ArborGen partners with Lions Club

Arbor_Gen_Lions_ClubArborGen, a world leader in the development and commercialization of technologies that improve the productivity of trees for wood, fiber and energy, has partnered with The Summerville Noon Lions Club, District 32-B and donated 100 pine seedlings for the Azalea Park in Summerville, SC. The seedlings will be planted during the town’s annual Flowertown Festival on March 30th. ArborGen recently moved its corporate offices to Ridgeville, but it maintains strong ties with the Summerville community, which was home to the company for over ten years.

“Summerville is known as ‘Flowertown in the Pines’ and has been named a Tree Town USA for 30 consecutive years. Recently, Dr. Tam, Lions Club International president, challenged Lions Club worldwide to plant one million trees to help turn around our environment, and I in turn have challenged our 34 clubs to plant a total of 250 trees,” said District Governor George Jenkins of Lions Club District 32B. “Partnering with ArborGen has been a true pleasure and we are thrilled to plant these 100 pine seedlings in Azalea Park in time for the annual Flowertown Festival which draws about 200,000 visitors each year. Since the Lions motto is ‘We Serve,’ volunteering within our community is very important to the Lions Club, so it’s great to work with another local organization in serving our community.”

The Lions Club is the global leader in humanitarian services, with more than 1.35 million members in more than 46,000 clubs in 206 countries and geographical areas around the world. Since 1917, Lions clubs have aided the blind and visually impaired and made a strong commitment to community service and serving youth throughout the world.

“The Lions Club is one of the most well respected organizations in the world, serving and volunteering in hospitals and senior centers, in regions battered by natural disaster, in schools and eyeglass recycling centers, working hands on to make our communities and world a better place,” said Nancy M. Hood, director of public affairs and sustainability of 2011 Broadbank Court Ridgeville, South Carolina 29472 www.arborgen.com ArborGen.

“We were thrilled to team up with The Lions Club by donating these seedlings to ensure there will always be greenery in the ‘Flower Town in the Pines’.” Starting in 1972, the town of Summerville has hosted the annual Flowertown Festival. It is held the first weekend of April in the Summerville Azalea Park, this year it will be occur from March 30-April 1, 2012.

This nationally acclaimed festival is South Carolina’s largest Arts & Crafts festival and has been named one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society. This family-oriented 3-day event is a fundraising event for the Summerville Family YMCA and is held each spring set against the backdrop of blooming azaleas in Azalea Park. In 1925, Summerville’s Chamber of Commerce adopted the slogan “Flower Town in the Pines” because of the abundance of azaleas in the town.

Pine trees are one of the most valuable and versatile commercial trees because they are a source of wood, fiber and energy and they are grown across a wide range of soil types and geographies. The Southeastern United States is the largest market for planted trees in the United States and pine is the most widely planted species for commercial applications. The Pine species most commonly used for commercial purposes in the Southeastern United States are Loblolly Pine (pinus taeda), Slash Pine (pinus elliottii) and Longleaf Pine (pinus palustris).

John Woodside elected District 13D Governor

John_Woodside_District_GovenorJackson TWP, Ohio —John Woodside was elected to the position of district governor.  District 13D is comprised of 53 clubs located in the Northeastern Ohio counties of Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage, Stark and Trumbull at the Lions Clubs International District 13D Convention at the McKinley Grande Hotel in Canton, Jackson Township Lions Club.

Woodside has been involved in Lions Clubs for over 47 years.  He was a member five years in Shadyside, Ohio and 18 years in Toronto, Ohio.

He was transferred by First Energy to the Canton community in 1989 where he then joined the Jackson Township Lions Club.  He retired from First Energy in 1995.

Woodside and his wife Midge reside in Jackson Township. They have been married more than 52 years and have three grown children and two grandchildren.

Woodside was Toronto, Ohio Lions Club president in 1987-1988. He was Jackson Township Lions Club secretary for six years and Jackson Township Lions Club president in 2004-2005.

He has received the following major awards: 1988 Lion of the Year- Toronto club; 1988 International President Certificate of Appreciation; 1993 International President Award; 1999 Jackson Township Lion of Year; Melvin E. Jones Fellowship Award 2000 and progressive award 2008 and 2001 Knight of the Blind Award.

