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Chewsville Lions still active as group turns 50

September 05, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

CHEWSVILLE - When it's time for the Chewsville Lions Club meeting to come to order Tuesday, Romayne Miller and Richard Hebb plan to be there. After all, they've had perfect attendance since the club was formed 50 years ago.

"We're the only two charter members left," Miller said.

He and Hebb are still active in the club, which has met at Bethel United Methodist Church since it was founded in 1955.

The club initially was sponsored by the Hagerstown and Smithsburg Lions clubs and had 50 male members when organized. Now down to about 15 male and female members, the club's biggest challenge is attracting new and younger members to carry on the Lions Club tradition of service.

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Through the years, the club has raised funds for scholarships and contributed to agencies such as Goodwill and the Red Cross, Miller said. Members also collect and distribute eyeglasses to those in need, help sponsor Leader Dog programs and fund diabetes research.

Fundraising and good food have always gone hand-in-hand with the Chewsville Lions. When the Great Hagerstown Fair was still at the fairgrounds, the club operated a stand, at which it sold its famous country ham sandwiches.

Ron Busey, the club treasurer, said he grew up on Cannon Avenue and remembers, "as a kid seeing the Chewsville Lions Club members in their stand, selling sandwiches and pop."

When he joined the club about 25 years ago, Busey said open-faced beef sandwiches also were big sellers.

Now even though the Great Hagerstown Fair is just a memory, the club has its country ham sandwiches available at certain times during the year. Orders can be placed by calling 301-739-3298.

Turkey and waffle dinners are held periodically at the church.

Each year, the Chewsville Lions Club has had a food stand at the Mack Bulldog Rally, but due to construction on the plant's parking lot, the rally won't be held this year.

"We are grateful that Volvo (Powertrain) sent the club a check for $1,000 instead," Busey said. Volvo Powertrain formerly was Mack Trucks.

A yard sale is planned along Md. 64 on Sept. 24 to raise money, Busey said. And during the holidays, the club sells fruitcakes.

"We usually raise between $4,000 and $5,000 a year," Busey said.

Hebb said a program is usually offered at one of the meetings each month while business is conducted at the other. Food is served at both.

"The ladies of the church used to serve food at the meetings, but now the meals are catered," he said.

Miller and Hebb are 86 years old and were members of the Class of 1937 at Hagerstown High School.

"I really enjoy being in this club because it gives you a chance to serve people in need," Hebb said.

The club does a lot for young people, and that includes Valley Little League and Boy Scout Troop 62 at the community center.

But Hebb admits it's the fun and friendship that keep him coming back.

"I was a teacher for many years," Miller said. "Now I enjoy the chance to serve the community I live in through the Chewsville Lions Club."

The current president of the club is Martha Middlekauff. James Roby Jr. is secretary; