Lions Clubs make global impact, have local roots

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“You can’t get very far until you start doing something for somebody else,” was the personal code for Lions Clubs International founder Melvin Jones. It is a code that the Lions Clubs, now an international foundation with more than a million members worldwide, still clings to today.

With that roaring mantra, Lions Clubs have invested in health, environment and youth programs, both globally and here in East County’s own backyard.

“You can’t get very far until you start doing something for somebody else,” was the personal code for Lions Clubs International founder Melvin Jones. It is a code that the Lions Clubs, now an international foundation with more than a million members worldwide, still clings to today.

With that roaring mantra, Lions Clubs have invested in health, environment and youth programs, both globally and here in East County’s own backyard.

La Mesa’s Lions Club commemorated the passing of another year of service and fun with their officer installation and awards dinner on Monday, June 25.

Outgoing president Rick Hannum summarized the year and the work the club has done through its youth oratorical contest and its collection of eyeglasses for the visually impaired.

“The club itself is warm, friendly and inclusive,” said Hannum, concluding his last speech as president to make way for 2018-2019 president Tyson Eckel.

Eckel is a Wells Fargo brokerage associate and the grandson of one of the La Mesa Lions Club’s former presidents, George Eckel.

“We’ve had fathers and sons, and fathers and daughters,” LCIF Coordinator Kelly Sinclair. “But I knew George, so this is really neat – now we have a grandfather and grandson.”

George Eckel was one of the original contributors to the construction of Mount Helix.

Awards given out during the evening included two Melvin Jones Fellowship awards, the proceeds of which go to LCIF for their charitable causes. The MJF is the highest recognition given by LCIF to honor those who have made a remarkable impact through community service.

Also awarded was the Dwight Stanford Fellowship, the funds of which go directly to the student speaker awards for the youth oratorical scholarship contest.

These Lions pride themselves not just on their community service, but their sense of fun. One of the official officer positions is Tail Twister – the trivia master. But there is no position for Lion comedian – that role is shared by all, as a joke accompanied every award and the installation of new officers included parody ‘tools’ to help with the tasks at hand ranging from colored chalk and squirt guns to eccentric wigs.

Eckel concluded the installation – sans wig – by promising that the La Mesa Lions and the new board have big plans for the coming year.

“I know it feels like we have a wonderful board moving forward, but I feel like this whole club is a board,” he said. “I feel like everywhere we turn, we’re going to get help wherever we need it.”

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