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.

Lake Township trustees meeting of March 12

By Mary Ann Kannam

LAKE TWP. —KEY ACTION  Agreed to own and manage East Nimishillen Cemetery.

DISCUSSION  The East Nimishillen Cemetery Association is transferring ownership and control of the cemetery to the trustees because of a shortage of volunteers to operate the property.

OTHER ACTION  

• Trustee John Arnold told resident Don Williamson he will contact Lake Local Schools Superintendent Jeff Wendorf about Williamson’s concerns about the removal of a barricade from Lisa Avenue NW. The barricade was removed from the property owned by the school district to alleviate traffic during a road improvement project. Residents believed the change was temporary. Since the completion of the project, the street remains open. Arnold asked Williamson to gather signatures from neighbors who agree that drivers are cutting through their neighborhood near Lisa Avenue to avoid traffic lights.

• Authorized spending up to $8,835 to buy 15,000 pounds of asphalt sealant from DJL Material of Akron for the Road Department.

• Increased the employees’ share of medical insurance premiums from 6.8 percent to 10 percent and accepted the pay scales for all nonbargaining employees of the Road Department and administrative offices.

• Said a decision is expected in May about the trustees’ appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court involving the overturned election results of a levy that passed Nov. 8 to expand the Uniontown Police Department to become the Lake Township Police Department.

UP NEXT  Meet at 6:30 p.m. March 26 at Township Hall.

Lions serve in Sechelt

Christine Wood Staff Writer

Sechelt Lions ClubThe Sunshine Coast Lions Club of Sechelt is here to serve, and members put that motto into action last week while building a deck for all to enjoy at the new community building in Mission Point Park.

The building used to be a residence and when the District of Sechelt acquired the Mission Point property they realized the building needed repair.

The District got to work revamping the space and soon the Lions Club stepped up to help be a part of that transformation.

“Our motto is ‘we serve,’ that’s why we’re here,” said club president Len Schollen, while working on the deck with a crew of four Lions. “We see this as a great benefit to the community. This building is going to be used by different groups and people for things like meetings and small weddings.”

The club spent a little under $1,500 for the deck project and nine volunteers put in about 80 hours of work to finish it. The cost could have been significantly higher, but lumber was provided by Gibsons Building Supply in Sechelt-.

Beneath the new solid wrap-around deck, the Lions hid a time capsule to mark their effort. Inside is a copy of the front page Coast Reporter article telling of their recently opened senior housing complex in Sechelt, some business cards, a club roster and a note for whoever finds the capsule, but they hope it won’t be found for 50 years or more.

“Because we used pressure treated wood, [the deck] shouldn’t need any repairs for probably 50 years. We think it will be a long time until anyone finds it,” said Lion Robert Allen.

This is just one of many community projects the club will be taking on this year.

The group plans to build a viewing area platform in Mission Point Park as well at the mouth of Chapman Creek. That project would be fully accessible and is expected to cost about $3,500.

The Lions also give funds to support KidSport and the Imagination Library program, which provides monthly books for young readers.

Other smaller projects may come their way this year and there is ongoing fundraising in order to add another complex to their seniors’ housing site in Sechelt.

“The Lions club is about helping children, people with disabilities and the elderly,” Schollen noted.

The Sechelt club raises their funds though weekly meat draws on Saturdays at Gilligan’s Pub in Sechelt, the July 1st pancake breakfast they put on, hot dog and hamburger sales at the drag races (as part of a joint effort with the Gibsons club) and the Christmas tree farm they run each year. They also receive some size of gaming grant annually.

The Sunshine Coast Lions Club of Sechelt is one of 4,682 clubs that run in 206 countries around the world. Lions clubs are non-religious, non-political and accept members of all ages, races and nationalities.

“It’s the largest service club organization in the world,” Schollen said.

Despite their world-reaching membership and notable achievements, the Sechelt group has just 22 members.

Nonprofit reads newspapers for those with visual and physical limits

By LEANN ECKROTH

Sue Hammer-Schneider of the Dakota Radio Information Service.Neatly tucked away on the second floor of the North Dakota State Library are two small recording studios. Volunteer announcer Joyce Sauer, a retired nurse, slips in about 10 minutes before she begins her 8:30 a.m. Thursday recording. She collects the newspaper clippings prepared for her and, in a tiny white booth, reads news from the Bismarck Tribune for the next 45 minutes.

Since she started in 2002, Sauer has volunteered nearly 400 hours for those who can’t physically read the paper themselves or have impaired vision.