John Woodside was district cabinet secretary/ treasurer in 2005-2006.

He currently is District 13D, first vice district governor.  He has been the Jackson Township Club representative to the district’s Melvin Jones Eye Care Foundation since 1999.

He is currently Treasurer of this Foundation.  He has led the Jackson Township Lions in sight projects. He has helped the Jackson Township Lions Club be a leader in ‘Kid Sight’ eye screening of preschoolers and kindergarten students.

Louisiana Lions seek applicants for special-needs summer camp

By Carol Wolfram

Lions_Special_Needs_CampsWhen the first session of the Louisiana Lions Camp near Leesville was held during the summer of 1961, it was more than a place for crafts, cookouts and campfires; the weeklong camp on 170 acres of piney woodlands provided a place where a child with special needs was just another child — making friends, discovering new talents, having fun.

That unique sense of belonging and growth was experienced last summer by Emily Clark, now a 10-year-old fifth-grader at Little Oak Middle School in Slidell. “I didn’t want to leave,” Emily said, recalling the fun she had fishing, making crafts and honing her archery skills.

The daughter of Karen and Chris Clark, Emily is an enthusiastic child who especially enjoys social studies and aspires to one day become an actress or singer.
But even exuberant Emily had to admit she was a bit nervous before arriving at the Louisiana Lions Camp.

Born with neuroblastoma, Emily underwent her first surgical procedure to remove as much of the cancerous tumor pressing against her spine as possible when she was only five days old. The surgery was followed by chemotherapy, and the cancer was destroyed. Nonetheless, the tumor had caused orthopedic injury that would confine Emily to a wheelchair until, at age 3, she once again had surgery, this time as a Shriner’s Hospital patient, which enabled her to walk using leg braces. A related orthopedic surgery is scheduled for April 11, to allow time for recovery and rehabilitation in plenty of time for Emily to once again attend Louisiana Lions Camp session.

Emily said she will do whatever it takes to get back to Leesville. “When I was there, I didn’t feel like I was ‘the only one’ like me,” she said.

When this year’s summer sessions begin June 3, they will include:

One week dedicated specifically to youths with pulmonary disorders, ages 5-15.

Two one-week sessions for the mild mentally challenged, ages 8-19 (mentally challenged children must have an age level not more than four years below their chronological age).

Two one-week sessions for youths with diabetes, ages 6-11 and 11-14.

Two one-week sessions for visual, hearing and orthopedically challenged youths, ages 7-19.

Each applicant requires the sponsorship of a local Lions organization. Applications may be downloaded directly from the Lions Clubs of Louisiana website, www.lionscamp.org, or by contacting local Lions Clubs. Jerry Wilson is coordinating the efforts of the Slidell Noon Lions Club and may be reached at 646.2537; and Larry Chaudoir, the efforts of the Mandeville Lions Club, 626.8862.

While the camp is free, including transportation, the application process can be long and should be started as soon as possible.

Donations to support the Lions efforts also are welcome. A Life Membership costs $100, and can be purchased by contacting a local Lions Club member.

Wilson stressed that while the camp provides summer fun and enrichment for its campers, the week also provides a break for caretakers, parents and families.

Karen Clark encouraged families to give themselves the care they give day-in and day-out to their children.

“As much as the camp is about the kids, it’s also about the families. We all know it takes extra to care for a special-needs child. When they’re at camp, it’s OK to relax, focus on yourself, care for each other, and the other kids,” she said. Emily has a 13-year-old sister, Abigail, who is a seventh-grader at Boyet Junior High.

“Letting go is not easy,” Karen Clark admitted. “I’m so used to being around for her. Emily’s a very independent person, but to not be in the background, in case you’re needed, is a difficult thing.”

She said she was able to reach the point where she was confident that, whatever happened, Emily would receive the best possible care. “I had faith and confidence that all my concerns would be taken care of,” Karen Clark said. “I had to believe.”

Emily’s mother stressed that she never doubted for a second that her daughter would have fun at the camp. “This kid can have a great time wherever she is,” she said.

Emily encourages any child who might be considering applying for the camp to go for it. “Be confident,” she said. “It doesn’t hurt to try new things.”

