Monday, December 19, 2016

Lions screen vision of more than 200 Belle Fourche students

School nurse Brandi Van Sickle (at left) shows off the SPOT device used by Lions to conduct vision screening at the Belle Fourche Middle School and South Park Elementary School on Tuesday, December 13.  In the middle photo, Lions Harry Haivala, Ken Gifford, and Rich Drabek take a break during what was a busy day!  Belle Fourche Lions Club president Joyce Drabek noted that without the help of Lion Gifford from Rapid City, who coordinates Lions vision screening in this area, "we would not have succeeded with our screenings all these years!"  At right, a 5th Grader at South Park School steadies herself for screening.  Some 212 young people were screened during the day-long event using a "Spot Vision Screener," a hand-held, portable device to quickly detect vision issues.  It screens both eyes at once from a non-threatening three-foot distance, ideal for quick screening of children.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

New member, awards, and World War II story highlight meeting

President Drabek with new member Michael Floyd.
Belle Fourche Lions welcomed a new member during our late November meeting on the 22nd.  Lion Michael Floyd joined our ranks.  Lion Floyd has attended a few previous meetings as a guest, and we're delighted to welcome him to Belle Fourche Lions Club.

There were also some awards presented during the gathering at Grap's Burgers and Brews, including a Presidential Service Award to Lion Rick Walton.  He and Lion Robert Schnaible were also recipients of perfect attendance awards, and Lion Osloond was recognized with a 10-Year pin.  You'll find photos of those presentations, along with others, in our Lions Gallery.

Members were reminded of the forthcoming vision screening slated for Tuesday, December 13th at the Middle School and South Park Elementary.  We'll have additional updated information at our scheduled meeting on Thursday, December 8th.

Additional details of this meeting can be found in the Minutes Tab above.

Lion Larry Miller presented the program about a World War II Marine killed at the Battle of Tarawa in the Pacific, and whose remains were not recovered until last year.  

The Marine was Sergeant Fae Moore, whose parents ranched on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation not far from Wounded Knee, South Dakota.  His home was listed as Pine Ridge when he enlisted in the Corps in the summer of 1941, several months before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. 

Sergeant Fae V. Moore, USMC
After boot camp in San Diego, Moore shipped out to American Samoa in the Pacific with the 2nd Marine Division.  While providing security for Pago Pago and the surrounding region, they also trained for amphibious assaults.  They put that training to use with the assault on the Solomon Islands and the battle at Guadalcanal in late 1942.

After that bloody battle, they proceeded to Wellington, New Zealand – again providing security for that region of the Pacific and continuing preparation for yet another major event.

That came on November 20,1943, when more than 10,000 U.S. personnel were involved in the massive invasion of Japanese-held Tarawa atoll in the Gilbert Islands.  After a fierce 76-hour battle – and the loss of more than 6,000 lives – Allied forces defeated the Japanese and took control of the strategic airfield on the island.  

Sergeant Moore was killed during the initial landing, along with more than 1,000 other U.S. Marines.  Unfortunately, the circumstances of war and time resulted in about half of the hastily-buried dead Marines never being found.  It was not until last summer that Fae Moore's remains were located on Tarawa by an organization called History Flight.  They were sent to Hawaii for identification.  After DNA confirmation of his identity by the Department of Defense, Moore's remains were returned to the continental United States -- 73 years after his death.

Moore's mother, Mary Moore of Chadron, Nebraska, went to her own grave in 1958, never to see her son — or his remains — return home for burial. Although too late for her, the discovery, identification, and repatriation of her Marine son has finally offered a bit of closure to Moore family.  Moore's siblings and his father have also since died.  Remaining descendants knew little about him, but about 50 of them recently joined together in celebrating his life and service to our country.

Lions members and others are invited to read more about the remarkable recovery of the remains of Sergeant Fae Moore and his Return to Beaver Valley.

Please note: the next Belle Fourche Lions meeting will be a short business meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 8 at Grap's.