Sunday, February 16, 2014

Press release from our friends at Special Olympics Idaho

BOISE, ID – February 16, 2014 – On the morning of Saturday the 15th, Head Coach for
the Moscow Rebels’ Special Olympic Team, Elizabeth King, discovered that their local
storage unit had been broken into and their Winter Sports equipment had been stolen.
With the 2014 State Winter Games just two weeks away in Sun Valley, this was a
crushing blow to the local team. The Moscow Rebels have been training hard all season
and just returned from Regional Competitions in Coeur d’Alene, excited and ready for
their State Games. With the loss of their equipment, this may mean that these athletes
will not be able to join other Idaho athletes in Sun Valley on February 28th.

The Moscow Rebels may have lost their equipment, but they have not lost their hope.
Teams from all across Idaho have rallied together in support of their competition, and
are donating extra sports equipment from their teams to ensure that the Moscow Rebels
will meet them at the Games. The Coeur d’Alene Eagles have donated $1,000 from their
very own fundraising efforts to support the team in obtaining rental equipment for State
Games. LC Storm in Lewiston and the Silver Valley team in Kellogg are donating
equipment for the team to use. Even with the teams rallying together, Moscow Rebels
will need support from the community to ensure they have safe and appropriate
competition gear for State Games.

The Moscow Rebels are in need of Snowshoe and Nordic ski equipment. It is their hope
that they will be able to rent the equipment needed for State Games, that they are
unable to borrow from other teams. Local teams fundraise for their own equipment,
uniforms, housing and travel to Games. This has been a setback for the team, but they
are not allowing it to prevent them from going to State Competitions.

Special Olympics Idaho’s Director of Sports and Training, Opey Freedle, said, “Anytime
crime effects our community it is a loss, but this was a devastating blow for our athletes.
After all the hard work put into training for State Games, it’s a tragedy that this team may
miss out on the chance to showcase their skills and abilities, and compete for the Gold
at State. The answer is up to the community now. We will do what we can on our end to
make sure they get the chance to compete. But we’ll need help to get them there.”

If you would like to assist the team in renting equipment for the 2014 State Winter
Games in Sun Valley, or would like to donate snowshoes or skiing equipment, please
contact Pam Lisenbe, Special Olympics Northern Idaho Regional Director, at 208-659-
0172 or email

If you have any information concerning the theft of the Moscow Rebels sports
equipment, please contact the Moscow Police Department at 208-882-2677.

Did you miss the Midwinter?

The Midwinter Convention last weekend hosted by Mountain Home Lions included many of the usual activities-and a few that were not so usual.

Friday night's International Food Fair had 3 contestants-the Parma Lions, the Boise Riverside Special Olympics Lions, and the Mountain Home Lions. The BRSO club was the winner with the country of "Sweetzerland".  OK, not really a country, but DG Bill called it "innovation".  I think he's a member of that club... Parma's country was the mythical Parma-san and Mtn. Home chose the Philippines. Those who braved the weather enjoyed music by Third Take until heading to the "Lions Den" in room 115.

A few of the breakout sessions had to be cancelled due to weather concerns, but John Mundt filled in with a presentation about the Hamburg convention.  Rich Sykes, president of the Mountain Home club, told us why their club is 106 members strong and growing.  He's the only president I know who has voluntarily been tased and shot with paint balls to further the cause of Lionism.

Stevie Beehler was elected to serve as District Governor next year, and Jay Lugo was elected to serve as 1st Vice District Governor (after being appointed 2nd Vice District Governor at the Cabinet meeting on Friday). 

International Director Larry Dicus from California was the keynote speaker for the evening banquet.  I was impressed with his commitment to the use of technology and social media and he had some good suggestions and ideas.

There were a few awards presented.  International President's Certificates of Appreciation were given to Lynn and Dennis Burks, co-chairs of the convention (great job, you two!) and Nancy Berto for the publicity she does with her club and zone.  Friendship tote bags were given to Karen Woods, DGE Stevie Beehler, DG Ron Gill from the East, Rich Sykes, Dennis and Lynn, and IT Kathy Donahue.

