Oak Harbor Lions Club looks back at a big 2011

The Oak Harbor Lions Club is not a “one in a million” club. It is one of 45,000 Lions International Clubs in more than 205 countries carrying out the motto “we serve.”

The Oak Harbor Lions Club is not a “one in a million” club. It is one of 45,000 Lions International Clubs in more than 205 countries carrying out the motto “we serve.”

The members of the Oak Harbor Lions Club are 46 men and women of the 1.3 million members who serve their local communities in the largest service organization in the world. With the support of Oak Harbor’s residents, businesses and local organizations, Lions are at work, raising funds and sponsoring beneficial programs and events in support of the community.

During 2011, the Oak Harbor Lions sponsored five blood drives for the Puget Sound Blood Center. Donors gave more than 260 units of blood, which had the potential of helping more than 790 people in need of transfusions, said Sharon Ryan of the Oak Harbor Lions Club.

Two free health screenings were provided to 70 people who stopped by the Lions Health Screening Mobile Unit at Ace Hardware. With the help of the Oak Harbor School District staff and volunteers, 1,903 Oak Harbor school children received hearing and screening exams in January.

On 12 holidays, Lions lined the business streets of Oak Harbor with more than 320 U.S. flags, thanks to the participation of local merchants and individuals.

In 2011, the Oak Harbor Lions Club donated $1,000 to North Whidbey Help House. The Lions joined the Chamber of Commerce, local stores and service clubs in collecting food and donations for the Christmas in July annual event. The Lions collected $455 and 27 boxes of food at the Safeway grocery store.

A total of $3,000 in scholarships was given to six Oak Harbor students seeking higher education. Major fundraisers included a produce stand in the Rite Aid parking lot and Christmas tree sales held in the Oak Harbor School District’s park across from the Chamber of Commerce.

The school district’s park is also the site for the Alaska Salmon Bar-be-Que fundraiser during Oak Harbor’s Holland Happening Days.

One other vital fundraiser was White Cane Days, which took place at local storefronts to raise awareness and fund Lions Sightlife programs and Patient Care Grants.

All fundraising proceeds support community services such as eye and hearing exams, eyeglasses and hearing aids for those unable to afford them, and financial support of vision and hearing foundations. In 2011, the cost for 98 pair of glasses and 45 exams was donated for sight.

The Oak Harbor Lions Club collected over 3,560 pairs of used eyeglasses from various locations around Oak Harbor to be forwarded to Northwest Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center. According to the Lions Clubs International website, 30 million used eyeglasses have been dispensed to adults and children in developing nations to give them opportunities for education, employment and a better quality of life.

In 2011, more than 2,345 Lion volunteer hours were donated to blood drives, fundraisers, delivering medical equipment, building wheelchair ramps and supporting hearing and vision activities.

Oak Harbor Lions also support Camp Horizon which is located at Birch Bay and provides camping experiences for special needs people of all ages. In 2011, $3,500 in “camperships” was donated to campers from Oak Harbor.

“It does take many caring people to help a community and Oak Harbor is an exemplary example,” Ryan said.

If interested in joining the Oak Harbor Lions Club, call John at 360-929-9483 or visit the Lions at their weekly meeting, Wednesdays at 7 p.m. at the San Remo Mediterranean Grill, located at 421 NE Midway Blvd., Oak Harbor.