Phil Hamric Abington Lions Club, Massachusetts Some thought bowling alley owner Phil Hamric was crazy to take on an unusual fundraising project, but he was sold on it. What Hamric didn’t realize was what a surprising and memorable experience he would have. An Intriguing Idea I’m a coin collector, so the idea of collecting a million pennies ($10,000) as a Lions fundraiser for our public library caught my attention. I figured I could handle it, that it would take a couple of years. Other people weren’t so sure, but I knew it would work. Reality Sets In When the Million Penny Project pretty quickly hit 150,000, I started wondering what I had gotten myself into. I started asking, how will we store them? Transport them? Fortunately a lot of people helped, and a local bank had an armored car take them away when we reached our goal. An Easy Sell The most surprising thing to me was how willing people were to give up their pennies. They didn’t see them as real money. One guy dropped off 7,600. But I bet if I had asked him for $76 in bills, he wouldn’t have given it to me. A Million Memories It only took 10 months to reach 1 million. There were so many great moments. A WWII vet who walked with a cane brought me pennies that he had collected door-to-door. Kids would hand me three pennies. A retired IRS officer gave us 8,000 pennies she had in a closet. Good News You read the news, and it’s all bad. You forget that there are more good people than bad. Bags of pennies would show up anonymously every day. That part I miss. What I won’t miss: the lifting. Labor of Love Now I can focus on my little kingdom full-time again. I’ve owned Timber Lanes bowling center for 29 years. We play candlepin in New England, not 10-pin. It’s a smaller, lighter ball with no holes. I wear a lot of hats, but my favorite part is the people. A Spectator Sport I haven’t bowled in 10 years. I’m terrible. Plus, it’s like if you work in a chocolate factory, the last thing you want is chocolate. Most valued coin in collection is from ancient Egypt, 330 B.C. Dressed as a leprechaun to collect pennies at the St. Patrick’s Day parade Fabricates replacement parts for 59-yearold candlepin equipment himself Digital LION Watch a video about the Million Penny Project at lionmagazine.org. Read three stories from decades past about Lions bringing in big bucks through creative penny campaigns at lionmagazine.org. Do you know a Lion who you think has a great story or deserves a bit of recognition? Email us a brief description of the Lion and the reason you’re making the nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include “One of Us” in the subject line.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digital.lionmagazine.org/article/One+of+Us/2344115/284306/article.html.