Recent Transylvania Times newspaper articles

about the Brevard Lions Club



The Brevard Lions Club is selling certified protective eclipse glasses as a vision project fund-raiser.  These glasses are only $2 and will be sold by the club at the upcoming July 4th Street Festival.  Lions eclipse glasses are available now at these locations:  BREVARD - Looking Glass Eye Center, Harris Hardware, OP Taylor’s, Main Street Limited, Highland Books, Silvermont, and the Racquet Club;  PISGAH FOREST –  The Hub and Davidson River Outfitters;  CEDAR MOUNTAIN –  Sherwood Forest Pro Shop, Creekside Grocery, Whistlestop Market, Cedar Mountain Pottery, and Cedar Mountain Quick Stop;  ROSMAN  -  Korner Mart, Our Country Store, Headwaters Outfitters, and Jarretts.  Special eclipse glasses are hundreds of times darker than sunglasses – DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN WITHOUT SPECIAL PROTECTION!


            It was a special evening for the Brevard Lions Club last Friday as the service organization celebrated its 75th charter anniversary with a special banquet featuring guest speaker and International Lions Club Director Harvey Whitley.

            The event, held at Quixote’s, drew roughly two dozens Lions as the club reflected on where it has been and where it hopes to go in the future. Tony Dalton, past district governor with the Lions, addressed the audience and gave them a brief history about the Brevard chapter.

            The Brevard Chapter of Lions was organized on Sept. 15, 1938 and chartered on Oct. 13, 1938. Dalton said the Brevard chapter was originally sponsored by the Asheville Lions Club.

            Lions Club International was founded in June 1917 with the focus of providing a service organization and raising money for worthy causes. The Lions became synonymous with providing services to those with visual impairments after Helen Keller addressed the group’s international conference and challenged them to become “Knights of the Blind.”

            That mission continues to this day and Dalton said from 2011-2012, the Brevard Lions spent $8,348 for eyeglasses and exams for 81 people in need. So far this year, Dalton said the Lions have spent, $2,975 for glasses and exams for 35 people.

            Dalton said in the face of such tough economic times the service of the Lions was needed more than ever and he praised his fellow members for all the work they do for the community.

“We’ve been doing a lot of good for Brevard for a number of years and we’re very proud of that,” Dalton said.

Joe Workman, who currently serves as two-year director for the Lions, said the group holds many fundraisers throughout the year including Brooms for Business, a yearly yard sale at Brevard College, selling concessions during Brevard College football games and the popular White Cane fundraiser.

Workman said all the monies raised by the Lions are put back into service projects throughout the community. One of the biggest events of the year is the annual Vision bus that provides free vision and hearing screenings to the public.

“Once a year the bus comes in we set it up at Kmart and we provide free eye exams to see if a person needs eyeglasses and we also doing hearing tests to see if there is any hearing impairment people may want to get checked out,” Workman said.

            Former president Jack Hudson introduced Whitley as the evening’s guest speaker.

            Whitley is one of 34 International Lions Club Directors and one of seven from the U.S. Each director serves two-year terms with 17 elections being held each year.

            After honoring Hudson and current Lions president Bill Briggs for their many years of the service to the organization and the community, Whitley addressed challenged them all to learn more about the Lions Club and find new ways they can serve the community.

            Whitley said several years ago, Lions Club International was voted the number one non-governmental humanitarian organization in the world, surpassing other service organizations such as Rotary International and Kiwanis International.

            “The opportunities we have to serve as Lions are endless and beyond imagination,” Whitley said. “Anything you want to do to help people out in this community is greatly appreciated.”

            Whitley spoke about Camp Dogwood as one of the many volunteer opportunities available to the Lions. Camp Dogwood, located on Lake Norman, serves as the North Carolina Lions meeting and retreat center but also offers several summer camp programs for more than 850 visually impaired campers each year.

            Whitley said volunteering at Camp Dogwood was a very moving experience and encouraged every Lion to consider volunteering at the camp as a great way to learn more about the people the organization works so hard to serve.

            Whitley said the Lions also partner with many different groups to provide humanitarian services including, Bausch & Lomb (one of the world’s largest suppliers of eye health products), Johnson & Johnson, the Bill Clinton Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

            One new initiative the Lions have undertaken is vaccinating children, particularly in underdeveloped nations, against measles. While cases of measles remain fairly rare in the United States, Whitley said children in third-world countries, specifically parts of Africa, are at great risk for catching measles without proper vaccinations.

