DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Jim McKinnon assists Mary Parker, a fourth grader at Brookhaven Elementary School, during an eye-screening test sponsored by the Lions Club in November.
DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Jim McKinnon assists Mary Parker, a fourth grader at Brookhaven Elementary School, during an eye-screening test sponsored by the Lions Club in November.

Lions work to complete yearly eye tests for local children

Published 8:00am Sunday, December 1, 2013

Brookhaven and Alpha Lions Club members recently set out to check every student’s eyes in second, third, fourth and fifth grade in the local schools.

Former Brookhaven club president Dave Pace said 25 to 30 members from both local clubs were involved in checking eyes.

“Our biggest thing is eyes and hearing,” Pace said. “We spend in excess of $10,000 a year helping people with eye health and getting glasses. We’ve helped several thousand people get the glasses they need in the 30 years since I’ve been a member.”

Brookhaven club president Leigh Ann Martin said Dave Holland and Celene Craig headed up the screenings this year and coordinated with each school. Several hundred children were screened. Martin said the club screens children every year and helps out where there is a need.

“If they had anything that showed up during the screening, we send a referral home to their parents,” Martin said. “If the family can’t afford to go to the doctor or buy glasses, we have an application and we help them get what they need.”

Martin said Dr. Worth Simmons and Tim Smith at Ole Brook Optical are a part of their referral network. She said if anyone wants a free eye screening, applications are at the Win Job Center, 545 Brookway Blvd.

Pace said one of the club’s big fundraisers every year is selling pecans. They are available for purchase now at all area banks, Pace said. They come in two varieties. They are $10 a pound for chopped pecans and $10 per 12-ounce bag for halves.

Lions Clubs are known for helping people across the country with sight and hearing. The purpose of the historic organization was inspired by Helen Keller who charged every member to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.”

But, Lions Clubs are involved in the community in many ways. Pace pointed out several projects the organization does every year besides the push for getting glasses to those who need them.

“We give away a scholarship every year to Co-Lin,” Pace said, “and we sponsor students each year for the All State Band. But, we are available to our community for whatever needs may arise. That’s why I joined the club – to serve my community.”

Pace encourages everyone to pick up a bag of pecans. The pecan sales and the annual Lions Club beauty pageant known as “The Water Carnival,” are the two main fundraisers for the club.

“The pecans this year look really great,” he said. “We raise about $25,000 a year for our community projects, and the pecan sales are a big part of that.”

To learn more about the work of Lions Clubs visit the international website at www.lionsclubs.org or for the local club, visit www.e-clubhouse.org/sites/brookhavenms. Lions meet locally every Tuesday at Poppa’s Fish House, 201 Highway 51 North, Brookhaven.