Bernie Lamp Sr., Bernie Lamp Jr., Bernie Lamp III and Andy Lamp Alpena Lions, Michigan Four generations of Lamps have represented the Alpena Lions starting with the late charter member Bernie Lamp Sr., who helped form the club in 1926 and always made Lions a part of his family’s life. Andy Lamp, 29, says it was a given that he would become a Lion. The connection between the Lamp men and the Alpena, Michigan, Lions has always been so strong that it was only a matter of time until he joined and became the fourth-generation link between Lions and Lamps. That time came in April when Lamp took the Lions oath, and three generations of Lamp men welcomed him into the club: His great-grandfather, Bernie Lamp Sr., there in spirit; his grandfather, Bernie Lamp Jr.; and his father, Bernie Lamp III. Bernie Lamp III (from left), Bernie Lamp Jr. and Andy Lamp enjoy working together on the Lions Trail. “Dad would be proud, very proud there’s a fourth-generation in the Alpena Lions,” says Bernie Jr. “I think it’s awful neat myself.” The Lamps, who all live within five miles of one another in a town where Lamps have lived since the 1800s, get together often to fish on Thunder Bay and to work on Lions’ projects. “Even if I don’t see him one day I know I can count on seeing my dad at Lions,” says Bernie III. “We’re always saying, ‘If I don’t see you tomorrow, I’ll see you at Lions.’ “ The Alpena Lions, who also have two three-generation families (the Murches and the Zellers) among their members, conduct their club meetings over lunch on Tuesdays. The club sells fruit and mints as fundraisers. They build a Fourth of July float and take part in White Cane Days. They collect and recycle about 2,000 eyeglasses annually, support the Michigan Donor Registry and maintain “Lions Trail,” a section of a bike and hiking path that the Lions took on about 20 years ago. It was on the trail where Andy Lamp got a memorable Lions’ dose of physical labor, and the Lions came to appreciate the power of youth. “He’s young and strong. He helped us haul the logs,” recalls his father. “I am proud of Andy as he carries on our family legacy of community service.” Andy says he probably should have become a Lion sooner, but he was busy getting his accounting career in gear. Then there was that time at his wedding in October of 2016 that gave him a kickstart. When his dad couldn’t attend a Lion meeting because of the wedding, some Lions from the club showed up at the wedding to present Bernie Lamp III with the Melvin Jones Award. Moved by the moment, Andy officially joined Lions, and now, he says, he’s working on “infusing some youth into the club.” Bernie Lamp III says his family witnessed firsthand the importance of the Lion focus on vision when his father lost sight in one eye due to glaucoma. Bernie Jr. remembers back a generation further. When his father, Bernie Lamp Sr., had a stroke in 1956, 10 years before he died, he used a wheelchair but still wanted to attend Lion meetings. It was Bernie Jr.’s job to pick him up and take him there. “And I caught hell if I didn’t take him,” recalls Bernie Jr. “Lions were always very important to him.”
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