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.

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 International holds its annual convention in Busan,Korea

By Sultan Jessa

mhintzmanatlciMembers of Lions Clubs International including those from Cornwall, Eastern Ontario and Ottawa area will be heading to South Korea for an important event. This event is the 95th annual convention in Busan, Korea of Lions Clubs International. During the recent visit to Korea, I heard a lot about preparations being made in Korea to welcome Lions from around the world.

This year is going to be a big year for Korea. The World Expo 2012 is also being held in Korea. The international convention is the Lions Clubs International’s premier event for all worldwide members. This convention will begin on June 22 and continue until June 26, 1012.

“Spanning five full days, we have planned for a great and memorable event in a fabulous location,” a member of the Lions Club in Busan said. “This convention will bring together Lions from all over the world to celebrate, fellowship and to learn new fundraising ideas.”

Busan is a port city with its endless emerald sea. It is a paradise for seafood lovers and an exciting destination where visitors can enjoy the vibrant Korean culture all in one spot. Among top attractions in Busan are the marine sports beach of Haeundae, the movie district centered near Busan’s International Film Festival Square, the 1300 year old Buddhist temple Beomeosa, and brilliant night views from the Diamond Bridge.

There are many mineral spas located inside Busan Shinsegae Centum City, the world’s largest department store. Visitors will be able to view and experience traditional Korean wedding ceremonies or the making of kimchi, a well-loved Korean fermented cabbage dish.

Joseph L. Wroblewski, the past international president and chair of the convention, said the international convention offers a once-a-year opportunity to gather together to discuss the important topics of the day that will shape the future of their association as they forge new friendships along the way. “I warmly invite each of you to the 95th Lions Clubs International Convention in Korea’s cultural capital of Busan and look forward to seeing you there,” Wroblewski said.

Lions Club eye programs help needy see a better future

AUBURN CA – For nearly 100 years, the Lions Clubs International has worked on projects designed to prevent blindness, restore eyesight and improve eyecare for hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

Closer to home, its program for helping needy people in obtaining prescription eyeglasses plays a low-key role in helping give many the gift of better sight during tough economic times for some.

Individual clubs have their own programs and some are seeing an increase in need as jobless numbers have swelled while other clubs are not.

The Auburn 49er Lions club averaged 18 referrals a year in 2009 and 2010 but that increased to 25 in 2011, said eyeglasses coordinator Kelly Post. This month, there have been seven calls for glasses.

Post said that a number of reasons could be responsible for the increase. Until two years ago, Medi-Cal’s welfare medical program paid for eye exams and glasses. Now it pays for just the eye exams, she said.

Some of the calls could be attributed to an increase in word of mouth among people needing eyeglass assistance. Others are coming because of referrals from groups assisting the poor like Hope, Help and Healing and The Gathering Inn, Post said.

“More people are homeless, more are out of a job,” Post said. “And there are more parolees.”

At the Loomis Lions Club, Vision Assistance Chair


No spike in Loomis

Jack Morris said the group has handled four aid requests since July, with one of the callers finding another way to replace their broken frames.

In Auburn, the Host Lions group had fielded six requests since the end of December – which is depleting the limited amount of referrals that the Lions can send to an optometrist, said eyeglass chairman Dennis Lloyd. The group has the ability to handle about 20 referrals a year, he said.

Dr. Mark Starr, county Health & Human Services deputy director, said Placer has not had an eyeglass program for the needy but will steer them in the direction of the Lions on an informal basis. The county will provide emergency medical eyecare but doesn’t provide eyeware, Starr said.

Lloyd said the number of requests seemed to be linked to an increase in referrals from the county.

“We can handle a limited number of people but we’re not part of the welfare system,” Lloyd said.

Morris said that many Loomis Club members felt a worsening economy and lack of jobs would result in a substantial increase in requests for vision assistance. But there has been no spike in requests. The Loomis Lions normally handle three or four a year, he said.

One of the recent requests had been forwarded by another Lions Club and another by a welfare-related organization, Morris said.

Morris said that different communities have different rates of awareness on the Lions vision program and that could have something to do with a lack of increased demand.

“I think there are many needy persons but I’m thinking they have other ways – paying for them themselves or with insurance, for instance,” Morris said.

He added that the granting of funds for an exam and new glasses – which averaged $190 last year – is not automatic. The club needs to confirm the person’s identification and then move forward on an eye exam. If the optometrist says glasses are required, Morris can authorize the purchase.

“After that, there are no further requirements – they don’t need to come and talk to the club,” Morris said. “But most of them find a way to send us a card.”

