The Lt. Governor delivered the keynote speech for the Everett Lions Club’s 97th Anniversary late yesterday evening to honor the contributions of one of our state’s longest-running community service organizations. Following his speech, the Everett Lions Club presented the Lt. Governor with a plaque, and an honorary Lions membership – recognizing his personal contributions to the community, and to the state.
The Lions Club International is the world’s largest international community service organization, boasting 1.35 million members worldwide. Two days ago, the Lions Club International marked its centennial anniversary, celebrating 100 years of service devoted to improving food access, addressing diabetes and pediatric cancer, and providing services for the blind.
In his keynote address, the Lt. Governor emphasized the importance of the Lion’s work on the international stage – particularly at this critical economic and political inflection point in our country. At a time when the United States is revisiting the question of whether to embrace its role in the global economy, and whether to pursue greater international cooperation, the Lt. Governor said, the work the Lions Club does to embrace the global concerns of the world is vital.
“It’s not only the service you do locally,” he said, “It’s the global-mindedness you promote.”
The Lt. Governor made an argument for Washington state’s unique position in promoting international ties: as the nation’s most trade-dependent state, Washington state stands to gain the most from the global economy, and should lead on the issue. Everett in particular, he said, with its international aerospace industry, knows the benefits of international trade best.
In addition to promoting international community service, much of the Everett Lions Club’s focus has been on providing services for the blind, and promoting eye health. Helen Keller was the first female member of the International Lions Club, and challenged the Lions to serve as “Knights for the blind” – after which the Lions Club pursued a variety of vision-related initiatives, including the introduction of the white cane to the United States. The Everett Lions Club has taken up that cause by conducting an extensive eyeglasses recycling program, providing vision screening tests for free, and creating recreation camps for the blind. The Lt. Governor thanked the Lions Club for their work in expanding services to the blind, and for recognizing the value of including those with disabilities in school, work, and community service.