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  May 3, 2012
  Contact: Stan Heimburger

 Brandon Allen Designs Lions Charity Golf Tourney Website 


. . . thanks to Brandon Allen, a Bellingham Central Lion and senior designer with Baron & Company, a marketing group in Bellingham, WA.

This is a full-service website that facilitates both participation and payments, and is designed to support the growth of a charity tournament community that is active year round.

Visit the BCLC Charity Golf Tournament Website.




  February 1, 2012
  Contact: Ron Dickerson

 Haskell Lions Eye Clinic Opens 


The Bellingham Central Lions Club and The Lighthouse Mission Ministries joined forces to create the Frank Haskell Lions Eye Clinic. The project was sponsored by the Bellingham Central Lions and will be a ministry of the Lighthouse Mission. Mayor Kelli Linville dedicated the clinic on January 12, 2012, touring the facility and briefly addressing the civic leaders and Lions who had come together in celebration.

The clinic was named to honor Frank Haskell, who was a past president of the Bellingham Central Lions Club, assuming office on July 1, 1928. He was active in many Club projects for the rest of his life. After his death in 1982, his family established the Frank Haskell Fund, which has worked with the Lions on numerous projects over the years.


Frank Haskell, to whom the Clinic is dedicated.

The Haskell Lions Eye Clinic is situated in the Lighthouse Mission's Drop-In Center on Holly Street in Downtown Bellingham. It provides eye examinations and eyeglasses to the homeless and others in need and is open every Thursday between 1:30 PM and 4:30 PM. Six patients are seen each session, or about 300 per year. Volunteers from the Mount Baker Optometric Society, many opticians from the Bellingham area, and local Lions staff the Clinic.

Ken Henderson explains equipment at the Clinic.

A mother and her two daughters, all of whom needed glasses, were among the first clients of the Clinic. It's a great feeling when you pause and consider how the gift of clear vision enables adults to be more productive in their work and children excel in school.

The Haskell Family

Mayor Kelli Linville joins Clinic team to cut ribbon

Learn more about the Lions Haskell Eye Clinic here.

Interested in the Lions? Click here for meeting information details and map.




  December 5, 2011
  Contact: Ron Dickerson

 Bellingham Central Lions Club & Lighthouse Mission to Open Eye Clinic

by Dean Kahn

Needy people in Whatcom County will have access to free eye exams and free eyeglasses at a new clinic that will open soon in the Lighthouse Mission's drop-in center on Holly Street.
                                      . . . Click here to read more.

Learn more about the Lions Haskell Eye Clinic here.

Interested in the Lions? Click here for meeting information details and map.




August 24, 2011
Wheelchair Warehouse Helps Ed Participate in Alzheimer's Walk
Contact: Chaz

 Wheelchair Warehouse Wheelchair Participates in Alzheimer's Walk


Ray Baribeau (at left) and his buddies had a great idea and we helped make it a reality. There were four close friends who were planning on doing the Alzheimers Walk together. Then Ed and had to undergo brain surgery. But they still wanted Ed to participate in some way. Ray, who has used the Wheelchair Warehouse in the past, came and asked if they could borrow a chair to push in the parade to represent Ed's active participation. The chair would even collect Ed's pledges. What a great idea! Of course we said "Right On!"
  As you can see from the picture, they even dressed the chair in Ed's tee-shirt.






  July 4, 2011
  Contact: Stan Heimberger

 Bellingham Central Lions Club 2011 Charity Golf Tournament Raises $25,000

by Julie Shirley

The Bellingham Central Lions Club hosted its 12th annual golf tournament and raffle June 23 at Bellingham Golf & Country Club. More than 160 golfers and 75 corporate sponsors helped make it a success. Stan Heimburger tells me the majority of the $25,000 raised this year will be donated to three community nonprofit organizations.

The first is Lighthouse Mission Ministries, to help the Club's new project to create and help operate the Frank Haskell Vision Center to serve the homeless in Bellingham. The walk-in center will begin operating in September or October.

A second project is to honor a $5,000 pledge to help buy gym bleachers for Bellingham Boys and Girls Club.

The third project is to fund four $1,000 scholarships for Bellingham High School students through the Bellingham Dollars for Scholars program, and continue the club's longstanding support of this organization.

The remaining proceeds will support the Club's ongoing programs offering vision and hearing testing, and eyeglasses, hearing aids, wheelchairs and other durable medical equipment to local people in need.

