What is a Lion | Guest column

  • Thu Sep 12th, 2019 1:30am
  • Life

Submitted by the San Juan Islands Lions Club

You may have seen them selling hot dogs and marching in the Fourth of July Parade, or selling beer at the Fair, or working at the blood donor sites, working with kids in the school, conducting eye screenings or manning a Health van or putting up the big NOEL sign at Christmas on top of a building, collecting used eyeglasses or involved in some other community support activities.

And they were wearing yellow vests.

Who are these people and why are they giving up so much time to raise money for community programs and volunteer their time to bring needed services to the community?

They are members of the San Juan Island Lions Club. They are members of the community, they live on San Juan Island and they care about the community and the people who live here.

Who and what are Lions Clubs?

The Lions Club is a service organization that serves the community. Lions, by-the-way, is an acronym for Liberty, Intelligence, Our Nations Safety. In all there are more than 48,000 Lions Clubs with more than 1,400,000 members around the world. The San Juan Island Lions Club has 48 members, and their motto is “We Serve.”

The Lions were founded in 1917 and their national and international programs include: sight and hearing conservation, diabetes awareness, youth outreach and many more programs and projects. The San Juan Island Lions Club was founded in 1952.

Lions focus on programs and projects working with the blind and visually impaired, including prevention of vision loss which began when Helen Keller addressed the international convention of Lions in 1925. At that convention, she charged Lions with being “Knights of the blind.” A challenge that became the direction of service.

Today, Lions major initiatives feature Sight First Programs that focus on prevention of childhood blindness, Lions eye health programs, Sight for Kids, Core for preschool and vision screening as well as youth through the Leos clubs.

To learn more about the Lions Club on San Juan Island, drop by a meeting any Tuesday at noon at the American Legion, 110 First St., Friday Harbor, Washington. Tell anyone in a yellow vest that you are interested in knowing more about the San Juan Island Lions Club, and join us for lunch as our guest.