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Lion Ray HempelWhat does it mean to make a difference? The dictionary definition says; it’s “having a significant effect on a person or the situation.” Many would say that making a difference is one of life’s biggest goals. So, is it is just us or is this phrase not getting the credit it deserves? We think that it’s meaning should read closer to “having a powerful impact on surrounding people and the environment.”

Ray Hempel was an outstanding individual who made a big difference in the Lions community and the world. In 1952, Lion Ray was in the hospital visiting two blind 12-year old boys. The group started talking about the great outdoors and Lion Ray asked if they ever attended camp. One of the boys responded with these famous words, “blind kids can’t go to outdoor camp and stuff like that.”

After the conversation, Lion Ray began imagining a camp that would provide an outdoor experience for blind children. He was an enthusiastic camper and Boy Scout Leader and thought everyone deserved to experience nature at its finest. In 1956, the Wisconsin Lions Camp was born. Since its development, the camp has touched the lives of thousands of children and adults with special needs.

Each and every day, Lions and Lionesses are making a difference in the lives of others, in their communities and the world. Do you know someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty? We encourage you to nominate that outstanding individual with the Ray Hempel Fellowship Award.

A Hempel Fellowship contribution of $1000 will be deposited into the permanent Lions Pride Endowment Fund, which helps support Lions Camp and other Wisconsin Lions Foundation state projects for both today and tomorrow.

Thank you for the difference that you are making every day!