“My passion is the Leader Dogs for the Blind,” said Mary Ann Brostek of Fenton Township, the outgoing president of the Fenton Lions Club. “I cannot believe how they train those dogs. It’s unbelievable.” Mary Ann joined the Fenton Lions 15 years ago with her late husband, Chris. She said she was compelled to join after learning just how much the Lions club helped a young blind student where her daughter was a teacher for the visually impaired. “They gave so much,” she said.
Mary Ann says membership numbers are down and the majority of the members are getting older. Young, enthusiastic service-oriented people are needed to maintain the Lions’ success with helping the visually impaired. A dinner/meeting is held the second Wednesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at John’s Pizza in Fenton. The next meeting is June 12.
Mary Ann is proud of the things the club does for the community, such as college scholarships for students at Lake Fenton and Fenton, support for Fenton Boy Scouts, and free eyeglasses and hearing aids for those in need. A drop box is located behind the Fenton police station. Donated eyeglasses are repurposed into new eyeglasses.
The Lions Club has a booth at the Fenton Expo where members use screening equipment to test children’s eyes. There is no cost to the families. The equipment takes a picture of the child’s eye and experts can determine if there are any problems, which can be taken care of while the child is still very young. “That is quite rewarding,” she said. “People have come up to us later and have told us how we found their granddaughter’s eye problem and they got it fixed.”
The Lions Club is the biggest supporter of the Leader Dogs for the Blind. Through their White Cane drive, money raffle and donations, the Lions turn their proceeds over to the Leader Dogs for the Blind and take a tour to see first-hand how guide dogs and their visually impaired partners train together. “They don’t pay one penny for their dog,” she said.
I am familiar with these amazing dogs. Our nephew, Andy Stone, relies on one. Andy has gone through the extensive training twice and is now working and living independently. Our family knows how costly yet important these dogs are, and know they are worth every penny.
Mary Ann said the Lions Club is very welcoming to anyone who might want to attend one of their meetings or events. She understands how busy everyone is and how hard it is to commit, but is confident that some new faces will want to join their mission of helping others. Although she is stepping down as president, she has no plans of slowing down.
Sharon Stone is the editor of the Tri-County Times. If you would like to contact her, send an email to email@example.com.