October 2, 2013

Lions and Lionesses from District 14-K joined with staff and friends of the Center for Vision Loss to for the traditional Needs Night fundraiser held at the Northampton Community Memorial Hall on October 1, 2013. This year’s event was also a birthday party to celebrate the Center for Vision Loss’s 85th year of service to the blind and visually impaired in the community and to thank the Lions for founding the original blind associations in the Lehigh Valley in 1928.

The celebratory theme was event throughout the evening.  Guests were first entertained by the antics of Dan D. Lion (aka Lion Glen Santee), the leader of the District 14-K Klowns. Outfitted in bright red and yellow, Dan D. performed fun magic tricks that got his audience involved.  Dan D. was joined by the Lion Mascot played by Don Kaufman who got the guests into a dancing mood. The Center for Vision Loss’s eyeball mascots Dr. Optical (aka Sabrina Vasquez) and Miss Illusion (Greyson Asmus) strolled the party in all their finery. Many guests tried their skill at audible darts, the newest sport for the blind and visually impaired.  Players were given a few practice throws then were asked to try again after donning simulator glasses representing one of the four age-related eye diseases–cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy. Finally, a power point presentation about the history of the Center for Vision Loss and Lions, researched and developed by summer intern Kenny Morse, rolled throughout the evening.

Then it was on to a delicious family-style dinner followed by the program. Doug Yingling, Executive Director, took to the podium as Emcee for the night. He introduced the head table consisting of Dennis Butz, District Governor; Fred Folland, 1st Vice District Governor; Karen Brady, 2nd Vice District Governor; Gene Polgar, Past International Director; Linwood Gehris, Past District Governor and Lowell Hawk, liaison to the Center for Vision Loss and member of the agency’s Endowment Foundation Board. First remarks were given by Lion Dennis and Lion Gene. Then Doug presented thank you cards to each of the clubs who had contributed gifts to the agency in 2012-2013 totally $50,118. He then talked about the agency and thanked the Lions for having the foresight to found the original blind associations in the Lehigh Valley. He introduced Dorothy Montero, a customer, who shared her experiences with the agency, and 6-year-old Christopher Fullenwider and his family. Christopher’s blindness had been discovered by the agency’s free vision screening program and now the little boy is doing very well with his new glasses.

Needs Night continued with the clubs announcing their pledges and gifts for 2013-2014 which added up to $43,000 as of this writing!  Finally Karen Huetter, Development Director, took to the podium for special remarks. She read excerpts from a speech given by Helen Keller to a Lions meeting in 1927 and then presented a special plaque to Dennis Butz honoring the partnership of the agency and the Lions for the past 85 years. The plaque will hang in the agency’s offices in Allentown.

The Center for Vision Loss wishes to thank all the Lions, Lionesses and Leos for their support over the past 85 years and looks forward to many more years of working together to assist the blind and visually impaired in the Lehigh Valley and to support healthy vision in the community. We also wish to thank Debbie Brobst, Manager of the Northampton Community Memorial Hall and her staff for providing a wonderful facility and dining experience for our event.




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