Lake Elementary School has been named a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.

Lake Elementary School has been named a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. 225 public and 49 private schools across the nation received the award, which is based upon high levels of achievement or for success in closing the achievement gap.

The Blue Ribbon Schools Program was begun under President Ronald Reagan by Terrel H. Bell, Secretary of Education who penned A Nation at Risk after studying education in the United States.

The program was designed to encourage schools to increase performance, with three purposes: to honor and bring public attention to American schools that achieve high academic standards or have shown significant academic improvement over five years; to make available a comprehensive framework of key criteria for school effectiveness that can serve as a basis for participatory self-assessment and planning in schools; to facilitate communication and sharing of best practices within and among schools based on a common understanding of criteria related to success.

Of the country’s 138,000 public schools, only 6,500 schools have received this award since 1982. Public schools are nominated by the Chief State School Officers and by officials at the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by the Council for American Private Education. The number of possible applicants from each state is based on the number of schools and K-12 students, ranging from a minimum of three schools to a maximum of 35. The potential for all nominations is 413 schools each year.

Lake Elementary has shown consistently high scores on standardized testing in all academic areas. Lake’s Principal, Donna Bruner, credits her staff, both classified and certified, for the achievement of this recognition. “We are so fortunate to have dedicated, committed and hardworking staff who put our children first”, says Bruner. “We work well as a team, and we love our jobs. We have a supportive community and great parents who also contribute to our students’ success.”

A list of the 2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools is available at

Uniontown man felt the world was going to end

By Mark Phillips
When I was a little kid, I thought Pearl Harbor was a woman’s name.

I remember watching an episode of “The Waltons” that centered on the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

I wondered, why would the Japanese attack a woman? Who is she? It may sound silly, but sometimes, little kids don’t understand things.

As I got older, I learned about Pearl Harbor from family and teachers in Uniontown. The words began to mean something.

I learned how the attack scarred our country, but also how we rallied together against our enemies. When anyone says “Pearl Harbor” now, it conjures up images of the attacks that I’ve seen on old newsreels and in movies. But I have no real emotional attachment to it.

For me, you only have to say “9/11” or “Sept. 11.” For the next several minutes and sometimes a lot longer — I have to apologize — I’m not with you. They say time travel isn’t theoretically possible. But I can attest to it: It happens around every Sept. 11, or any time I hear the date.

I’m back in 2001, standing in front of a New York fire station where the lives of nearly every firefighter and medic were snuffed out, killed by the falling towers.


I remember the ash in my hair, the ash that hung in the air for days after it happened. I remember looking from my hotel room into the pit of where the World Trade Center used to stand and seeing the glow of the fires. I see military jets scream between the high-rises, their pilots vigilant, looking out for the next airborne terrorist.

I see a profound sense of loss too unbearable to accurately describe. For the first time in my life, I felt the world literally was going to end. That doesn’t make sense to the rational brain, but standing amid all of this in New York, it made complete sense. It was the little kid in me doing the talking.

Back up to the morning of Sept. 11, before the attacks occurred, when my psyche wasn’t damaged. I was the assistant city editor for The Repository and got the first word of the attacks through an Associated Press wire bulletin on my computer at work. I don’t remember the exact words, but it said something about a plane hitting the World Trade Center.

Bad weather? Must have been a terrible accident, I thought. I jumped up from my desk and ran to a TV. There, I saw the second plane hit the other tower.

At that moment, as a journalist, I had to be in New York. But since then, I’ve wondered whether I should have pushed my bosses to let me go. It changed my life forever, and I’m not sure I’m better off for it.


I did what officials told journalists to do and wrote my Social Security number and name in permanent marker on my skin, in case there was another attack and they needed to identify my body. Then I drove with Rep photographer Michael Balash to New York (all planes in the United States were grounded for days). The assignment was to document work that people from Stark County were doing to help New York recover.

To say I wasn’t ready for the experiences in New York isn’t completely accurate. I had been crime reporter for a newspaper in central Ohio before coming to The Repository. For that job, I saw any number of chilling scenes of death that I’d rather forget. At the end of each day, I’d take a mental inventory of what I saw, and then I’d put it in a little box to be filed away in my brain. Those memories rarely came out.

I still can’t watch a TV documentary about 9/11. I’m not sure if I ever will. I like to think I can, only to get about three minutes into it and have to change the channel or shut off the TV. As soon as I see the first plane hit the World Trade Center tower, I’m traveling through time.

