Lion Andy Romano moved to Ormond Beach, Florida, as a 12-year-old when his family fled the snow and cold of Massachusetts to live among the palmettos and scrub pines in what was then a tiny, pre-World War II community of 500. He joined the Ormond Beach Lions Club a year after it chartered in 1954. Now with a population of 38,000, Ormond Beach is recognizing 90-year-old Romano as one of its premier citizens with the building of the $8.2 million Andy Romano Beachfront Park. Romano’s daughter, Heidi, an architect, designed the park with input from the city and residents. A playground, splash park, picnic areas, restrooms and a concession stand complete the Andy Romano Beachfront Park. “I drive up here every day and still can’t believe my name’s up here,” he says of his legacy. “I never expected something this nice.” At 91, Lion Henry Chiminiello of North Port, Florida, still spends more than 1,000 hours a year in service to others. A World War II veteran, he volunteers at his local VFW Post 8203 and the Salvation Army. He visits a nursing home and spends time at elementary schools in the area to help students with their literacy skills between two and three times a week. “This gentleman starts his day at 8 o’clock in the morning and doesn’t quit until sometime in the afternoon,” says Lion Vergne Gregrich. When Ralph Wilson first joined the Marshalltown Lions Club in Iowa in 1937 as a young man in his mid-20s, he probably had no idea that he’d still be a Lion 76 years later. Now 102, Wilson recently moved to Mesa, Arizona, where his son, also named Ralph, drives him to his club meetings. “He has given up golf and driving but still has the gift of gab,” Wilson, a Rotarian, says of his father. The retired banker celebrated his milestone birthday on a fishing trip in San Diego. Accompanied by family members, Wilson may have become one of the sport’s oldest anglers on his quest to hook sand bass in Mission Bay. “He somehow caught the most fish,” his son says. Ted Allen of the Taber Lions Club in Alberta, Canada, proudly notes that had he waited five more minutes to make his entrance into the world on Feb. 28, 1912, he would have shaved more than 75 years off his age as a leap year baby. At 101, he’s been a Lion for most of his adult life. He is the only remaining charter member of his club, established in 1935. The organization AARP Virginia and Dr. Warren Stewart, who served as its president from 2006 to 2012, received the J. Franklin Jameson Archival Advocacy Award from the Society of American Archivists for the Desegregation of Virginia (DOVE) project. Stewart, a retired educator, is a member of the Norfolk Ocean Lions Club in Virginia. The DOVE exhibit of photographs and documentaries chronicling the state’s desegregation movement was on display at the state capitol. AARP provided financial and logistical support as well as volunteers to staff the display. Hot Springs Village Lion Surry Shaffer was among a select few World War II veterans in Arkansas who enjoyed a free flight and tour of the memorial built in their honor in Washington, D.C. Part of the Honor Flight Network, a national effort to recognize WWII veterans, the trip included volunteer medical personnel and other individuals who personally looked after the veterans during the whirlwind day trip. Shaffer, 88, is a recipient of the Purple Heart, awarded to soldiers wounded or killed in combat.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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