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Legacy Awards: The Lions Club is roaring in Nashua

By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent

May 16. 2018 9:59PM
Nashua Lions, including Dave Fredette and Kerry Baxter, help staff the kitchen during the annual Nashua Senior Center's Breakfast with Santa event. (COURTESY)



NASHUA — Focusing on younger generations and the positive power of giving back, the Nashua Lions Club is evolving into a new, modern community service organization, club officials say.

“We had to be willing to change with the times. We are not your father’s Lions Club anymore,” said Ed Lecius of the Lions Club. “We have had a growth spurt over the last three or fours years and have grown from 20 to about 80 members since then.”

Volunteerism is at the heart of the local organization that was founded in 1923 — a group that is now being honored with a Granite State Legacy Award.

Although the club was originally designed to serve as “knights of the blind,” it has evolved into a group that not only assists with vision issues, but also helps those with hearing problems, childhood cancer, diabetes and more.

“We have recently taken on more service responsibilities, and that has resulted in more members. The growth is encouraging,” said club President Kamal Masand.

Masand, who has been a member of the group for about 15 years, said it is very rewarding to be part of a service organization that raises money and puts the funds to good use; members can walk away knowing they made a difference.

The Nashua Lions recently reinstituted its scholarship program for high school seniors, helps with the Gate City Marathon, supports the New Hampshire Special Olympics, sponsors a Little League baseball team, recognizes high school basketball players with unsung hero awards and honors the city’s best police officer, firefighter and teacher.

Fran Hendrickson, member of the Nashua Lions Club, along with members Mike Francoeur and Alan St. Louis, serve hot dogs and hamburgers at the annual PLUS Company Special Olympic team cookout at Greeley Park in Nashua. (COURTESY)

ut the club is best known for providing free vision screenings to children and adults who might otherwise go without, according to Lecius. Regardless of a family’s financial assistance, the Lions work to obtain glasses at a reduced cost for those in need. 

The club also collects used glasses and recycles them for residents in Third World countries, and has expanded its vision screenings to some kindergartens and private schools in the Nashua area.

The club has also constructed the Friendship Club for people with disabilities, and has helped raise funds or donated time for the Nashua Police Athletic League, the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter, Corpus Christi Food Pantry and more. 

“Whatever local needs there are, we will work to help meet those needs,” explained Lecius. 

“The club tries to follow the mission statement of Lions Club International to empower volunteers to serve the community and meet humanitarian needs. That is what the Nashua Lions do and continue to do,” said Lecius. 

“We are out there, we are active and we are making a difference.” 

The Granite State Legacy Awards celebrate the accomplishments of the state’s most distinguished citizens who have given the most to New Hampshire through business, philanthropy, politics and more. 

The awards are given to New Hampshire residents or organizations that have made significant contributions over an extended period to their profession, community and state.

The Nashua Lions is the first group to earn the honor.

Presented by the New Hampshire Union Leader and sponsored by Eastern Bank, the annual awards program was launched in 2012 to celebrate the accomplishments of these distinguished residents.

This year’s awards will be presented Thursday evening, May 31, at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $45 and include hors d’oeuvres and cocktails.

To register for the event, visit unionleader.com/legacy, call 206-7822 or email psirianni@unionleader.com.

khoughton@newstote.com


Nashua Legacy Awards


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