Downtown Huntington Lions Club (West Virginia) celebrating 90th anniversary

LACIE PIERSON | The Herald-Dispatch

Lions_Celebrate_90_Years
W.Va. Gov. Jay Rockefeller (holding shovel) and Secretary of State A. James Manchin plant a tree with the Downtown Huntington Lions Club outside what is now Big Sandy Superstore Arena, circa 1977. The local Lions Club is celebrating its 90th anniversary.

HUNTINGTON — It was safe to say that not one charter member was present this week as the Downtown Huntington Lions Club celebrated its 90th anniversary.

However, it also was safe to say that club member Linden Chiles, 88, held the closest position to a charter member of all of the club’s current members.

“I joined the club in 1952,” Chiles said. “My father-in-law was one of the original members of the club in Huntington, and I was enthusiastic to join the club.”

During the past 60 years, Chiles said he has seen the club go from a club of 50 members, up to more than 100 members, who met at the Prichard Hotel, before settling to about a 30-member group that meets at the Pullman Plaza Hotel the first and third Thursday of each month.

“It always felt like we were working with what we had no matter how many people were there,” Chiles said. “I’ve always thought we do good work with limited people and limited income.”

Chiles is one of many club members and local leaders who will be at the Pullman Plaza Hotel this Saturday — not for a meeting, but for a celebration of 90 years of service and camaraderie.

Earlier this week, Huntington Mayor Kim Wolfe issued a proclamation in honor of the anniversary, and he is expected to be one of many people to attend the event.

The Huntington Downtown Lions Club was formed during a meeting of 89 local businessmen in 1922, just five years after the club was founded by a Chicago business leader.

The charter for the Huntington Club was issued on March 11, 1922, making it the fourth club to be chartered in the state, following Charleston, Parkersburg and Wheeling.

Since then, the group has taken to the streets to help with everything from establishing a playground in West Huntington in 1927 and assisting in the relief effort following the 1937 flood to the current co-sponsorship of the Huntington Red Cross Bloodmobile and relief efforts in Wayne County following severe storms that struck the area earlier this month.

Of course, even with all of those efforts, the Lions Club is most noted for its efforts in providing vision care for community members of all ages, said Tom Altizer, treasurer of the Huntington club.

“I think with a lot of clubs, you don’t know what it is they do unless you’re involved in them or you use that service,” Altizer said. “With the Lions Club, we do eye screenings and provide glasses all over the place, and I think those activities are what people notice the most even though we are involved in everything from maintaining athletic fields to helping people recover following a tragedy.”

The Huntington Lions club has purchased more than 13,000 pairs of glasses for un-insured and under-insured residents of Huntington in addition to collecting more than 300,000 pairs of glasses to be recycled and redistributed throughout the world via Lions International.

With all of that work, it might seem like club members could get tired of one another, but Chiles said those experiences only serve to bring them closer together.

“I enjoy it. I enjoy the camaraderie of the members. I’ve gotten to be personal friends with them over the years, and what keeps us together is that we all enjoy what we do,” Chiles said. “We do a lot of good work in the community and nationwide, and the whole reason anyone joins the club is to give back to the community. The friendship just comes in with that.”

That friendship is something Altizer said he hopes can be carried on well into the future.

“We all would like it to continue and grow. I hope the club is able to stay deeply involved in the community like it is,” Altizer said. “I stay in it because I enjoy it, and it provides a service to the community. I hope more people can find that enjoyment through the club.”

$50,000 raised by New Zealand Lions

by Lin Ferguson

Hunterville_NewZealand Lions ClubIn a combined pledge, the Hunterville, Marton and Bulls Lions Clubs have raised $50,000 for a room at the new Ronald McDonald House being built opposite Wellington Hospital.

Hunterville Lions Club president Bernie Hughes said the three clubs in the Rangitikei region decided two years ago to make the pledge and raise $50,000.

“It is a very special cause, and we really wanted to get stuck in,” he said

The three clubs hope the name of the new room will be the Rangitikei Room.

Each club had held a major event to raise the money.

In early March, the Hunterville club held a 4WD rally across all the big sheep stations along the Napier-Taupo Rd.

