Special Note on Eyeglasses & Hearing Aids
Lakewood First Lions continues to collect these items for refurbishing. We do not provide eyeglasses to individuals, but collect them and forward them to our processing center. They are then prepared for refurbishing if suitable.
Hearing aids may be available to qualified individuals on a very limited basis. Call 253-254-2851 for basic information.
Regular Meetings (open to drop-by guests)
2nd & 4th Mondays of every month
All meetings held at noon at:
The Ram Restaurant
10013 59th Ave. SW
Lakewood, WA 98499
Lakewood First Lions members adhere to two guiding philosophies – Serve the community and relish the fun and camaraderie. We have been successful at both. Live Like a Lion is more than a slogan - it's a calling.
Like all service organizations our club has varied in size over the years. What hasn't varied is our commitment to the mission of Lions Clubs International and to the needs of our community.
Again next year our community will benefit from the proceeds received at this year's Crab Feed event and other fundraisers held throughout the year.
To learn how you can turn your spare time into a valued benefit to your community, check out "Membership" page.
See how Lions are organized on our "Club Structure" page
"If you want to learn about public works you'll learn about it this year..." a cautionary opening statement by Don Wickstrom, as he went on to say, "because we have a huge construction schedule." The list of projects on the board for this year and 2017 was, in fact quite lengthy. Still there were questions about street problems that the Lakewood First Lions Club members did not find on the schedule of approved repair and improvement projects.
A total of 41 capital improvement project ranging from street lights and sidewalks to roadway chip seal and asphalt overlaying will be seeing at least some level of construction and contracting. Some on the list have already been completed, so traffic problems will not be as onerous as the list makes it appear. Wickstrom said that "over 14 projects will be under construction at one place or another." That amounts to "Roughly $27 million in total project costs." Not all work will be underway at the same time, and some work is continuing from last year.
In response to a question from the audience Wickstrom revealed a not-so-closely guarded secret. The small blue light visible on some traffic signals is for police use only. It tells an officer monitoring the intersection that a vehicle drove through a red light. The officer can note the vehicle's identification and, instead of risking a vehicle chase, will wait for the vehicle to reach his position to write the citation.
According to a member familiar with Wickstrom's work Lakewood is fortunate to have him in its employ. He has a reputation for finding impressive sums of money from state and federal governments with which to finance the projects. So impressed was his previous employer, the City of Kent, that they named a bridge after him at the Kent/Auburn border.
Through threatening clouds, light sprinkles and an occasional blast of sunshine members of Lakewood First Lions Club, Springbrook Connection, Pacific Neighborhood Association, Partners for Parks and the City of Lakewood Parks & Recreation Department rallied to the raised beds and truck-load of fresh soil at Springbrook Park to plant everything from acorn squash to strawberries.
The planting project, part of the overall park improvement goals, was designed as a teaching tool to educate local kids in the pleasures of gardening and including wholesome vegetables in their diets.
Before the kids arrived it was the parents and volunteers that hauled dirt and filled the newly relocated raised beds.
Lakewood First Lions Club meets every 2nd and 4th Mondays at noon at the Ram Restaurant in Lakewood. The club welcomes visitors and is open to new memberships.
It is with something of a guilty conscience that, having rarely suffered a day of illness and whose only physical/medical incidents or setbacks have, by-and-large, been inflicted by accident or needless risk-taking, I listened to a presentation by someone whose life has been partially defined - or at least limited - by a medical condition, the cause of which is not understood and came about at birth through no fault of his own or any other being.
How individuals (and their families) suffering with serious medical or physical issues manage to face their life obstacles and challenges with their emotional being, their sense of humor and their patience with others in tact is a great wonder.
But Kenny Richards and his parents not only dealt with his condition, he, and they, rose above it. He was born with Tourette Syndrome, though nobody noticed it until Carla, his mom, noticed an unusual and frequent tic or involuntary neck/head spasm as she watched him during a youth sporting event.
It was a life-changing event for him and his family. While their entire experience cannot be written here, suffice it to say the search for causes, treatments, and a cure was consuming in many ways.
