The major focus of the projects that the Lions Clubs

undertake is vision-related. The latest such project undertaken by the Bridge

City Lions Club has been to assist Burl Lasalle with his vision.

Lasalle had noticed for years that his vision had slowly

been fading away. Without medical insurance he had only been able to afford

minimal care.

Lasalle and the Lions Club discovered each other and the

Lions went into action.

Melinda Nations of the Bridge City Lions Club contacted Stump

Weatherford of the Orange Lions Club. Weatherford had previously been the

Chairman of the Lions Eye Bank. Weatherford gave Nations the information that

she needed to assist Lasalle with his problem.

Nations arranged an appointment with a doctor in Houston for


George Johnson of the Bridge City Lions Club provided the

transportation to Houston and Lasalle was on his way.

Lasalle’s problem was diagnosed as two severe cataracts. The

cataracts had caused the loss of most of the vision in the right eye. Surgery

was needed and an appointment was made for the surgery to be done on an

out-patient basis.

Once again Johnson provided the transportation. The surgery

was preformed.

“I could see as soon as the replaced the lens in the eye.

While they were doing the surgery my vision returned,” Lasalle said.

The post-surgical results were excellent. Lasalle wore an

eye patch for a short while and has a limitation placed on the amount of weight

he can lift for a few weeks.

There was a follow-up visit for a check on his progress, and

once more Johnson provided the transportation to Houston.

“My sight is good; I can see things that I’ve never seen

before. I really want to thank all of the Lions for helping me,” Lasalle said.

All of the assistance given Lasalle by the Bridge City Lions

and the Lions Eye Bank were provided at no cost to Lasalle.

Members of the Bridge City Lions provided the transportation

and the Lions Eye Bank paid all of the medical costs.

Providing good vision to those who are not able to afford

necessary services is the major focus of the Lions International and the local

Lions Clubs.

“The Lions are the only organization that was started by one

person, and only one person. Melvin Jones, a wealthy Chicago business man

wanted to do something to help needy people. He started a club and enlisted

other people and the Lions were born. Jones was given a challenge by Helen

Keller to do something to help people with their eyes, he accepted the

challenge and that is how the Lions became focused on eye care and good vision.”

Johnson said.

The Lions International has become the largest service

organization in the world.

Most visible of that focus may be the boxes placed to

collect used eye glasses. Locally there is a box at Bridge City Cleaners and

the Wal-Mart in West Orange. These glasses are cleaned and the prescriptions

are determined and they are sent to people who need glasses but cannot afford

to buy them.

“The glasses go mostly to Mexico. According to U.S. laws

used glasses cannot be given to people in the United States. We send thousands

of pairs of glasses to Mexico every year. It is getting harder to get across

the border, but the Lions still manage,” Johnson said.

The Lions also provide “leader dogs” for the blind. All

costs for the dog and the training for the person who is to receive the dog are

paid for by the Lions International and is one of the many other services

provided for the vision impaired or the blind.

The Bridge City Lions work with the Bridge City –

Orangefield Ministerial Alliance with the distribution of food boxes each


They also look for children that may benefit from the camps

a Kerrville, Texas each summer. The first week of camp is for handicapped

children and the second week is for diabetic children.

“If anyone knows of a child between the ages of 6 and 16

that would benefit from either of these camps all they have to do is to contact

a member of the Lions Club and the attendance for the child can be arranged at

no cost to the family,” Johnson said. “We can even provide the transportation.”

The Bridge City Lions Club is a part of the Lions Carnival

held in Orange each September. The club runs the funnel cake concession.

“We have a new trailer with a propane cooker that will

handle six funnel cakes at the time with the ability to fry three more in our

booth. This year we should be able to get more out, faster and hotter than last

year,” said Travis Nations, Club President.

“The carnival is our major fundraiser for the year. We have

other projects but most of our money comes from our funnel cakes.”

The club has recently purchased a new moonwalk in the shape

of a lion, complete with tail. The moonwalk will be available for rentals.

This year the Bridge City Lions provided two $500

scholarships to graduating seniors Bridge City and also two scholarships to


“We base our scholarships on those who have needs and may

not have the opportunity to attend college if they do not have some help,” said


There are currently nine members of the Bridge City Lions.

The club is made up of members from Bridge City and Orangefield.

Membership in the Lions Club is open to anyone, but it is by

invitation only. The Bridge City Lions Club meets at 7:00 P.M., the first and third Monday of

each month at Novrosky’s in Bridge City. If you are interested in finding out

more about the Lions organization and possibly becoming a member, you are

invited to attend as a guest. “The more members we have the more we can help

those who need help,” said Travis Nations, Lions Club President.

You may contact Nations at 409-735-4728 for information

about joining the Lions or for information about any of the services available

from the Lions.