“It is a very important service. I love reading the newspaper. I do not have a computer. For me, I have to have a paper in my hand. I feel it’s a good service to read for people who are unable to read the news or hold a newspaper,” she said.

The non-profit Dakota Radio Information Service radio reading program was founded in 1982 to provide access to newspapers through closed circuit radio receivers. It first aired in March 1984, and grew from 39 listeners to 295.

The radio service runs from the same office as the state Library Talking Books Program. It is subsidized with $45,000 a year by the Legislature to allow the Talking Books program staff to schedule readers and prepare the three-hour news tapes for broadcast. The non-profit Dakota Radio Information Service board members also seek grants and fundraise to support services and upgrade equipment, said Sue Hammer-Schneider, director of the state Talking Books Program.

Abby Bardell arrives shortly before 9 a.m. Thursday. A library staffer hands her a hot cup of coffee. She jokes about “what a diva I am.” Bardell reads the news features for the next half hour in a separate recording booth 5 feet away from Sauer.

Bardell has volunteered more than 600 hours since 1996 for the Dakota Radio Information Service program.

“It’s just such an easy thing to do. I think a lot of the patrons – their visual impairments give them some isolation, emotionally, physically. A lot them are isolated geographically as well. For them to hear a warm human voice is a really valuable human need,” she said.

Sauer and Bardell are among 61 volunteers reading local newspaper articles, grocery ads and feature columns for the program. The studio equipment is simple. Reel-to-reels record their voices and the segments representing different parts of the state are aired together in three-hour increments on special receivers (radios). These receivers are set to frequencies based on where they live in the state. Dakota Radio Information Service wants to transition to a digital system before the end of the year, Hammer-Schneider said.

Papers read include the Minot Daily News, the Williston Herald, the Dickinson Press, the Jamestown Sun, the Valley CityTimes Record and the Bismarck Tribune.

Williston-Dickinson news and Jamestown-Valley City news are grouped regionally in the recordings. On the east side of the state, listeners hear programming from Minnesota Talking Book Radio system, which airs 24-7. The North Dakota news slots air from 2-5 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. weekdays. Prairie Public Radio is a partner in the project. The Dakota Radio Information Service is also supported by Lions clubs.

Dakota Radio Information Service listeners apply for the service.

“They could have physical conditions like Parkinson’s disease or MS,” Hammer-Schneider said. If it’s a visual problem, it could be temporary – like cataracts – or full vision loss, she said.

Hammer-Schneider said volunteer candidates audition with a script of news articles and words to test them for annunciation, knowledge of words, clarity and voice projection. The stories from the newspapers aren’t edited, but obituaries are, for brevity, she said.

“Sometimes, I get emotional. I have difficulty sometimes reading a sad story, a heartwarming story. It’s a wonderful program. There’s good staff here – very supportive,” Sauer said. “I love to read and I can’t fathom having that taken away. As we age, more and more of our peers have become troubled with vision problems.”

“The purpose is to get information out. We hear so many times that when people lose their eyesight or can’t physically read the newspaper … that they just miss reading the newspaper. This is one way to get the newspaper read to them,” Hammer-Schneider said. “It is all local news.”

Before the Internet, programs like these were the only way people could get local news without people reading them the newspaper, Hammer-Schneider said. Listeners consist of mostly seniors, and the audience keeps steady at around 300 people, she said.

Milta Zimmerman, 88, of Elgin, who suffers from macular degeneration, said she has been a Dakota Radio Information Service listener for at least five years.

“Mondays, I never miss, unless there’s a medical appointment,” Zimmerman said. “I used to get the Tribune, but when my eyes (went bad), I had to stop it. If I get the daily news, I keep up on the world. I like to know what everyone is talking about.”

Her son, Mark, also volunteers for the program, she said.

O Christmas tree! – Boston Lions Club Sells Christmas Trees

By Gene Cassidy Globe Correspondent

Ashland Lions TreeMickey Robertson, 9, recently rode 485 miles from his home in northern Maine to a town near Boston and was rewarded at the end with some hot chocolate. That’s what his dad said was Mickey’s favorite part of the Christmas-tree delivery trip, the hot chocolate in Ashland.

Along the way, Mickey also got a view high above the highway and to spend time with his dad, Mase, as the broad-shouldered, good-natured Marine veteran drove a green Freightliner cab pulling a 53-foot trailer loaded with Christmas trees from Allagash View Farms to Lions clubs in Medfield, Medway, Wrentham, Stow, and Ashland.

Every year, a few weeks before Christmas, trees arrive in lots like the Ashland Lions Club’s, and families like the Pisanos set out to pick out that special tree to take home.

