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Tuesday November 15, 2016 Edition
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When Lions Gather In Celebration Of Service

Middlebury Lions Club President Randy Bigelow presents a $ 5,000 donation to Middlebury Regional Emergency & Medical Services (MERMS) members Lisa Northrup and David Pistil with Lions Club District Governor Joe Wilson.
photo by provided
Middlebury Lions Club President Randy Bigelow presents a $ 5,000 donation to Middlebury Regional Emergency & Medical Services (MERMS) members Lisa Northrup and David Pistil with Lions Club District Governor Joe Wilson.

Tuesday November 15, 2016

By Cookie Steponaitis

It was a special night at Rosie’s Restaurant on Monday, November 7th. Gathered for a meeting and celebration were the members of the Middlebury Lions Club, members of several other Lions Club and honored guests. The room was tightly packed but the atmosphere festive and celebratory. The group came together to present donations, hear from a local resident impacted and to celebrate with the words of the Lions Club District Governor Joe Wilson. There was more than a pride of Lions. There was a pride in service, commitment and the ability to bring about change.
    Middlebury King Lion Randy Bigelow opened the meeting by presenting a $ 5,000.00 donation to Middlebury Regional Emergency & Medical Services(MERMS) toward their goal of purchasing a new ambulance. On hand to receive the check were MERMS members Lisa Northrup and David Pistilli who thanked the assembled Lions members and remarked, “We just want to thank the Middlebury Lions Club for their generosity. This is the single largest donation we have received toward our goal of purchasing a new ambulance. As of today, we have raised $ 60,000 and are ⅓ rd of the way there.”  Next to take the floor was a Middlebury resident who was recently given an OrCam device. A registered nurse for thirty years, the speaker became blinded by a condition Idiopathic Panagiotis that caused her to lose her sight over a two-month period. “I went from sighted to blind with no time to get ready,” commented the guest speaker. “The third leading cause of blindness in the third world, this condition is rare its ability to blind someone in the USA. Unfortunately, I was one of the special cases and fought the disease for over twenty years, through 21 shots and three surgeries.” A relatively new technology and invented by a man in Israel in an attempt to help his mother, the OrCam is mounted on her glasses and enables her to read and to recognize familiar faces entering the room. This powerful gift allows her hear letters read from loved ones, labels on products and to identify her beloved scarfs that she wears each day. “I can’t even begin to express how grateful I am, “she told the room of Lions. “It is a gift and a tool that has allowed me to come back to the world and to have some independence.”
    Other service projects reported on by the group included a joint project with the Brandon Lions Club in building a ramp for a person, visiting every school in the Middlebury School District with Lions Kid Sight Program and providing free vision screening to young children before the age of six. With more than 12 million school children having some form of vision problems, only one in three may have received eye care before school age. Lions Clubs provide this early screening and help ensure children get follow up care. Middlebury King Lion Bigelow reported that the group has provided vision screening for 964 local children and identified 84 with vision conditions. “We are thrilled as a club to really make an impact on the community and continue to do so,” shared Lion Bigelow. In fact, the club report went on to discuss not only those projects but the Peace Poster Competition for children and providing sixteen pairs of eye glasses and two hearing aids for local people since June 2016. In addition, the group thanked local community members Linda Masterson, John & Rose Hamel, Alan Curler, Darwin & Sue Pratt and Brandon Lion Jackie Dutil for their valuable assistance throughout the year.
    Rounding out the special evening, District Governor Joe Wilson praised the assembled Lions not only for their success but for their persistent dedication to all of the Lions projects both locally and around the globe. Joined in spirit and service, 1.4 million Lions Club members around the globe all strive to impact change both for individuals and groups. As the binder of Middlebury Lions Club secretary Karen Schroder stated on the cover, “Where’s there’s a need, there’s a Lion.” Just another example of people helping people and a tradition of service that continues to link generations in the Champlain Valley in service with heart and hands.

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