The club operates the Christmas Ship, which brings the spirit of the holidays to children in the San Juan and Gulf islands. The Club also provides volunteers and campership funding for Camp Horizon, a summer camp for people with developmental disabilities.

The Club meets every second and fourth Thursday at Bellingham Golf & Country Club from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Guests interested in learning about the Club are welcome. For more details, call Stan at 360-303-5782.

Click here for meeting information details and map.


  March 1, 2011
  Al Boe Lions Wheelchair Warehouse Featured in Lion Magazine
      Download as PDF.
  Contact: Jerry McClean

 What a Difference: Unusual Service Makes a Huge Impact

Lending a Seat

When Rebecca Panton's clients need a wheelchair, shower seat or walker, she knows exactly where to go. As a home health occupational therapist, she has looked to the Bellingham Central Lions Club's Al Boe Lions Wheelchair Warehouse in Washington for the past 18 years as the premier source of free medical equipment.

"I work with people in their homes, and I work with a lot of people that don't have insurance that covers equipment," Panton said. "The lending bank helps those people who don't have insurance and those who need it to be safe. It basically means safety and also independence."

Al Boe, the club's president in 1992-1993, began a humble project to lend wheelchairs to those in need. Since his death, the project has grown to include a former three-car garage stuffed to the rafters with carefully cataloged medical equipment available to those in need. Lions repair, clean and refurbish equipment in an addition to the garage.


"It's free of charge and it's a great recycling project in a sense," said Dan Cantrell, president. "We have about 17 guys that three days a week or more are there working, repairing, cleaning up and giving out the different pieces of equipment."

The warehouse also assists those with temporary needs, such as items needed to recover from surgery or assist a guest from out of town.

"We have about 950 wheelchairs and powerchairs and we have about 745 checked out now," said Charles Nelson, a Lion who donates his time at the warehouse. "The number that we have out to the public is currently growing at a rate of 10 to 15 per month. We're also getting donations of equipment at about the same rate."

The Lions created a basic contract that lends four-wheel walkers, two-wheel walkers, knee scooters, low-vision equipment, canes, crutches and accessories for bedroom and bathroom to residents for three months. If the need persists and they are unable to purchase the equipment, the club will loan it out on an indefinite basis.

John Bradshaw adjusts wheel lock.

"We do a very brisk business," Nelson said. "Having a power chair is the difference in being a shut-in and being able to visit their neighbors and go to the senior center. They use our chairs as a bridge when they reach this point in life." Indeed, Panton said that while the items themselves are very ordinary, the effect they have on her clientsÕ lives is nothing short of extraordinary.

"It enables them to get into the shower when before they may have only been sponge bathing," Panton said. "They really appreciate it because of the safety and independence it affords them and not having to rely on anyone else for those personal care issues."




December 3, 2010
Lions Award Grant to Eagle Scout for Conservation Project
Contact: Ron Dickerson

 Eagle Scout Kyle Scott installs conservation stairway at Wade King school


In August, 2010, Eagle Scout Kyle Scott, with the help of his dad, Tom Scott, created a series of wide stairways in a nature trail in the woods behind Wade King school in Bellingham, WA. The school will use the stairs as seating for students who are learning about botany, ecology and conservation in the school's own patch of forrest. The bellingham Central Lions Club provided a grant of $600 to purchase the materials for the stairways while the Scotts provided the necessary know-how and labor.
   This is a typical example of the way in which local Lions Clubs partner with other organizations to improve the quality of life in their communities.



November 22, 2010
The Good Ship Santa
Contact: Don Wight

 Playing Santa brings joy to Ferndale's Rick Kowsky and the island kids he visits


Rick Kowsky was a natural. He had been involved in the Multiple District 19 Lions International Christmas Ship for several years when, about seven years ago, the program found itself without a Santa Claus and little time to fmd a replacement. "I'm Santa Claus-shaped anyway, so we got another Santa Claus costume at the last minute," said Kowsky, the owner of Cascade Ambulance Service in Ferndale. "I had a trial by fire and it went extremely well. I was able to pull off doing a Santa impersonation for my grandson and he never picked up on it. Since then it's been an incredible experience every year."

Kowsky has one of the standout roles in the 50-person crew of the Christmas Ship, which sets sail for one weekend every December to visit the remote islands of the San Juan islands and the Canadian Gulf Islands, places with names like Pender Island, Galiano Island, Mayne, Saturna and Waldron islands. Kowsky and the crew deliver Christmas cheer to kids and adults who otherwise might have a hard time making it to the mainland to visit Santa. "Each island," says Kowsky, "is distinctive and a joy to visit."