Which is why 9/11 is different: There’s no little box to put it in and file away. It’s simply too massive, the loss too great.

The murders of nearly 3,000 people in New York, Pennsylvania and D.C. gutted us as a country. Those memories feel like they burst out of my brain. I cannot get the images of those planes hitting those towers out of my head. I cannot get the images of the towers falling out of my head, either.

I’ve tried. But I’m not sure I should try anymore.

Stark County native Mark Phillips is a former assistant city editor of The Repository. He now edits an automotive industry magazine. In his spare time, he writes novels.

Going Blind Movie: Coming Out of the Dark About Vision Loss


Going Blind is a unique documentary film that increases public awareness of sight loss and low vision issues profoundly affecting the lives of more and more people around the world.

Director Joseph Lovett has glaucoma, a disease that robs 4.5 million people worldwide of their vision. After years of slowly losing his sight, Joe decides to take action: to investigate how people all over the country respond to vision-loss. His search begins small, with people Joe meets on the streets of his hometown New York City and gradually leads him to places and people around the country, of all different ages and backgrounds. Each has a fascinating story about dealing with the vision loss caused by sight-robbing diseases, infections and accidents. As a filmmaker, Joe uses the tool he knows best to gather information, to connect with individuals and to find answers to share with the world.


Going Blind interweaves Joe’s story with that of his fellow subjects. Inviting us into the intimate spaces of the visually impaired and blind, Joe takes us into the homes, hospitals and workplaces of these characters. In his own self-portrayal, he bravely shows how glaucoma is threatening a filmmaker’s entire lifestyle. With determination, Joe does everything he can to slow down the course of his disease from medication to surgeries, visual aids and the support of family and friends. From his subjects and fellow members of the visually impaired community, Joe receives a guiding light in a darkening world. An array of intimate anecdotes provide a glimpse into the world of low vision and blindness for sighted and visually impaired viewers. A startling 37 million people worldwide have lost their vision, while in the United States alone, Lighthouse International reports that 10 million people are legally blind or visually impaired. Here are the stories of six of them.

Jessica Jones
Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Jessica serendipitously met Joe on the streets of her current home, New York City, while she was training her seeing-eye dog, Chef. Jessica was only 32 and an artist teaching in the New York City public school system when she lost her vision in eight months from diabetic retinopahy. Initially, Jessica faced opposition through her illness with a lack of encouragement and support from family and a dearth of career opportunities. Determined not to succumb to these obstacles, Going Blind traces Jessica’s evolution to empowerment as she finds multiple strategies and technology assistance to cope with her blindness, and finally lands an art teaching position at the Lavelle School for the Blind in the Bronx.

Emmet Teran
Eleven-year old Emmet has low vision due to his albinism, a condition he inherited from his father who also lives with low vision. Emmet needs every detail to be enlarged in order to see, limiting his participation in school, sports, and activities with friends. Recent operations provide hope, yet Emmett takes it upon himself to cope with his illness—participating in an after school comedy troupe, Emmet’s humor is uplifting to himself and his family and friends.



Steve Baskis
Texas native Steve Baskis was 22 and Private First Class in the Army when a roadside bomb north of Baghdad hit his vehicle. In addition to injuries all over his body, shrapnel from the bomb created nerve damage to Steve’s eyes, leaving him blind. Going Blind documents Steve’s transition from recovery at Hines Blind Rehabilitation Center outside of Chicago to his new life at his own apartment, cleverly designed by himself for independent living as a blind person.



Pat Williams
Pat Williams is a legally blind woman, who struggles to bridge her place between the world of the sighted and that of the visually impaired. As a program support assistant at the New York City center for Veterans Affairs, Pat has found ways to adapt her work environment to her own needs. Yet at times it is necessary for her to receive help from family for daily needs. Throughout the film, Pat works to strike a balance between relying on family and remaining a fiercely independent woman who does not let her disability define her.



Peter D’Elia
An 85-year-old architect suffering from macular degeneration, Peter D’Elia has been slowly losing his vision slowly over the past 10 years. His career was in crisis when he noticed that his vision was failing even in his good right eye. Through passion and stamina, Peter finds the drive to continue working, trying new medication for his illness and fighting to restore his sight. Despite vision loss, Peter continues to pursue his love of architecture at his home in New Jersey.



