Brad Baker, CEO of Mid-South Lions Sight and Hearing Service, was guest speaker at the Manila Lions Club Wednesday, Aug. 11.
The Mid-South area is made up of four states and is headquartered in Memphis, where it was founded. It now has seven satellite clinics serving in different areas including Rogers, Hot Springs, Mountain Home, in Arkansas, Ocean Springs, Jackson, and Columbus, Miss., and Rolla, Mo.
It has continued to grow since its beginning in 1942 when Dr. Louis Levy introduced the idea of "Mid-South" to the Memphis Downtown Lions Club.
"We now have 12 million in our service area," Lion Baker said. "We have seen as many as 700 people in a year with 400 surgeries in a year. Last year we saw 295 patients and supported 169 surgeries."
"We have the hospital, the University, the doctors, the Lions, and the patients," Lion Baker said. "They are all partners. We get 70 percent of our funding from Lions Clubs. We don't have a savings. Our business is to provide sight and hearing. We have 170 people on our waiting list, the longest waiting list since I have been here."
He invited Lions to visit during Lion Leader Weekend and tour the facility.
"You will come back with an understanding of the work being done," he said. "Mid-South can be a presence in Manila. I know the economy is not good. St. Jude recently had a lay off of workers. There were 15 charities in the area forced to go out of business. It would be easy for us as Lions to just quit due to the economy. I know Lions and I know you will still be out there working and providing help to people in Manila and around the world."
Lion Baker challenged the Lions Club as a club and as individuals to consider the need.
"If 20 percent of all our Lions would give just $100 a year, we could treat 500 people," Baker said. "God bless you and God bless America."
Manila Lion President Ty Presson thanked Baker for his informative talk.
In other business the Lion members voted to donate $250 to the Manila Business Women to help with the Toys for Tots Christmas project.
"They did a tremendous job last year and we appreciate their help," Lion Wendell Poteet said.