Photos by Brad King
FELLOW LIONS stand and applaud for Hood River’s Art Carroll at the Oct. 3 Hall of Fame induction event in Tualatin.
As of Tuesday, October 13, 2015
When the Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation (OLSHF) met for its seventh annual Hall of Fame gala earlier this month, a Hood River man was among the inductees.
Art Carroll, who joined the Odell Lions in 1991, was honored with three others at the Oct. 3 event, held at the Tualatin Valley Country Club in Tualatin.
“I am very honored and humbled more than anything,” he said.
He was nominated by Lion Sharon Rollins, Board of Trustees secretary, with whom Carroll has worked with on many Foundation projects. Nominees must have a minimum of 10 years of service to the OLSHF in a leadership or volunteer role to be considered for the award. He joins 15 other Oregon Lions who have been honored since the Hall of Fame began in 2009.
Carroll has been a Foundation trustee for 14 years, and the coordinator for vision screenings in Hood River County for 13.
“Art, an active member of the MHSP (Mobile Health Screening Program) Committee for 10 years, is the driving force behind school vision screenings in the Hood River area,” read a press release regarding his induction. “He provided leadership for the expansion of MHSP school events by coordinating the first-ever school screening event utilizing sight and hearing screening ‘kits’ rather than the MHSP Truck.”
The OLSHF Hall of Fame “was established to honor, memorialize, and encourage outstanding leadership and service on behalf of the Foundation’s mission to screen, treat, save and restore sight and hearing for those in need,” continued the press release. “For nearly 90 years, Lions Club members have fulfilled a promise to Helen Keller to serve as Knights of the Blind by addressing preventable sight and hearing loss to those in need. In Oregon, children, families or adults lacking resources are helped with cataract surgeries, eye exams, new eyeglasses, hearing exams and new hearing aids as well as health screenings.”
Carroll was puzzled by his nomination and award — “I didn’t understand, ‘why me?’” he said — but hopes “this does help to inform the community about what all five Lions Clubs do to serve the Hood River Valley communities.”
Carroll received notice of the award “while mowing the lawn in 95-degree heat while visiting Saratoga Springs, New York,” he said. “The phone rang and Nicole Mandarano (OLSHF development director) said that I was nominated. At first I didn’t know what she was talking about.”
“He just didn’t want to be the center of attention,” said Mandarano, who served as his “steward” during the process. “He questioned why he’d been nominated.
“I had pleasure of giving him the award and talking to him (during the ceremony). He kept me up front with him and said all these nice things. But I had the easy part.
“Art is a class act,” she said.
What led Carroll to the Lions was a collaboration with the club during his years with the U.S. Forest Service.
“While serving with the Forest Service at Mammoth Lakes, Calif., the local Lions Club was the primary partner in raising funds to build a campground, fishing pier and interpretive trail to accommodate the handicapped in outdoor recreation,” he said. “Then, I joined the Lions on my next assignment with the Forest Service at Ojai, Calif.
“These two earlier experiences caused me to be interested in Lions and what they do, and (is) a way to be involved in our community in the Hood River Valley,” he said.
His favorite projects are vision screenings — the Odell Lions screens students at Mid Valley and Parkdale elementary schools — and the annual Applerama project, “our most important fundraiser of the year,” Carroll explained. “The Odell Lions has been doing this for 30 years. This fundraiser is used for scholarships, eyeglasses for those in need, plus many other community projects.”
In addition to the Odell Lions Club, Carroll is also on the Columbia Gorge Historic Highway Committee, Crates Point board (also known as the Discovery Center), Hood River Parks and Recreation board and is a member of the Knights of Columbus.