“It was unbelievably successful. We completely sold out and could have easily sold dozens more tickets. Every station manager and farmer signed up … we were so well supported, it was just amazing,” Mr Hughes said.

The new, bigger, Ronald McDonald House will be able to house 34 families whereas the old house could only take 12 families.

The new house has cost the Ronald McDonald Trust more than $15 million and the call went out from the Wellington Trust for donations and pledges more than two years ago.

Ronald McDonald House is a “home-away-from-home” for families of children receiving medical treatment in Wellington.

The idea is that children respond better to treatment when their families are close.

The trust wanted to build a bigger house so it could accommodate a growing number of families and ensure it never had to turn anyone away.

They bought the land next to the existing house, just a short walk from Wellington Hospital.

The Ronald McDonald House Wellington Trust had pushed the green light for the project to start before they had secured the full funding, because they knew having the building under way was the best way to show they were serious about the new house.

Lions Planting future shade for Concordia

The Ysleta Lions ClubThe Ysleta Lions Club, Five Points Lions Club and Martin Funeral Home have teamed up to plant 250 trees in Concordia Cemetery. They kicked off the project at the cemetery March 15.

One of many goals set by the president of Lions Clubs International, Wing-Kun Tam, is to plant a million trees throughout the world this year.

The local Lions Clubs decided to undertake a project that would also help beautify El Paso, and in particular, the historic jewel of Concordia Cemetery, where many famous and infamous residents of El Paso are buried.

The clubs and the funeral home will plant 250 desert willow trees in the cemetery’s southern side, where they will be visible to people driving by on Interstate 10.

The clubs and Martin Funeral Home gave special thanks to Patricia Kiddney, president of the Concordia Heritage Association, and Charlie Black, the community projects director for Ysleta Lions Club.

Lemont Lions give local girl new look on life

Lemont, IL —

Lemont_Lions_clubAt 5 years old, Lemont resident Madison Wesolowski is fighting to hold on to her vision.

“She has been through about 28 surgeries on her eyes and has been declared legally blind in her right eye,” said her mother, Carlene Wesolowski. “She had her first pair of contact lenses when she was a baby.”

When Madison was just three months old her older brother told mom and dad he noticed something floating in her eye. It looked like a piece of popcorn, he told them.

So dad Bruce and Carlene took Madison to see a doctor, who eventually determined she had cataracts — a condition typically found in older people that causes a clouding of the eye lens — along with glaucoma, another eye condition that leads to damage to the eye’s optic nerve.

Trying times for sure, for the Wesolowskis.

Luckily, they Lemont family was able to reach out to an old friend. That friend is Ken Novak, who spends some of his time volunteering with the Lemont Lions Club. The Lions Club is an international club that “empowers volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding.”

But the club, which has 46,000 branches across the world and is head-quartered in nearby Oak Brook, is popularly known for its work to help the vision-impaired.

Novak and the Lemont Lions have stepped up for the Wesolowskis by purchasing eye glasses for Madison — she needs new prescription glasses every three to six months. The Lemont Lions are also trying to raise money to provide Madison with an iPad, which has an easy-to-read large screen for her.

“I have known Ken forever,” Carlene said, adding that she grew up with him in Lemont. “Ken introduced us to the Lions Club. They have been her rock.”

The Lemont Lions have been a rock. That’s shown through their 50 years of existence — on March 29 the club will celebrate its 50th anniversary — it was chartered in June 1962 — with a celebration at Crystal Hall Banquets, 12416 Archer Ave. in Lemont.

But it hasn’t always been easy for the Lemont Lions. The club disbanded four times, only to re-organize each time. The club now has 75 members and is running strong, Novak said.

While the Lions Club formed in 1917, it wasn’t until 1925 that the club established its vision to help the sight-impaired. That year, famous author and activist Helen Keller addressed the Lions Club at a convention, convincing the club to take on the cause, Novak said.

Since, though, Lions Clubs across the world have picked up other causes, including the hearing-impaired.

Doug Wright, Lemont resident and a six-year member of the Lemont Lions Club, said the Lions are there for whatever people need.

“We are the best kept secret around,” Wright said.

