LIONIZING THOSE WHO SERVE
October 6, 2014 -- Pursuing its mission to "serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding" the Sea Cliff-Glen Head Lions Club held its 14th annual Fall Classic this past Thursday, honoring those who serve and the many organizations and causes that the service organization supports. The event began with a round of golf at the Glen Cove Golf Course and then concluded with drinks, dinner and entertainment by the Lazy Dogs at Cedar Creek in Glen Cove.
This year's Guest of Honor was Lion Club member Nino Luciano who was recognized for his service to both the local and international communities. A life-long Big Brother, Mr. Luciano was a co-founder of the Patio Daddy-O foundation that performs musical events to raise money for worthwhile causes such as disaster relief and college scholarships. Currently, he is a board trustee of Izote, a Sea Cliff-based non-profit he helped form in 2010 that has committed itself to supporting sustainable development projects in impoverished communities in El Salvador through literacy, health, and ecology initiatives. The Sea Cliff-Glen Head Lions have been strong supporters of Izote's efforts.
Both Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy and Assemblyman Charles Lavine attended Thursday evening's event to recognize the Lions, Mr. Luciano and and the causes they support.
"We're in a room of people who say 'yes' when asked to help out," said Mr. Kennedy. With regard to Mr Luciano, he continued, "Nino never says no. He is a leader and a worker."
Mr. Lavine described the Lions as a group "helping everyone under the sun," and recognized Mr. Luciano's and Izote's efforts in "extending a helping hand to our neighbor in Central America."
Additionally, Lions Club President Marc Neal, along with Lion Shane Dommin, who organized the Crash the Beach Benefit Concert for Mutual Concerns held at Sea Cliff Beach this past August 16, presented Peggy Como, president of the Sea Cliff-based charity, with a check for $4,769 raised from the event.
While the Lions support many charities and causes, for nearly a century they have had a special interest in supporting research and organizations to assist the visually impaired. Lions Club board member Ed Lieberman explained to Northwordnews that that tradition goes back to 1925 when social and political activist Helen Keller spoke to the Lions Club International convention in Cedar Point, Ohio and issued a challenge to the organization to be "knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness."
In pursuit of that end, the Lions presented Karen and Nick Montagnese of the Foundation for Fighting Blindness with a $500 contribution. "Without people like you," said Ms. Montagnese, who is affected by retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease, "we could not do what we do." Mrs. and Mr. Montagnese chair the annual Vision Walk, that was most recently held at Jones Beach this past Saturday.
In addition to its support for the Foundation for Fighting Blindness, Mr. Lieberman said that each year the Lions purchase a seeing eye dog through the Guide Dog Foundation for a person who is visually impaired.
Likewise, a good deal of Izote's work in El Salvador is to help the visually impaired. In May 2012, the organization opened an eye surgery unit at San Pedro Hospital, and a second unit at the national hospital in Sonsonate a year later, making cataract surgery available to the indigent in the impoverished Central American country.
It was clear from the packed Cedar Creek Restaurant, that many in community are in full support of the Lions' mission.
CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO IZOTE WEBSITE
CLICK HERE FOR HELEN KELLER'S 1925 SPEECH TO THE LIONS