Sobieski Lions prepare for 21st annual ‘Ride for Eyes’

“Eyesight is by far the most precious thing in life. That is why those of us who can see, will ride for those who can’t.” This has been the motto for the annual “Ride for Eyes” sponsored by the Sobieski Lions since its beginning. This year’s legendary ride will mark its 21st year, Saturday, Aug. 18. Pictured are Mark, left, and Mary Kedrowski, Sobieski Lions members.

For the 21st year, work is once again under way for this year’s motorcycle “Ride for Eyes” scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 18. As usual, the ride will start and end at Herbie’s Bar in Sobieski. Pre-registration starts at 1 p.m., with the ride to begin at 2 p.m. sharp. The event will be approximately a 50-mile run, with a stop at stop over at Schiffler’s Bar in St. Anthony.

Following the ride, refreshments and food will be available at Herbie’s Bar. There will also be many door prizes, a live auction and 10 $50 cash drawings, for which you must be registered and present to win.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend. There is a minimum pledge of $10 per person. The riders in the past have come from all over the state and as far away as California. In an effort to acknowledge that not only motorcycles are welcomed to participate in the ride, the Lone Eagle Auto Club will be following the procession of motorcycles. As in the past, all profits will be going to benefit the Lions Eye Bank.

The motto the Sobieski Lions Club has used every year has been: “Eyesight is by far the most precious thing in life. That’s why those of us who can see, will ride for those who can’t.” Because of this motto and the efforts of the ride, the Sobieski Lions have raised more than $100,000 for the Minnesota Lions Eye Bank, with last year’s 20th annual ride bringing in the most money in one single ride to date.

In addition, more than 20,000 pairs of eyeglasses have been gathered for the statewide program during the past 20 years that the local group has been involved.

“This project has not only succeeded in successfully raising funds and awareness for the Eye Bank, it has demonstrated to many residents that motorcyclists are responsible and active members of the community. They’re always willing to do what it takes to get the job done,” said Mark Kedrowski, chairman for the ride.

In recognition of the Sobieski Lion’s 25th anniversary, Robert Hoofnagle, past district governor, and 5M8 director of the Minnesota Lions Vision Foundation spoke to the club.

“The Sobieski Lions are generous and loyal friends of the Lions Eye Bank. In just the last decade, you have donated $48,450 to the Eye Bank and other Vision Foundation programs,” said Hoofnagle. “Since chartering, your generosity exceeds $100,000. This is an astonishing amount for 70-plus members to raise and we can’t thank you enough.”

He said, “Support is shown in more ways than just money, and we also appreciate your promotion of eye donation in your community. Since the Sobieski Lions Club chartered, your three area hospitals — St. Gabriel’s Hospital in Little Falls, CentraCare Health System in Long Prairie, and the Albany Area Hospital — have referred more than 118 donors to the Eye Bank. These donors made possible more than 91 cornea transplants and more than 170 eyes for use in research and medical education.”

“Thank you for all you do. Thank you for collecting thousands of pairs of used glasses,” said Hoofnagle. “Thank you for promoting the Minnesota Lions Eye Bank and eye donation. Thank you for raising awareness of sight issues like macular degeneration. Thank you for being good successful Lions and including the Minnesota Lions Vision Foundation in your service.

“The Sobieski Lions thank all of those who have supported their cause in any way and hope to see as many people again as possible the day of the ride, Saturday, Aug. 18.

Anyone who has questions and/or wants more information about the annual event, may call Mark or Mary Kedrowski at (320) 632-9730.