Ray Kornman
At age 29, Ray Kornman discovered he had retinitis pigmentosa, an incurable eye disease that would leave him blind by the age of 40. In Going Blind, Ray discloses his initial feelings of hopelessness and vulnerability before learning of the various services available for the blind. Ray’s life changed when he got his guide dog at the Seeing Eye in Morristown. Now, secure in his condition and content with his life, Ray’s mission is to spread the message about the power of guide dogs.

Lions Clubs International Century of Service Commemorative Coin

Lions Clubs International (LCI) is leading efforts to mint 350,000 silver dollars in recognition of our 100th Anniversary in 2017.

Lions are excited to celebrate our 100 years of service to men and women throughout the world. And, this is the first step to commemorate our centennial – while raising millions to support our global mission areas for the visually impaired, disabled, youth and those affected by disaster. Lions from all over the globe are exploring similar commemorative campaigns locally.

Congressman Peter Roskam is sponsoring the Lions Clubs International Century of Service Commemorative Coin Act thanks to Sandy Spring Lions Club, District 22-C, who formally proposed this opportunity to publicize our accomplishments and raise funds for the Lions Clubs International Foundation.

To learn more about this campaign, please read Quick Facts, Frequently Asked Questions or view our Campaign Overview.

Take Action Now!

Passage of this legislation depends on securing 290 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives and 67 co-sponsors in the U.S. Senate. We need Lions from across the United States to contact their federal lawmakers and ask them to co-sponsor the “Lions Clubs International Century of Service Commemorative Coin Act.” Write or call your lawmakers today!

  • Look up your representative in Congress by zip code
  • Fill-out this letter and send it to your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives
  • Use this phone script when calling your member’s district or Washington D.C. office
  • Before contacting your lawmakers, be sure to read these tips
  • Share your experience by filling out this report back form. Email or fax it to 630-706-9248

Japan Crisis hits Akron: The pain of a forced transformation

By Ruth Walker | The Buchtelite

The University of Akron is currently home to three Japanese students, two of which appeared on Channel 3 News last week to discuss how recent events are affecting their families back home in Japan.

Nozomi Kiuchi spoke about her parents’ concern over radiation exposure from the compromised Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. She explained that they have already purchased masks to cover their faces as a barrier.

This echoes the concerns heard by Catherine Kenngott, History and Modern Languages senior lecturer, who has several friends currently living in Japan. Kenngott lived in Japan from 1984-1987 and has been teaching World Civilization: Japan for 23 years at The University of Akron. Friends have mentioned a mild panic caused by the fear of radiation. Kenngott explained that this fear is compounded by foreign countries pulling their people out and discouraging travel as well as ambiguous information being given to the Japanese people.

As someone who feels homesick for the life and culture in Japan, Kenngott does not marvel at the cooperation of the Japanese people in the face of such circumstances because she intrinsically knows that is just the kind of people they are. She explained that they are an admirable, homogenous nation with a group consciousness that fosters cooperation.

Kenngott spoke about how in Japanese culture, the individual divides into a private and a public self. The private self, Honne, is a person’s true feelings and desires that are shared amongst close friends and family. The public self, Tatemae, is the behavior that is displayed in public and adheres to society’s expectations of their position and circumstances. This division does not lend itself to the public outbursts of emotion that we typically see in the United States and other countries, but rather lends itself to a group focus on setting emotions aside in public and working toward a common goal – which is desperately needed with the amount of work to be done in Japan at this stage.

Gregory Moore, Ph.D., History Department senior lecturer, has been at The University of Akron for over 30 years teaching World Civilization: Japan and China. Dr. Moore believes Japan will recover quite successfully, as they have a history of transforming their society. He explained that the western world arrived in Japan in 1900 and within a century, Japan transformed from a feudal society into a modern western-style society. He went on to explain that Japan recovered from serious levels of devastation during WWII caused by raids and the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

The question is not whether or not Japan will recover; the question is how long recovery will take. While both Kenngott and Moore agree the government and people are more than capable of recovering, it will take extensive time and money to do so.


