PUBLISHED: 9:12 AM on Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Lions Clubs striving to make a difference in the community

Courtesy photo
  Vicky and Lan help with Lions Club Bus Shelters in Ketchikan
The Ketchikan Lions Club was established in 1949 as the first service club in Ketchikan. Although the founding members are no longer here, the group is honored to have served the community for over 57 years.

Service projects include building and maintaining bus shelters for school aged children, eye screenings for preschool children, recycling eye glasses, road cleanup and by far, our biggest event, the annual Fourth of July fireworks, queen contest, children's parade and booth coordination.

The fireworks are the biggest event that the group raises funds for as a good 30 minute show can cost up to $15,000. The club is in the process of looking for corporate sponsors to help pay this ever increasing annual bill.

It also is a part of the yearly goal to present two scholarships to graduating high school seniors, provide grants for eye exams and eyeglasses for people with limited resources, support the local Halloween event at the Plaza Mall and help the local Team Diabetes efforts.

Like many service organizations, the Ketchikan Lions had seen its membership numbers decline over the past decade but a recent resurgence has seen the club almost double in size over the past two years. There are now more than 15 active members dedicated to serving their fellow Ketchikanites. Interested people should contact their local clubs in Juneau, Wrangell or Ketchikan.

Lions Clubs around the world, more than 100 nations and growing, have helped prevent or cure blindness in more than 100 million people.

You may know a friend or relative who has been helped locally - provided with a leader dog, a guide dog for the visually impaired - provided with glasses or an eye exam or simply through the clubs many service projects all meant to enhance the community in which the club thrives.

Lions Clubs International is the leading organization for curing preventable blindness throughout the world as well as helping with diabetes research and encouraging service projects throughout their local communities.

Every Lions Club is a little different, but what surely makes them all the same is the willingness of all members to serve their communities, welcome new members and share the dream of eradicating preventable blindness around the world. Each local club has its own community service projects that are for the betterment of all townspeople.

The Ketchikan Lions Club meetings are held promptly at 6:10 p.m. each second Wednesday of the month at The Landing conference room. For information, contact Chere Klein in Ketchikan at (907) 225-8682.