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Hancock Lions Club looks back 50 years

November 13, 2000|By ANDREA ROWLAND

Hancock Lions Club looks back 50 years



HANCOCK - Charles Wertman and Millard Creek said they didn't know what they were getting into when they agreed to join the fledgling Hancock Lions Club nearly 50 years ago.

Cleaning hundreds of chickens in the rear of refrigerated trucks? Building bathrooms in the park? Peddling funnel cakes on the street? Traveling across the country to national conventions?

"'Course I didn't know anything about the Lions Club back then," said Creek, 77. "I just heard it was a civic organization that did good in the community."

"It's been a lot of work," said Wertman, 84, "and we survived it."

Creek and Wertman are the only two original Hancock Lions still active in the club, which celebrates its 50th anniversary today.

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The Hancock natives helped launch a club that today funds charitable projects ranging from food banks to college scholarships to vision research.

"We've did a lot of good in this community," Creek said.

Sponsored by the Clear Spring and Williamsport Lions Clubs, the Hancock Lions got their start under the direction of first president and membership recruiter, Dorsey Fleming.

The original 39 members staged three-act plays at the old elementary school to raise funds. The club's first projects were buying new uniforms for the Hancock High School band and building rest rooms at Widmyer Park, Creek and Wertman said.

They went door to door selling brooms made by blind people to help fund vision research.

Club members sold more than 2,000 chicken halves this year during the Lions' trademark chicken barbecue fund-raisers, third vice president Fran Shives said.

In the old days, club members grilled the meat in cement and sand pits and cleaned chickens in the back of a refrigerated truck, Wertman said.

"After that, you didn't want to see it for awhile," he said.

Membership high points included meeting other Lions at district meetings and national conventions from Atlanta to Hawaii, said Creek and Wertman, who each have served as club president twice and now hold the titles of club director.

They remain active to help the community and serve as examples to younger members, they said.

The Club's service mission hasn't changed over the years, but some policy revisions reflect the changing times - like allowing women to join the Lions.

"I don't believe in it," Wertman said. "They have their own Lioness Club and that's where they belong."

He's felt at times like calling it quits, but continues to serve to help others, Wertman said.

Creek said the "fun and harmony" in the club makes his enduring membership worthwhile. And he thinks the Hancock Lions will see another 50 years.

"I feel Lionism is here to stay," Creek said.

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