The Lions Legacy Society™

Lions Legacy Society Members Red & Beverly Bingham

The Lions Legacy Society of the Northwest Lions Foundation honors a special group of individuals who are partners with us in planning for the future.

By designating the Northwest Lions Foundation, SightLife (formerly a Lions eye bank), or the Northwest Lions Endowment Fund, a recipient of deferred gifts through their financial or estate plans, or a current “Living Bequest,” these thoughtful friends provide a dependable stream of support for our mission — and a legacy of love in keeping with the rich meaning of “Leaving a Lions Legacy.”

We pledge to use each of these future and current gifts to continue to provide cornea transplants around the world while strengthening and underwriting local Lions Programs, which benefit communities throughout our region. If you have planned a bequest or other future gift to benefit the NLF, please let us know so we can include you in the Annual Lions Legacy Society Tour and Luncheon in your honor. Please contact the Northwest Lions Foundation at 206-682-8500 or email justin.marquart@sightlife.org.

Planned Giving

Planned giving can reduce your taxes or provide income while you’re living. Your gift from your estate can also restore Sight & Hearing for many, many individuals long after you’re gone.

Red & Beverly Bingham: A Lions Legacy That Rumbles

The letter asked Red Bingham if he wanted a Lions Legacy that roars, but as usual, Red had his own idea. What if it rumbled instead? And what if that rumble came from a Kenworth diesel tractor with more than enough power to pull the Lions Health Screening Unit from one end of Multiple District 19 to the other for years to come, serving the Lions sight and hearing mission at each stop along the way?

To Red it fit — the right tool for the right job courtesy of “Mr. Fix-It,” his nickname to many Lions around MD19. Several steps remained before he and wife Beverly turned the key on a $145,000 legacy gift that adds a giant exclamation point to the District’s recent successful capital campaign to raise money for a new trailer. “When I read that the tractor would have to be replaced next, I knew what I wanted to do,” he says.

Step one: Clear it with “the general superintendent.” After all, it was Beverly’s idea 48 years ago to buy the couple’s first five shares in PACCAR (Pacific Car and Foundry), the company that manufactures Kenworth and Peterbuilt tractors. Back then, those shares cost slightly more than $300 total. A couple of purchases later — not to mention a few passing decades and more than a few dividends converted to shares — their investment had appreciated in value to where Red and Beverly had the means to make this generous gift. Or as Red puts it, “PACCAR really paid for this tractor, not us.”

Step two: Call PDG Mike Parker, LHSU Operations Manager, to make sure he was willing to drive a Kenworth. The call went well. Or as Red remembers it, “I thought Mike was going to come through the telephone to me.”

Why Red Bingham loves Kenworth tractors

It’s a good thing PDG Mike shares Red’s affection for Kenworths. Otherwise the deal was off. “I’m a bullheaded old goat and I don’t care who knows it,” says Red. “It was a Kenworth or nothing.” The declaration comes with a big Red Bingham smile, which invites the listener to join Red in having a laugh at himself. The smile helps Red get away with always doing it his way, but a proven track record for knowing what he’s talking about on all things mechanical helps, too.

The love affair with Kenworth started on old Highway 99. In their early years of marriage, Red and Beverly lived in an apartment located alongside a stretch of the highway near the Duwamish River. PACCAR’s manufacturing plant was close by, and the company used this same stretch of highway to test drive its Kenworth tractors. It was this bird’s eye preview of each model, including one jet-powered version, that impressed the Bingham’s senses and captured their loyalty. Eventually Beverly told Red, “We have to buy some stock in this business.”

That decision and their loyalty through the years paid dividends that now transfer to the whole of MD19 in material form as a brand new Kenworth tractor — “the world’s best truck,” according to Red. “It’s gotta be first class,” he says, “because the Lions Health Screening Unit is something that I think is pretty darn important.”

Why Red Bingham loves Lions

Through his working career, Red Bingham held the kind of jobs that can obsess a man. As a deckhand/diver tender, then a diver, and then a crew chief for McCray Marine Construction for 25 years, he performed backbreaking work in an environment where mistakes could cost lives.

His first job as a diver was on a sewer outfall in Anchorage, Alaska. He supervised the crew that installed anchors 200 to 300 feet underwater to secure the Hood Canal Bridge. Another of his crews had the rare misfortune of having the Columbia River freeze solid on them just before they reached the far shore in a project to lay 12,000 feet of 36-inch pipe across the river.

After McCray, Red bought his own diving barge. He put sweat equity and his own money into bringing the Diver Three into compliance with the highest safety standards, then leased it to projects around the nation. Sometimes he stayed with the barge to assist with operations; other times he delivered it to others’ care. “I would have to pick him up in the strangest places,” Beverly remembers.

Through the long hours and the travel, Red also found time to build the couple’s first home from scratch on a 6.5 acre parcel of land in the Richmond Highlands. The project took 15 years because Red both refused to buy materials until he had the money to pay for them and did the work himself. They had to live in the basement while the house was being finished, but no mortgage for the Binghams and Red got to build the place exactly the way Beverly and he wanted.

Which brings us to the Lions. “When you put too much work in your life then you lose something,” he says now. “I used the Lions as a release.”

