SOCIAL ICONS

Dave became a Lion in 1971; it will be 49 years in February. Despite relocating with his wife Sandy post retirement, he has remained a member of his original club, 22-D New Castle Hundred Lions Club for all these years. The goal he says, is to make it to the celebratory 50 year milestone there, and beyond. “It was my father-in-law,” Dave recounts “who initially asked me to become a member of the Lions Club. It was a natural fit,” he explains, as he was a member of his college’s service-based fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. “That experience in college is what turned me into the service-oriented person I am today.”

In 1984 Dave became District Governor, and in 1995, almost 20 years ago, Dave took his seat as a Board Member of Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley. Being a Lion is all about leading by example, building relationships and improving the world through kindness, and Dave does just that and then some. When asked about his motivation behind dedicating so much of his life to serving LEBDV’s mission he answered: “seeing firsthand the impact of providing someone with the gift of sight, that’s what this whole organization is founded on. Providing a service that is so beneficial to people. Giving someone their vision back, it’s incredible.”

In recent years Board Members have become even more involved with LEBDV’s events, and Dave is so thankful for this. He recalls attending his first Cornea Recipient Luncheon this past year and describes it as awe-inspiring. “Sitting down to have lunch and getting to talk with the family of a donor, and then getting a chance to meet with a recipient family, it’s really unbelievable.”

Continuing on the topic of getting to see the impact he has made firsthand, since moving to the Southern Delaware Area, Dave has teamed up with a group of Lions who build wheel chair ramps and accessible steps for handicap members of the community. “Just last week” he says, “we built a wide set of steps for a woman with her walker so she could easily go in and out of her house. When she opened the door, you could see the tears in her eyes when she realized that she is now able to get out of the house on her own.”

When Dave is not busy helping his community, he is spending time with his wife, Sandy, their 3 kids, 3 grandchildren, and 2 great grandchildren!

This is just a small sampling of all the amazing things Dave Jones has done during his time as a Lion and Board Member. Congratulations on celebrating almost 50 years Dave, we cannot wait to see what else you do!

SOCIAL ICONS

Inspired by Helen Keller’s appeal to help end preventable blindness, and witnessing firsthand through her husband, PID Ted Reiver, all of the amazing work the Lions were doing, Ann felt compelled to join herself in 1999. After joining 20 years ago Ann never looked back. “As a Lion over the years I was very active in my club,” Ann explains. “I’ve been President a few times, and am currently the secretary. As a Past District Governor, Ted and I took part in many different district events. We became involved in a lot of activities and organizations outside of our own club.”

“The more we’ve done, the more we want to do,” Ann says about her active role in Lions Club. “When the Delaware Trustees asked if I’d like to be a Board Member, it was an easy yes. I truly love the Eye Bank, and the idea of having a greater role in assisting and working with them was exciting to me.” Ann has since devoted her time and talents to serve as a member of various committees including human resources, budget and finance, audit review and fundraising. She is constantly reminded of the profound impact eye donation has for both cornea transplant recipients and donor families.

Ann modestly states how the Board rotates through Chairs, and because of this model it was her turn to be Chair of the Board last year.  She explains how due to her more reserved personality, “If it wasn’t for this model of picking the Chair, I am not sure if I would have stepped forward on my own. That being said, I am so happy it worked out like this because I love being on the Board and being the Chair. Plus, the staff at the Eye Bank is so incredible, they do so much, that they make my job easy!”

Besides being the second woman ever to be Chair of the Board, and one of only 3 female Board members, Ann is also the first Chair of the Board to serve a 2 year term! In recent years Board Members have become even more involved with LEBDV’s events, and Ann is so thankful for this. “The changes in the Eye Bank since I have been on the Board are truly remarkable. The Gratis Tissue Fund, the amount of involvement and contact we now have with recipients and donor families. It’s awe-inspiring. The fact that I am currently on the phone with a recipient who now works at LEBDV, getting to watch Mila run around and Kacey grow up—it is so impactful.”

Ann loves the emphasis being placed on showcasing real people’s stories. “Showing the community how their efforts and donations are directly changing people’s lives—it’s moving and impactful.” One of Ann’s favorite LEBDV events is the Annual Cornea Recipient Luncheon for this very reason. “It is a chance for members of the community, from recipients and staff to donor families and Lions to come together to celebrate this wonderful gift and incredible sacrifice. It is so impactful for a recipient to speak firsthand about how a transplant has changed their life.”

When Anne is not busy running the Board and helping her community, you can find her probably still spending time with Lions! “A lot of our friends are Lions, which honestly is one of the best parts about being in this organization,” Ann says. “The amount of friends and connections we’ve made as Lions is incredible.”  Ann and Ted also have lots of grandkids to keep them on their toes. Their family accompanied them to the Phillies baseball game and tailgate last month, and they always attend the Annual Cornea Recipient Luncheon.

We feel so lucky to have such an incredible woman as the Chair of the Board. Thank you for your service and commitment Ann. We cannot wait to see what this term brings for you!