“We don’t think of measles as being a problem but in third-world countries, where hygiene is horrible, measles can be a very dangerous disease and can cause problems with the eyes, brain damage and all kinds of problems,” Whitley said.

Last year, Whitley said Lions International vaccinated 41 million children against the measles, with a goal this year of vaccinating 157 million children.

At the close of his speech, Whitley thanked all the Brevard Lions for their continued dedication of service to the community, for their distinguished 75-year history and for the hope of 75 more years of service to come.

“I don’t think there is any question about the impact this club has had on the community,” Whitley said. “So tonight I extend to you, on behalf of the International Board, congratulations on your 75th anniversary.”




You may be surprised to learn that when a person in Transylvania County seeks financial help with an eye exam and glasses at Social Services, the Free Clinic, or the Sharing House, the Brevard Lions Club is usually contacted to provide that assistance.  The same applies to the school nurses, Brevard College, the hospital, and the health department – all depend on the Brevard Lions Club, working through Looking Glass Eye Center, to pay for the exam and glasses for those who cannot afford the service.

The recent economic situation has led to an increase in those without jobs, with some even homeless.  Government programs are also being cut back – Medicaid no longer provides exams and glasses for adults.  This had led to the number of people assisted by the Brevard Lions Club in 2011 being 4 times the number served just 5 years ago.  58 people have been helped this year vs. just 14 people in 2006.

Community support for Lions fund raising projects provides the money to continue this service – 100% is spent right here in Transylvania County.  Tax-deductible donations to Brevard Lions Club, PO Box 171, Brevard, will help insure sufficient funds to continue this public service.  Thank you for your support! 



Lions Club Gives To Japan Disaster Relief


Within hours of the disaster, Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) committed more than $1.25 million for immediate relief through fellow Lions in Japan.  This includes a major catastrophe grant, six emergency grants and designated donations from Lions worldwide.  A designated fund was established for Lions to provide additional disaster relief.

In the following weeks the amount donated increased to $6 million.  Individual members of Brevard Lions Club have contributed more than $1,000 for the effort.

Anyone who would like to help Japan recover from their calamity can donate through Brevard Lions Club, PO Box 171, Brevard, NC 28712.  If the check is made to LCIF, the gift is tax deductible.

Lions Club members provide for the administration of the funds, so money goes directly for disaster relief.  Lions Club International has members in 42 nations and is the largest civic organization in the world.  To learn more about Brevard Lions Club, check their website, and the Lions Club International website at

For additional information, contact Brevard Lion David Johnson (883-7911) or Brevard Lions President, Mike Badger (577-1853).



Lions Club Supports TRH Foundation

The Brevard Lions Club supports Transylvania Regional Hospital Foundation efforts to purchase a new Ophthalmic Operating Microscope.  Brevard Lions Club President Mike Badger delivered a donation to Dr. Dana Christianson. Christianson, along with Ronnie Els, Director of Surgical Services, presented a program to the Brevard Lions Club detailing the new microscope and how its use will benefit eye surgeries for local residents.



What do Lions do?

When the members of the Brevard Lions Club are seen selling things like hot dogs, soft drinks, books, and brooms, there must be some question about what happens to the money made by the organization and the ways the funds are used. The money is not used is to pay for dinners, parties or picnics for the members. One hundred percent of the funds raised by the Lions Club is used to fund eye exams and glasses for low-income residents, and other things like white canes and adaptive devices which make life better for visually impaired folks in our community.

Other projects that the Lions support include free eye exams with our Eye Van, guide dog schools like the Leader Dog School in Richmond, Michigan, and our Camp Dogwood near Charlotte for blind and visually impaired children and adults.

When you see the members of the Brevard Lions Club or any other Lions Club throughout the world raising funds, the public can be assured that their money will be helping someone to see better or making life a little easier for a person living without sight.

In the early part of the twentieth century when the Lions Club was still a young organization, Helen Keller asked the Lions Club to assist the blind people of the world by being "Knights for the blind". This is what the men and women of the Lions Club in Brevard and elsewhere are striving to do.



Free Vision & Diabetes Screening Saturday

The Brevard Lions Club is sponsoring another visit by the Lions Vision Van on Saturday, July 28, in the Ingles parking lot from 10 AM to 4 PM. At the same time and place, Transylvania Hospital Wellness Center will be doing diabetes screening.

