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Lions Club serves more people each year

August 31, 2004|by Alicia Notarianni

A procession of hungry people lined two sides of the spacious Williamsport Red Men's picnic pavilion and jutted out into the parking lot Friday, Aug. 27, as members of the Williamsport Lions Club steadily served up meals at their annual ox roast.

By evening's end, Terry Doub, president of the Williamsport Lion's Club, said event workers had served about 600 people.

"This is fantastic," Doub said. "Every year the crowds are increasing. This is one of the biggest turnouts we've ever had."

Lee Downey, a member of the Williamsport Lions Club and co-chairman of the ox roast, said the event has been held for more than 27 years. This year, meals included a roast beef sandwich, coleslaw, all-you-can-eat corn on the cob and a beverage for $7.


Lions Club member Randy Longnecker, 45, of Williamsport, recruited his 10-year-old son, Stephen, to help prepare corn on the cob. Randy guided Stephen in chopping the stems off the cobs with a hatchet.

"Oh man! I knew this was gonna be big, but this is bigger than I thought," Randy Longnecker said good-spiritedly after chopping dozens of ears of corn. "The blister on my hand tells me that."

John Rand of Fairplay, who went to the ox roast with his uncle, Donnie Semler, and his daughter, Kristen Rand, 9, said he has been to every one for the last 10 or 12 years. His father, John Rand Sr., is a Lions Club member.

Regarding the growing crowds, John Rand said, "It's worth a wait in line."

Doub said he believes the event continues to draw regulars and pull in new recruits through good food, advance ticket sales and advertising.

Bob Cline, 75, and his friend SueAnn Sullivan, both of Williamsport, said they attend the ox roast every year to enjoy the company of other people and to support the work of the Lions Club.

"And I have to come and eat lots of corn," SueAnn added.

Carlos and Michelle Lemus of Falling Waters, W.Va., went to the event for their second time, taking along their children, Felix, 1, and Catalina, 3. They were invited by Michelle's father, Lucky Urias, 51, also of Falling Waters and a member of the Lions Club.

Midge Christopher, 77, of Williamsport, was a first-time attendee. Her daughter, Michelle Blankenship of Williamsport, got tickets from her boyfriend, Tony Rudolph of Martinsburg, W.Va., whose father, Jim Rudolph, is a club member.

"The food is very good, and I'm happy to support the club," Christopher said.

Nearly 50 club members and their spouses worked the event, serving 250 pounds of beef. Doub said he expects proceeds to be between $3,200 and $4,000.

He credited the Williamsport Red Men - Conococheague Tribe No. 84 - for allowing the Lions Club to use the picnic facilities free of charge and for a financial contribution.

Doub said proceeds will go back into the community through various projects including donations to schools, scholarships for high school seniors, food baskets at Christmas time, sponsorship of little league sports teams and assistance for individuals to buy eye glasses and hearing aids.

"When there's a need, we like to meet it," Doub said.

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