SOCIAL ICONS

1st VDG Art Pecht has been a member of The Honey Brook Lions Club for the past 18 years, and a huge supporter of Lions Eye Bank. If you have ever attended any LEBDV events, then you have definitely seen or met Art, as he is always the first one there to set up, help out, or work the grill. Art was drawn to the Lions Club initially because he was motivated to give his time and energy to others. Almost two decades later, and he is still doing just that!

Prior to his Lion days, Art and his wife owned and worked at Conrad’s Deli in York, PA; and up until very recently he was the Receiving Manager at Target in Exton, PA. Just because Art is retired however, in no way means he is slowing down. In fact, it is quite the opposite. “I feel the way the world is, in today’s situation, we should try to leave it in a better place than when we found it,” Art says. “That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m retired, so I’m able to give my time and energy to giving back.” Not only does Art help with so many LEBDV events, through his Lions Club he is also involved with the local Fire and Police Departments, Food Pantries, and so much more.

“To me, the most motivating part of the work we do is when we see someone who has actually benefited from something we helped them with.” Continuing on the topic of his motivation to do the work he does, Art goes back to the early days of Lions Clubs. “Helen Keller challenged us to be knights of the blind. It is so important. Helping people see through corneal transplants, it is an extremely important aspect of what we do.” A specific story that comes to mind for Art is when he and his Lions Club helped a woman pay for her cataract surgery. “She was having a special type of cataract surgery where she needed an additional implant, and it was very expensive. She didn’t have the means to pay for it so our club raised the money for her. She was so elated, and has now come out to help with White Cane, our fundraiser that happens twice a year!”

In addition to the big impact he makes on people’s lives, Art loves the Lion community. “No matter where you go when you’re a Lion, there is an amazing camaraderie and fellowship.” Some of his favorite annual LEBDV events are the Gift of Sight Charity Golf Classic, and Gift of Life’s Donor Dash that we always support.

When Art is not helping LEBDV, the Honey Brook Fire Police Department, or local Food Pantries, he enjoys working woodworking and spending time with his wife, 5 children, and 2 grandchildren.

This is just a small sampling of all the amazing things Art Pecht has done during his time as a Lion. Thank you so much for all of your help and hard work Art; we cannot wait to see what else you do!

SOCIAL ICONS

Earl has been a part of the Lion’s Club since 1983 and has held various important positions during his time as a Lion. He has served as both Vice President and President of his local Lion’s Club, and eventually became a District Governor. After his time as District Governor, Earl became part of Lions Eye Research Foundation to help raise money for the research of eye diseases. Earl describes his fellow Lions as being very dedicated and supportive of each other and loves to be surrounded by such great people.

Earl was initially drawn into the Lion’s Club by his two brothers. They are both visually impaired and have some struggles with everyday life like being unable to obtain a driver’s license. He is proud to be part of an organization that can help individuals gain the gift of sight. Earl considers the most inspiring aspect of his work to be hearing the personal stories of both donors and transplant recipients. He believes there is a greater force than people can comprehend that creates the donor and transplant recipient relationships. Earl hopes that donation, especially cornea transplants, will receive more awareness and individuals will not take their sight for granted.

Earl is very excited for his transition from Board Member to Chair of the Board. While he is aware of the upcoming challenges that Covid-19 has brought to procedures at LEBDV, he is confident that with his talented Board Members and the amazing staff, there is nothing the Eye Bank cannot do.

When he is not working with the Lions, Earl enjoys spending time with his family, including his wife, two daughters, and four grandchildren. He is passionate about cars and has been the president of the Dodge Brothers Club for the past four years. Earl was in the Marine Reserves for six years and attained the rank of Sergeant. He spent most of his career as a mason, eventually becoming a Master Mason, and even opened his own business for masonry work in 1979.

Being a Lion is about leading by example, building relationships and improving the world through kindness; Earl Groendyke definitely embodies all of these characteristics, and we are so honored to have him as the next Chair of the Board!

Thank you for all you do, Earl!

SOCIAL ICONS

Jerilyn Giardina, a Shippensburg University alumna, has been with Lions Eye Bank of Delaware Valley for five years. Prior to her arrival, the eye bank did not have much communication with recipients. Jerilyn realized how impactful personal stories could be for people and began involving recipients more and more.

Jerilyn created the recipient kits that all eye surgeons now have in their offices. These kits get sent home with recipients post transplantation to help educate them about the eye bank, where their tissue came from, and how to reach out to their donor family.

Through these recipient kits, we have met countless of incredible recipients and donor families and listened to their inspiring stories that would have otherwise went unheard.

Jerilyn has also worked tirelessly on creating impactful events that really emphasis the life-changing impact of corneal transplantation. The Annual Cornea Transplant Recipient Luncheon is one of these events. Next month will be the fifth year of this incredible event where recipients and donor families come together to share stories and learn from one another.

From the annual forSight newsleter to the Phillies tailgates, we could go on and on about all of Jerilyn’s amazing work and how much she means to this organization.

