Members of the Greencastle Lions Club marked decades of service during the 75th charter night celebration April 27 at the Kauffman Community Center.
They were joined by members of the Greencastle-Antrim Lioness Club, which they sponsored in 1979, and other regional Lions clubs, past district governors, current district and national Lions representatives and local dignitaries.
The program included information about the history of the club and its fundraising and service projects over the years, awards and speaker RJ Harris of the RJ Harris Breakfast Show on WHP 580 in Harrisburg.
About the Greencastle Lions Club
The Greencastle Lions Club, with 26 members, received a charter from Lions Club International on April 13, 1944. The club follows the international vision "to be the global leader in community and humanitarian service," and in addition to the G-A Lioness Club, also sponsored the G-A Blue Leo Club, which was chartered in 1995.
"We presently have 30 members and are always recruiting new members to share in the fun and service," according to King Lion Darrell Miller, who later said, "It becomes a way of life."
The club's list of projects and fundraisers is long and over the years, the Greencastle Lions have given more than $900,000 to individuals, charities, organizations and other areas in need of financial help.
Current service projects include the Little Free Library at Jerome R. King Playground, quarterly fundraisers for local food banks, senior Student of the Month recognition and scholarships, community egg hunt, holiday treat bags, collection of eyeglass, eye exams and glasses, building handicapped ramps and Old Home Week activities.
Long-time member John Rishel received the Lion of the Year Award. The retired teacher, coach and athletic director has made "all-around" contributions to the club, Miller said, serving in roles such as president and membership chairman; being involved in activities like broom sales, egg hunts and Pizza Hut fundraisers; and being the ticket taker at the annual Lions Club pancake breakfast.
John McDowell received the Melvin Jones Fellowship, the highest presentation in Lionism.
"This club thought very highly of you," Darrell Miller said to an emotional McDowell, describing him as "always one of those Lions who was behind the scenes."
McDowell was instrumental in dissolving the corporation formed when the club owned the Antrim House and work to sell the building, which resulted in donations of $108,000 to the Lilian S. Besore Memorial Library and $72,000 to Jerome R. King Playground in 2013.
McDowell is no longer a member the the Lions Club but he is involved with the Greencastle Area Youth Foundation, which is working to restore and preserve the High Line Train Station.
The evening included the presentation of a check to GAYF President Scott Sutton for $1,000, the final part of a $3,000 pledge by the Lions Club, by Joann Williams, secretary of the Greencastle Lions Club and a past district governor..
Keldeen Stambaugh, district governor, congratulated the Lions on 75 years of "fun, fellowship and service to your community."
She also gave chevrons for milestone recognition from Lions International to John Alleman, Joann Williams and Charlie Parsons and patches to the club for meeting centennial service challenges.
Perfect attendance awards were given to Sam Needy, eight years; John Rishel, 14 years; Dr. Charlie Parsons, 15 years; John Alleman, 16 years; Joann Williams, 16 years; Charlie Booze Sr., 19 years; Ron Snyder, 21 years; Bill Needy, 26 years; Darrell Miller, 27 years; and Paul Freeman, 38 years.
Proclamations in honor of the club's 75th anniversary were issued by the Borough of Greencastle and Antrim Township.
"Organizations like the Lions Club are so supportive in so many ways," said Greencastle Mayor Ben Thomas Jr. "It's organizations and people like you who make a difference."
The RJ Harris Breakfast show is one of the highest rate morning radio programs by market share in the country and Harris was proclaimed "The Morning Governor" by former Gov. Tom Corbett.
He started his program with trivia about lions (the animal) and Lions (the club). The answers about the Lions Club revealed that the organization was formed in the United States and it was Helen Keller who challenged the Lions "to be knights of the blind."
The bulk of his program was about his 200 pound weight loss after being obese since age 12 and topping out around 400 pounds.
Those in attendance were given copies of his book "It Ain't Easy Being Fat But That's Your Problem," subtitled "Tough Love for a Recovering Foodaholic."
"It's an addiction to food," Harris said in his light-hearted but serious remarks, explaining chocolate peanut butter Easter eggs "are like crack cocaine to me."
He compared it to drug addiction and once looked up statistics from the Centers for Disease Control that showed in one year when 38,000 died of opioid abuse, 360,000 people died from obesity-related causes.
He talked about all the diets he tried over the years and said, "It's not a diet ... you gotta eat that way for the rest of your life."
Harris' talk and book included key points such as eat three normal meals a day; embrace and eat fruits and vegetables; weigh and measure everything; write down all you eat; weigh yourself daily; eat what you love; biggie size nothing; be honest; find a hobby, don't sit around, go outside; every day, every hour counts; pray/talk yourself out of it; never diet again; cook; and get help.