Sunday, December 21, 2014

Half a Year To Go

It's that time of year when our personal lives fill up with so much busyness.  We have our home to decorate, presents to buy, cookies to bake, people to visit, more cookies to bake, presents to wrap, school programs to watch, recitals to go to, business ventures to tend to, family emergencies, health challenges, dinner parties to attend, and, still, more cookies to bake.

And if you're lucky, you get to fill in a few gaps with Lion activities!

But we filled in more than a few gaps these last few hours of 2014, didn't we?

We thought our food drive for Hoonah was finished except for the pick-up, but still managed to accumulate more items for their senior center AND Thrift Store!  The bonus this year was canned fish....  Lion Allen has a connection for canned, but not purchased, fish....  Lion Mike N. picked up 3-1/2 cases and added it to the pile.  Lion Allen got a SECOND call for MORE canned fish and picked up two dozen more CASES of canned fish!  A huge thanks to Lion Allen for this great partnership!

Finally, Saturday morning, Lions Allen, Tommy, Neil, and Mike N. gathered together at the storage unit to help load all these treasures into the van, to send on its way to Hoonah.  Merry Christmas, Hoonah!

Another of our projects is the Bicycle Recycle project where we retrieve bicycles from Juneau Police Department and fix them up to re-distribute to families in need.  We had 10 refurbished bicycles that needed a good home, and the Salvation Army was more than happy to take them off our hands!  Some lucky boys and girls will have a good Christmas this year.

And, our last act of Lionism for the calendar year 2014 was "Ringing the Salvation Army Bell." A big thanks to Lions Bob H., Donna, Neil, and Mike N. (and myself) for standing on their feet for yet ANOTHER two hours to help the Salvation Army!  This was no easy task after just finishing up Light Flights the night before.  Lion Bob.... thank you the most as you had the first shift at 10:00 a.m.
Lion Neil Atkinson
Lion Mike Norton
It was a busy weekend that was already busy with Light Flights.  But now we can slow down... relax a little.... spend time with family and friends, and enjoy the holidays.

Merry Christmas!  

We Serve!
Lion Nancy

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Years of Service

This month we have reason to celebrate two anniversaries.

Lion Donna Hurley has been a member of our club for 14 years now and is still very active.  She's there when you need her.  Most recently she was involved in the Foster Child Gift of Giving event, an area that is dear to her heart.  She also assists with our Lions Pack community drive each year which is also a program geared towards foster children. I could go on and on, but all I'm going to say is Donna has Lionism in her heart and we greatly appreciate all the time she has given to the club and to the community.
Now, Lion Tommy is celebrating his 2 years of Lionism.   Lion Tommy is presently our Tailtwister; last year he was our Vice President.  Lion Tommy brings fun to our meetings with quizzes and other games and isn't afraid to honk his horn if you talk out of turn, aren't wearing your Lions lapel pin, or are late to our meeting.  Our Tailtwister account thanks him!  Lion Tommy chaired our first annual Bicycle Rodeo last year, and is always there when we need him whether it's to help at an event or loan his big rig.  We appreciate Tommy's enthusiasm and his Lion heart.

We Serve!
Lion Nancy

Light Flights 2014

Where were you at 4:30 p.m., Friday, December 19, 2014?  I was attending the largest party in town! Yep, the Mendenhall Flying Lions and Coastal Helicopters know how to throw a party!  I hope you were able to make it!

A few of us showed up at the Juneau airport around 3:15 to get syked up and ready for the show,  and people were already lining up!  Never mind the party didn't start until 4:30! By 3:30, I counted well over 75 people in line, waiting to buy tickets!

Did I mention this event is???  It doesn't matter that people have stood in line for hours waiting for their group number to be called....  We've never received so much of a grumble from them.  They are patient and appreciative of this opportunity.

For some, it's an annual tradition; they come every single year....  For others.... they aren't so certain they even want to be there....  Several young children and young adults waited their turn, with tears in their eyes, anxious from nerves.  Then... miraculously.... when they returned, all you saw were smiles.  I bet they'll be back next year!

We have fun with our passengers.  The Party Organizers put the scared and nervous at ease, we sing Happy Birthday to young and adult alike, we take group photos, we hang on to their personal belongings until they return, we guide them out the door and cheer and "high five" their return....

The Safety crew makes sure every single person knows the rules.... what they can and cannot do on this ride.  No camera flashes.  No touching dials.  No smoking.  Follow instructions.  If your hat or other personal belonging blows away, just say "adios" because you can't run after it.  
This year we tried a concession stand and sold cookies, treats, hot chocolate, coffee and water while passengers waited.  Oh, and club pins.  Lions Mukhya and Susan held down the fort.  


For this writer, Light Flights is the highlight of the year.  We're there having a good time and ensuring those who are there supporting this cause are as well.  We appreciate those who return every year and the Valley for putting up with all the helicopter noise for hours.  We especially want to thank the Lions and other volunteers who take time out of their busy Christmas season to help make this a success.

But mostly, Coastal Helicopters for without their generosity, this wouldn't be a success.


We estimate by the time the evening was over, we sold tickets, manifested, talked safety, entertained, and transported over the Mendenhall Valley, approximately 550 people during a four hour period!  No wonder many of us are dragging today!  