“The tree was an executive decision,’’ Kristin Pisano said with a smile on a recent Saturday. She nodded toward her sons. “They agree with everything we say.’’

Five-year-old Joey Pisano’s eyes got wide as the volunteers put the tree into the hatchback and its tip poked out. He seemed concerned where he would sit.

“Uh-oh. Tree’s coming out,’’ he said.

While his other mom, Raylin Pisano, and the volunteers worked to shift the tree across the front-seat console almost to the dashboard, Joey and his brother Lucas, 4, talked about Santa and Christmas over candy canes the Lions had provided.

Lucas said he is hoping for a track that allows cars to travel on the wall, while Joey described the Elf on a Shelf he regularly reports to, who lives by the stairs, communicates with Santa nightly, and flies.

It takes about eight years to grow Christmas trees, so the specimen in the back of their car was probably about as old as Joey and Lucas combined.

Ed Cyr’s Allagash View Farms, where Mase Robertson worked before starting his trucking business, has about 60 acres divided into eight growing areas. Each fall 10 to 12 students from the University of Maine Fort Kent work part time to cut the trees. Planting for a future crop starts in the spring.

The Lions sell two types of fir trees. Tom Heguy, the Ashland club’s secretary and this year’s chairman of its tree sale, now in its 25th year, has an easy way to describe the difference: a balsam has more smell, a Fraser means less mess.

Thomas Mikkelsen of Holliston knew the difference and picked a Fraser, a fir that is native to the warm Carolinas and loses fewer needles indoors leading up to Christmas. Mikkelsen, his wife, Lisa, and 10-year-old son, Clark, who were glad to be choosing a tree unhampered by gloves and snow, passed several Christmas tree lots, some with lower prices, on their way to the Ashland Lions Club’s offerings alongside Route 126.

“I wanted to buy one from a place where the money was going to something,’’ Mikkelson said.

The money raised from the tree sales goes to Lions Club projects, which include youth soccer, T-ball, senior breakfasts, lunches, meals on wheels, food pantries, school programs, the Medway-Ashland Wildcats girls’ youth hockey team, the Lazarus Organ Donor program, diabetes programs, NEADS service dogs, and the service organization’s dedicated charity, eye research, with the goal of eradicating blindness.

But there are other reasons people buy Lions Club trees. Norah Cox, 3, picked a beauty for Ashland residents Beverly and Matthew Henderson, who are her Bee and Papa. “Because it was pretty,’’ she said.

Marley Hanson and Tara Dorval bought a huge first tree, easily as big as their small car, for their new Framingham apartment. They cuddled their tiny dogs, Josie and Pops, while the Lions threaded tie lines around the tree, through the interior and to the front bumper. If the tree was that big on the car, what about their apartment?

“We’re going to kind of move ourselves for the tree,’’ Hanson said.

Eileen and John Avisa of Medway made three stops Friday night and three on Saturday morning before picking a 10-foot tree as wide as it was tall at the Ashland Lions lot.

“We have a cathedral ceiling and a perfect space for this tree,’’ Eileen Avisa said. She hoped her four children would be thrilled, and the family’s two cats not thrilled enough to try to climb it.

Avisa said her family collects ornaments wherever they go on vacation. This time of year brings back not only memories of Christmases past, but of family journeys.

Andrew MacNeil brought girlfriend Ashley Pardi from their Back Bay apartment to the lot in his hometown to buy their tree, continuing a family tradition. “They have better trees,’’ he said.

Joe and Laurie Yannone, who recently moved to the suburbs from Quincy, bought a tree so big for 8 1/2-month-old Will’s first Christmas it couldn’t fit on the car. The Lions would deliver it.

The volunteers at the Lions tree lot embody Christmas with unhurried good cheer. If Mickey makes the tree-delivery ride from Maine next year, it will be his fourth year of hot chocolate in Ashland. High school students will again help unload the trees.

Cars will roll out of the lot with trees on top, and profits will go to charity, all in a relaxed seasonal counterpoint to the crush of shopping malls.

That vibe keeps buyers like Ashland’s David Jenkins coming back year after year. Finally, he’s perfected the best way to choose a tree. “It was close to the car,’’ he said.

Camp Quality in Brisbane Australia gives kids a day to smile

by Leesa Petfield

Camp gives kids a day to smileCAMP Quality is a very special time for a group of children with cancer, to come together for a day and forget about hospitals, treatments and sickness.

They get the chance to be like ordinary kids and enjoy the entertainment of jumping castles, laughing clowns, face painting, rock wall climbing, Viv’s Farm, swimming, running and meeting Santa Claus.