The 40 foot van from the North Carolina Lions Foundation is equipped with equipment for eye screening, including far and near visual acuity, visual field testing, and pressure checking. Local ophthalmologists and optometrists have volunteered to assist with the free vision screening.

The purpose is early detection of possible eye problems. Later complete eye exams may be recommended based on the results of the screening.

The hospital-sponsored screening for diabetes can give early warning of this condition, which can also have serious consequences for vision.

Participants must be at least 6 years old and those under 18 must have a parent sign the registration form. Spanish interpreters will be available.

A significant number of participants with serious eye problems are referred every year for follow-up with an eye professional. Several severe cases have been discovered which required immediate attention.



Lions Collect Used Cell Phones for Sheriff

Lions John Lindsay and President Pete Koffman turn over 35 used cell phones and chargers to Sheriff David Mahoney. Out-of-service cell phones can still be used for 911 calls, and these will be distributed to needy residents for emergency use.

These phones were collected along with used eyeglasses and hearing aids in 12 collection boxes located around Brevard. Lions Club collection boxes are found in 6 local banks, 2 eye doctor’s offices, and in other locations around town.

Every year about 1500 pairs of used eyeglasses are collected in Brevard and distributed to developing countries through an international Lions Club program. This program annually distributes glasses to about 3 million people. A similar program reconditions and distributes used hearing aids.

The Brevard Lions Club thanks the community for your donations of cell phones (chargers too, please) and used eyeglasses and hearing aids. We invite other civic-minded men and women to join our club. Please visit a meeting 1st or 3rd Thursdays at Jason’s Main Street Grill at 7 PM.



Local Contributions To The Lions Club Go To Local Charities

100% of funds raised by the Brevard Lions Club are used to benefit charities right here in Transylvania County. All profits and donations from broom sales, book sales, flea markets, food sales at festivals on Main Street and Candy Day provide help to visually and hearing impaired people in our community. No overhead is ever deducted.

This assistance includes the cost of eye exams, eyeglasses, white canes and hearing aids for residents who cannot afford them. The generosity of our citizens makes these and other activities possible.
Members of the local Lions Clubs are proud of all of you who support our fund-raising for these local projects. Thank you for your help!

Lions Club members’ dues go toward State and International level Lions Club activities. These include a summer camp for the blind and visually impaired at Sherrills Ford near Charlotte, and the North Carolina Lions Eye Van - a fully equipped vision screening facility on wheels. It visits our county at least once a year and is staffed by local eye doctors and members of the local Lions Clubs. About 1/3 of those who received the free screening last year had vision problems serious enough to be referred to an eye specialist for follow-up.

The Lions Club is the world’s largest international service organization, with over 1.3 million members in more than 200 countries. Lions programs in underdeveloped countries have restored sight to 7 million people through cataract surgeries, restored vision loss for 20 million individuals of all ages and improved eye care services for hundreds of millions. Used eyeglasses collected locally are part of these programs. Leader Dogs for the Blind has been supported for over 60 years by the donations of Lions Clubs, which have sponsored approximately 70% of Leader Dog’s students.

Ask any Lions Club member about visiting with us at a local meeting. We welcome men and women who want to help their community while enjoying the fellowship of a great organization. 



Lions Club Eyeglasses Recycling 


Ever wonder what happens to the donated eyeglasses in our Lions Club collection boxes found in local banks and eye doctors’ offices around Brevard?

Lions have been recycling eyeglasses for approximately 80 years. The goal of the program is to meet the demand for quality eyeglasses in developing nations.

There are 13 official Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centers in the world (seven in the U.S., one each in Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Republic of South Africa, and Spain). Lions volunteer their time and services to clean and categorize each pair by prescription, and prepare the eyeglasses for distribution. Optical missions sponsored by Lions clubs and other groups distribute donated eyeglasses to needy people around the world.  Currently, it costs less than 8 cents to provide someone with recycled eyeglasses.

All types of eyeglasses and sunglasses, prescription and non-prescription, are acceptable. Reading glasses are also useful because many recipients are in need of visual correction to help them perform close-up tasks. Sunglasses are needed by people living near the equator in order to shield their eyes from the sun's damaging rays.

In most developing nations, eye care is either unaffordable or inaccessible.  And for many, poor eyesight that is left uncorrected can lead to unemployment for adults and a child's inability to attend school.

In fiscal year 2004-05, the Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centers reported a collection of more than 5 million pairs of eyeglasses, distributing to more than 3 million people in developing nations.


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