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Golf Tourney: The Lions Club and their remarkable vision

Earlier this year, the Lions Club of Pago Pago was one of the main sponsors at a fundraiser held for Special Olympics of American Samoa (SOAS). Former ‘Laughing Samoan’ Tofiga Fepuleai, seen here with Lion president Lisa Tuato’o and board members, kept the crowd entertained.  [courtesy photo]
Now fundraising with their Annual Golf Tournament

If you have lived in American Samoa for any length of time, you know a Lions Club member, have seen their warm spirit, and been encouraged by the work that they do in the community.

From vision screening to eyeglass distribution, from diabetes awareness and prevention, to caring for the vision of our Special Olympians—they have always had a connection to Eye Care.

The Lions Club of Pago Pago is still going strong, and will soon embark upon another Eye Care Project, as they team up with AMEN (the Adventist Medical Evangelism Network) from the United States, who will be holding clinics beginning this Monday, December 4 through December 7. The clinics are free, and eyeglasses will be distributed where available.

 To that end, they will hold their annual Golf Tournament fundraiser tomorrow. Always a highly anticipated event (the lunch is a feast!) there is something for everyone on Saturday—including raffle prizes with generous donations from the community.

Tournament Chair and longtime Lion leader, Larry Sanitoa has noted that proceeds from Saturday's tournament and raffle will go towards funding Project Eye care and other Lions projects. Local projects have included annual food drives, environmental awareness programs, student exchanges with other Lions Clubs, the Peace Poster contest, numerous years of vision screening and eyeglass distribution, diabetes awareness (focusing on the link between diabetes and blindness in the Pacific); and support for Special Olympics as part of the worldwide Lions Club International agenda.

 The Lions Club also sponsors the Boys Scout of America's local district as well at the ASCC Campus Lions Movement.  These are part of the Lion’s Club Leo Project supporting the youth.

Their guiding spirit has always been to serve the communities in which they live; in fact that is the Lions Club motto: We Serve.


Since Lions Clubs International was founded in 1917, Lions have become a worldwide force for good. They are the world’s largest volunteer community service organization, with 1.4 million members, and clubs in over 200 countries and territories.

Sight is one of the Lions defining causes.

But even many Lions are unaware of the connection between the worldwide club and Vision Care.

The triumph of the human spirit over adversity are stories we never get tired of. One such story is that of Helen Keller, who was born as a normal, thriving baby. Just before her second birthday, she was stricken with an illness (now thought to be scarlet fever) and she lost her sight and hearing.

Five years later, on the advice of Alexander Graham Bell, her parents applied to the Perkins Institute for the Blind in Boston for a teacher, and from that school, they hired Anne Mansfield Sullivan.

Through Sullivan’s extraordinary instruction—as depicted in the Broadway play, later a Hollywood film, The Miracle Worker— the little girl learned to understand and communicate with the world around her. She went on to acquire an excellent education, graduating cum laude from Radcliffe College in 1904.

Her voice and her life became an important influence regarding the treatment of the blind and deaf.

Her reputation as an inspirational speaker grew, and in 1925, Keller was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Lions Club International Convention in Cedar Point, Ohio.

It was there that the Lions first heard her clarion call.

She told them, “The opportunity I bring to 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 child 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 constitute yourselves Knights of the Blind in this crusade against darkness?”

The Lions Club of 1925 heard her, loud and clear. From that time forward, no matter where in the world you find a Lions Club, and no matter what other projects and causes they adopt, there will be a connection to aid and assist the blind and the visually impaired.

Visit the Lions Club of Pago Pago on Facebook. For more information on the Golf Tournament, see ads in Samoa News, or ask a Lion how you can get involved.