The Lemont Lions Club has done everything from helping at disaster sites, aiding in Habitat for Humanity, donating large print books to the Lemont Public Library and helping out with Lemont Police Department programs such as DARE and Seniors And Law Enforcement Together.

For more than 20 years, Novak has been a member of the Lemont Lions Club. His family was always involved with activities in Lemont, as his mother was involved with the VFW Ladies Auxiliary.

“I started to do my family tree and found I had relatives with visual problems and thought the Lions were the best to join,” Novak said. “It meant something to me to help those who are visually or hearing impaired.”

Throughout his time as a Lions Club member, Novak said he has continued to come back each year because he can see the difference he is making in people’s lives.

“As you go along you get the tug on the heart strings when you see you are making a difference,” Novak said.

Lemont resident Paul Butt said he joined the Lions Club just recently because he wanted to keep the family tradition of being a Lion going. Butt’s father was a Lion for 40 years.

“I got to a point where (I said to my wife) what are we going to do, sit at home or get out and get involved?” Butt said. “I joined because I felt it was time to give back.”

Wright said before joining he had a “moment of clarity” where he looked around and was thankful for the healthy family and normal life he was living but knew there were others who weren’t living picture-perfect lives.

“I needed to give something back,” Wright said. “I truly do feel blessed to have a healthy and normal life and there are so many that are not. When you realize that you can do something to ease that burden, we don’t have a choice we have to help if we can.”

“The good thing about the Lions is that we are always doing something as a fundraiser and every penny goes back to the community,” Wright said. “We do so much stuff we are always poised for the next need.”

Novak said with the help of the Lions Club, it has been amazing to see the improvements in Madison’s vision from birth.

“I look where she was from birth and where should would have been today, just the quality of life we give, that’s what we do,” Novak said.

Local Lions Club helps give sight to the world

By Lorene Parshall, Staff Writer

Gaylord-LionsGAYLORD — The Lions Club began in 1917 when a 38-year-old Chicago man, Melvin Jones, asked himself a question.

“What if people put their talents to work improving their communities?,” he asked.

The first Michigan Lions Club was formed in Marquette in 1919. In 1920, the Lions Club went international when it established the first club in Canada. Today, there are 1.35 million members in more than 46,000 clubs around the world.

Helen Keller, born blind and deaf, was a world famous author, speaker and political activist. In 1925, she challenged the Lions to become “Knights to the Blind.” The Lions accepted the challenge and provide aid to the vision impaired to this day.

Lions Club International changed its constitution to allow women to become members in 1986. Before that, women were restricted to the Lioness Club program.

The Gaylord chapter was chartered in 1966 with 18 members. Their motto is “we serve.”

“I believe in giving back to my community,” said Gaylord Lions Club president Mary Weitzel. “I’ve had vision problems since I was 4 or 5. What a way to give back to the community when you’ve had vision problems yourself and understand the need for proper vision. We focus on vision, hearing and diabetes because diabetes can cause vision and hearing loss.”

A few of the numerous activities the Lions Club does to fulfill its mission is to provide vision care and hearing aids for Gaylord residents. The club donates annually to Leader Dogs, Michigan Eye and Tissue Bank and Paws With A Cause and collect old eyeglasses and hearing aids to send to needy countries. The club also provides Kidsight Eye Screening for local preschool children ages 1-5.

Cathy Otto was a Lion before she moved to the Gaylord area and has been a member of Gaylord’s Lions Club for 20 years.

“I enjoy working with a club that is associated with preserving things like a child’s sight,” said Otto. “We have cameras that can detect any undiagnosed and untreated eye diseases and disorders in young children. And the Lions Club is one thing my husband and I can do together.”

Although sight and hearing are priorities for the Lions, the group is active in a number of other ways that benefit the community. Among them are contributions to the Gaylord Gators swim team, Adopt-a-Class, Gaylord High School’s Senior All-Night Party, community meals, the Community Thanksgiving Day Dinner, youth bowling, the Otsego County Food Pantry and the Children’s Bereavement Network.

Every year, the Lions provide scholarships to local students interested in going into a vision or hearing field. And club members make the coffee each year for the World’s Largest Coffee Break at Alpenfest.

