Former N.Y. detective got Lions involved in disaster relief

by: April Cunningham

leftAl Brandel was a police detective working on missing persons cases in New York City after 9-11 when he realized his work as a Lions Club member could help first responders in need.

Retired New York police detective Al Brandel was guest speaker at the Lions International conference in Saint John.

“I was sort of decompressing for a day or two, and I got calls from Lions Club members in our areas, and they said ‘You’re the leader in this area for Lions. We’ve got to do something,’ ” he said.

“That was the first time we got involved in disaster relief.”

He mobilized his club to build shelters for police and fire personnel, providing food, water and resting places at Ground Zero, as the search for missing people continued into the colder months.

Since then, Brandel – the former president of Lions Clubs International – has worked on first-response in countries around the world, including Haiti and China. The retired detective has visited 60 of the 206 countries where the Lions operate.

“We wrote the book, pretty much, on disaster relief, then after that, the book was used to help me when some of these natural or man-made disasters came along.”

Brandel, who has won prestigious awards for his work in Haiti, was the keynote speaker at the Atlantic Canadian district conference for Lions Clubs International on Saturday. More than 150 people from across the Maritimes, Newfoundland and Maine attended the conference at the Delta Brunswick in Saint John.

Brandel said he wanted to share some of his international experiences with local volunteers, and encourage them to continue helping out their communities.

“I’m here to say thank you to them for what they do in their own communities,” Brandel said in an interview Saturday. “I want to make them feel good about being members of our organization.”

George Mitton, the council chair of the local district – called Multiple District N – said he heard Brandel speak at a Lions conference in Saskatchewan in 2007 and knew it would be worthwhile to bring him to New Brunswick.

The conference also works to train leaders and provide information they can bring back to their clubs. There are 242 Lions clubs in Atlantic Canada, with about 5,700 members.

“It’s also a great opportunity for the Lions to get together, share new ideas and new strategies to provide more community service, and that’s what it’s all about,” Mitton said.

The Lions Club is a leading provider of humanitarian service worldwide, Mitton said. It has also helped local disaster relief in the flooding along the St. John River in 2008, and in Newfoundland after Hurricane Igor last year.

The club is also a strong supporter of youth programs, including its Lions Quest Canada educational program, which provides resources for teachers to provide social and emotional learning.

The aim is to prevent such issues as bullying, and give children tools for better conflict management.

The Lions Clubs of Barbados Celebrates 50 Years

TLions Club celebrates 50 yearshe Lions Clubs of Barbados are depending on Barbadians for their support as this organisation continues to work for the good of the community.

That reminder came from Lions District Governor of Sub District 60 B, Lloyd Barker who was speaking yesterday morning at the Lions Club of Bridgetown’s 50th anniversary church service at the James Street Methodist Church, James Street, Bridgetown, St. Michael.

“The Lions Clubs are depending on you for all the assistance you can give. When you see us coming around for donations, doing fundraisers and so on, we do it for the good of the community,” said Barker.

He said that the Lions Clubs foremost contribution was towards the preservation of sight but over the years, it has been extended to include other humanitarian efforts that render assistance to the less fortunate.

Barker added that the Lions Clubs have been assisting those who need it most including persons overseas in Haiti, Japan and St. Lucia who were impacted by natural disasters in recent times.
He noted that the Lions Club of Bridgetown, then called the Lions Club of Barbados, was the first to be chartered in Barbados in 1961.

Currently, there are eight Lions Clubs and two Leo Clubs in Barbados and in the District, 61 Lions Clubs with 2 000 members and 40 Leo Clubs.

In his sermon, Rev. Colton Bennett who has been a Lion for 45 years implored those in attendance to be imitators of Christ.

Rev. Bennett said the church and organisations such as the Lions “are not places for prima donnas. When you do things and you don’t get praise, you should not sulk and walk away. You should not be looking for prestige or doing it for thanks.”

He said that persons should serve the community in humility whether it is in the church, clubs or in any other capacity.

The reverend recognised many stalwarts of the Lions who have passed on and others who are present today. He stressed that they are serving not necessarily for thanks or glory but because God wants us to use our talents and gifts.

The Lions Club of Bridgetown also presented a donation to the church at the service. (AR)

Lions need support to serve more

The Carmel Lions Club (Indiana) celebrated 75 years of service this spring with Lions from throughout Indiana and many friends of the Lions.

We are very proud of our service to Carmel over the past 75 years. We are extremely excited about what we will accomplish over the next 75 years. We are a growing and dynamic club.

With nearly 100 members, our service to Carmel, the state of Indiana and the world community continues to grow. We need the continued assistance of the Carmel community to sustain our growth.