The Lions have gained worldwide recognition for their work to improve sight and prevent blindness. That work includes recycling eyeglasses, supporting Lions Eye Banks that provide eye tissue for sight-saving surgeries, and screening the vision of hundreds of thousands of people every year.

The effort goes back to 1925, when Helen Keller called on the Lions organization to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.”

“It’s a very rewarding thing and we Lions are proud of it,” Morris said.

Nixa, MO. student advances in Lions Club poster contest

By: Headliner News staff,

Lions Poster Tanner ThompsonTanner Thompson, a seventh-grade student at Nixa Junior High School, has taken the first step to becoming an internationally recognized artist by winning a local competition sponsored by the Christian County Lions Club.

Thompson’s poster was among more than 375,000 entries submitted worldwide in the 24th annual Lions International Peace Poster Contest. Lions Clubs International is sponsoring the contest to emphasize the importance of world peace to young people everywhere.

Posters were judged by the Nixa High School Art Department and Thompson’s poster was chosen for its originality, artistic merit and portrayal of the contest theme, “Children Know Peace.”  Chuck Mercer at Nixa Junior High was the sponsor for the contest.

Christian County Lions Club President Fred Ravenscroft said he was impressed by the expression and creativity of the students.

“It is obvious that these young people have strong ideas about what peace means to them,” he said. “I’m so proud we were able to provide them with the opportunity to share their visions. Thompson’s poster will advance to face stiff competition through the district, multiple district and international rounds of competition if he is to be declared the international grand prize winner.  Our club is cheering for Tanner as his poster advances in the competition, and we hope that his vision will ultimately be shared with others around the world.”

One grand-prize winner and 23 merit-award winners will be selected. The grand prize includes a cash award of $5,000, plus a trip for the winner and two family members to the awards ceremony at Lions Day with the United Nations. The 23 merit award winners will each receive a certificate and a cash award of $500.

At a club meeting on Oct. 18, Rick Boyce, Peace Poster contest chairperson, displayed all 34 poster entries and Thompson, with his parents watching, was presented with a $25 gift certificate as the winner on Nov. 1, by club vice-president Kevin Baker.

The first runner up, Maggie Wright, received a $15 gift certificate and Mesa Green received a $10 gift certificate for honorable mention.

View the international grand prize and merit award winners at  The remaining posters from this contest were exhibited at the November Board of Education meeting and now are being exhibited at Nixa Junior High School.

Lions Clubs International 2012 Rose Parade Float

2012 Lions Clubs Rose Parde Float Patch



Once again the Lions Club will be featuring a float in the Rose Parade in Pasadena. The 2012 float will be called “A World At Peace”. Construction is already well under way with decorating set to begin in December. More Information will be revealed as the parade nears additional photos can be found at:





ons Clubs International 2012 Rose Parade Float

2012 Float Test Drive

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 Gates Foundation has awarded LCIF $5 million

By Russell Sarver Past international director of Lions Clubs International

Russell Sarver is a Past international director of Lions Clubs InternationalLions Clubs do great work locally and around the world. Below are some examples of what has been accomplished.

Update of measles initiative: Since joining the measles initiative last year, Lions Clubs International Foundation, in a collaborative effort with several leading organizations to eliminate measles, have vaccinated the one-billionth child for measles. Since 2001, the World Health Organization estimates that measles has been reduced by 78 percent. In 2009, almost 900,000 African children died from measles; and in 2010, 164,000 died from measles.

The Gates Foundation has awarded Lions Clubs International Foundation $5 million for the program this year, by matching every $2 that LCIF raises with $1, and they have set a combined goal of providing $15 million toward this initiative.

Lions Clubs making impact in South Asia: Lions helped to raise more than $200 million during Campaign SightFirst II in donations and pledges. These funds already are having a great impact around the world, including South Asia. To date, in South Asia, the program has helped to fund 112 projects totaling $16.9 million. These funds are being used to upgrade or expand 72 clinics and hospitals, provide 496,200 cataract surgeries, and train 96 midlevel ophthalmic personnel. In addition, one eye hospital will be constructed and equipped, and one multiple district diabetic retinopathy program, including equipment and training, has been completed.

LCIF awards grants: At the recent international board of directors meeting in Hong Kong,  55 grants were awarded, totaling $4.09 million and benefiting 915,778 individuals. This includes $1.19 million for the Special Olympics Opening Eyes program.

River blindness eliminated in Colombia: Since 2004, SightFirst has been a contributing partner in the Onchocerciasis Elimination Program (River Blindness) of the Americas, which works to end river blindness in Latin America. As a result of work done in these areas, it is announced that Colombia is now free from river blindness.

