe while sleeping?” they asked. Knowlton Lions reached out to support a program started by the Brome Lake Fire Department to teach children from kindergarten through sixth grade about fire prevention. Project Guardian Angels began with the firefighters distributing smoke alarms equipped with a lithium battery to the students in the town’s two schools—St. Edouard’s and Knowlton Academy. The batteries with a 10-year lifespan cannot be removed for use with toys or other products. The children were asked to install the alarms inside their bedrooms to serve as their “guardian angel,” and also take part in a simulation of a fire in their home. They learn what happens when a person calls 911, and they are taught fire safety and prevention tips such as having a designated place for the family members to assemble outside the house in an evacuation. Project Guardian Angels is repeated for new students at the start of each school year. Since 2013, the Lions have paid to rent the simulation equipment and for the yearly purchase of smoke alarms. This year they bought 107 smoke detectors, says Eileen Mason, treasurer. “It’s a wonderful program, and it’s gaining momentum in the communities near us,” Mason says. “I hope other clubs see it as a way to help the people in their area.”
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