According to the website of the Tourette Association of America Inc., the tics are described as "involuntary, repetitive movements and vocalizations. They are the defining feature of a group of childhood-onset, neurodevelopmental conditions known collectively as Tic Disorders and individually as Tourette Syndrome..." Tourette Syndrome affects 1 in every 362 births.
Kenny, now a senior at Lakes High School in Lakewood, said the involuntary movements, aside from being a serious physical condition, was distracting to the point of preventing him from keeping up with classroom instruction and missing critical instructional points in mathematics and English. It took tremendous effort to restrain the spasmodic movements. He likens it to trying to prevent sneezing. The price he paid for a day's worth of struggling to hold back the tics was that once he got into the family car for the ride home the tics would begin occurring in flows that lasted well into his evenings. At times his mother would have to place a wooden spoon in his mouth to help offset his lower jaw and calm his repeated tics.
Carla Richards, crowned Mrs America for the City of Lakewood in 2010, called it "a miracle" when they found Dr. Brendon C. Stack, a university-trained orthodontist in Virginia. Dr. Stack, specializing in the treatment of TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint, or the jaw joint) discovered a problem in Kenny's jaw that seemed to be at least part of the problem. With surgery and jaw braces over a period of two years the problem with tics has essentially ended for Kenny. He has now gone five years without medications or complications. But, at 18 years of age, the experience has given him a purpose in his young life. He has been making presentations at schools and community organizations to educate people about Tourette Syndrome and its signs. The project has earned him his Eagle award in Boy Scout Troop 53. In addition to many accolades he has earned locally and nationally, KIRO Radio named him one of its Hometown Heroes for "an exceptional act of courage, demonstrate outstanding virtue or leadership or inspire greatness in the local community... for helping to start Washington state’s first Tourette Syndrome youth support group."
Kenny will be heading for a community college after graduation, but his primary focus is to join the military. He and his parents are hopeful that the issue with tics has resolved to the extent it will not interfere with his goals. In the meantime he and his mother will continue to offer presentations to groups interested in Tourette Syndrome.
Good turnout in both volunteers and attendees left all able to enjoy the day with weather fit for work and play. There is so much to show the event was saved to a PDF document for you to download by clicking here
Community partnerships, citizen involvement, regional collaboration each are cited by John Caulfield, Lakewood's City Manager, for being able to keep the city's eye on the ball - the original goals and visions of citizens that, 20 years ago this year, voted for incorporation. That wasn't easy to accomplish, as stated by our president, DeAnne Bennett, who admitted to voting no on incorporation 3 times before bowing to the inevitability of becoming a city. There was, at the time, a general fear of rocking the boat, of fixing what didn't seem broken, and of voting simply to create another layer of public servants and political careers. Those of us who resisted the change until we were worn down felt strongly that incorporation would inevitably lead to more and higher taxes and strangling regulation.
Lakewoodians shared a certain comfort with the existing system and wanted only to be left alone to enjoy life outside the major cities wrapped in a blanket of a beautiful environment. There certainly were enough examples of incorporation gone horribly wrong in the country that fed a general resistance to making the plunge.
To the credit of our city founders and ensuing office holders the original justifications for cityhood have held sway over Lakewood's progress. Caulfield informed Lions members of major movements in many long-held plans for parks and street improvements as well as economic development. Among those improvements is the now fast-moving progress for Springbrook Park, which is near and dear to our club. (see story below) The shelter our fundraisers have been putting money away for will not only be built, it will be better than originally planned. A movement seems to be afoot to name the shelter for the Late Larry Saunders, Lakewood's first police chief and a former member of Lakewood First Lions. Improvements to Springbrook Park and its surrounding community was a passion of Saunders.
The fortunes of the city are being bolstered by an impressive growth in economic development. The industrial park along 100th Street SW has recently added substantially to its capacity and now features a Ikea warehouse. Several national restaurant chains have opted to set up shop in Lakewood, a fact that Caulfield called "a good sign for us." Those national chains could have selected any of a number of other locations, he said, but they chose Lakewood "and that's important to us."
Other important developments include locked-in funding for major I-5 improvements at sections in the Lakewood/JBLM corridor.
The next few years should prove highly beneficial for Lakewood residents.