• warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.
  • warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.

Lions hunt members

Scott Kleppe elected charter president of new service club
District Governor Paul Hain of Lone Tree introduces fellow Lions Club International members to prospective charter members of the Solon Centennial Lions Club at an organizational meeting held Friday, Jan. 20, at Solon City Hall. (photo by Doug Lindner)

SOLON– Solon will soon be appointing a new lion tamer.
With the motto “We serve,” Lions Club International is poised to help over 30 local charter members create the Solon Centennial Lions Club.
Lions Club organizers visited Solon in mid-January to gauge interest in a new service organization, and on Friday, Jan. 20, the group’s first formal meeting was held at Solon City Hall.
“The response in this community has been fantastic,” said District Governor Paul Hain of Lone Tree, a 43-year member of the Lions. “None of you knew we were coming. We have been welcomed very warmly.”
Hain and several other Lions assisted with the first meeting, sharing information about Lions Club International and Lions Club of Iowa before electing charter officers.
Scott Kleppe will serve as the Solon Centennial Lions Club’s first president, with Heather Snipes appointed secretary, Dale Snipes as treasurer, and Melissa Reed the membership chair.
The Lion Tamer (in charge of flags, banners and the gavel for meetings), the Tail Twister (responsible for creating the club’s local expenses) and other officers will occur at a subsequent meeting.
“Lions Club International is the world’s largest service organization,” explained Ronnie Martin of Houston, a volunteer helping to charter the Solon group. “We are 1.4 million volunteers now, located in 210 countries.”
No public funds are used to run Lions Club, Martin said. Local clubs keep separate checkbooks so no money is co-mingled.
“If you donate a dollar to a disaster, the whole dollar goes there. Our staff is paid through our dues structure,” he added.
The largest sponsor of Boy Scouts in the world, Lions Clubs is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2017.
“We are mostly, though, about our own communities,” Martin said. “It’s about this community and what you can do for this community.”

The history of the international service organization began with 38-year-old Chicago insurance salesman Melvin Jones and his decision to start a businessman’s luncheon group.
Jones became an officer in the club and eventually convinced other members they should reach beyond business issues and address the betterment of their communities and the world.
According to the Lions Club’s website, Jones contacted other men’s groups around the country and invited them to Chicago in 1917 for an organizational meeting. The new group took the name of one of the invited groups, the “Association of Lions Clubs.” A national convention was held in Dallas later that year, and a constitution, by-laws, objects and a code of ethics were approved.
In 1925, Helen Keller addressed the Lions Clubs International Convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, and challenged Lions to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.”
Since then, Lions Clubs have developed a long tradition of helping the visually impaired.
Iowa Lions support the Iowa Lions Eye Bank off Highway 965 in Coralville, as well as the KidSight screening program, a hearing aid bank, service dog training and the Iowa School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs, Hain explained to the new Solon members.
The Iowa Lions Eye Bank is a non-profit service organization dedicated to the restoration and preservation of sight through the recovery, processing and distribution of human ocular tissue for transplantation and research. The Iowa Lions Eye Bank is affiliated with the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
“When I joined 43 years ago, there was a waiting list for corneas, we were in need of corneas,” Hain said. “Today, we send corneas all over the United States, all over the world. There’s no waiting list for a cornea. That’s how much we’ve progressed.”
Lions also accept the responsibility of helping transport corneas, he said.
When corneas need to go to Wisconsin, Lions members pick them up and take them to the Wisconsin border where Wisconsin Lions meet them, Hain noted.
The KidSight program puts handheld screening devices in the hands of Lions, who take photos of children’s eyes from age 6 months to 6 years, Hain said.
The images are reviewed for a number of easily detectable vision issues, and if necessary, referrals are made for further treatment.
Since the program started in 2000, 440,000 children have been screened and about 25,000 have been referred for additional help, Hain said.

The Solon club can begin taking on projects after the signing of the group’s charter.
Members voted to adopt “Centennial” as the name of the club in honor of the 100th anniversary, and will formalize its existence with a charter party.
The charter party must take place within 90 days of the club’s application to Lions Clubs International, Martin said, and will also serve as a kickoff fundraiser.
Lions Clubs from around the area will be invited to attend the event, which is where the new members will be indicted.
“You’re going to charge them for the food. Hopefully, you’re going to pay $10 for it, and you’re going to charge us $15 or $20,” Martin said. “We know we’re getting ripped off, but it’s okay because we know we’re making a donation to your fund.”
The members of the Solon Centennial Lions Club are expected to meet again in early February. Contact club president Scott Kleppe for more information.