Lions Clubs to Honor Dr. Tom Little

Dr. Thomas Little was an optometrist from Delmar who was killed on August 5, 2010, while on a medical mission in Afghanistan. Dr. Tom, as he was known to his friends and patients, was not a Lion, but his 33 years of bringing eye care to those who desperately needed it exemplified what Lionism is all about. In appreciation of his efforts and accomplishments, a number of capital-district Lions clubs have donated the funds necessary to grant him a posthumous bronze-level Knight of the Blind Award. When Helen Keller spoke to the Lions at their international convention in 1925, she implored them to become “Knights of the Blind in the crusade against darkness,” thus establishing the solving of vision-related problems as a main focus of Lionism.

Lion Tom Hart, vice-president of the Albany & Troy Lions Club, came up with the idea of honoring Dr. Tom. The A&T Lions made the first donation and then shepherded the collection from many other area clubs. The contributing Lions clubs are Albany & Troy, Amsterdam, Bethlehem, Broadalbin-Perth, Cambridge, Central Mohawk Valley, Galway, Glens Falls, Gloversville, Granville, Hadley-Luzerne, Hadley-Luzerne Lioness, Hoosick Falls, Northville-Sacandaga, Ravena, Saratoga Springs and Sauquoit Valley. All the funds benefit the Lions Eye Institute (LEI) at 1220 New Scotland Ave in Slingerlands. The LEI is an unmatched regional source of excellence in research, education and treatment. It provides acute eye care for residents of eastern New York, southern Vermont and western Massachusetts; it maintains state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment equipment; it is the only program in the region that focuses its research on the causes and cures of eye diseases and blindness; and it educates and trains new ophthalmologists and primary-care medical students.

The award will be presented to Dr. Tom’s widow on December 1, 2010, at the celebration of the Albany & Troy Lions Club’s 85th Anniversary. A&T Lions serve their local community, as do most Lions clubs, by providing eyeglasses and eye exams for those who can’t afford them, helping the needy obtain hearing aids, collecting used eyeglasses and hearing aids for distribution to developing countries, educating school nurses about children’s vision and hearing problems, participating in health fairs and blood drives, sponsoring awards and scholarships at area high schools, providing financial support to a variety of non-profit organizations, and performing other acts of service as needed by their local communities. You can find out more about the Albany & Troy Lions Club and how they fulfill their motto, “We Serve,” at or by calling (518) 266-7788.

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