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Another View: An appreciation: Thank you, Lower Lehigh Lions Club

I was helping to ready the East Penn Press and Salisbury Press for publication a few weeks ago when a story by my colleague Beverly Springer made me put down my proofing pen.

The headline read ‘Group disbands after 61 years of service.’

I quickly texted my siblings. I’d like to think we grieved together for a moment.

We knew the Lower Lehigh Lions Club.

Our dad joined the club soon after our move here from Delaware County and was a Lower Lehigh Lion for many years.

A Lions Club International decorative license plate was displayed on the front of his car for a time.

As kids, my siblings and I attended and were in the Macungie Halloween Parade, an event for which our dad and his fellow club members sold what often seemed to be enough apple cider to fill an oil tanker to raise funds.

And, of course, there was the biannual flea market.

The Friday before each flea market meant an early dinnertime because my dad and his colleagues were meeting to line the lawn at Macungie Memorial Park to create the spaces for sellers to display their wares.

My siblings and I sometimes attended the flea market. I was at one such market when I found and bought a military pith helmet that I went on to wear for much of my early teen years, no doubt to the great embarrassment of my family members - although they never said so.

Proceeds from the biannual event benefited area charities as well as club community projects.

The Lower Lehigh Lions offered incalculable life lessons, possibly unintentionally, as well: the fun of teamwork, the importance of volunteering, helping others and lending a hand to those in need, especially through work with a camp for the visually impaired, and, most of all, the value of friendship.

In a kitchen cabinet with the holiday china, my dad’s Lower Lehigh Lions Club directory can be found, and in many ways, the directory is a roll call of his friends. A message pad still next to the landline phone at home came from a printing business owned by a Lower Lehigh Lion. Another fellow Lion helped my dad wallpaper the downstairs powder room many years ago. Another could be depended on to fix the grandfather clock in the dining room when it would mysteriously stop working. And when my mother became ill, a Lion and his wife came to visit with her in the rehabilitation hospital one Sunday after they attended church.

At a viewing a few years ago for one of my father’s closest Lower Lehigh Lions Club friends, I waited in line to offer condolences to his widow.

“I remember you,” she said. “You’re Gil’s daughter. Thank you for coming.”

I had to attend. My dad would have.

Thank you, Mr. Shoch, Mr. Mumbauer, Mr. Mead, Mr. Schoedler, Mr. Kichline, Mr. Hawk, Mr. Esposito, Mr. Wheeler, Mr. Stoudt, Mr. Danner and so many others for all of your work in the Lower Lehigh Lions Club. Thank you, most of all, for being my father’s friends.

Now, if I can just find my pith helmet. It may be in the garage.

April Peterson

editorial assistant

East Penn Press

Salisbury Press

PRESS PHOTO BY APRIL PETERSON The collected pins, many made of metal, commemorating various Lions Clubs, club events and other special occasions weigh in at several pounds. A second vest was needed to display them all.