A Vision of Hope

Published 10:11 am Thursday, April 9, 2009

CHESAPEAKE — Usually, it isn’t the easiest thing in the world for Herb Nida, president of the Chesapeake, Proctorville, Rome Lions Club, to ask for money. But sometimes it’s a job that’s not so tough, after all. That is when it is for the annual Lions Club track meet.

This will be the 42nd annual track meet at the Chesapeake High School stadium starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Teams from throughout the Tri-State will compete.

“When you get calls back from people crying and thanking you for making it possible for them to see, to ask to help for someone like that, it’s not hard,” Nida said.

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Each year the event usually nets about $2,000 for the club. That money then goes to fund the main mission of the Lions Club — providing eyeglasses and exams for those in need, a demand that is surprisingly great for this area.

“There’s quite a bit,” Nida said. “More than even I thought. There are a lot of people. Young kids whose family doesn’t have insurance, they aren’t working and they need glasses for school. And there’s a lot of elderly people on Medicare that only pays part. They can’t pick up the rest of it.”

The Lions also will make donations to other charitable organizations, according to fellow Lions Club member Bob Smith

The club started working on the meet back in January going out to sell ads to businesses for the program and sell tickets.

“We go to all the businesses and most of them are supporters,” Nida said. “McDonald’s Steve Cielec, he’s awesome. I asked ‘Can you help us with a full-page ad,’ which is $75. He wrote us a check for $500. Steve Cielec is such a supporter of children.”

Events for the meet include discus, high jump, pole vault, shot put, long jump, 100-meter high hurdles, 100-meter dash, 800-meter dash, 1600-meter run, 400-meter relay, 400-meter dash, 300-meter hurdles, 800-meter run, 200-meter dash, 3200-meter run and 1500-meter relay.

As it does every year the club will offer prizes during the meet to winning fans. This meet they include a Nintendo DSi, a 26 “ bike, a $25 Wal-Mart gift card and a one-year membership to the Chesapeake Fitness Center. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased at the gate.