Manistee Lions Club celebrates efforts, adds new member

The Manistee Lions Club held an induction and awards dinner on Tuesday evening. Pictured (front row, from left to right) are officers John Carter, Susan Mencarelli, Virginia Szymanski, Glenda Finner, new inductee Judy Ross, officers Lorraine Conway, Michael Szymanski and Dan Gibson; (middle row) Officer Margaret Moser; (back row) Officers Ted Ross, Richard Veine, John Mencarelli and Catherine Eubanks. (Kyle Kotecki/For the News Advocate)

The Manistee Lions Club held an induction and awards dinner on Tuesday evening. Pictured (front row, from left to right) are officers John Carter, Susan Mencarelli, Virginia Szymanski, Glenda Finner, new inductee Judy Ross, officers Lorraine Conway, Michael Szymanski and Dan Gibson; (middle row) Officer Margaret Moser; (back row) Officers Ted Ross, Richard Veine, John Mencarelli and Catherine Eubanks. (Kyle Kotecki/For the News Advocate)

By Kyle Kotecki
For the News Advocate

MANISTEE — The Manistee Lions Club took a well-deserved respite from the hard work members do year-round to hold an induction and awards dinner Tuesday evening.

Manistee Lions Club inductee Judy Ross receives her Lions Club membership pin from her sponsor, Ted Ross, as Lion PDG Pam Schroeder looks on. (Kyle Kotecki/For the News Advocate)

Manistee Lions Club inductee Judy Ross receives her Lions Club membership pin from her sponsor, Ted Ross, as Lion PDG Pam Schroeder looks on. (Kyle Kotecki/For the News Advocate)

The club benefits the community in a number of ways. They put on various fundraising efforts, donate time to numerous causes and provide free vision testing to children at events such as the Victorian Sleighbell Parade & Old Christmas Weekend and the chapter’s annual Fish Boil during the Manistee National Forest Festival.

“Our most recent project is we are working with five other clubs, and we’re all working together to donate $6,000 that the Vogue Theatre needed for assisted devices,” said chapter secretary Susan Mencarelli.

“We’ve given money to the Winter Whiteout for the schools,” she continued. “We’ve given to Love INC, and the Salvation Army and to Meals on Wheels.”

In a move that all the members felt was long overdue, longtime Lions Club guest Judy Ross finally made it official and was inducted into the Manistee Lions Club.

“My husband has been a Lion for 30-some years, and I have always worked side by side with him and all the other Lions,” Ross said. “I did as much as I could possibly do for them, and I just decided it was time to become a Lion myself.”

Virginia Szymanski receives the Lion of the Year award from John Mencarelli. (Kyle Kotecki/For the News Advocate)

Virginia Szymanski receives the Lion of the Year award from John Mencarelli. (Kyle Kotecki/For the News Advocate)

Now that she’s a member, Ross doesn’t see much changing. She aims to do what she’s already been doing for decades: help Manistee in any way she can.

“(We will) do whatever we can for the community,” she said. “I’m looking forward to our Fish Boil coming up on June 29.”

Chapter treasurer Virginia Szymanski received the distinguished honor of being named Lion of the Year.

Service clubs don’t just benefit the community — they are a community. They’re groups of altruistic individuals coming together for the common good and on Tuesday night the Manistee Lions Club was able to reward its members’ tireless efforts at the awards ceremony.

After the ceremony wrapped, however, it didn’t take long for the members to start discussing their upcoming events and various ways they can continue to benefit others. Fortunately, they don’t have to do it alone.

“The other service clubs are important, too,” Mencarelli said. “The Rotary and the Kiwanis and the Elks, we all work together to help fill in some of the gaps and make this a great place to live.”

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