Powell, who served as U.S. Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, is the founder of America’s Promise, a partnership of businesses, youth-focused organizations and community leaders dedicated to the wellbeing of youth. He will deliver the address during the convention’s opening plenary session on Wednesday, July 8, at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
“Colin Powell is a hero to many, and an outstanding advocate for children and youth,” said Albert Brandel, president of Lions Clubs International. “His work has helped bring the development and support of our youth to the forefront, and his efforts through America’s Promise directly contribute to the well-being of young people everywhere.”
Powell began his career in the military serving as an adviser during the Vietnam conflict. The following years saw Powell ascend in military rank before assuming duties as U.S. National Security Advisor under President Ronald Regan in 1987. Powell achieved the rank of General in 1989 and served during the Gulf War as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – the highest military position in the department of defense – until 1993. Powell then served as Secretary of State under President Bush from 2001 to 2005.
Powell, a two-time recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, has been recognized with the Presidential Citizens Medal, the Congressional Gold Medal, the Secretary of State Distinguished Service Medal and the Secretary of Energy Distinguished Service Medal. His best-selling autobiography, “My American Journey,” was published in 1995. Powell holds honorary degrees from universities and colleges across the United States.
Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization with 1.3 million members in more than 45,000 clubs in 205 countries and geographic areas. In addition to its efforts toward conquering blindness, the organization has made a strong commitment to community service and helping youth throughout the world.

Lions battle against preventable blindness

Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center handles 500,000 donations annually
Individuals across the country annually drop about 6 million pairs of glasses into local Lions Clubs’ refurbished mailboxes, but not many donors know where those used spectacles go.

JENNIFER KOHLHEPP Allentown Lions Club President Robert Strovinsky sorts glasses with various prescriptions at the club’s eyeglass recycling center in West Trenton where they are readied for distribution to needy groups and individuals in other countries.
Lions Club International has nine approved eyeglass recycling centers operating in the Unites States. The New Jersey Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center at the Katzenbach School in West Trenton handles approximately 500,000 of those donations annually. The center cleans, neutralizes and determines the prescription of the used eyeglasses and then stores and packages them for distribution to needy groups and individuals in other countries.

Lions Club members from throughout New Jersey empty their yellow and blue mailboxes throughout the year and take the donated eyewear to the center. For example, the Allentown Lions Club has a collection box in front of the municipal building on Church Street that garners between 1,200 and 1,500 glasses each year, according to Secretary Dave Strovino.

Glasses collected by Lions Club members in refurbished mailboxes across the state wind up at the club’s eyeglass recycling center.
The Lions accept all types of used eyeglasses and sunglasses, prescription and nonprescription, for children and adults. Donations of reading glasses are particularly useful for workers who have to perform close-up tasks. Sunglasses are sought for people living near the equator, especially those with cataracts.

“People in Third World countries and impoverished

countries get the opportunity to have good vision,” Allentown Lions Club member Rich Holman said. “It’s a shame that we can’t use recycled eyeglasses in this country.”

Due to legal constraints against dispensing used prescriptive devices in the United States, most of the recycled glasses are distributed in developing countries where individuals and families are frequently pushed into deepening poverty because of their inabilities to see well and afford glasses. According to the Lions Club, at least 13 million children (ages 5-15) and 45 million working-age adults (ages 16-49) are affected with these inabilities globally.

Allentown Lions Club members use lensometers to determine the prescriptions of donated glasses.
“This is a great way to recycle and help people in need in other countries,” Allentown Lions Club member Tim Stolzenberger said.

Members of local chapters of Lions Clubs volunteer at the eyeglass recycling centers to minimize operating costs. The New Jersey center also reduces costs by giving residents at the Adult Diagnostic Treatment Center in Avenel and the Edna Mahon Correctional Facility in Clinton the opportunity to process donated glasses.

Most of the equipment and other goods used in the recycling process at the center, such as shipping boxes, are donations from Lions Clubs and area businesses, which also keeps costs down.

Biff Searing, the Allentown Lions Club member who chairs the recycled eyeglass project, said eyesight conservation is the Lions Club’s primary focus. He said theAllentown club has raised funds for and donated two lensometers to the center. These machines determine the prescription of the lenses.

Since eyesight comes first, the Lions process all types of eyewear, including those with 14-karat gold frames. However, if a pair of gold glasses is damaged and cannot be processed, the center sells the gold to further offset operating costs. The same goes for all recyclable materials, including damaged metal chains that the center cannot process.

Lions and other optical mission groups organize teams of eye care professionals and volunteers to travel to developing countries all over the world to conduct vision screenings and dispense the recycled glasses free of charge to children and adults with impaired vision.

