(Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)
Manila Lions Club held its annual banquet and installation of officers on Thursday, June 25. Incoming President Wendell Poteet welcomed members and guests.
Following the opening ceremony and dinner, Lion Terry Carr gave a report saying they had had a good year.
"We helped 11 people with glasses/eye examinations," Carr said. "Anyone who needs help in acquiring glasses may fill out an application. The application goes to the sight committee for review and recommendations are made to the Club members. The cost averages $150 per person. We especially try to meet the sight needs for our area young people. We recently sent a $250 donation to Lions World Services for the Blind in Little Rock."
Carr said in addition to helping people with sight needs, the Lions Club serves the community with different projects.
"I learned a long time ago if you don't give, you don't get back," Carr said. "It is important to give back to the community. Through the money raised with pancake supper and the road blocks, we were able to distribute 100 Goodfellow baskets during the Christmas holidays. Last year we raised about $5,000. A few years ago we built new restrooms at the city park."
Carr installed the officers for the upcoming year. Officers include Poteet, president; Donnie Wagner, first vice president; Justin Veach, second vice president; Danny Robbins, secretary; Terry Carr treasurer; Tom Jaco, tail twister; Clell Castleman, Lion tamer; Jim Cheadle, Leroy Douglas, Tracey Reinhart, and Wayne Shedd, board members.
President Poteet thanked everyone for the honor to serve as President.
"I will do the best I can," Poteet said. "I have a lot of ideas. They may not all be new ones but we will try to get this club built up. I want to continue with our successful activities such as the chili cook-off, pancake supper and Goodfellow baskets. There are other things we can do."
Poteet thanked the clubs for giving him and his wife, Iris, the opportunity to visit the Lions World Services for the Blind in Little Rock. He praised the work being done there to enable people who are blind or visually impaired to prepare for jobs and live independently, productive lives. Poteet said a new building project is underway.
"It is a good thing for us to support and anything we can do or give will be appreciated," Poteet said. "A new eye center/college facility is being planned. The initial cost is $17 million with $4 million the next year for additional dormitories and $3 million the next for more dormitories and facilities. The present building is over 40 years old. The new facility will be able to house up to 200. The motto of the Lions is to serve. We specialize in helping the blind and providing glasses but serving means to serve the community as well. I look forward to leading this group into the upcoming year."
Lion Danny Robbins said the work done by Lions has an impact on communities and lives.
"In 1987 I was at a state convention in Little Rock," Robbins said. "The keynote speaker was a woman about 33 years old. She had been blind for 30 years and through the efforts of Lion International her sight had been restored through a transplant. She talked about seeing her first sunset and things we take for granted. She personally wanted to thank each Lions attending the banquet and went from table to table expressing her gratitude. The Lions do good work."
It was announced the Lions would not meet on July 4. Regular meetings will resume on Wednesday, June 11.The Manila Lions Club meet at noon each Wednesday at the Manila Depot.