Marshall Lions Meeting

Marshall Lions Club member P.A. Almquist, left, introduced guest speaker DeAnn Vickles of Refuge International at the club’s recent meeting.

The Marshall Lions Club met Tuesday, May 14 at the Panola-Harrison meeting room, 410 E. Houston. A lunch of beef and chicken enchiladas was served by Jose Tequila Catering.

President James Thompson called the meeting to order and welcomed Lions with a reminder to turn off or silence cellphones.

Lion James asked Lion Ken Poindexter to open the meeting with prayer, followed the pledges to the U.S. and Texas flags led by Lion Heath Parker.

“The Army Hymn!” “The Marine Hymn” “The Navy Hymn” and “The Air Force Hymn,” as a tribute for Memorial Day, and “America, the Beautiful” were sung with gusto, led by song leader Lion Dudley Swofford and accompanied by pianist Arnola Zabokrtsky.

Acting Lion Tamer Jimmie Van Norden welcomed Lions to the meeting. She read the deep thought for the day — “When you clean out a vacuum cleaner, YOU become a vacuum cleaner!”

Tail Twister Chris Horsley levied some fines and collected money from almost everyone. He told a joke, fined several.

Lion Chris told Lions when he was a kid in Houston he was an “Astro Buddy,” a program to interest elementary kids in baseball.

He announced Lion Brenda Wood’s 12th anniversary in Marshall Lions, Lion Jimmie Van Norden’s 15 years this week and his wife, Cynthia’s, birthday. He appointed Lion Teri Brown to lead the Club in singing our “Happy Song” to them.

President Thompson called Lion P.A. Almquist to the podium to introduce the program speaker — DeAnn Vickles, the executive director for Refuge International.

Vickles, a Colorado native, moved to Longview from Denver to take the job. She has a Bachelor of Science in health-care management and an associate’s degree in Accounting, Real Estate and Construction Management.

She previously lived in Miami and was controller for a Fortune 500 company.

Her father became ill and she moved back to Colorado and spend time with him and was hired by Alvarado Construction as vice president of the company.

Vickles wanted to follow her passion and dreams by working in global health care and for a nonprofit company, so she began working with UC Health, a University of Colorado hospital, and then moved to University of Colorado School of Medicine, where she continued her health -care passion.

Vickles has a history of working on health care-related projects in Thailand, India, Costa Rica and Guatemala.

“The work that Refuge International does in Guatemala and here in the community with the Hiway 80 Rescue Mission fits my lifestyle and fits my career goals,” she said. “I am hoping to make a change in the world.”

Refuge International was established in 2003, and is a nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to improving the lives of people through sustainable programs in areas where healthcare, adequate nutrition, clean water and education are lacking or non-existent.

RI also provides opportunities for the mentoring of students who wish to become involved in humanitarian efforts. Vickles said nursing students from UT Tyler, doctors and nurses and volunteers from many locations man clinics in three locations in Guatemala and a local site in Longview — the Hiway 80 Rescue Mission.

Lion Brenda Wood was given four pairs of glasses at the beginning of the meeting, and when Vickles explained that they were to do a vision trip soon, they were handed to her for their patients.

Some of the conditions addressed in Guatemala are women’s health issues, general surgical and orthopedic needs and treatment for chronic and acute illnesses.

The volunteers helped one remote village dig a well so they didn’t have to transport drinking water by canoes.

One problem addressed is intestinal worms in malnourished children, establishing a program, “Adios Lombrices,” to rid all Guatemalan children of worms. Since 2007, this program has distributed 11 million doses of Albendazole, which effectively treats hookworms, roundworms and whipworms.

Other programs include education of children and providing clean water to prevent life-threatening illnesses such as amoebiasis, giardiasis and other infections.

“RI’s goal is to help the people of Guatemala achieve sustainable drinking water by digging water wells and delivering water filtration systems,” Vickles said.

For more information, Vickles can be reached at 903-234-8660, at dvickles@refugeinternational.com or at her office at 405 North 5th Street, Longview. The website is www.refugeinternational.com.

She added that there are plenty of ways to help at their office, such as sorting and packing items for the mission trips as well as many other tasks. She loves to talk to interested people who love to help others. They also value any and all monetary donations to help their efforts.

President Thompson thanked Vickles for a very interesting and informative program and presented her with a Lions writing pen.

Lion James closed the meeting with prayer and adjourned the meeting.