Karen Burns

As you think about the upcoming Independence Day celebrations, remember to thank our veterans for your freedom. We live in paradise because of those who gave some and some who gave it all.

Your local Lions are all about the month of July with many fun activities to get you outdoors.

It is time for our annual fireworks extravaganza on the 3rd of July. For its 31st year, Eagle River Lions Park will be booming with excitement on the 3rd of July at this FREE event for the public. Look for a great time brought to you by your local Lions.

Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series about Mount Baldy. Click here to read Part 1, which appeared in the June 15, 2017 edition of the Star.

Later this year, Eagle River’s backyard mountain will receive the final and most noticeable phase of a facelift intended to alleviate some of the problems on its well-traveled slopes.

People considering joining their local Lions Club often ask, “Why should I become a Lion?” Here are just a handful of reasons:

1. Serve the community.

Lions are committed to partnering with local leaders and organizations, identifying the unique needs of their communities and surrounding areas, and planning service projects that address those needs. From community cleanup projects to food drives to fundraisers, Lions help people in need who are close to home. We serve!

2. Make a difference in the world.

Last week Leos and Lions had the pleasure of meeting Leo Othmar from Austria, who is an Omega Leo. In the United States was have Alpha Leos. The difference is their ages: Alpha Leos are 13-18 and Omega Leos are 19-30. There are a few Omega Leo clubs in America but the standard is Alpha Leos who are under a Lions club that sponsor them.

Omega Lions stand on their own and have their own projects and bank accounts. They are not governed by a Lions Club. He is traveling to 50 countries and documenting what Leo are doing around the world.

As Lions we are challenged this Centennial Year to organize legacy projects in our communities. Lions of Multiple District 49 answered that challenge.

A legacy project is one that will bring longterm benefit to our community such as the Eagle River Lions Park.

Lions did it again. There was a need that could not be solved by any other organization. As background, the land at the village of Newtok is slowly getting eroded away.

In 1917 Lions International was founded by Melvin Jones as a strictly men in service organization. Then in 1925 Helen Keller and Ann Sullivan were honored as the first and second ladies of Lionism. Helen Keller challenged Lions at the 1927 International Convention to be Knights of the Blind. That challenge was accepted.

Until 1975 Lions was a men only service organization. Then the Lioness Program began as a sub-group. In 1987 the first group of women was approved for Lion’s membership as a sole entity.

If you attended the Bear Paw Parade, you probably saw the Lions’ Vision and Eye Screening Trailer go by you, with Lions and Leos marching alongside, handing out candy to the kids and having a blast along the way.

Now, those same Lions and Lions clubs from around the state are organizing together to provide free eye screening at the Alaska State Fair.

Put the Lions on your “must-see” list of free things to do at the fair this year.