This time last year, members of the Gilbert Lions Club were hoping enough people liked bluegrass music to turn out in respectable numbers for a concert.
Happily, 600 people showed up for the Gilbert Bluegrass Bash, a fundraiser for the Lions’ community service projects.
The Lions hope to double that number on Saturday, when the second annual Gilbert Bluegrass Bash takes place in the auditorium at Gilbert High School.
Jam Pack Blues ‘N’ Grass Neighborhood Band (Chandler), Pay Dirt (Apache Junction) and Bost Family Traditions (Bisbee) will perform.
Again this year, proceeds from the show will help Gilbert Lions provide eye exams and glasses to local people in need.
“Most all of it is school children here in Gilbert. They have a tremendous need for that, and we cannot cover all of it. We get the very worst cases, the people who really are in trouble — and may be in the worst-case scenario as far as sight goes, too,” says Ron Rosinke, club president.
Last year’s proceeds enabled the club to provide 10 extra pairs of glasses and help with two unusually expensive requests: purchasing a special lens that enabled a 17-year-old to drive for the first time and replacing eyeglasses and dentures for a woman who had been through a fire.
Rosinke says the concert yielded other benefits, primarily connections within the community.
“We’re now kind of partnered with Mercy hospital, and we’re in the talking stages of how we can volunteer with some of their programs. And somebody gave us an electric power chair that we’ll donate to a veteran in Gilbert who needs it and doesn’t have the money to buy one and can’t get around otherwise.”
The group also adopts families at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and funds scholarships for seniors from Gilbert district high schools.
Rosinke asked me, when we talked, to invite readers to a Lions meeting. The Gilbert club’s 15 members could use a hand, and you might be glad you did.“I’ve had so many expereinces with people, being affiliated with the Lions over the years, that I don’t think I’ll ever stop. It just keeps me going,” he says, recalling a long-ago club yard sale where a woman acted thrilled to know her $2 purchase would support the group.
“She said a couple of years ago, her husband got a pair of glasses from the Lions, and ‘now he can see well enough to hold down a job’ as the church custodian, and on top of that ‘we don’t have to be on welfare anymore.’ That changed a family’s life. If all I have to do is work a little bit to get that kind of result, I will. Anybody who’s ever seen that happen will remember it forever.”
The Gilbert Lions meet the second and fourth Mondays of the month at Black Bear Diner in Gilbert.
The Gilbert Bluegrass Bash is 7 p.m. Saturday in the auditorium at Gilbert High School, 1101 E. Elliot Road. Tickets are $10 each or two for $15. Proceeds will help provide eye exams and glasses in Gilbert and fund scholarships for high school seniors from Gilbert district schools.
For information, call (480) 357-2654 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.