LCIF providing famine relief in Africa: Right now, famine is threatening the lives of millions of people in Africa. As always, Lions are bringing aid to the people affected by this disaster. LCIF has approved a $15,000 grant to support famine relief. Lions in Kenya also collected $10,000, and our members around the world are rallying to help. Lions in Sweden are donating $77,000; a Lions Club in Germany has pledged to collect $7,100; and Lions from Ethiopia are also taking part in relief efforts.

Imperial Lions celebrate 80th year, speaker encourages looking to future

By Jan Schultz The Imperial Republican

As the Imperial Lions Club celebrated its 80th year of service Saturday, members  and guests were encouraged to make the changes the club may need as it looks to the future. Bob Drabek of Rapid City, So. Dak., who served on Lions Clubs International’s board of directors from 1985-87, was guest speaker at the celebration. He addressed 55 Imperial
Lions and guests at the evening banquet and program at the Eagles Club.

Paul Gaschler of Imperial, a 2011 Chase County graduate, provided entertainment with guitar, piano, harmonica and his voice for the Imperial Lions’ 80th anniversary banquet. (Republican photo)

It was an early celebration for the Imperial Lions’ 80th year, which formally arrives Dec. 10 of this year.
On that date in 1931, the Imperial club received its charter listing 26 members on its first roster. Glen Brewer was the club’s charter president.
Prefacing his remarks, Drabek said, “We are at a crossroads with Lionism today.”
With that, he said, he would propose several challenges “that may surprise you and frighten you.”
Drabek grew up on a farm, about 100 miles east of Rapid City, where the family raised pigs, chickens, milk cows and some crops, mostly for their own sustenance.
He noted the changes in farming from when he was a boy with no electricity, no running water or telephones on the farm. He recalled how his dad plowed a straight row—driving straight at a white flag on a pole at the other end of the field. His other recollections of farming a number of decades ago drew nods and smiles from many in the audience.
Fast forward to today’s farming practices. “If you have horses on the farm today they are hobby horses, not working horses,” he said. Most of the pigs today are raised by corporations, not family farms. Dairies are specialties, and “eggs come from the supermarket,” he smiled. While the eggs and chickens they raised on their farm were used to help pay the family’s grocery bill, “now we use credit cards,” Drabek said. “And, GPS works better than a flag,” he said. “Most of the improvements I’ve talked about required change, didn’t they?” Drabek asked. “Your willingness to change has made you who you are today,” he said.
Pointing that out, Drabek asked if “we old Lions” recognize the expectations of the younger potential Lions in our communities. “There is a generation of young adults who want to be in service to their communities,” he said.
However, the current way Lions clubs operate may not interest or attract them.
He said many young adults today have no time or desire to be at meetings, “but, they will be at the service projects.”
Generally, they also don’t like spending months discussing a project and how it will go. Rather, “they just want to get it done.” Some Lions clubs currently meet entirely on the internet, “and yet they are in service to the communities where they live.”
“Do you realize you may have to be the ones who change?” he asked.
Drabek said the younger generations he talked about are the future of service in communities.
“So how do we harness their energy, tenacity and ideas into what we believe Lions should be doing?” he asked.
He said every club should have a mission statement.
“Sit down and plan where your club is going,” he said, keeping the younger generations in mind.
At the conclusion of his address, Drabek and his wife, Bev, were presented a Husker-related gift from Club President Nick Schultz.
Drabek said their son, a surgeon, is a “rabid Husker fan” and a granddaughter attends the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Schultz also announced the Imperial Lions will be making a donation to Lions Club International Foundation in Drabek’s name as a thank-you.
The club also presented a special gift, a Lion coffee mug, to Dean Mitchell, who’s been a 40-year member of Imperial’s club. He joined in February 1971.
Winners of door prizes were Marvin Large, Jayne Henry, Sylvia Humphreys, Dean Mitchell, Letitia Munson, Miles Colson, all of Imperial; Fred Russell of Gordon and Mike Long of Grant.
Several district and state Nebraska Lion officers attended, along with Lions from a number of other Nebraska clubs.
State and district Lions offices attending included Larry Seger of Wallace, Lions state council chairman; Jim Smith of Wallace, 2011-12 District L Governor; Chris Gentry of Hyannis, 1st Vice District Governor; and Ron Patrick of Grant, 2nd Vice District Governor.
Other special guests included representatives of other local organizations that contributed to the Lions’ restroom construction project at Campbell Park.
Imperial City Council President Chad Yaw provided a welcome to the group. Paul Gaschler, a 2011 Chase County graduate, now a freshman at Concordia University in Seward, provided entertainment after the dinner.

Talk With Jeannie Rossi: Brandon Lions Club and Her Blind Son’s Triumph

By Linda Chion Kenney

Jeannie Rossi of the Brandon Lions Club talks about Danny Rossi’s blindness from childhood cancer and his subsequent accomplishments, including climbing Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro and graduating from Carnegie Mellon University.

