Weaverville – What do superheroes look like? Have you ever noticed that most superheroes wear a costume or cape? Sometimes that’s so they can be immediately identified. Other times it’s because their costume has super gadgets or tools that help them accomplish the mission they face.
First responders, firefighters, police, doctors, nurses, and military members are almost always dressed in uniforms … and their tools are attached or carried. Frequently, however, superheroes wear ordinary clothes. Teachers, coaches, and youth workers are dressed like ordinary citizens. Blood and organ donors generally cannot be distinguished by their appearance. The fact is, heroes come in all shapes and sizes…men and women, rich and poor.
On the second and fourth Mondays of every month, a squad of folks from all walks of life wearing bright, yellow-colored vests meet in the back dining area of the Weaverville IHOP at 6 pm. Orders for dinner are placed and conversations about recent events, home gardens, vacations, and health matters are shared. Then, following the Pledge of Allegiance and an opening prayer, but without any fanfare or flourish, this unlikely band of heroes begins discussing individual and community needs, contributions to and support of state and area assistance centers, and plans for future service projects.
The blue-trimmed vests with the International Lions Club logo and various pins that members place on their vests hint at a unifying purpose and mission. The club, originally formed in 1949, has faithfully served the local community ever since.
No one in this group would claim to be a hero. These are ordinary folks. When asked about membership in the club, one of the members commented, we are “butchers, bakers, candlestick makers, and much more.” The unifying principle “we serve” is the motto and mission that binds these neighbors and local residents together. Ramona Fox, a long-time member of the club said, “We are stronger because we are a club. We certainly accomplish more because we combine our talents, skills, and resources.”
Earlier this year, members of the Weaverville Lions Club helped screen nearly 300 elementary school children in the area for eye diseases and problems. Recently, the club provided three $1,000 scholarships to deserving seniors of North Buncombe High School who will be attending A-B Tech this Fall. The club has also supported the Cops for Kids program and area food and medical assistance programs.
Last year, 3,547 used and older eyeglasses were collected and sent to a regional recycling center. The glasses are sterilized, inventoried, and prepared for distribution to optical missions around the world.
The Weaverville Club has also sponsored the work of Camp Dogwood, a summer camp and therapeutic vacation retreat for blind and visually impaired persons. In 2019, the Town of Weaverville recognized and honored the club for seventy years of extraordinary service.
If you would like to help “serve” as a Weaverville Lions Club member, or if you would like to join forces fighting as a superhero against the medical and community needs of the local area, please contact Lion Ken Beach at (828) 645-4365.