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Indian-American Lions Club receives charter in Cumming meeting

Namaste is a Sanskrit word used in India and here in the states by the Indian-American Community as a greeting. It literally means “I bow to you.”

And so, the newest Lions Club in Georgia chose “Atlanta Namaste” as its chapter name and was officially presented with its charter at a recent meeting in Cumming. With that, the club becomes part of the largest service organization comprised of 46,000 affiliates and more than 1.4 million members around the world.

Ramesh Gude, is the president of this Indian-American Club. Speaking with him just prior to his installation as leader of the 30-member unit, Gude told me that Lions Clubs are very popular back home in his native India where they provide many much-needed programs for the poor, hungry and disadvantaged.

“We started this club to serve local communities in Georgia,” he said.

Gude, a consultant in the technology industry, said he was especially proud to accept the club charter during this, the 100th anniversary year of Lions International, and particularly because the worldwide organization has elected Dr. Naresh Aggarwal of Batala, Punjab, India to be the first Indian ever to serve as international president.

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Mark Bradley, district governor for Lions Clubs in 34 counties across Northeast Georgia, helped to launch the newest club at its first-ever meeting. .Along with other Lions officials and members of the Cumming Lions Club, Bradley was looking forward to the potential good work the members of the Namaste Club can bring to both the Indian and larger communities.

“We’re absolutely excited about it,” he said.

Lions International is well known for its programs to address diabetes awareness, pediatric cancer, vision issues, hunger and its service dog program. Bradley expects the new Indian club will support those programs and some others that may be unique to the large local Indian community, with an estimated population of around 20,000 in the North Fulton, Forsyth and Gwinnett area.

The 60-year-old Gude is a native of Amaravathi in the southeastern part of the sub-continent. He now resides in Lilburn, and told me his members have already started helping others by providing gift packages for Atlanta’s homeless. The club, he said, intends to continue helping that population with food and warm clothing, but also is focused on a family in Suwanee in need of the club’s support.

Melvin Jones of Chicago, founded Lions International a century ago. His mantra: “You can’t get very far until you do something for somebody else.” Jones would be pleased to see his vision of selfless service being carried out by Ramesh Gude and the members of the Namaste Lions Club.

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