Monday, March 27, 2017

Gold Medal Basketball Tournament

Every year, for the past 71 years, the remote communities of Southeast Alaska congregate in Juneau to attend, cheer for, and rally around their favorite basketball team.  During this week long, basketball tournament, always during school Spring Break, children of all ages are able to attend this annual event.

Last year we asked, "what better place to offer free vision screening to children in remote villages than at Gold Medal?"  Which brings us to this year's Gold Medal Tournament where we scheduled vision screening from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. during most days of the tournament.

This year we screened 80 children and had 16 referrals.  These screenings allowed us to screen children we normally would not reach.  Lion Tom Dawson was key in reaching so many children as he personally invited parents to have their children's eyes screened as he handed out announcements.  A huge thanks to Lion Tom and Lions Soapy Lingle, Hari Dev Khalsa, Donna Hurley, and Mike Norton for taking time out of their week to assist with vision screening.

Another service our Club offers every year during Gold Medal is to serve the Juneau Lions Club dinner one night.  This is such a HUGE event and one that takes every bit of energy the Juneau Lions have, and our Club tries to help any way we can.  This year we provided a baked ham, potato salad, rolls, and dessert for 20.  From what I heard, it must have been good as there wasn't any leftovers!

The Gold Medal Tournament is a favorite event of many from residents of remote villages, to the Juneau Lions Club members, to members of the District Cabinet.  This year we had the privilege of having Past International Director Doc Meyers (from Kodiak) and District Governor Karen Burns(from Anchorage) in the sidelines.

Another successful Gold Medal Tournament come and gone.  Good job, Juneau Lions Club!  

We Serve!  

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Alaska Centennial Honorarium

The following was presented to District Governor Karen Burns by the Alaska Legislature:

*Honoring the Lions Club Centennial*
The Thirtieth Alaska State Legislature joins the Lions in celebrating their hundredth year of service. From their humble beginnings as a club to improve the community in Chicago to their administration of over 10,000 grants, the Lions Club’s impact can be seen wherever members focus their efforts.

The Lions Club was started in 1917 when Melvin Jones told members of his local business they ought to focus not only on business issues, but to the betterment of their communities and the world. The group took on the name of the “Association of Lions Clubs”, and before the year’s end had adopted a constitution, bylaws, objectives, and a code of ethics.

As the organization grew, it continued working towards the goal of the betterment of the world. The first international growth of the Lions happened with the chartering of a club in Canada in 1920, and just over a decade later the first international convention outside of the U.S. took place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The Lions took on the challenge of blindness with Helen Keller’s charging of them to be “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness”. To this end, in 1930 the Lions introduced the iconic white cane with a red band as a means of assisting the blind in independent mobility—an idea that went on the become statute in every state in the U.S. and numerous other countries. The club’s fight against blindness continues to this day alongside the numerous other efforts of the club.

In 1968 the Lions Clubs International Foundation was established to support the humanitarian work of the Lions. Since its inception, the foundation has distributed over $826 million in grants to support humanitarian efforts from floods in South Dakota in 1972, to eliminating river blindness in Colombia in 2013.

Alaska Lions carry on the club’s mission in the state with their contributions to vision screening, eyeglass recycling, and the Joint Sight Committee. They provide glasses to the needy, assistance for the visually impaired, and financial assistance to those who are unable to purchase eyeglasses for themselves. The Aurora Borealis Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center has recycled approximately 40,000 pairs of eyeglasses per year, sending roughly 30,000 to eye care missions.

Emphasizing the club’s dedication to bettering their communities, one of the Alaska Lions’ most remarkable contributions was their pivotal role in housing inhabitants from Ag’waneq and Port Wakefield. After the villages were destroyed in the Good Friday earthquake in 1964, the Lions were instrumental in having housing built for the displaced Alaskans, issuing a grant of $1 million dollars to fund the creation of Port Lions.

The Lions Club has contributed in countless ways to improving their communities and the world, demonstrating the value of individuals coming together to make meaningful change. The members of the Thirtieth Alaska State Legislature are honored to celebrate the Lions Club’s 100th year of service, and look forward to their future accomplishments.

PCC Neil Atkinson with Lions Donna Hurley, Sasha Soboleff, and District Governor Karen Burns


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Lion Bob Hurley's Obituary

We lost Lion Bob Hurley on November 3.  He was a quiet member but one you could always count on. You can read his obituary HERE.  May he rest in peace.

Lion Bob Hurley

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Women of Distinction

Lion Rena Sims is one exceptional Lion.  With the help of her husband, Lion Lenny, they have helped over 300 children in need (fostering) and adopting nine of them.  She was recognized for her life work at the annual AWARE'S Women of Distinction Celebration on March 4.
Lion Rena moved to Juneau in 1983 from a Christian Community Farm in Detroit, Michigan.  Lion Rena worked with REACH and the State of Alaska Office of Children Services, which she found to be a very difficult and often thankless job.  After her two daughters graduated from high school, Lion Rena opened up her home and her heart to the children of the foster care system.  Lion Rena is also co-owner of the Sims Foster Assisted Living Home.  Since that time, Lion Rena has had over 300 foster children pass through her doors.  

Lion Rena married her husband, Lion Lenny, in 1995.  They have embraced each of their foster children as family and have adopted nine.  Never one to turn a child away, Rena often parents some of the most vulnerable children who require extra special care.  One child, AJ, who was born blind and with other disabilities, required 24/7 care for five years.  Lion Rena was not discouraged.  

Lion Rena doesn't work just for the women and children of Juneau.  She and her husband make yearly missionary trips to countries in Africa and to the Philippines.  Her work in those regions usually involve building schools and hospitals, working with women and children by distributing medicine, and helping with other preventative care.  

Her compassion is boundless and through her works she has made sure that people with many different abilities have been able to enjoy life with trips to Disneyland, San Francisco, and even Hawaii, often using her own personal funds.  

When asked what her personal hobbies are, she included, "building new homes, making new things beautiful," which seems to not just be a hobby, but her entire life's work.  

(Taken from the Women of Distinction Program book.)

Lion Rena is a relatively new Lion, sponsored by Lion Bruce Wing, may he rest in peace.  She, and Lion Lenny, were Lion Bruce's caregivers in the last couple years of his life.  Before he passed away, Lion Bruce adopted Lion Rena as his daughter.

Lions Rena and Lenny, thank you for all you do for the children of Juneau!  We Serve!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

LION Magazine Article: USS Juneau

The USS Juneau is certainly a big part of Juneau's history and it was an honor to assist in bringing the Presentation Silver back to its home port.  A big thanks to everyone who was involved.

You can find an article on the USS Juneau in this month's (March 2017) LION Magazine written by Lion Donna Hurley.  Click HERE and scroll down a bit for the article, "Juneau Lions Bring the Silver And History Home."