In 2017, the International Lions Club will celebrate 100 years. The club started in Chicago as a group of businessmen who wanted to better their city.
Famous Lions include Dr. Mehmet Oz, star of TV’s “The Dr. Oz Show,” and former President Jimmy Carter.
Helen Keller spoke to the men, and she wanted the Lions to become the knights for the blind. From then on, the Lions became a vision-oriented service organization.
Six years ago, the Douglas County chapter was born. Last week, outgoing Douglas County Lions Club President Dennis Mobley handed over the gavel to new president Ada Green-Harris.
Green-Harris’ father, Marshall Green, was president in 1975 of what was then known as the Douglasville Lions Club.
“At that time it was only men, and they went under in the late ‘80s and dissolved,” Ada Green-Harris said.
The organization also provides vision testing and glasses to Douglas County residents who are approved. Residents are required to complete a questionnaire, stating that they don’t have insurance or a way to pay.
“We have a special deal with Wal-Mart and we send them there, where they get an eye exam by a doctor and glasses,” Green-Harris said. “If we provide someone with glasses and they have other needs, we refer them to the Lighthouse, which has its own process, to be approved for surgeries.
Last year, the Lions Club served 400 people during 16 activities, which include eye screenings and the glasses they collected.
“Most of the people we have served are at the eye screenings that we provide in order to tell people if they need to see an eye doctor, much like the ones you’ll see at a DMV,” Green-Harris explained.
Due to regulations in the United States, Green-Harris said that the glasses that are donated and collected are sent off to other countries, since they cannot be disbursed here.
Free eye screenings from the club will be provided at September Saturdays at the Douglas County Courthouse.
“Our ex-president, Dennis Mobley, is an eye doctor and he is the one who speaks to applicants on the phone, and screens them to see if they are approved,” Green-Harris said.
Green-Harris said the Douglas County Lions Club is seeking members to be active in the organization.
The Lions Club is also selling brooms for $10 as part of a fundraiser to pay for the eye exams. The club pays around $100 for each person they send to Wal-Mart for an exam, so 10 brooms pay for a resident. The brooms are for sale at Mitchell Appliance and Select Insurance.
Anyone interested in donating old eyeglasses can do so at the following locations:
• Bank of North Georgia
• Douglasville Library
• Select Insurance
• Woodie Fite Senior Center
• Marietta Eye Clinic
• Benton House
• Courthouse Atrium
• Douglasville Nursing and Rehab
• Hightower’s Memorial Chapel
• Mitchell Appliance
• New Vision Optical
• Sam’s Club
• Total Eye Care
• Douglas County Sentinel
Douglas County residents can contact the Lions Club International for vision services and glasses by going to the Club Locator section on their website at www.lionsclubs.org and finding the Douglas County chapter.