The Lions Club International – District 201 Q 3, hosted Camp Quality last Sunday at Brennans Park, Bribie Island.

Camp co-ordinator Kevin Williams said this was the 21st camp held at Bribie Island by the Lions Club.

Lions Club members from nine local clubs and four clubs from surrounding areas gathered to assist in giving these children a very fun and memorable day.

The event is not only for Camp Quality children, but is also designed for families to come together, have a real picnic in the park and enjoy quality time as a family.

About 400 families and volunteers from Camp Quality attended the event.

Music from the 4OUR Radio, Bribie Island Big Band and the Brass Band kept the crowd entertained and Santa handed out about 220 gift bags to very excited children of the families, who are connected with Camp Quality.

Mr Williams said the day could not have happened without the support from many local businesses and people.

The businesses who supported the day were: Bribie Island RSL, Cornett’s Supa IGA, SES Bribie Island, Wrights Fruit Barn, Kerry Wright, RL & VA O’Brien, Our Radio FM 101.5, Affordable Entertainment, Wallum Group, Island Promotion and Costume Hire, Vive’s Farm, The Ferryman Cruises, Bribie Island Fire Brigade, Wayne the Train, Mr Rentals, Bribie Island Police, P & C Amusements and many others.

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.

Crosby Lions, Leos organize Rebuilding Together Houston project

By STEPHEN THOMAS

Crosby Lions, Leos organize Rebuilding Together Houston projectEvery time that Tracee Jackson leaves and returns to her Crosby home, she sees the difference that Lionism makes.

Through the Rebuilding Together Houston program, the Lions and Leos of the Crosby Lions Club coalesced dozens of volunteers who on Saturday, Oct. 15, refurbished Jackson’s Melville Drive home.

Volunteers scraped the loose green paint and replaced it with a beige coat complemented by white newly attached trim and fresh paint under the roof overhang. They also secured or replaced siding as necessary, caulked voids to seal the structure from the elements, and built a wooden front porch, complete with railings.

The team performed interior roof repairs and renovated a bathroom to make it handicapped-accessible.

This is not an exhaustive account of the post-Hurricane Ike renovation.

A 20-year resident, Jackson was away during some of the volunteers’ work, which was carried out under the auspices of the Rebuilding program, a community outreach organization that repairs and renovates homes at no cost to the qualifying need-based homeowners.

When the homeowner returned, she picked up a paint brush and helped.

Having worked side-by-side with volunteers, Jackson insisted that she be called upon to volunteer on the next project, which would improve someone else’s home.

She could not believe the impact of Lionism and the broader display of community service. Upon examining the work, all Jackson knew was that these volunteers were good people; they were her kind of people.

“It overwhelmed me for them to show that much love toward someone that they didn’t know,” Jackson said. “Even though they didn’t know me, we did have common ground, and that was with Jesus.

“I know they had the love of God in them, for them to do something like that for a person they didn’t know — to sacrifice the time that they could have been spending with their families. To come and help me, a person in need, was very overwhelming.”

Volunteers were practically coming out of the woodwork, so to speak. Lions and Leos were joined by members of Crosby Boy Scout Troop 1411, the values-based citizenship of which is consistent with the 1917 founding humanitarian pillar of Lions and Leos.

Lions Clubs are known for their eyesight conservation initiatives and aid to people who suffer from vision loss. They sponsor eye exams, to include preschool vision screening, and collect recyclable eyeglasses strictly for overseas distribution.

Leo is a Lions Clubs community service organization focused on providing “leadership, experience and opportunity” to its youth and young adult membership.

The East Harris County Empowerment Council also was among the organizations represented.

The scope of volunteerism impressed and encouraged organizers.

“You always take a shot in the dark and hopefully everybody says, ‘Yes,’” Crosby Lions Club President Marcus Narvaez said, during the volunteers’ work day. “You hope for the best. Everybody can’t always make it. But this was a great turnout. Some of the people I didn’t even expect to come.

“I think it is fun to do this. To see all the people here gives you more fuel to just keep on working on the house.”

Lions and Leos praised the exemplary team spirit.

“My gosh, it’s awesome,” said Brenda Quintanilla, sponsor of the Crosby Leo Club at Crosby High School, who was painting under the roof overhang on the home’s east side. “Everybody is working together. If you walk around the house, you can see that so much work is getting done because we have so many people who came to volunteer. The Boy Scouts showed up! They are all helping, and it is really a great effort. We’re doing a great job, I think.”