You may be wondering what was unusual about this convention.  That would be the outhouse theme.  Mountain Home Lions have a tradition of hauling around an outhouse to get new members...More on that later. It may have you wanting to build one of your own-or not.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Learn leadership skills

Multiple District 39 will be hosting a Leadership Seminar on March 21 and 22 at the Idaho-E. Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation in Boise.

The seminar is open to any Lion; however, you must submit an application as only 25 Lions will be accepted. 

What will you learn?  Topics include time management, public speaking, team building, Lions protocol, meeting management, communication, and more.  Not only will these topics benefit you as a Lion, but in your other endeavors as well.  Who couldn't benefit from learning better time management or how to work better with other people on your team?

Applications are now available-return to Deanna Rostock ASAP to reserve your spot.

You can also find the schedule and instructor list at this link.

And did I mention-it's free!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Who parks all those cars?

Every now and then, but not nearly often enough, someone brings a great Lions club event or project to my attention.  Today I want to pass along a project that's been going on for 48 years.

Since 1965 the Twin Falls Lions Club has been parking cars at the Twin Falls County Fair.  This involves a lot more than just directing traffic.  It begins with 12 acres of pasture that the Lions section off into rows for parking and lanes for driving.  They pound steel posts into the ground for markers,  direct cars where to park, and attend the lot throughout the 6 day fair.

But it's not over until the lot is cleaned up and restored to its original condition, 10 days after they drove in the first stake.

It somehow doesn't look like all work and no play!

Congratulations to PDG Don Rahe who has been the Fair Parking Chairperson for the last 10 years for another successful project!


Monday, October 7, 2013

A few of my favorites things...about USA/Canada Forum

So why do I like going to the USA/Canada Forum, besides the "fun" time traveling and the keynotes? 

It's the Lions! 

Each lunch or dinner you are seated by colors, so it's doubtful that you'll be sitting with people you know.  Two lunches+2 dinners with tables set for 10-that's the opportunity to spend a couple of hours with 36 Lions.  Time to attend 7 seminars, seated at tables with at least 8 others-that's 49  Lions. 

You have the opportunity to meet 85 Lions, give or take, from all over the USA and Canada.  Alaska, California, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Texas, Wyoming, Utah, Hawaii, New Mexico-just some of the places Lions were from that I had a chance to talk to.  And learn from

From a shooting range in Utah (reported by the lone participant from that state), to owning and running an ambulance service in Connecticut, Lions have some amazing projects!  And it seems all the clubs have similar projects-vision testing, picking up litter, recycling, partnering with schools and other organizations. 

Problems are the same, too-getting more and younger members topped that list.

The opportunity to network with so many Lions and learn from them is the most valuable part of the forum.  It's one of the biggest reason people go back year after year.   

San Juan, September, 2014.  Who's planning to go?

A few Idaho forum attendees:  Floyd Miller, Deanna Rostock, me (Kathy Donahue), Tom Behm.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Motivating the Lions

My second most favorite part of the USA/Canada Forum is listening to the keynote speakers.  (More about my favorite thing another day!)

The Forum starts on Thursday evening with dinner and a speaker; this year it was Ed Hearn.  I was pretty excited about this as an avid baseball fan, since Ed was a major league ballplayer in the 80s.  His story is about achieving his boyhood dream, losing his health and almost his life, and battling back to be able to inspire others with his story. 

At the Friday luncheon, the speaker was Dayna Steele-finding your inner rock star.  Dayna is a motivational speaker and she was well-prepared to speak to the Lions.  You can find her daily motivational tips on her blog or delivered to your inbox.

Saturday's speaker was the International President, Barry Palmer.  I liked his "on the fly" idea to have a one-day lunch to target new female members-one day all over the world.  I hope he can make this a reality, but even if it's not worldwide, how about district wide?

The final keynote speaker on Saturday night was a truly amazing man, Patrick Henry Hughes.  Born with no eyes and a condition that does not allow him to straighten his arms or legs, Patrick is a college graduate and brilliant pianist.  He doesn't see a task and say "I can't do it" but instead, asks, "How can I do it?" 

