Tuesday, May 09, 2017

TOP STORY >> Lions Club tees off June 16

Leader editor

The Jacksonville Lions Club is seeking new members and sponsors for its annual golf tournament on June 16.

Lions Club International, a secular, nonpolitical service group founded in 1917, has over 46,000 local clubs and more than 1.4 million members in over 200 countries around the world.

It is best known for its work to help the blind and people who need eyeglasses, vision screenings and eye surgery. The club’s headquarters are in Oak Brook, Ill.

Dianne Williams, who is secretary of the Jacksonville Lions Club, has been a member for about 14 years, and her husband, Bob, who is the club’s president, has belonged to the club for 22 years. He is also a past district governor and council chairman.

“I joined the Lions Club because I could see the impact the Lions had on the community. Seeing people, who otherwise could not have their eyes tested, let alone purchase glasses, get the help they need; especially a child. Also, knowing all the funds raised by the club went to benefit the people of Jacksonville,” she said.

Williams recalled one experience that showed her the Lions Club’s human impact.

“I didn’t become a true Lion until I personally, through the Jacksonville Lions Club, assisted someone who was going blind. Our club sent her to Mid-South Sight and Hearing in Memphis, Hamilton Eye Institute, where they saved one of her eyes, and replaced the other with a glass eye. This was at no cost to her. We paid for her transportation and Mid-South for her lodging. This is when I truly became a Lion,” Williams said.

Williams said the Jacksonville Lions Club raises money for Mid-South, World Services for the Blind and summer camp for the blind, which several Jacksonville kids will attend this summer.

“We are not a civic organization. We are the largest service organization in the world,” she said.

“This is why such fundraisers like our golf tournament, the Ball Drop, and others are so important. One hundred percent of every dollar we raise goes toward humanitarian needs in our community, the state and internationally. If a Lion comes and ask for your support, rest assured it is greatly needed and appropriated,” she said.

Charity Navigator gives the Lions Club International Foundation its highest four-star rating and commends it for its transparency, accountability and financial structure.

The American Red Cross, Ducks Unlimited and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, all highly respected nonprofits, earn three stars from Charity Navigator.

The Jacksonville Lions Club meets at noon on the first and third Wednesday of the month at the Bar-B-Que Shack, 1000 Hwy. 161.

During its meeting last week, Bobby Lester, a former superintendent of the Pulaski County Special School District and principal of Jacksonville Middle School, said when he was a principal whenever he had students who needed glasses or eye care, Lions Club members were always there to help. Lester joined the club in 1999.

The Jacksonville Lions Club gave free eye exams in December, using state-of-the-art equipment, to all students in the Jacksonville-North Pulaski School District.

Rep. Bob Johnson (D-Jacksonville), also a Lions Club member, encouraged the club to work together with other Jacksonville civic clubs like the NAACP and the Sertoma Club on community-improvement projects.

Annual membership dues to the Lions Club are $43, plus a one-time $25 initiation fee. There are reduced fees for students and family members who join together.

The Jacksonville Lions Club’s 36th annual golf tournament will be at Southern Oaks Golf Course in Foxwood on Friday, June 16. The format is a four-person scramble.

Lunch will begin at 11:30 a.m., and the shotgun start is set for 1 p.m.

All of the money raised will be used to support blind and visually-impaired people.

Registration is $100 per person and includes balls, greens fee, cart and unlimited on-course beverages. Mulligans and skirts will be available for $5 at registration. The deadline to register is June 13.

Sponsorships are also available for $700, $300 and $150.

The major sponsorship for $700 includes a team entry fee, free lunch and eight Mulligans (two per player), unlimited on-course beer, soda and water, the sponsor’s name on two large banners, the beverage cart and all printed material and the Lions Club’s website, as well as a hole sponsorship.

A $300 sponsorship will put the sponsor’s name on two large banners, a hole and printed material including the club’s website.

For $150, sponsors can have a sign placed on a course hole.

To become a sponsor, or for more information, call Dianne Williams at 501-912-4343 or email bobdiw2@gmail.com, or Bobby Lester at 501-680-0815 or email blester33@comcast.net.

The Lions Club is also seeking donations of products, merchandise or gift cards from area businesses to use as door prizes. Those contributions can be mailed to Jacksonville Lions Club, P.O. Box 112, Jacksonville, Ark. 72078.

The Lions of Arkansas Foundation is a 501-C3 organization, which makes donations tax deductible.