Bridge City Lions Club Helps Local Resident Regain Eyesight
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
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
Once again Johnson provided the transportation. The surgery
“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
“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.”
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.