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Rocklin Lion earns statewide honor

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Allen Richards, a member of the Rocklin Lions Club for eight years, was named California Lion of the Year during the Lions annual convention in Ontario on Feb. 4. “Lion Allen is virtually a one-man success story,” explained Rocklin Lions Club member Victor Romulus Tulbure. “Totally blind, Allen is a Lion through and through.” With Richards’ efforts to raise the bar, Tulbure continued, the Rocklin club manages to collect between 5,000 and 6,000 pairs of glasses each year from optometrist offices, schools, churches and retail stores. “With Allen’s tireless, 24/7 dedicated efforts,” he continued, “Our total eyeglass count for last year reached an all-time club record of 37,790 pairs. Richards calls lost and found offices throughout the U.S. to claim lost glasses for the project. “Through these efforts, box after box are delivered to Allen’s apartment every other day,” Tulbure said. With the assistance of other members of the club, the glasses are counted and sorted. “It’s fair to say that Lion Allen makes at least 10 to 15 phone calls a day soliciting donations, following up with thank you calls and often just getting on the phone to talk with his friends across the country,” Tulbure said. Richards doesn’t limit his activities to collecting eyeglasses. Currently a first-year director for the Rocklin club, Richards also serves on the membership and fundraising committees. Allen is also instrumental in collecting used cell phones and IPods. Credit for this collection ($28,000 since 2005) is applied to pre-paid phone cards for U.S. personnel serving overseas. “Allen does not need to be served because it is Lion Allen Richards who serves,” Tulbure said. “Allen is truly an inspiration and a Lion that we all can be proud of.”