Jeannie Rossi and her husband, Al, have a deeply personal reason for their involvement with the Brandon Lions Club, which hosts its Second Annual Wine and Cheese Party tonight, Oct. 8, at the Barn Theatre at Winthrop.

They have a son, Danny, who lost both his eyes to cancer.

With plastic eyes in place since childhood, Danny Rossi is a mechanical engineer out of Carengie Mellon University, the nation’s first blind and licensed parachutist and has climbed both Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro, said his proud mother.

In 2006, Jeannie Rossi won both the Brandon Idol and Miss Senior Florida contests. She was scheduled to sing with Troy Allen Coman, the 2011 Bright House Senior Idol, at the wine and cheese party, open to the public and scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

Rossi and her husband joined the Brandon Lions Club 26 years ago, after moving to the area from New York, where they first joined a Lions club after talking to the group about their son’s condition.

She took a moment to discuss her son, her song selections and her lifelong affiliation with Lions Clubs International.

BRANDON PATCH: What do you like about the Brandon Lions Club, which in 2004 celebrated its 50th anniversary?

  • ROSSI: I like the idea that everything we take in, all monies collected, are put right back into the community. Our motto is, “We serve.” And we do.

BRANDON PATCH: Lots of groups give back. Why Lions Clubs International, over any other service organization?

  • ROSSI: Let me tell you why. When we lived in New York, our son had cancer of the retina, both eyes, and they removed both eyes. People we knew in the community invited us to speak to the Lions club there because people had never heard of cancer in the eye. They think they can just cut it out, but you can’t. They have to take the eye out, and once the eye is removed it’s irreparable. It can never, ever be repaired. They cannot replace an eye. So my son has two prosteheses that he wears, two plastic eyes, but he’s gone on to become a mechanical engineer out of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He’s gone on to climb Mount Everest. He’s gone on to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. He is the fi

BRANDON PATCH: What happened to your son?

  • ROSSI: My son has two prosteheses that he wears, two plastic eyes, but he’s gone on to become a mechanical engineer out of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He’s gone on to climb Mount Everest. He’s gone on to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. He is the first blind licensed parachutist in the country. He’s a rock climber, a

bungee jumper, he married a professor from the University of Pittsburgh and he is now employed at the school from which he graduated. He’s an extraordinary man.

BRANDON PATCH: What happened to your son?

  • ROSSI: My son has two prosteheses that he wears, two plastic eyes, but he’s gone on to become a mechanical engineer out of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He’s gone on to climb Mount Everest. He’s gone on to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. He is the first blind licensed parachutist in the country. He’s a rock climber, a

bungee jumper, he married a professor from the University of Pittsburgh and he is now employed at the school from which he graduated. He’s an extraordinary man.

BRANDON PATCH: What happened at that first Lions club meeting in New York?

  • ROSSI:  I went to the Lions club to inform people that this can happen to anyone. This can happen to anyone’s child. It’s called, “retinoblastoma.” He looked like a very normal 3-year-old until, to me, something didn’t look right and I took him to a specialist and they found it.

BRANDON PATCH: It wasn’t well known at the time, retinoblastoma . . .

  • ROSSI: He was at an eye institute and that was the only place they did reasearch for retinoblastoma. Nobody knew about it. A child would die of a brain tumor, or a tumor in their lymph nodes, but it began in the eye. They never saw it in the eye. My son lost his first eye a month before his third birthday. He was only seven years old when he lost his second eye. He had 17 different forms of surgery to try to save that one eye, but then they couldn’t wait any longer because it wasn’t improving.

BRANDON PATCH: What happened after your first talk with the Lions club?  

  • ROSSI: The first thing they did, they got us a tandem bike. They got him a lot of things that are for the blind. There’s lots of children’s toys for the blind, and books. They asked us, “Why don’t you join? Why don’t you become a Lion?” And when we saw what they did and  how the money was spent we said, “Yes.” So my husband joined the Lions club because at the time women were not allowed to join the men’s club. All of the wiives formed the first Lionettes Club, in Holbrook, Long Island. Now, it’s all one. Everybody’s a Lion, so the men and the women can work better together, rather than fighting with each other for all these things to do.

BRANDON PATCH: Still, there are lots of clubs to join in the community, why the Brandon Lions Club?

  • ROSSI: I know there are a lot of organizations out there that do a lot. But we are primarlily for sight- and the hearing-impaired. We collect eyeglasses. Right now I think we’ve given out 1,300 pairs of eyeglasses and exams, to adults and children, and that’s just our small group.