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Raymond Lions Club News


Energized Local Lions Club Provides Community Assistance and Seeks New Members
By Leslie O’Donnell   11-21-17

The Raymond Lions Club, serving Raymond, Candia and Fremont, is welcoming new members.

Recently reinvigorated with an energetic group of volunteers, the club has a full slate of activities and projects, all benefiting the local community. “Everything we do is volunteer, and 90 percent of what we take in is put back into the local community,” said David Turcotte of Raymond, the club president. The rest is used for club supplies or contributions to the broader Lions organization.

Turcotte explained that the local Lions are part of an international association, said to be one of the biggest service organizations in the world. His late father was a charter member of the club, which was established in 1975, and his participation follows in that path.

“It’s great to have new membership, and we can always use more people,” he said. Those who join can contribute as much or as little time as they wish, Turcotte added.

Other officers are Jeff Richards, first vice president; Jason Garon, second vice president; Janice Roux, treasurer; and Sandra Perry, secretary and membership chair.

As the holiday season arrives, the Lions worked with the Raymond Rotary Club to provide Thanksgiving baskets to 50 families in Raymond, Fremont, Epping, Nottingham and Deerfield, whose names are provided by Raymond Community Action (Southern New Hampshire Services). The Lions and Rotarians split the cost fifty-fifty. Volunteers from the two service organizations, as well as Raymond High School Rotaract Club members, helped fill the baskets.

The Thanksgiving baskets were given out Nov. 21, and include either a turkey or ham; cans of cranberry sauce, corn, green peas or beans; a box of stuffing; bags of onions, potatoes and apples; loaves of bread; pumpkin pie; cider and milk.

Similar baskets will be given out for Christmas, again in a combined effort by both Rotary and Lions, with names provided by Community Action.

But the main focus of the Lions – both locally and internationally – is eyesight and blindness. Turcotte noted that the Lions’ work with vision was inspired by Helen Keller, who according to the Lions International website, attended a Lions convention in 1925 and challenged members to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.”

The Lions accepted the challenge, and its work since then has included sight programs aimed at preventing blindness, the website states.

As part of that work, the Raymond Lions Club holds Operation Kid Sight at local schools. Operation Kid Sight utilizes Spot Vision screening, and last year conducted free vision screening at both Lamprey River Elementary School and Iber Holmes Gove Middle School in Raymond. Parents are asked to sign permission forms for the non-invasive screening, which Turcotte likened to using a Polaroid camera. The Spot Vision screening device prints out a report.

“The screener does not touch the child,” Turcotte noted. “The reports that are generated are left with the school nurse, and if there’s an issue found, it prints out a report in red.”

“It’s safe, it takes 4 or 5 seconds to do a reading – the child just looks at the camera and it scans their eyeball,” Perry added.

The screening produces results. Perry said one girl in the middle school told her she had just received glasses after her test came up “red.”

 And at a recent Day of Hope at New Life Church in Raymond, the Lions heard from a mother who said her daughter had been tested and came home with a report saying something may be wrong. The girl had suffered headaches and said she still couldn’t see after getting glasses. The mother said she took the Kid Sight report to her eye doctor, and while the doctor initially had not found anything wrong, further testing revealed optical nerve damage.

“Without the test, she might have gone blind,” Perry said. “If we can do that for one child out of 1,000 or 100,000, it’s worth it. We were so thrilled to hear that kind of feedback.”

“Our quest is to screen every child in New Hampshire, but a lot of times the parents don’t return the consent forms,” Turcotte said. Out of 570 students at Lamprey River in 2016, 185 were screened and 11 students were referred to see an eye doctor. In 2017, out of 280 students screened at Lamprey River, 34 were referred; 16 were referred out of 191 screened at the middle school.

Perry said the club is now contacting preschools in the area in hopes of arranging Kid Sight screenings there.

If a report shows the need for further testing and the family does not have vision insurance or the money to pay, they can ask the Lions for help. The club also occasionally gets requests to pay for hearing aids and cataract surgery. “We can go to higher levels of the Lions to help,” Turcotte said.

“We reach out to people who can’t afford it, and give them free help,” Perry concluded.

The local club also gives out two $750 scholarships to high school seniors. And in a new project organized by Jeff Richards, medical equipment is collected and made available to people who need such items – free of charge.

“People will call Jeff and say they need a wheelchair, and he tells them to come on down, and others donate equipment they no longer need,” said Turcotte, who donated space to store the equipment.

And as part of the national Lions effort, the local club has boxes in area businesses to collect used eyeglasses, which are then donated abroad.

The group is also working with the Raymond Coalition for Youth, and contributes to Lions Camp Pride in New Durham, a camp operated by the New Hampshire Lions Clubs for children and adults with special needs.

The local club raises money for its projects by parking cars at the Deerfield Fair each year. “That’s our big fundraiser and goes over four days,” Perry said. “With that money, that’s how we help people.”

“Pretty much everything we do is free, so we’re fortunate we have such a good fundraiser,” Turcotte said.

To bring the club more into residents’ awareness, signs announcing the Raymond Lions Club’s presence will be going up at the road entrances to Raymond. “Our new members are very energetic, and we want to get our message out there,” Perry said.

“This is where I’m supposed to be,” she added. “I love it. I wish more people knew about it. And David is so dedicated - he’s been involved for years, and I’m very proud to have him as our leader. We’re all in it to help people and to pass on the blessings we’ve had in our life.”

 

One box filled for someone's Thanksgiving meal.

 

50 boxes filled with pumpkin pie, a loaf of bread, box of stuffing mix, potatoes, apples, onions, canned peas or beans and cranberry sauce.

 

Bob Goodrich carrying a filled box outside.

 

Anthony Johnson, Rob Jones, Dave Turcotte and Bob Goodrick stacking boxes outside for pickup.

 

Families had the choice of a Ham or a Turkey.

 

Apple Cider and Milk were also provided.

 

 

left to right: Erica Thompson, Derin Deyarmine, Anthony Johnson, Bob Goodrich, Jason Garon, Rob Jones and Dave Turcotte.

Other Lions members who helped fill the boxes and wait for families to pickup include Sandy Perry, Debbie Moran, Mark Hassenpflough and Jeff Richards.

 

The club meets the second Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m. at Riverbend Realty Group, 64 Freetown Road, Raymond. More information is available at www.raymond.nhlions.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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   ~ Erma Bombeck ~


Never before has man had such a great capacity to control his own environment, to end hunger, poverty and disease, to banish illiteracy and human misery.

We have the power to make the best generation of mankind in the history of the world.

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