Lions Tell When They Knew They Were Lions
The Wisconsin Lions had a wonderful state convention this year, and I was able to ask many Lions when they knew they were Lions. I have personally been involved in Lions Club since I was nine years old. My grandpa was the first Lion to join in my family. My grandmother, years later after helping grandpa, joined next. Even my parents have joined, they were brought in once my grandparents sat with a member of the club my parents lived in. my parents knew they were Lions from helping my grandparents. I joined when I was 17, though I knew even beforehand. They say every Lion knows when they became a Lion. This article is about that special moment.
The Lions of MD27 have a special place in their hearts for the beautiful camp. When I was little, I remember watching my grandfather and his buddies drive the tractors for the hayrides. My mother and father both helped before they were Lions. Many members love helping the kids who came to camp. Some even have family members who have gone—even Lions have themselves. There are members who had the pleasure of taking campers to their destinations. The Lions experienced the excitement and security of the place. The Lions feel motivated and blessed to help the kids with all kinds of challenges. And some Lions are rewarded with seeing them at events. They get to hear how much of an impact Lions Camp has on their lives.
Lions around the state have a special job helping families in need. There comes a time when a person dies, and they donate their corneas. We, Lions, have been affected by transporting those corneas which go to families in need. Some eyes were even those of a member’s family. There are those who stand on the sidelines and see the magnificence of their service. There have been members who have shown the impact of being a donor. They helped get the community to have the special dot on their driver’s license. They help the public to know there are those who need that help. There are Lions who inspect the corneas in the Wisconsin Lions Eye Bank. Lions see the wonder in helping those with sorrow.
Missions and Eyeglasses
The Lions of Wisconsin are amazing. This year, for the centennial, the Wisconsin Board of Directors set the goal of collecting 100,000 used eyeglasses. That number is now at more than 300,000 glasses! Those glasses will be sent and helped by the Lions to get those in need. Mexico, Nicaragua, Ecuador and so many other places. Lions around the state see the process and find inspiration for their own communities.
The People We Work With
There is so much impact on the community, and it is all so special. Here are some of the memories which make those people feel like Lions. One helped a community member, build a wheelchair ramp, making it the first time they were outside the house in over a year. Another kept working on a project his partner passed away before. One woman recalled a magnifying machine donation to an elderly man; after he passed, the machine has helped countless lives. There was a club member’s grandson who lacked oxygen for an hour after birth; they had a very special Christmas one year. One blind member received their leader dog and then was in the right place at the right time. He stopped a boy from committing suicide. We Lions love the reactions of the people in the community because of our programs.
Many Lions knew before they were Lions. There is a certain characteristic which makes us strong enough to help those in need. Lions are strong, devoted and worried for those who may not be able to help themselves. Lions look for people who would be good in the organization. Once they find those charitable people, they give an invitation to join the non-profit organization. Some transfer from Lioness Clubs—a similar organization, but not a part of International Lions Club yet. There are those who take years to decide before taking the leap. For one Lion, it took a phone call from Florida to join. For a time, it was only a men’s organization; there was a woman who joined as soon as she could. Lions find their ways to uphold the organization’s name once they are in.
Some special members are honored to be Charter Members. They were the state of the clubs in their city, and they were an important reason to what makes a Lion a Lion. It is not easy to start a club at some place new. I believe they should feel proud of that fact.
Many members were impacted by the Lions community when we are at conventions, State Bowling Tournaments or any service event like Candy Days. There are other events like Mud bogs and tractor pulls. I always feel like these are almost a family reunion. It doesn’t matter if you start with those who you have known each other your whole life or just meet them; Lions always welcome each other with open arms. We love welcoming new members into the organization. It makes a person feel great.
Standing in Proudly
There is always a certain way some members like to get the new members involved—get them into a position! Sometimes, they feel more like a Lion once they are more thoroughly involved. Between being Lion Tamer, President, Secretary, or district governor. They stand in the Boards to take care of the projects around the state. There was one officer who started a campaign against Child Abuse Prevention. Being an officer can make a person realize just how much impact a person can have through the organization.
Those in the Shadows
There are some people who need a shout out, and that is the spouses of Lions. Some have chosen to become a member—other have not—but they are just as important as they make their spouse who they are as Lions. They kept their spouses organized, on track and timely. They became secretaries as well as partners for those in higher positions. The spouses are always there to stand with their husband/wife when they are in need. Thank you for being there.
Throughout my years, I have seen how wonderful the organization is, as well as how proud the members are. I myself feel proud to be a Lion, especially the involvement and knowledge I gained. If you are not a member, I implore you to check this fine organization out and see for yourself. If you get into the group as my family has, I’m sure you won’t regret it.