Hearing these speakers, I can't help but come home inspired and motivated to do more as a Lion.  If the 2,000 other attendees feel the same, we won't be saying we can't succeed.  Lions will be finding a way.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Kansas City, here I come

It is Wednesday afternoon and as I check the passenger totals for my stand-by flight on Thursday to Kansas City to attend the USA/Canada Lions Leadership Forum, I realize there is no way I can get there in time for the Thursday evening keynote speaker and dinner.  I hurriedly throw  clothes into my suitcase, pack up my 2 dogs to drop off at the kennel, and head to the airport.  Not getting a seat on the 3:00 flight, I check my options.  If I can get on the flight to San Francisco at 5:36, I will be able to make the red-eye to Houston, and make it to KC by 9:41 in plenty of time to make the opening events of the forum.

As luck would have it (finally, some luck!) the 6:03 flight from San Francisco is delayed, and I make it to Kansas City at 1:30 am.  Whew!

What have I learned so far?  Plan ahead!

Now I've made it to the Overland Park Convention Center.  The hallways are filled with Lions from all over the US and Canada.  I take in the Exhibit Hall and the Lions Store.  Luck continues as I find Twin Falls own PID Floyd Miller and we grab a bite to eat.  Shortly thereafter, I find Lions Stevie Packard and Happy Olsen from the Boise Bench Club waiting to check in.  Now things are starting to fall into place!

Finally, the USA/Canada Forum 2013 has begun.

Our next few posts will tell you more about the weekend that nine Lions from District 39W experienced in Overland Park.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Volunteering at Ronald McDonald House

The Boise Capital Lions Club  gives assistance to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho as one of their ongoing projects.  From collecting pull tabs from soda cans to cooking breakfast, the Lions give back to make things a little brighter for families when their children are undergoing hospital treatment.

The recent edition of the Ronald McDonald House newsletter, "Home Matters", features the Lions on the cover page.  Four times a year, the Lions cook breakfast for guests and staff, even bringing cinnamon rolls (yum!) donated by Radean's Restaurant.

 To volunteer with Ronald McDonald House, visit their website.  To volunteer with the Boise Capital Lions, visit their website or facebook page. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

New project for the Boise Vista Lions

The Boise Vista Lions are partnering with St. Luke's Children's Hospital to provide a Halloween party for the children who are undergoing treatment at the hospital.  Over the next few weeks, PDG Ashley, Lion Paula Campbell, and other Boise Vista Lions will be visiting Lions clubs.  They will be selling raffle tickets for a beautiful quilt with the proceeds going to St. Luke's Children's to purchase items to make the children's stays less stressful.  Tickets will be $5.00 each or 3 for $10, so be prepared for the Vista Lions to visit your club.

The hospital has also provided a list of toys and games they would like to have for the children.  If you can donate any of these things, they would greatly appreciate it.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, contact Ashley at 941-3238 or Paula at paulaj at 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Bringing better vision to Mozambique

     “Is anyone interested in going to Mozambique?” asked Henry for at least the 50th time.  

      “We have 4000 pair of glasses there waiting to be distributed, and no one to do it.”

     Thus started our journey to a country situated on the Southeast coast of Africa inhabited by people who speak Portuguese and Macua, but very little English.  This story actually started 3 years prior when Tom Porter, a volunteer for Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF),   gave a presentation at the Boise Bench Lions meeting.  There, he met Henry Cardinale, who sorts and distributes glasses for the Idaho Lions Eye Bank and eventually a shipment of glasses was sent to the MAF base in Nampula, Mozambique.  However, they’d been sitting in storage there for nearly 3 years.

     Having a love for travel and adventure, we decided this trip would be a great way to celebrate our relatively new status as retired persons.  So our preparations began.  The letter of invitation necessary to apply for visas was procured after much correspondence with Dr. Pim, the resident physician at Mission Marrere where we would be working.   A visit to St. Luke’s travel clinic yielded  shots, malaria pills, and advice about dietary concerns and mosquito netting.   Jay Lugo, from the Lions Eye Bank, was able to get us a much needed Plusoptix machine, and our friends, Dr. Pressman  and Angie Qualman from Lens Crafters, instructed us and made detailed notes on sorting glasses. 

