Letter: Rappahannock Lions: Help them roar

Being a member of the Rappahannock Lions Club has been a big part of my life for the past 13 years. It’s now my privilege to serve this year as the club’s president. When I think about all the good that the men and women of the Lions Club do during the course of a year through service, volunteering and contributions in Rappahannock County, one word leaps out: community.

A central role of Lions is addressing the need for eye examinations and glasses, as well as hearing aids for the very young and the very old. Last year, the Lions completed hundreds of free screenings at Rappahannock schools, and ensured that 11 eye appointments, as well as 14 pair of glasses, were covered. The Lions, along with Social Services, supported part of the cost of a half-dozen hearing aids and exams.

A new free service this year will be eye examinations for preschoolers. There are eye abnormalities that, if detected and diagnosed as early as 10 months, can prevent a lifetime of vision difficulty and medical bills.

Our sight and hearing visits to local schools this year will begin Oct. 4 at Rappahannock County Elementary School under the leadership of Lions Pat Sher and Bill Pumphrey. Lions members volunteer manpower and goodwill in service to community. We’re the folks in the orange vests helping with parking at the Christmas in Little Washington parade in December. This past Tuesday, Lions volunteers were instrumental in preparing and serving more than 250 meals for campers at Camp Fantastic for juvenile cancer patients.

We sponsored the Bland Music Contest earlier this year in which schoolchildren of all ages competed to go on to the district competition. And the Lions set up our tent for a variety of public events including this year’s Fourth of July fireworks. We are actively seeking new ideas for community service and volunteering.

Where the Lions Club truly shines is through the generous contributions to more than a dozen familiar and varied causes in Rappahannock County. Many of them serve our youth and our schools: Rappahannock Softball, Rappahannock Athletic Association, Rappahannock Soccer League, RCHS Band Boosters, RCHS After Prom Night, the 4H Club and the Boy and Girl Scouts.

Other programs have health as their mission: Old Dominion Eye Foundation, Lions Hearing Foundation and Leader Dog for the Blind. Still others help those in need: The Food Pantry, DARE, Shop With a Deputy and the Rappahannock Senior Center. Lions also provide scholarships for Rappahannock students furthering their education. Our goal is to donate all funds we raise to these community causes.

You can help us meet these community needs by supporting our fundraising efforts. With the help of more than a dozen great sponsors last November, hundreds of Rappahannock citizens attended our popular ChiliFest and Draw Down fundraiser. That event, returning Oct. 26, raises approximately half of what we give away each year. Put Oct. 26 on your calendar and come join us for food, fun and a chance to win.

Plan to come see your neighborly Lions at the Quicke Mart starting Oct. 12 for the club’s annual apple butter sale, which easily generates a third of the funds for our community causes. And when a need arises, the Lions are there: We put together a fundraiser for young cancer patient Jacob Pullen last fall that helped a local family through a crisis. I know from experience that there’s great value in a Lions membership: camaraderie, fellowship, networking.

Being a member offers rewarding connections to Rappahannock County’s causes, issues and leaders. We’re a blend of new and veteran members; a dozen Lions have been recognized for 25 years or more of service! Members and their partners enjoy opportunities throughout the year for fellowship: An annual summer picnic, Charter Night, A Members’ Night steak cookout and the Christmas Party. We’re actively recruiting for new members, so contact our new treasurer and membership committee chair Frank Raiter at turkeyrunfarm1@yahoo.com.

In sum, with your help and participation, the Lions Club remains privileged to serve a great community year-round.

Spotswood Williams
Lions President

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