How much is a Lions’ silver dollar worth? About $8 million. That’s how much we hope to raise for LCIF if the U.S. Congress passes a commemorative coin bill honoring the centennial of Lions in 2017.
Getting Congressional approval is not automatic. Congress passes only two commemorative coin bills each year. But many Lions including past international presidents, past international directors and other members are lobbying their congressional representatives to pass the bi-partisan legislation. If approved, the U.S. Mint will produce as many as 400,000 coins. After the U.S. Mint recovers its cost, a $10 surcharge for every coin sold will go to LCIF and its programs for the visually impaired, the disabled, youths and victims of natural disasters.
The commemorative coin idea originated with two members of the Sandy Spring Lions Club in Maryland. Brother Meredith Pattie, a past district governor, and Alan Ballard were at a luncheon for Melvin Jones Fellows when they began to brainstorm ways to support LCIF.
“Our first idea was a coin for the 50th anniversary of the death of Melvin Jones [in 1961]. But we realized we were too late for that,” says Pattie. They eventually formed a nine-person Lions’ committee from District 22 C that includes Past International Director Joseph Gaffigan.
Co-sponsors of the Lions Clubs International Century of Service Commemorative Coin Act, H.R. 2139, are Rep. Peter Roskam, whose district in Illinois includes Oak Brook and LCI headquarters, and Rep. Larry Kissell, from North Carolina who is a Lion. Another Lion, Senator Jerry Moran from Kansas, introduced the bill, S. 1299, in that chamber. The bill needs 290 co-sponsors in the U. S. House and 67 co-sponsors in the U.S. Senate to pass.
We ask all Lions to write or call their representatives to urge them to co-sponsor H.R. 2139. Our Web site offers tips on contacting lawmakers and includes a regularly updated tally of number of co-sponsors.
Working together, we can reach amazing goals. When I challenged Lions to plant one million trees this year, I believed we could achieve it together. In India, I saw that anything is possible when you believe. There, Lions worked with other organizations, including the government, schools and a police academy, to plant a reported 3.4 million trees.
Lions also partnered with local youth to help nurture these young trees for a year, which is important for growing the children’s volunteering spirit as well as the trees. Through this project, Lions have taught countless young people in southern India about ecology and how they can make a difference using their two hands.
I believe that this is just one example of how Lions are improving their communities by planting trees.
The Binangonan Lions Club recently completed a project to help students in need. This photo shows club members getting ready to give school supplies to first graders in Jalajala, Rizal.
Ten years later, the events of September 11 are etched in our memories. On that day, Lions mobilized to do what we do best: serve the needs of others. We provided immediate help and laid the foundation for long-term relief. Through the September 11 Disaster Relief Fund, Lions and Lions Clubs International Foundation mobilized US$3.2 million in grants and donations from around the world.
The impact of the relief fund was immense – Lions brought health, hope and healing to countless individuals. This was done through short-term financial assistance, job training, mentoring of children, assistance for disabled people, sponsorship of bereavement retreats and partnering with other not-for-profit groups. Lions purchased rescue tools, staffed a warehouse at Ground Zero to supply workers with needed equipment, provided a place for workers to sleep and to get warm in retrofitted shipping containers and established a communications network.
For a look at how Lions helped that day and later, read “Remembering September 11” in our current issue of LION Magazine.
By nurturing today’s youth, we’re growing tomorrow’s leaders into thoughtful, caring volunteers. A growing number of studies show youth who engage in meaningful service projects experience a host of positive outcomes.
Young people need role models, and we have more than 1.35 million Lions ready to fill that position. I believe we can shape young people’s lives by inviting them to help with the planning and implementation of service projects.
Start today. Ask youth to participate in your club’s upcoming service project.
Last week, LCIF Chairperson Sid Scruggs visited Lions who are helping Hurricane Irene victims. LCIF is mobilizing US$110,000 that our members are using to provide immediate disaster relief.
During his visit, Sid worked with local Lions to purchase 600 cases of bleach that residents need to disinfect their water wells and to clean flooded homes. In this photo, Sid helps Lions in North Carolina distribute relief kits that included bleach, detergent, rubber gloves, garbage bags and cleaning supplies.
“After two feet of water flooded homes in Columbia, there is now a long clean-up process ahead,” said Chairperson Scruggs. “It is rewarding to know that we providing them with a little hope and help during this difficult time.”