PARKERSBURG - For Harrison Schramm, the Lions Club is about service.
The Parkersburg resident was recently elected a district governor of the West Virginia Lions and attended a International Lions Club Convention in Germany.
Schramm, who is a certified public accountant with McDonough, Eddy, Parson and Baylous, has been involved with the Lions Club of Parkersburg for almost 22 years.
Parkersburg resident Harrison Schramm was recently elected a district governor of the West Virginia Lions and attended a International Lions Club Convention in Germany.
''It is a really good organization, and the work we do is really important,'' he said. ''There are not many organizations that are doing what we are doing.''
The organization is known for its vision initiatives and programs to help people get needed eye care.
''As a member of the Parkersburg Lions Club, we try to provide eye exams and glasses for people who are underprivileged or don't have the resources or the means to get them,'' Schramm said. ''A lot of times that is the people who fall between the cracks.''
They raise money for the West Virginia Sight Conservation Foundation, which helps people who need eye surgeries, but cannot afford them.
However, the Lions Club also raises money for the Lions Club International Foundation and a number of charitable works. They have recently joined with the Bill Gates Foundation to eradicate measles and inoculate many children for measles, which is one of the leading causes of blindness throughout the world.
''We don't advertise,'' Schramm said. ''All the money raised for it, goes to charitable works.''
Schramm has served as a club president, a zone chairman, a second vice district governor and a first vice district governor before being elected a district governor. He also was elected to a four-year term as a trustee of the West Virginia Sight Conservation Foundation.
West Virginia has four districts for the Lions Club. The district, which includes Parkersburg, also includes Fairmont, Morgantown and goes up the northern panhandle into Wheeling.
As a district governor, Schramm wants to visit every Lions Club in the district, a total of 47 clubs.
''You try to visit every club and give the message of the Lions Club International President. Barry Palmer from Australia,'' Schramm said. ''Palmer's message is 'Follow Your Dream.'''
Palmer put out initiatives to make Lions Clubs fight hunger around the world, especially for women with children who make up 70 percent of those who are hungry. He wants Lions to be the go-to organization when it comes to disasters and other concerns.
Schramm wants to work with West Virginia clubs to get many back on track that might have strayed from their original purpose. He wants those clubs to go back to the community, find out what the needs are and how Lions Clubs can address those needs.
''I want to get them a new purpose and revitalize some of the clubs,'' he said. ''Lions do a lot of things.
''Any club can adopt any cause they want to do. We are a service organization. Our motto is 'We Serve.'''
Lions started last year with a Reading Action Program to get local clubs to sponsor reading initiatives. Schramm wants to see more done with that this year as well.
Lions Clubs have traditionally offered help and support during times of disasters, such as tsunamis, hurricanes and terrorist attacks with many clubs in the areas hit. Lions Clubs are now in 207 countries.
''We are there, but we are not as well known,'' Schramm said. ''We don't advertise for money. We do a lot of things that go unnoticed.''
He also wants to get more younger people involved with Lions Club.
''We are an aging population in West Virginia and our clubs are aging,'' Schramm said. ''It is harder and harder to get younger people involved.
''We need to find ways to do that for the community's benefit.''
Schramm is already scheduling Lions Club meetings to attend. He is planning to attend a multiple district council meeting July 27 in Flatwoods with his visits to individual clubs starting in August.
''We will try to bolster membership,'' he said. ''We will try to solve problems clubs are having.
''We try to give them ideas as to community projects and how to improve their clubs. That is what my duties will be for the next year.''