The Christmas Ship began in 1947 when islanders asked a boat captain to bring them Santa since they couldn't get to him. The Lions assumed command of the ship in 1996 with Captain Don Wight - son of the original captain - at the helm. The ship sails on a Friday and returns Sunday night, covering about 2,50' square miles and visiting about 500 children, a number that should rise this year as the ship will visit Orcas Island for the first time in years.

Kowsky, 52, a lifelong Bellingham resident whose great-grandfather Emmett Hawley was one of the city's first white settlers, is one of two Santa helpers on board. He and Tom Lingbloom split duties, giving each other relief over the busy, taxing weekend.

"When you see 500-plus kids, you need some breaks and some down time," Kowsky said. "One of us will take most of the big islands the first day, the other takes more ofthe big ones the second day. When you get one with 200 or 300 kids, that's a lot of lifting, shifting, moving. You get groups of teenagers who want to put three or four on your lap for a picture. It's a lot of work, but Tom and I both love it."

Kowsky said he loved Christmas as a child but it faded some as he grew into adulthood. But being Santa has restored his Christmas spirit. He said he loves seeing the joy in the kids' eyes when they get a chance to speak to him - and anyone who wants to talk to him gets to talk to him, there is no turning away of anyone. But seeing so many kids means you get a wide gamut of questions and requests.

"You have to have the right answers to the questions, and you have to be really ready to think on your feet," Kowsky said. "You get a lot of curveballs. Some are hilarious, some are genuine tear-jerkers and some make you wonder where the kids get these ideas. Mostly you just have to love kids and can't be afraid of them. You have to be able to look them in the eye and give them a straight story. It's a challenge and a treat. Every year I do it, I come back feeling even better about Christmas."

Kowsky said he regularly gets requests for sisters and brothers ("That's a tough one to answer without the parents turning red," he said), animals and the latest toy sensations.

"You forget sometimes how quick five- year-olds can think," he said. "They sit on Santa's lap and you ask what they'd like and they rattle off 20 things before you can blink. But it's not what they ask for, it's how they ask for it. It can bring you to tears from laughing or because you don't know what else to do. Santa has to keep a stiff upper lip."

Kowsky said one of his most memorable experiences was calling a child on the phone from one of the islands because the boy was too sick with the swine flu to make it to the event.

"He saw this as one of the worst moments of his life because he couldn't come see Santa Claus," Kowsky said. "And you just don't expect to get a call from Santa. So that really made us both feel great."

There was also the time two years ago when the boat got caught in 12-foot seas and of the 64 people on board, 40 got seasick.

"It was a real nasty mess," he said. Kowsky said getting requests for toys is the easy part. It's the more personal requests that puts the lump in Santa's throat.

"There are kids with personal losses, separations, they want their families back together, they want dad or mom to come home," he said. "You get kids whose parents are deployed overseas. You have to be really sensitive to those requests."

Of course, there's also the common questions, like where are the reindeer ("You've got to be ready with all their names," Kowsky said), how is Mrs. Claus, the usual Santa queries.

For Kowsky, his Mrs. Claus is his wife of six years Kayla. Kowsky also has four children and his 5-year-old grandson, Tyson, lives with him and his wife.

Kowsky said he sees no end to his Santa days and added that it truly marks the beginning of his holiday season.

"It's a wonderful treat for me to be able to do it," he said. ''I'm in good health, I can get around and I love it. Each year it gets better and better. It looks like Santa has a lot more years left to entertain."












June 24, 2010
Bellingham Gold & Country Club
Contact: Don Wight

 Biff Dickerson Wins 1000 GRAND at Lions Club Golf Toruney

The Bellingham Central Lions Annual Charity Golf Tour- nament featured an unusual contest and prize through the auspices of the Bellingham Servepro franchise. The prize: a 1000 GRAND! The contest: simple. You select a card with five topics on it; then you pick your topic. You are asked one question. If you get it right, the 1000 GRAND is yours.

Let's watch Biff, who - truth to tell - was just a little suspicious of such a good deal. Biff picks a card ... and nothing bad happens.



Choose your topic, Biff !






You WIN !




Gee ... And I thought I was the TAIL TWISTER ...






Mayor Pike



Click here to Enlarge the Proclamation

January 18, 2010
Contact: Don Wight



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