When Alex Zamarron, Hermiston Wal-Mart optician and Michelle Cox, Vision Center manager, heard of the September Prevent Blindness America fund-raiser they were ready to take up the cause.

Zamarron put together a proposal for the Hermiston Super Center managers with a goal to beat the company goal of $500 per center and raise $2,500.

Events planned for the month of September include a raffle for a chance to win an Orange County Chopper bicycle, and gift certificates from Desert Lanes Bowling Alley, Hermiston Quicky Lube, Pizza Hut, Papa Murphy's and Stockman's as well as items from some merchants from the Tri-Cities, Zamarron said.

Raffle tickets are $3 each, three for $5 and five for $10. The winners will be announced at the end of the month. Tickets are available at the Hermiston Wal-Mart Vision Center.

Included in the month-long fund-raising events is a bake sale from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17 in the Hermiston Wal-Mart foyer sponsored by the Hermiston Lions Club. Hot dogs, chips and sodas will be sold at the Hermiston Super Center from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19.

Dr. Jason Settlemier is personally donating his time to help meet the goal. He will donate his exam fees for two hours at a rate of $70 to $80 per exam. His average booking in a two-hour period is six appointments, he hopes to raise $480. The Vision Center will also hold an in house spaghetti feed to allow all employees the opportunity to donate to Prevent the Blindness America.

Independent of Hermiston activities, the Vision Center at the Pendleton Wal-Mart is holding a Back to School barbecue lunch from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 12. Cost of the meal is $3. Proceeds will be donated to Prevent Blindness America. Also, Dr. Jeremy Beam will donate the proceeds from the eye exams he performs at the Pendleton Vision Center between 9 a.m. and noon Sept. 12 to Prevent Blindness America. The Pendleton Vision Center also is holding a raffle with proceeds designated for Prevent Blindness America. Tickets for a bicycle raffle are one for $3, two for $5 or five for $10. Tickets for a golf getaway are one for $1, three for $2.50 or five for $4. Winning tickets will be drawn at the end of the month.

The Pendleton Vision Center hopes to raise $5,000 for Prevent Blindness America. The Pendleton Lions Club has donated funds toward their goal.

Prevent Blindness America was founded in 1908 and is one of the nation's leading volunteer eye health and safety organizations dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight.

Its efforts are focused on research and testing young (pre-school age) children whose sight problems would normally go undetected.

For more information on the local fund-raising efforts visit the Wal-Mart Vision Centers. For more information on Prevent Blindness America, call (800)-331-2020 or visit the Web site at http://www.preventblindness.org.

Lions clubs sight

and hearing programs

Lions clubs are dedicated to sight and hearing health through awareness and prevention programs and public education all year long. The Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation funds research grants, youth scholarships, oversees the Lions eye bank, the collected recycled glasses and hearing aids, schedules the Mobile Screening Unit (for sight, hearing, diabetes, high blood pressure checks) and helps fund eye and ear surgeries. Lions club members work with vision centers and eye clinics in their local areas to provide exams and eyeglasses for families in need.

The Hermiston Lions Club just finished its major fund-raising event, the Lions Club Concession stand at the Umatilla County Fair, with almost 100 percent of the profit going to sight and hearing awareness and education, said Tammy Ashbeck, Hermiston Lions Sight and Hearing Chairwoman.

"We gave $5,000 for vision support last year for ages 0-98," Ashbeck said.

The Hermiston Lions are stepping up their eyeglass collection this month just in time for recycling in October. Collection sites are located at Wal-Mart Vision Center, LifeTime Eyecare, Safeway, West Park Elementary School, Armand Larive Middle School and Sunset Elementary School.

"We will have youths trick-or-treat for glasses again," Ashbeck said. "Glasses don't have to be prescription. Sunglasses are needed. Safeway trucks the glasses to the valley for distribution to other countries, especially victims of disaster sites. That's when Lions step in."

Club members volunteer their time to fit recycled eyeglasses to people in third world countries who need them. Lions Clubs cannot distribute recycled eyeglasses in the United States, but they do help those in need purchase needed prescription eyewear.

Eyeglass collection isn't all the club does. They help make appointments for people in need at nursing homes and assisted living residences and help provide transportation to and from doctor appointments. Lions' Club volunteers act as couriers for eye tissue and corneas to eye banks, Ashbeck said.

The Hermiston club also works with the Wal-Mart Vision Center's Project Insight. The vision center works with local schools to donate 20 pairs of glasses to students in the area who don't have insurance or means of payment.

"The local Lions Club is great," Alex Zamarron Wal-Mart Vision Center optician said. "They send us so many kids."

The local club pays $75 for exams, $35 for glasses and the parents pick up the rest.

The Pendleton Lions and the Pendleton Round-Up Lions provide recycling drop boxes for eyeglasses in Pendleton at Safeway Pharmacy, Pendleton Vision Center on Main Street and at St. Anthony Hospital. Hearing aids can be recycled at the drop boxes as well as prescription and non-prescription glasses.

Major fund-raisers for the Pendleton Lions are the Round-Up hamburger booth and the spring radio auction. All proceeds stay local or go toward eye surgeries through the Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation.

Pendleton Lions cooperate with Wal-Mart Vision Center and other local optometrists and opticians to provide eyeglasses to those who otherwise could not afford them. They also have donated to Prevent Blindness America.

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