The club raises money to support its causes with various types of fundraising. The Lions hold a “White Cane” drive, sell raffle tickets and make money on the newspaper recycling trailer in front of the old Carter’s store. Lions mints are sold in many restaurants. The club receives donations from its Bring-em Back Alive program held at the Loon Lake rest area on I-75 every Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day, serving coffee, juice and cookies to help keep motorists alert.

Anyone wanting to donate old eye glasses and hearing aids to the Lions can drop them off in collection boxes at the Otsego County Library, Walmart, New Vision and Gaylord Eye Care Center. For more information about the club call Weitzel at 732-2559 or visit http://gaylordlions.lionwap.org.

Trees planted in country park in global campaign

By Martyn Dolton

WICK Country Park has received a donation of new trees, as part of an international tree planting campaign.
Bought and donated by the Basildon and Wickford Lions Club, the donation is part of a campaign by Lions Clubs International to plant trees across the globe.
Councillor Kevin Blake, cabinet member for leisure and arts at Basildon Council, thanked the Lions for their kind gesture.
He said: “It is fantastic to see so many local organisations such as the Lions, Rotary, Round Table, and the various friends groups taking an active role in helping to support and maintain our country parks so that residents and visitors can continue to enjoy them.”
The planting at the Wick has seen ten new trees planted, with native wild cherry and wild service trees chosen to provide a valuable source of food for the park’s wildlife, specifically declining bee species and wintering birds.
John White, President of Basildon and Wickford Lions Club, said: “Nikki Gibson, from the Friends of Wick Country Park, gave a presentation to a club meeting in 2010.
“Since then, this Lions Club has retained links with the Country Park, and is very supportive of its aims of conservation and encouraging local residents, and their children, to enjoy the park and learn about its wildlife.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to add to the diversity of its flora, and would like to thank Mark Williams, the Countryside Ranger, and the Friends of Wick Country Park for their advice and support.”

Lions Clubs in Virginia helping Students Make beautiful music

By: Star-Exponent staff | Culpeper Star Exponent

Music rang out from Culpeper Baptist Church Sunday afternoonin in Culpepper VA.Music rang out from Culpeper Baptist Church Sunday afternoon.

No, it wasn’t a reverential church service, but an opportunity for musically inclined school students to show off their chops.

The Culpeper County Lion’s Club Bland Foundation concert sent two first place winners onto the regional concert March 17.

Mary Caroline Matricardi won first place in the vocal competition while Emma Ellon Butler came in second.

In the instrumental division, Madeline Clore took first place while Matthew Hudson came in second.

First place winners receive a $75 prize and second place winners receive $50.

“The concert was a great success this year. We had 17 contestants — up two from 15 last year,” Justin McFarland, past president and board of directors member of the Culpeper Mid Day Lions Club said. “The Lions Clubs in Culpeper have always taken great pride in the work they do to help foster young folks in our community. We are instrumental in sight and vision screenings in all of the public and private schools. We support the Leo Clubs (youth version of Lions) at EVHS and CCHS. Specifically the Culpeper Mid Day Club has budgeted nearly $13,000 for college scholarships in Culpeper.”

Winners of the Culpeper contest compete at the regional level from 1 to 4 p.m. March 17 at Gainesville Methodist Church.

It is important to instill a community spirit within our young folks,” McFarland said. “Lions understand that promoting service starts with the youth. This gives us a chance to show the younger generation that we can do something positive with our time and help others.”

Under the aegis of the Lions organization, the Bland Foundation has been providing performing opportunities as well as scholarships to gifted music students, both vocal and instrumental, since 1948.

The purpose of the foundation is to promote cultural and educational opportunities for the musically talented young people in Virginia (primarily of high school age).

This goal is achieved through progressive competitions, beginning in February, at the local Lions club level, and culminating in May in a competition among 12 finalists. The Bland Foundation oversees the running of the competitions and also provides $18,000 to the 12 finalists.

The scholarships must be used for college tuition, music lessons, summer music programs or other music education endeavors. As tuition and lessons are extremely expensive, the Bland Foundation provides needed assistance to these talented, hard working music students and their families.

The Bland concert in Culpeper was a joint collaboration between the Host, Dawn, 92 Lions and the Club-Culpeper Mid Day Lions clubs