Lions have state convention in Atmore

Published 5:02 pm Wednesday, May 4, 2022

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The Lions of Alabama MD-34 held its 99th annual state convention in Atmore April 28 through May 1.

This marks the first time the Lions organization held its state convention in Atmore. The Atmore Lions Club, through a group effort, organized the event, which was held at The Club.

Atmore Lions Club’s Bub Gideons said the club held a district meeting in Atmore, and officials were impressed with the venue, they asked to come back.

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“I’m glad they chose Atmore because this allows to us to show who we are,” Gideons said.

During the convention, Lions from across the state participated in meetings and five different service projects, including a Diabetes Walk at Rivercane; a trash pickup; vision screening at First Baptist Church of Atmore; a canned food drive at Atmore Walmart; and a donation for a wish list for Rap-a-hope.

“Lions International is the largest service organization in the world,” Chancellor Bob Corlew said. “It is a joy to host the state convention in Atmore. This is a great opportunity to celebrate 100 years in the state.”

In fact, the clubs out of Mobile and Montgomery are celebrating 100 years of service. The Atmore Lions Club will soon celebrate 100 years in 2028.

One of Lions Club’s corps service areas includes vision health.

During the vision screening, the club provided screenings and eyeglasses to those in need at low cost.

Jessica Kyser, president of the Dixie Lions Club in Montgomery, said she’s thankful for her disability because she’s able to use it to inspire people around her in her community that may be going through the same thing and don’t know what to do.

Kyser has retinitis pigmentosa. She was born with the disability and as she ages, her vision decreases until she becomes completely blind.

“(Lions Club) helps so many people,” she said. “With me, I just love serving.”

Kyser said she uses a lot of technology with her low vision, adding that she has different apps that help her get through her daily activities. Around her home, she has bump dots, an idea she learned from the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind (AIDB).

She said she puts bump dots on her washing machine and stove, adding that the school was an important part for her to live on her own.

Additionally, Kyser said she learned how to use a different computer system, and was able to witness how brail is printed.

Kyser said she’s using the Lions Club to connect and help others in need.

“For my club, we just had a Boston Butt fundraiser, and even though I have a disability, I’m still able to help as many people as I can,” she said. “I love helping people.”

Some 125 people had accommodations over the course of the weekend.