     After 2 months of preparation, and many hours of travel with a diligent eye on our precious PlusOptix, we arrived in Nampula on Wednesday, April 17th, ready to begin our mission.  We were met at the airport by Dr.Pim’s family and transported the 18 kilometers to our guesthouse on the Mission Marrere property close to the hospital.  There we met Miguel who would shop for us, cook, do our laundry, and ultimately, become our friend.  We visited the hospital that afternoon only to find that most everything had closed at 2 p.m.  This reminded us of Dr. Pim’s advice, to relax and accept whatever came, because things happen on Mozambique time. 

     The following morning we met Irma Maria, the small but feisty Italian nun who almost single handedly manages the Marrere hospital. After struggling through various attempts at greetings in English and Portuguese, she was kind enough to assign us an interpreter, named Ilda, whose patience and kindness got us through the next few weeks.  Ilda, a midwife by profession, spoke 6 languages, and said she had delivered up to 40 babies a day. 

     We spent our 1st day unpacking and sorting glasses, helped by various hospital aides, dentists, and other curious people who stopped by.  We soon learned that the glasses had to be marked on the outside of the individual bags in order for the prescription to be read easily.  Luckily we had brought markers, a knife, and tape from home as we discovered there were very few supplies available, and what we had would disappear rapidly if not kept in hand.  Dan cut up the dusty cardboard boxes that stored the glasses, taped them, and made bins for the newly marked ones.  The temperature was around 96 degrees and we had no air-conditioning, just fans, but despite the heat we worked late because the Eye Technician, Aleluia, was determined to start screening people the next day. 

     Each morning thereafter we were greeted by a crowd of 50-75 people eagerly waiting to be screened and hopeful of receiving glasses.    The crowd would grow incredibly during the day, prompting our friend and maintenance man, Mr. Blue, to create a numbering system to avoid general chaos.   We quickly learned that by working through lunch time we didn’t lose our helpers, and despite frequent power outages Dan was able to screen between 70-100 people a day.  The Plusoptix machine looks like a radar gun;   you point it at a person’s eyes, and it registers their prescription on a computer screen adjacent to it. This was by far less time consuming than the traditional way that Aleluia screened people, and many of our patients thought it was magic.  But because the machine can’t read a person’s eyes if they have cataracts, have had eye surgery, or other eye problems, he referred about 1/3 of our screenings to Aleluia for further testing.  We were able to match some prescriptions quite closely, but discovered   that most people in this area are far-sighted and can benefit most by having simple readers and sunglasses.   When we realized that we would have many non-usable glasses because of the prescriptions, we started disassembling them, taking out the lenses, and giving away the frames.  We were told that frames were very costly in Nampula, but that you could buy prescription lenses reasonably.  

     We were determined to leave good records for the Hospital administrators so Dan filled out a prescription paper for each person he screened and noted whether they needed or received glasses or not, or were referred for testing.   In the evenings we would rewrite all the ledgers done that day as Ilda’s hand writing was almost illegible.  Our records show that Dan screened nearly 700 people in 10 working days. 

    We did have time for a few hikes on the Mission grounds and came to see that most people live in simple adobe houses, without electricity, running water, or indoor plumbing.  They have vegetable gardens and many fruit trees, but rely on infrequent rains to water their crops.  The women wear colorful traditional clothing; carry babies in wraps on their backs and everything else on their heads. The men wear more western style dress, but it is very common to go barefooted.   There are usually people camped on the grounds outside the hospital, because a family member is sick and they need to stay close by to help them.  

     We enjoyed walking to and from the hospital every day as there is a school on the grounds and we saw children playing soccer in the dirt (also barefooted), studying under the trees, and picking vegetables on the  weekends.  Many of them spoke a little English and were happy to teach us a few Portuguese phrases.  We wore scrubs with Lions patches sewn on throughput our mission, and were glad to see that many people were curious about the insignia and wanted to know about Lions and what we do.  Presently there are no Lions Clubs in Nampula, but there are several in the surrounding countries.  This was truly an amazing experience for us and we hope that through this short mission we have helped to introduce and promote the concept of Lionism in Mozambique.

(Contributed by Patty Frison, Boise Bench Lions Club member, who along with her husband and fellow Lion, Dan, distributed eyeglasses to Mozambique last April.)