Letter to the editor

The Van Buren Lions Club just completed a successful year on June 30. I have been privileged to serve this past year as president and want to thank the community for its support of our club.

Lions are passionate about vision preservation and the funds we raise from our golf tournament, pancake breakfast and rib sales help us provide eye exams for children and adults. We greatly appreciate our eye exam providers in Van Buren, Drs. Joseph Followell, Kelly Graham and Denise Hill. In addition we support Mid-South Sight and Hearing Services in Memphis, Lions World Services for the Blind, Arkansas Eye Bank and Laboratory and Lions Diabetes Awareness and Service Center located in Little Rock. Our club also honored Past President Peggy Johnston with the prestigious Melvin Jones Fellowship for her dedicated service to Lionism. This fellowship is named in honor of the founder of Lions international.

This past year over 2,500 eyeglasses and sunglasses were collected and given to the Southern School of Optometry in Memphis. The students work during the school year repairing the frames and determining the power of lenses. The glasses are then distributed during their summer mission programs to Central and South America. This partnership developed when Nathan Lipe from Uniontown was in his first year of school and made a presentation to the club. He is now a member at large in our club and is in his final year of school with graduation in 2017.

Our club also entered into a new partnership with the Arkansas Blood Institute to co-sponsor four blood drives a year in Van Buren. We are also the host club in our area for the Arkansas Lions Disaster Recovery Trailer. Our trailer is filled with emergency kits for personal use in case of a local disaster. Club members help supply and load the trailer. It has been displayed at the Old Timers Day festival and the Touch a Truck day hosted by the United Way.

A new event was held this year when the following Van Buren service clubs: Lions, Kiwanis, Optimists, Rotarians and Woman’s League hosted a community luncheon for Miss Arkansas, Loren McDaniel of Van Buren. In addition to honoring Loren, it was a joint effort to bring our service clubs together and recognize them for their contributions in making the community a wonderful place to live and work.

In closing, I extend an open invitation to anyone interested in exploring an opportunity to join us in “Serving our Community.” The Van Buren Lions were organized in 1922 and have been a part of the community for almost 94 years. Lions International will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2017. Join us every Wednesday at noon, except the second one of the month, at Western Sizzlin in Van Buren. If you enjoy fellowship with caring people who want to work and give back to the community, you won’t find a better group of men and women than the Van Buren Lions Club.

Terry Carson

Past President

Van Buren Lions Club