Posted on Monday, Dec. 17th, 2012

2011—2012 Year-to-Date President’s Report

I’m thrilled!! Since July our Lions have continued to show our traditional dedicated service spirit!

In mid July our reconvened Past President’s Council was attended by a majority of living past presidents who expressed interest in continuing their contributions through the Council and agreeing to meet at lease quarterly to offer suggestions.

Later, after continuing our relationship with other SC District 32 D Lions by attending the 1st 32D Cabinet meeting in late July, we hosted a SC Lions Zone/Regional Meeting that served as a prelude to eventually expanding our interclub service efforts.

October’s annual visit from the SC Lions Health Screening Unit, largely organized by Dona Van Leer, was expanded to a four day stint that provided vision and hearing acuity screenings to 446 students in two middle schools. Next year the visit will be in November, but will return to October in subsequent years. Twenty two of our Lions participated in facilitating the four day process.

October’s Benefit Dinner, organized largely by Peg Stoklas and her crew, marked our return to focusing the proceeds to supporting River Hills-Lake Wylie EMS ($17,000.00), a move that was widely celebrated among River Hills and other local community members!

Through our Program Committee, November allowed us to viscerally experience love in its most profound form as illuminated through Mike Schoonmaker’s presentation of his involvement as a police officer during the 9/11 tragedy in New York. To our great joy, Mike has chosen to join us! We are blessed!!

More recently, River Hill’s Community Church’s “Music Man”, Kevin Gray’s piano music helped us celebrate Valentine’s Day, again thanks to Program Committee members Chuck Beck, Fred Glickman and Dick Lewis. Also we welcomed our guest, the new Camp Thunderbird leader, Bob Harris with a $2000.00 check.

Christmas tree sales, organized by our forever faithful, BOB DAILY, produced a banner yield ($8000.00+) and, as usual, a marvelous opportunity for Lions to work together and simultaneously swap stories…some more true than others.

December’s Pancake Breakfast, organized by Dick Pastor, again produced an increased yield ($1200.00+) and lots of smiles, as did our Holiday Party, especially as it afforded the opportunity to recognize two special Lions, Dona Van Leer and, posthumously, Gus Sagos, with Lions International’s top honor, the Melvin Jones Fellow award. Both Lions epitomize exemplary Lions service.

Our Holiday Party also provided the chance to contribute ($3000.00), via the Walker Foundation, to benefit the youngsters of the SC School for the Deaf and Blind who model grace despite experiencing debilitating adversity. Of course, the entire Holiday Season afforded me the opportunity to temporarily borrow, at least partially, the identity of my hero, St. Nicholas, especially when visiting the Lake Wylie Assisted Living residents during a visit coordinated by Sandy Decker.

As first steps to reinvigorating our leadership team. RJ Phillips, Gerry Orlick and Dave Decker have recently volunteered to fill our unforeseen leadership vacancies.

Currently we are celebrating Dave Decker’s refurbishing of our Website! Visit it at http// Dave is also working with Tommy Haughton and RJ Phillips to update our financial reporting systems.

Our Golf Committee chaired by Steve O’Brien has remodeled our golf event to include invitational factors including the opportunity to involve junior golfers. Come; play with us on May 11 and 12.

Thanks to Ken Shaffer & Crew, our Directory’s new cover page for 2012 will focus attention upon the addition of web addresses connected to ads, a novel approach to increase the Directory’s use appeal among River Hills residents.

Our Youth services efforts expanded to add Clover Middle School to Oakridge Middle School’s participation in Lions Club International sponsored annual Peace Poster Contest. New Lion, Morgan Lombardo, leads our first venture as active participants in the SC Lions Summer Youth Exchange by hosting visiting students Camp. CJ Nager and his wife, Katzy, coordinated expanding our 2nd and 3rd grade effort to include 4th grade students in our Lions funded mission to provide free books to qualifying students with significantly reduced chance of owning their own books. Of course, we continue to honor another of our lost heroes, Harold M. Brietman, by annually awarding a $6000.00 aggregate four year scholarship to a graduating Clover High School student, who though experiencing financial hardship, shows exceptional commitment through high level academic performance, extracurricular activity, community service and/or work and convincingly articulates further educational and service related goals.

Our Sight and Hearing services, coordinated by Lou Girolami and Pat Kirby continue to provide eye and hearing relief to qualifying candidates. Our $8000.00 contribution to SC Lions Charitable Services, which funds eye surgeries for people who could not otherwise afford them, shows we are still answering Helen Keller’s 1925 call to be Knight’s of the Blind. Our $5000.00 contribution to Storm Eye’s eye care research efforts underscores our commitment, as does our invitation to a new Storm Eye associate, Dr. Waring, to speak to us in September about his research targeting new alternatives to having to wear reading glasses and relief from the effects of macular degeneration.

Our requests for donations for our individual participation in Charlotte’s Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk scheduled for April, complement our Club’s planned $1000.00 contribution to support efforts to find a cure for this insidious disease. Thank you Dona and Sandy and newcomer, Chris O’Brien for coordinating that effort! Come; join us and other Lions Clubs on April 21, 2012.

As you can see, our Club is vitally involved in satisfying our service mandate through our Pay-it Forward spirit. We Serve. We make a difference in people’s lives. Passion at work! We celebrate that!
All the best!

Frank Van Leer,

President, 2011-2012

River Hills Lions Club