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60th Anniversary Address

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60th Anniversary Address by District 25F Governor Carl Sharp, Jr...

Several years ago, I was approached by a past president of this club to become a district officer.  Lion Paul had just served our District as a Zone Chairman with distinction, and he was looking to move up the ladder as a Region Chairman.  When he first approached me about being his replacemernt as Zone Chairman, I asked him to tell me just what the job entailed.
 
He told me that being a Lion, and especially a Zone Chairman, is a lot like the story of the old Barber that had a cut-rate salon move in across the street from him.  The cut-rate establishment put up a huge sign that read:  "$2.00 haircuts."  Totally undaunted with this flagrant attempt by his new competitors to take all of his customers, the old barber made up a little sign of his own, and placed it inconspicuously down in the corner of his front window.  The sign simply said:
 
"We fix $2.00 haircuts."

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We have gathered here this evening to honor the members of Centerville Lions Club and their 60 years of outstanding community service to the citizens of Centerville, Indiana, and to the world through their affiliation with Lions Clubs International.
 
We come together in celebration, not because the Centerville Lions Club has existed for 60 years, but rather because as Lions, they have made a difference in their community, our district, this state, the nation, and in this world for 60 years.  The members of the Centerville Lions Club have literally made a difference in the lives of thousands of people.  For example:
 
They make a difference to the local children who need eyeglasses, when their parents are unable to provide them.  They make a difference in the future of your youth with their support of our Lions Law Camps, and Camp Woodsmoke - our district project for handicapped children.  They make a diffference to local sick and disabled members of this community by loaning (and delivering) hospital beds to those who need them, but can't afford one.
 
They make a huge difference to those with limited, or no sight, by helping to give them back some of their independence and mobility by providing them with Leader Dogs through thier financial support of that program.  They provide free vision screening to the members of this and other communities through our Vision Van mobile screening program.  They also make a difference by helping to restore sight with corneal transplants using tissue provided by the Indiana Lions Eye and Tissue Bank that they support financially and as tissue donors.
 
They make a difference to those who live in a world of silence by providing sound and communication abilities through the Indiana Lions Speech & Hearing project that they also support.  They even make a difference by giving the greatest gift one person can give to another... Hope.  Hope for another day, hope for a cure through their support of the Indiana Lions Cancer Control Fund.
 
Without Lions, such as those in the Centerville Lions Club, we as an international organization would find it virtually impossible to provide almost any level of service to our communities.
 
 
The Centerville Lions continue to respond to the needs of all our communities by working side by side with other Lions from other clubs and other communities.  They provide the helping hands that are needed to raise the funds to buy the glasses and financially support all of our projects, to build wheel chair ramps in their own communities, to do the vision screening, to clear the trails of debris at a camp for handicapped children, and to serve our communities' needs.
 
I would like to read a brief speech that was given by another Lions, only about 20 years prior to the founding of this club.  Listen carefully to the words,  They are few; but, they are what set us, as an organizastion, on the path of community service that we continue to walk down, today.
 
The ninth annual convention of the Lions Clubs International was convened in the convention hall of the Breakers Hotel in Cedar Point, Ohio at 10:40 AM on Tuesday, June 30, 1925.  It was there that Lion Helen Keller changed Lionism forever.  Her address to the convention and her message to all future Lions, including this group this evening, is as follows:
 
" Dear Lions and Ladies,
 
I suppose you have heard the legend that represents opportunity as a capricious lady who knocks at every door but once, and if the door isn't opened quickly, she passes on, never to return.  And that is as it should be.  Lovely, desirable ladies won't wait.  You have to go out and grab 'em.
 
I am your opportunity.  I am knocking at your door.  I want to be adopted.  The legend doesn't say what you are to do when several beautiful opportunities present themselves at the same door.  I guess you have to choose the one you love best.  I hope you will adopt me.  I am the youngest here, and what I offer you is full of splendid opportunities for service.
 
The American Foundation for the Blind is only four years old.  It grew out of the imperative needs of the blind, and was called into existence by the sightless themselves.  It is national and international in scope and in importance.  It represents the best and most enlightened thought on our subject that has been reached so far.  Its  object is to make the lives of the blind more worthwhile everywhere by increasing their economic value and giving the joy of normal activity.
 
Try to imagine how you would feel if you were suddenly stricken blind today.  Picture yourself stumbling and groping at noonday as in the night, your work, your independence, gone.  In that dark world wouldn't you be glad if a friend took you by the hand and said, "Come with me and I will tteach you how to do some of the things you used to do when you could see?'
 
You have heard how through a little word dropped from the fingers of another, a ray of light from another soul touched the darkness of my mind and I found myself, found the world, found God.  It is because my teacher learned about me and broke through the dark, silent imprisonment which held me that I am able to work for myself and for others.  It is the caring we want more than money.  The gift without the sympathy and interest of the giver is empty.  If you care, if we can make the people of this great country care, the blind will indeed triumph over blindness.
 
The opportunity I bring you, Lions, is this:  To foster and sponsor the work of the American Foundation for the Blind.  Will you not help me hasten the day when there shall be no preventable blindness;  no little deaf, blind children untaught;  no blind man or woman unaided?  I appeal to you Lions, you who have your sight, your hearing, you who are strong and brave and kind.  Will you not constutute yourselves Knights of the Blind in this crusade against darkeness?
I thank you."
 
Lions of the Centerville Lions Club, thank you for taking up that challenge 60 years ago, and continuing to serve your community, still today. 
 
Yes, the Centerville Lions still fix those $2.00 haircuts.
 
Thank you.