Wise as that may sound, Beverly has another version of how Red became a Lion 42 years ago. “I asked my friend to ask her husband to ask Red to join the Lions,” she explains. Sometimes with a man fully in charge of his own destiny, it takes the deft touch of a woman like Beverly to get him there. It is evident in talking with the two of them together that Red realizes and appreciates this. Beverly was a Lion, too, as a member of the former Shoreline Lady Lions Club. Through 61 years of marriage, 3 wonderful children, 8 grandchildren, and 5 great grands, she has been with Red every step of the way, sometimes maybe even a little in front.

Ironically, Red’s “relief” through Lions involves an impressive list of projects, first with the Shoreline Club and now with Edmonds. Besides fixing and customizing equipment like a van used for efficient installation of flag poles or the chassis for the zone parade float, the Lions hearing mission is Red’s niche. He helped establish hearing foundations for both District B and MD19. He was also highly involved in the Lions Early Assessment Project (LEAP) that initiated hearing screening tests for all newborns in Washington State hospitals. And he has spent many years as Club Hearing Chairman, first for the Shoreline Club and now for Edmonds. There’s more, but this partial accounting shows why Red is a Melvin Jones Progressive Fellow, the highest honor awarded by Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF).

It also helps explain why the frequently outspoken, rarely abashed Red found himself temporarily overwhelmed at a recent MD19 Council Governor’s Dinner where he and Beverly were honored. As he looked out from the podium it struck him how lucky they were to be in a position to do something vital for a project as important as the Lions Health Screening Unit. “It hit me all of the sudden that this was a pretty big deal,” he remembers. “I choked up and could hardly give my speech.”

Not to worry, Red. When it comes to serving others, you put muscle over mouth for the last 42 years. Now sit back a spell and listen to the legacy. No words necessary. The rumble of a 375 horsepower diesel Kenworth tractor will say things just right for many years to come.

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Hal & Lynn Vaughn: Practice What You Preach Personified

She’s a California girl. Lynn Vaughn’s grandparents operated a large orange grove near San Bernardino. Part of her early life was listening to the frost report at 8 pm to learn whether they would have to smudge that night.

He’s a Seattle boy, born and raised near Rainier Valley. Hal used a clerical job at Seattle First National Bank to pay his way through courses at the University of Washington. The bank got a pretty good deal too. Hal stayed there for 25 years or so before moving to another bank in Bellingham. All told, he says his years in the banking industry add up to “forever.”

You know them best as Lions. Judging from a visit to their Bellingham home, that also may be the skin they’re most comfortable in themselves — at least if his and her Lions dens are any indication. Hal’s overflows with stuffed Lions and pins and patches collected from around the world. Lynn’s collects dust (her own assessment). My own inspection verified that the walls in both dens are filled with too many service awards to list.

Of course being a strong Lion sometimes involves sacrifices — like consenting to an interview and enduring this story when you prefer a low profile. We convinced Lynn that this is her duty as a member of the Northwest Lion’s Endowment Board. Perhaps that’s the best indication of all of who Hal and Lynn Vaughn are — servers.

How they met

A family friend from Germany told Lynn that jobs are really just an excuse to travel to new places you wanted to see anyway. So in 1956 she left her insurance job in San Francisco and came to Seattle, where she found work in a clerical office at Seattle First National Bank. You probably guessed this next part. The path to a life of travel ended right in that office, blocked by the desk of one Hal Vaughn. “A co-worker told me that Hal was a definite catch,” Lynn remembers, “and she was only sharing the news with me because she was already married.” Their first date was dinner at Ivars, and they were married in December of 1957.

How they serve

She’s married to a bank executive; she’s the daughter of a bank executive, and her degree from Stanford University is in finance. Small wonder Lynn jokes of having served in every imaginable financial post that MD19 has to offer. Wait a minute … maybe she isn’t joking.

Hal has pushed a pencil or two on behalf of Lions organizations himself. He preceded Lynn on the Foundation’s Endowment Board and has long sought to build broad support within MD19 for community-backed programs like the Lions Hearing Aid Bank, Lions Patient Care Grants, and the Lions Health Screening Unit.

How they live

Their home in Bellingham with the dual Lions dens sits on a point that juts into Lake Whatcom. Luxury amenities pretty much start and end with the view. Modest in size, the house itself is dwarfed by the mansion next door. Inside, pine walls and big windows give a summer cottage feel upgraded for comfortable living.

How they give

Quietly. Smart.

You could say Hal and Lynn knew the ropes when they gave a bequest of Horizon Bank stock to the Northwest Lions Endowment in December 2007 to support charitable sight and hearing projects in MD19.

Hal’s career in banking led him through a series of increased responsibilities in the trust departments of regional banks. He retired from his last position as head of the trust department at Horizon Bank in Bellingham with a keen appreciation of the power of bequests. With a little planning and the right advice, they can take care of loved ones and provide unending support for chosen charitable causes.

Lynn’s involvement with bequests started as a young adult when her father included her in decisions about who to support with bequests from a family trust fund established by her grandparents. She is still active in that trust and now seeks opportunities to involve her own children in its operation.

For Hal and Lynn, the bequest to the Northwest Lions Endowment was a chance not just to help but to use their banking and life experiences to earmark a trail for others to follow.

What they want you to know

Bequests are both highly appreciated and needed to build the Northwest Lions Endowment into a wellspring of funding for community programs.

Even if you already have a will, it may be time to look at updates that can generate income while you’re living or provide for loved ones when you’re gone.

Leave it to the ever-practical Lynn to summarize an additional good reason to consider having a professional evaluate your will for compatibility with your current financial situation and goals: “There’s a lot of merit,” she says, “in giving it away before the government gets it.”

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