In their battle against preventable blindness, New Jersey Lions also work with companies like Lenscrafters to get underprivileged children in local communities glasses at a fraction of the price they would regularly pay. New Jersey Lions also sponsor an eye-mobile that travels to various community events across the state providing free eye exams, including a screening for glaucoma.

Local Lions clubs fear closing down due to lack of volunteers

By COLIN MCEVOY – The Express-Times

More than 20 years ago, the Bushkill Township Lions Club raised the money to build a pavilion for the township park that is still used today. Two months ago, the once active club was forced to disband due to a lack of volunteers.

“We just didn’t have enough members, so we decided to drop it,” said Cliff Bonney, 84, one of the club’s founding members and one of eight still active when the club finally closed. Once among the leaders of local volunteer organizations, the Bushkill group is not the only local Lions Club to have lost some of its roar in recent years. The Nazareth Lions Club, which has served the borough for 84 years, had 154 members when current President Charles Roth joined in 1954.

Now it only has about 16. Roth was so concerned about its lack of volunteers he wrote an open letter to borough residents claiming the club might have to fold if it did not get more members.

“When did volunteerism start to diminish in the United States?” Roth asked. “It’s just a lack of willingness to do things for other people. It’s a selfishness.” About 410,000 people are in Lions clubs throughout the United States, a drop of about 3,000 members from last year, according to Dane LaJoye, Lions Clubs International spokesman.

Membership hit its nationwide peak in the mid-1980s with about 560,000 volunteers, he said. Local members said they have not seen young people join in the same numbers as they did decades ago. When the Bushkill club closed, most of the eight remaining volunteers were founding members and almost all of them were retired men in their 80s, Bonney said.

“No young guys like we had years ago,” he said. LaJoye said people younger than 30 still volunteer but tend to do it episodically. They’ll coach their son or daughter’s soccer team this year, but maybe they won’t next year,” LaJoye said. “This month they’ll volunteer at their church, but maybe next year they won’t. So they’re volunteering, but they’re not joining.”

Other service clubs have seen problems with declining volunteers. The Phillipsburg Area Jaycees was unable to coordinate the Phillipsburg-Easton Halloween parade this year due in part to such problems. The event was saved only at the last minute when the Warren County Regional Chamber of Commerce took responsibility for organizing it. Chamber President Robert Goltz said volunteerism has dropped in part because businesses have stopped supporting it financially.

“They still do, but they don’t support it on their dime,” Goltz said. “In the past, the banks would say, ‘OK, you’re required to volunteer so many hours, but we’re going to pay you for those hours.’ That is gone.” Many Lions clubs have tried new methods to keep up volunteerism, including appealing to families and starting “cyber-clubs” with more online participation, LaJoye said.

John Cooke, past president and current member of the Palmer Township Lions Club, said his group has tried to brainstorm ways to bring in new members, but has found many people simply don’t have the time. The Palmer club has 18 members, down from 54 when Cooke joined in 1971. But the group still tries to keep active. Earlier this year, it helped raise the money for an electronic sign at 25th and Northampton streets.

Jennifer Stocker, president of the Easton Lions Club, said the group is still going strong despite a drop in volunteers. The group has 26 members right now, about half of when it was formed in 1971. Stocker, 34, said while many of the members are in their 70s, there are some younger volunteers in their 30s and 40s, as well.

Editors Note: Our Uniontown, Ohio Lions Club is still strong and growing. We have added several new members during the current fiscal year and we have a few other prospects that could become members in the next few months. With strong support from the community we are set to be a part of the Uniontown, Ohio landscape for years to come. If you are interested in membership, please fill out our Membership Form

Uniontown Company to Open $100M bleach plant in Pittsburg

A $100 million bleach manufacturing plant will be built and operated by K2 Pure Solutions at Dow Chemical Co.’s Pittsburg site.

K2 will build and operate the plant on 15 acres leased from Dow on its 513-acre east Contra Costa County site. Dow will supply raw materials.

The new plant will sell bleach mainly to municipal water treatment plants in Northern California. It should be operational by the end of 2010.

Seperately, K2 will lease to Dow an additional separate facility K2 will operate to make chlorine and caustic soda for Dow’s agricultural markets.

Howard Brodie, K2’s chief executive officer, said the 20-year agreement should provide about 200 direct and indirect construction jobs and approximately 40 direct and indirect permanent operations jobs.

