Local Lions chapter marks sixty years of service
MONTGOMERY – The Montgomery Chapter of Lions International celebrated its 60th anniversary with a banquet Saturday evening, February 20, at the Clinton Township Fire Hall.
It was noted the first Charter night had been held at Christ Lutheran Church on February 8, 1956 with William Young first president.
Sixty years later, Lion Norman Kobbe, the celebration’s chair, gave a general welcome then called upon Lion Paul Wertman for the invocation and later the benediction.
Lion President Doug Engelman introduced guests who offered congratulations. Attending were County Commissioner Rick Mirabito; Montgomery Mayor Andy Onufrak; Lions District Governor (DG) Charles Poust; and representatives from various neighboring Lions organizations including Montoursville, Muncy and Warrensville.
Commissioner Mirabito said, “On behalf of the people of Lycoming County, thank you for what you do.”
“It’s wonderful to have a charter group here,” said Mayor Onufrak, and in the spirit of pride for the borough added, “And it’s ours.”
DG Poust of Ferguson Township near State College, heads 58 clubs in the district. He shared the motto established by this year’s Lions International President Dr. Jitsuhiro Yamada of Japan.
“Dignity, Harmony and Humanity.” In honor of Dr. Yamada , Nancy Poust fashioned 1,500 origami cranes for the table settings. The birds symbolize good wishes and good will. Each setting was decorated with a colorful folded paper fowl.
DG Poust chronicled many of the programs sponsored by Lions Clubs. Locally at Montgomery over the years, eighteen community groups or events have been sponsored totaling $250,000. In addition, they aided District and International Projects donating over $110,000.
For fundraising, sauerkraut has been the group’s largest money maker. Norm Kobbe, kraut making chair, reported during the past 59 years, the group has made 88,000 gallons generating $350,000 in income. Kobbe estimates that 770,000 pounds of raw cabbage has the equivalent of 308 tons of cured kraut.
The chairperson went on to say the kraut making idea came from Watsontown, and after Montgomery established it, the Lions of Picture Rocks followed suit.
Proving work was interspersed with play, Kobbe showed a 12- minute program on screen. Featured among activities of the past were the “Miss America Pageants.” The masculine bevy of beauties strutted in swim suits and twirled in evening gowns as they vied for the crown. Many Lions participated, including George Amos Smith and James Pearce, with borough policemen and a high school band director as added contenders.
During the evening banquet, Chevron pins celebrating anniversary milestones were awarded to the following: Melvin Alexander 10 years; John Treese Jr 10 years; Richard Snodgrass 25 years; C. Roger McRae 35 years; Larry Foresman 35 years.
Doug Engelman received the Melvin Jones award presented by DG Lion Charles Poust. Of Engelman Poust said, “The current president has had more than three decades of service, 15 years of perfect attendance. He is a two term president who has provided culinary skills and organizes the annual Halloween Parades.”
Attendance awards for years were as follows: Claude Mancini -1, John Clabaugh 6, Larry Grove 7, Randall Koser 10, Doug Engelman 15, Elmer Buck 31, Ben Weller 31, C. Roger McRae 32, Larry Foresman 33, Gerald Ranck 33, Norman Kobbe 45, and Paul Wertman 48.
The first ever “Round About Award,” was presented to Gerald Ranck by Norm Kobbe, saying, “Ranck is always around about taking care of whatever is needed.”
New members inducted included Tina and Larry Pickle sponsored by John Clabaugh, and George Nash sponsored by C. Roger McRae.
BRIEF TIME LINE of THE MONTGOMERY LIONS activities:
1959 -1960 Lion Wilbur Hall succeeded the presidency following his son Franklin Hall.
1962 Lion George Smith and wife attended the Lions International Convention at Miami, Florida. Smith served as Zone Chairman, Deputy District Governor, awarded Life Member, was president in 1963
1970 Nov. 25, first meeting in new hall, formally the State Liquor Store, purchased at a sum of $3,000.
1978 – For one year, served as Guiding Lions to establish new club in Coudersport, Potter County.
1986 – June Wagner retired after 30 years from making her great meals for the Lions. She was replaced by Elaine Kobbe.
1989 Albert Burrows, a second term president, was awarded Club Life Member when moving to Florida.
2003 Janet Kling became the clubs first female member.
2005 In memory of Lion Roger Barto, the club sponsored a “hole.” It then became an annual tournament with proceeds directed to Montgomery High School Scholarships.
2006 In memory of Lion Charles Green, a memorial brick was purchased and installed at Camp Victory.
2007 Lion Gerald Ranck was elected to the newly established position of Assistant Treasurer.
2012 In memory of Lions Tim Winder and Paul Bender, two more bricks were installed at Camp Victory.