First, please patronize our many great community events. We have two exciting upcoming events: The IU Health North Hospital Pumpkin Patch 5K, presented by the Carmel Lions Club, will be Saturday, Oct. 8, and our Fall Pancake Breakfast will be Saturday, Oct. 22.

We just concluded our 73rd annual fish fry, which is the longest-running community event in Carmel. Other events include our strawberry festival during the CarmelFest parade, breakfast brat sales at the Carmel Farmers Market, spring rummage sale and holiday fruit sale.

Second, please consider joining the Carmel Lions. The more members we have, the more people we can help. We provide meaningful service opportunities to those with busy family and professional schedules.

All our events, including meetings, are family-friendly.

Meetings are the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at our clubhouse at 141 East Main St. in the Arts and Design District. We have no mandatory attendance requirements.

The Lions’ motto is, “We Serve.”

We provide eye exams and glasses to those in need in Carmel. We are parade marshalls for the CarmelFest Parade. We assist in providing leader dogs to the visually impaired at no cost. We provide meeting space for senior citizens, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and 4-H.

When disaster strikes Indiana, Haiti or Japan, Lions are there with immediate assistance. We collect and sort used eyeglasses (these eyeglasses are provided to the needy in Third World countries at no charge).

We support Meals on Wheels, Children’s Wish Fund and the Carmel Clay Historical Society, among many others.

Lions gather for good food, to give to Haiti relief efforts

With the Leadership and inspiring passion to serve others, Roxboro Lion Alan Michael, manager of Golden Corral Family Restaurant in Garner, the people and aid workers of Haiti will receive needed funds. With endorsement from Golden Corral Headquarters and General Manager Al Gauge, the entire restaurant staff, other community service organizations, the Garner Police Department, the Garner-Raleigh community, and the Lions Clubs from District G raised $1,182.43 for LCIF Disaster relief efforts in a country few had ever visited.

These necessary funds were raised in only four hours. In the local depressed economy, everyone attending was aware of the needs for compassion towards the people in Haiti. Golden Corral also added to the effort with financial aid from part of the guests meal purchase. LCIF and the needs of people in Haiti also won over our guests and new friends within the Garner Police Department. A Garner Civitan called his Civic Club members to become a part of this exciting effort.

Partnering with Lions Clubs, Golden Corral is not new to stepping up to the needs of communities and their citizens around the world. Always generous in extending assistance for the local communities, the needs of Lions, and around the world, Golden Corral is a leader and sets an example to businesses throughout the world with the necessity of offering assistance when needed. The Garner Golden Corral and management answered the immediate need in both the LCIF-Katrina and LCIF-China efforts by raising needed funds for relief in those LCIF efforts. This was the same kind of partnership and event held. As a long standing member of the Roxboro Lions Club and past LCIF Sight-First II Coordinator, Lion Alan Michael has the insight to employee quality compassionate people who know what needs truly are. His staff is multi-culture in background and he has had to learn three languages to be able to communicate in his daily duties. The Golden Corral service and support staff donated their hard earned income as well for this effort. An event like this makes is fun however, it is harder for the service staff because of the people involved trying to serve the guests, informing everyone about what Lions accomplish through LCIF.

The Garner Police Department, “McGruff the Crime Dog”, met and greeted everyone that entered the restaurant. McGruff never missed the opportunity to have his picture taken with those that were young as well as those that were young at heart. The Police officers took care of the tables and serviced needs while the Lions of District 31-G, worked with the dinner guests by meeting their immediate needs for fun, knowledge and informational flyers with dinner. Lions filled in to take care of any gaps in service for the guests. Lions handed out flyers, explained what Lions accomplish both locally and globally, LCIF, and community needs within the State of North Carolina. Laughs, conversation, education and Service to Others made this a great night for everyone involved.

Just as “Lions Clubs International Foundation working with local Lions Clubs members with boots on the ground” at the Disaster site meet the timely needs in our world wide community and humanitarian efforts… previously stated from the immediate past Lions Clubs International Foundation President Al Brandel.

Every International Disaster in the recent years the Lions-Golden Corral Partnership has stepped up to be an important part of the cure for a disaster. The funding of a LCIF grant awarded to the country will secure a great future for Haiti in the years to follow this earthquake. The immediate grant aided in the initial disaster, the long term grant and relief efforts after others have left the country, this is what makes the Lions Clubs International Foundation different from others. Each dollar donated will make it to the relief effort and the goals of the rebuilding process. Outstanding humanitarian Lions Club members, like Alan Michael, have the unique opportunity to live up to the organizations motto, “We Serve!” This is what Lions Club Membership is all about, Service to Others.