Dow, the $53.5 billion chemical giant based in Midland, Mich., said Dec. 8 as part of a global reduction it would close its Pittsburg latex operation, costing 20 jobs. The latex plant had been idle since August. Dow has 500 employees and contactors in Pittsburg.

Dow has nine production units left after the latex plant shut down, said Randy Fischback, Dow’s California public and government affairs leader.

The K2 plant “will be a new unit on site; its footprint every bit as robust as our larger plants.”

Dow operated a global-scale chlorine production plant in Pittsburg for 50 years, before closing it in 1992.

The new plant will have to get city and regulatory agency approvals, Fischback said.

Tod Sutton, Dow’s Pittsburg site leader, said Dow will get “a stable, onsite, low-cost raw material supply by working with K2,” and that “sharing capital costs is consistent with Dow’s asset-light strategy and provides Dow better raw material integration at the Pittsburg site.”

While chlorine and bleach may be the same thing, chlorine is a deadly gas, mostly made in the Gulf, and shipped by rail.

K2’s technology “eliminates the public safety risk,” said David Cynamon, K2 executive chairman.

Cynamon and partner Brodie founded KIK Custom Products in 1997, a Concord, Ontario, company that grew to $1.5 billion in sales and is North America’s largest contract manufacturer of private label household bleach, personal care and household cleaning products. The duo sold KIK with its 25 plants in May 2007 to CI Capital Partners LLC of New York.

“We knew chlorine,” Cynamon said, “We were the largest store brand bleach manufacturer in North America.” Along with Centre Partners, their original partners at KIK, Cynamon and Brodie founded K2 and put to use their knowledge of bleach-making.

K2 is based in Toronto, Ontario, with U.S. headquarters in Uniontown, Ohio. It has 15 employees and, besides Pittsburg, plans to open bleach plants in Vernon in Southern California and later Chicago.

K2 makes bleach using only salt, water and electricity as the inputs.

K2’s plan is to reduce the need to transport chlorine for water treatment by setting up a network of regional plants using its safer method of bleach production.

While early-stage technologies are often expensive — windfarms and solar power, for example — K2 is able “to create products at no extra cost to taxpayers,” Cynamon said.

Shipping chlorine by rail isn’t allowed in Europe and Asia, he said, something that may happen in the United States.

Hearing dogs to help the deaf

By Nicole Precel

hearing dogsDangers signalled … Lyn Thomas with her hearing dog, Rocky. 25481 Picture: EMILY LANE
LYN Thomas’ dog Rocky is more than just a companion – he is a Lions Hearing Dog. There are about 500 Lions Hearing Dogs in Australia that alert people with hearing impairments of danger and general things like when the phone rings.

Ms Thomas has moderate to severe hearing loss and although she has cochlear implants, she worries that she will not hear important alarms. “It’s a safety thing, plus he’s a companion. I didn’t like being by myself especially if there were noises outside, so he got rid of all that for me,” Ms Thomas said.

Ms Thomas said she was prompted to apply for Rocky, a Terrier Papillon cross, when she slept through a fire alarm. She has had Rocky since April 2006. Lions Club Australia took the idea of hearing dogs from the United States and now has a training centre in South Australia. People with severe hearing loss who can physically and financially care for a dog and can demonstrate a need for it can apply for a Lions Hearing Dog.

The Lions Club rescues dogs from the pound and can train any breed of dog that passes intelligence tests. They are then put through quarantine, basic obedience training and then sound training. Once Rocky arrived at Ms Thomas’s house, Lions Club members trained both Rocky and Ms Thomas together for 12 weeks. Rocky will tap Ms Thomas’s knee when the phone rings, the smoke alarm sounds, and when someone knocks at the door.

Rocky will also drop to the ground if the smoke alarm sounds. “He follows me around. If I’m not feeling well he’ll come and stay near me, but he’s not allowed to jump up on the bed,” Ms Thomas said. “In the night time if I heard noises I get worried – but he hears them and if I see he is alright I just relax,” she said.

Hearing dogs cost about $15,000, which is paid for by corporate donations and fundraising by local Lions Clubs. Broadford Lions Club president Ian Overend says while the hearing dogs are not widely publicised they are vital for people with hearing impairments who are isolated. “It’s vital to people like Lyn throughout the country that are pretty isolated because of their hearing and it opens a whole new world for them,” Mr Overend said.