Lionism is an everlasting doctrine, which is a reason Crosby Lions and Leos, whose Facebook page is www.facebook.com/crosbylionsclub, plan to continue helping people and improving neighborhood aesthetics through the Rebuilding program.

“We would like to do more Rebuilding projects,” Quintanilla said. “We are always looking for houses that we can help folks with. One of the biggest challenges that we found, so far, is finding people who would like our help. Sometimes folks don’t really want to step up and say, ‘I need the help.’

“So, if there is anybody out there who would like us to come by with Rebuilding Houston — there are some qualifications they have to meet — we would love to do more jobs like this.”

Jackson was an ideal choice for the project.

“I’ve met her,” Narvaez said. “She is well-deserving.”

Volunteers have been very proud to sacrifice a Saturday for Rebuilding Together Houston.

“I feel good about us fixing the old ladies’ houses,” said Boy Scout Jonathan Bliek, a member of Crosby Troop 1411. “I feel good for painting all of the fences; make her feel better.”

While Jackson was away, Troop 1411 Boy Scout Jacob Peña said that he had hoped the homeowner would return and be “surprised and happy that we helped her with her house.”

Knights of Sight Recognized by Hazlet Board of Education

Hazlet and Middletown, N.J. – The Hazlet Township Board of Education recognized the Middletown Township Lions Club Vision Screening Team, the ‘Knights of Sight,’ at their regular meeting on Monday, October 3rd. The volunteer vision screening team recently tested the eyes of 254 kindergarten students at the Sycamore Drive Early Childhood Learning Center at no charge to the school district. Superintendant of Schools Dr. William O. George III, Ed. D., Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bernard F. Bragen, Jr., and Board of Education President Stephen F. Willig presented certificates of appreciation to each member of the team.

Sight preservation and prevention of blindness are major global initiatives of Lions Clubs throughout the world. Middletown Lions Sight Committee Chairman Rich LaBarbera stated the purpose of the screenings is to detect common eye ailments such as lazy eye, shaking eyes, and refractive errors like near-sightedness and far-sightedness. Noting that lazy eye is one of the leading causes of blindness in children, he clarified that the condition can be corrected up until the age of eight.

Lion volunteers conduct the vision screenings using special cameras know as Welch Allyn Suresight Vision Screeners. Team members receive extensive training in the operation of the cameras. The Suresight Vision Screeners take digital readings without physical contact, and results from the exams are sent directly to the South Jersey Eye Center, Camden, where they are evaluated by medical doctors. Parents are notified of any problems.

To date, the ‘Knights of Sight’ have performed vision screenings in the Middletown Township and Red Bank School Districts and will be visiting the Matawan School District in the near future. Several thousand students have had their eyes tested.

The Middletown Township Lions Club, chartered in 1946 under Lions International, is a volunteer service organization consisting of men and women who help the community through various charitable service programs and fundraising initiatives. The club assists individuals and families by underwriting free eye exams, eyeglasses, and hearing aids for those who cannot afford them and also donates funds to local charities that advocate for the blind and visually-impaired. Members also volunteer directly at The Kitchen at St. Marks Food Pantry, Keansburg, by purchasing, preparing and serving meals to the hungry.

The club has instituted a capital campaign – ‘Hear Their Voices’ – which will guarantee the continuation and expansion of all charitable programs. Checks can be sent to the Middletown Lions Club, c/o Lion President Lori Anne Oliwa, P.O. Box 75, Middletown, N.J., 07748 and should contain a designation for the capital campaign in the memo area. Membership in the Lions is by invitation. The club meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month

Shippensburg Lion Reed is Melvin Jones Fellow

Shippensburg Lion Reed is Melvin Jones FellowSHIPPENSBURG — Shippensburg Lions Club members recently welcomed the new District 14-C Gov. Shirley Starner to their Hawaiian evening in Premier Events, Shippensburg.

Starner was accompanied by her husband, Clair, and Zone Chairman “Peck” Freeland and his wife, Jil. All are Lions Club members.

Starner talked about Lions clubs from the international aspect to the locals. She said that while Lions still has the largest membership in the world, those numbers are declining and recruiting new members is a must.

Starner talked briefly about the new international president, Wing-Kun Tam of Hong Kong. Theme for his presidency is “I Believe.” One of his goals is to plant 1 million trees during his term. In keeping with his wishes, Starner came to the meeting armed with a number of tiny trees and invited members to take them home and plant them.

Member Ron Reed received a Melvin Jones Fellowship. He has been in charge of the concession stand at Shippensburg Area Senior High School’s football games for many years and not only stocks it but gets volunteers for the stand.