 [ THE END. ]
But all good things must come to an end.... So, until next year....  Merry Christmas!

We Serve!
Lion Nancy

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Foster Child Gift Giving Event

Yesterday was a busy day for the Mendenhall Flying Lions but we divided and conquered and accomplished what needed to be done.
Some of us participated in the Food Drive to benefit Hoonah and others participated in the Office of Children Services Gift Giving event.  This event gave all children in the foster care program an opportunity to make a gift for those who are special to them.
We learned that often times the foster parents don't take the children shopping nor do they have money to spend.  So this was a great opportunity for the children.
Lion Donna Hurley and myself volunteered for this event.  Lion Donna helped the kids wrap their coveted gifts and I provided the cookies and goodies for them to nibble on throughout the day but to also give as gifts.
It was a fun day.  We were able to get a little glimpse of yet more of this agency and what they do and what the children go through.  I feel like our efforts with the Lions Pack and helping at events throughout the year IS making a difference.  And I think OCS would agree.
But we're not going to stop here!  Where there's a need, there's got to be a way to help these children. They are our future.  They need our help, too.

We Serve!
Lion Nancy

Food Drive for Hoonah

Yesterday was our second annual food drive to benefit the community of Hoonah, Alaska.  Hoonah is the largest Tlingit village in Alaska with about 70 percent of its 850 residents being Alaska Native heritage.  Fishing is its mainstay industry.  Hoonah is 30 miles west of Juneau, across the Inside Passage. The only way to get there is by boat, ferry, or plane.
They are our neighbors.

So that's your geography lesson for the day!
But Hoonah is a struggling community and at times needs a little help from their neighbors to keep their pantry shelves stocked and their thrift store full.
Yesterday's food drive was very successful!  A huge thanks to Lion Allen Butner for spearheading this event again, and for Lion volunteers Bob Hurley, Hari Dev, Neil Atkinson, and Mike Norton for volunteering their time.  AND, Tera (Lion Allen's daughter) for helping as well.  We love it when our children and grandchildren get involved!
Yesterday's drive brought in the following:
  • 18 boxes of food donations
  • 100 pounds of beans
  • 250 pounds of rice
  • 4 cases of homemade jam
  • $210 in cash donations which we were able to go shopping with.
Since then, more donations have been given and tomorrow we should be getting donations that the Juneau Lions Club has gathered.  
Hoonah will send a van to Juneau to collect all our goodies and the seniors and others in the community will have full pantry shelves once again.   
There's so many needs "out there" and even more so this time of year.  It's hard to pick and choose which ones we want / can / will do.  But feeding the hungry is a given.  Making sure our children have enough to eat is a given.  And ensuring our seniors aren't left behind is our duty.

It was a good day.  Thanks to Lion Tommy Dawson for loaning us his storage unit for a few days!  

We serve!
Lion Nancy

Monday, December 8, 2014

Light Flights

One of our signature projects is our Light Flights event.  This is held every year just before Christmas and involves helicopters, Christmas lights, and lots of fun!

Yep.... Light Flights....  Thanks to the generosity of Coastal Helicopters, the Juneau Mendenhall Flying Lions is able to offer $30.00 helicopter rides to view Christmas lights around the Mendenhall Valley!  Granted it's a short ride, but boy is it a ride!  It's dark!  The pilots know where the best lit homes are, and passengers just sit back and enjoy!

What I find interesting is that some families have taken this trip every year.  One senior lady last year told us she was able to check this off her Bucket List.  Another group of young adults celebrated a birthday by taking a helicopter ride.  Some young children start out scared but the smile on their face when they return warms your heart.  This is definitely an experience that all enjoy.

Helicopters are provided by Coastal Helicopters.  Coastal Pilots donate their time.  Fuel is donated by Coastal Fuel and Petro Marine.  The fundraising proceeds are split in half with Coastal, but they turn around and donate their share to the Children's Tumor Foundation and we use ours for other Juneau projects.

Yes, this is a labor of love.  So often it's cold and miserable outside.  The Taku winds are blowing side ways.  Maybe it's snowing.  The tarmac is icy.  But it doesn't stop any of us from having a good time and helping those who are there to support our cause to have a good time as well.

Yep, Light Flights.... a labor of love.   Christmas Flights 2014.1

We Serve!
Lion Nancy

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Tis the Season to Share

So often we get so caught up on what we're doing.... which is serving others.... that we forget about all the other needs out there.

The Mendenhall Flying Lions recently had the honor to present both the Salvation Army and the Southeast Alaska Food Bank with a check for $500. Just because... it's the Season.... and the right thing to do.

From left to right Lion Neil Atkinson, Lion Tommy Dawson, and Lion Allen Butner.  For the Salvation Army, receiving the check from left to right is Lt. Lance Walters, Lt. Dana Walters, Cadet Jessica Pearce, Cadet Kelsey Pearce.

Lions Neil Atkinson, Allen Butner, and Tommy Dawson, made the presentation to Darren Adams and Tami Brown of the Southeast Alaska Food Bank.  

We Serve!
Lion Nancy