Jerilyn is currently at home with her beautiful baby boy, Elliot Henry Giardina! She and her husband, Nick, welcomed Elliot into the world on Wednesday, February 19, 2020. We could not be more happy or excited for her and her family.

Thank you for all you do for this organization every single day Jerilyn! We can’t wait to see you and Elliot very soon!

SOCIAL ICONS

Holly Wright is the current administrative coordinator and has been working for LEBDV since October of 2017. Holly has many responsibilities at LEBDV such as keeping the database updated with all constituents, sending out acknowledgement letters of financial donations, assisting in the execution of the tremendous events at Lion’s Eye Bank, and so much more. Holly has a love for both performance and studio arts and was a teacher in the religious and private pre-school sector prior to working at LEBDV.

Holly first applied to LEBDV because its mission resonated with her after her son, Nathan (pictured in the graduation cap and gown), had a cornea transplant in August of 2017. Nathan’s transplant tissue was from Lion’s Eye Bank, so she was connected to the organization even before she started working there. Nathan, as well as the rest of her family, volunteer to help the eye bank whenever possible.

Holly believes the most rewarding aspect of her job is seeing the gratitude letters on the wall at the office of LEBDV. She admires the communication and connection between the families of the donors and the transplant recipients through hand-written letters; the letters allow the donor families to know their loved one is appreciated and remembered. Having written a letter on behalf of her son to his donor’s family, she understands the value of the gratitude letters.

Although Holly finds all aspects of LEBDV’s mission important, the most meaningful aspect to her is that Lion’s Eye Bank provides quality tissue for all recipients despite the financial status of the recipient. It was important to her that her son would receive tissue that worked for him, and she can attest that LEBDV always provides quality tissue regardless of an individual’s ability to pay. Holly’s favorite moments have been at the past Cornea Transplant Recipient Luncheons because the event brings together cornea recipients, donor families, volunteers and staff, and is an amazing opportunity to share stories and experiences.

Holly sincerely hopes that the future of non-profit eye banking continues to succeed and be relevant in all communities.

Thank you for all you do for LEBDV, Holly!

SOCIAL ICONS

Today’s Favorite Friend Friday is a woman who is no stranger to the world of donation and transplantation. Tamikya Whittle is a nursing assistant in the emergency department of Christiana Care. She is also the mom to Cameron Whittle (and two more boys and three girls), who had his corneal transplant at 14 years old.

At work in addition to being responsible for drawing labs, beside procedure assistance, EKGs and more, Tamikya is also the one to make the initial calls to family members and Gift of Life when an individual passes away.

“There is such a big misconception around registering to be a donor because of how you will be treated in the hospital,” Tamikya explains. “People think that doctors won’t work as hard to save you. Once that misconception is out there in a community it’s hard to get rid of.”

Once her son Cam had his corneal transplant, Tamikya registered to be a donor herself. “There was a point in time where I was very uncertain about my son’s future. Now he is about to start his junior year of college and is well on his way to starting his own clothing line!”

“For anyone on the fence about registering to be a donor, I would try to get them to understand the truly lifechanging effects it can have on individual’s lives. There is no greater gift you can give.”

SOCIAL ICONS

The incredible sight-saving work done at Lion’s Eye Bank would not be possible without the dedication of the Recovery Technicians! This week’s Favorite Friend Friday features Bill Ostrander, a passionate and hard-working Certified Eye Bank Technician (CEBT) at LEBDV.  This month actually marks Bill’s six year work anniversary at LEBDV!

Before working at the eye bank, Bill graduated from Washington College and majored in Biology. After graduating, he worked at Thomas Jefferson University, primarily in the Cancer Center, for five years; Bill researched prostate cancer, performed lab management, and conducted experiments. Through connections in his field, Bill learned about eye banking and became interested in a position at LEBDV.

There is no typical workday for Bill as a Recovery Technician, but a normal week consists of receiving referral calls from the Gift of Life Donor Program, reviewing all aspects of the cornea donor, and recovering the corneas. Beyond that, Bill also uses microscopes to evaluate corneas. He is able to tell how healthy the cornea is and verifies that it is the safest and highest quality tissue for transplantation. More recently, Bill has been reviewing donors’ health charts to make sure the donors qualify medically for cornea transplantation.

Bill believes the most important aspect of his job is knowing that what he does directly affects recipients and their families. One thing Bill is really proud of is the Gratis Tissue Program; the program provides cornea tissue to all people despite their finances. He believes that a person’s ability to pay should never be a barrier for one’s ability to see. One of his favorite memories from working at LEBDV is seeing two current LEBDV employees, Alex and Holly, have personal experiences with corneal transplants and then dedicate their time to further help LEBDV.

When Bill is not on the job, he enjoys spending his free time relaxing down the shore with his wife, Amy, going to breweries, and staying active through exercise and lifting weights.

Thank you for all you do at LEBDV, Bill!

Sign up for our
25th Annual
Gift of Sight Charity Golf Classic

Monday, August 12th, 2019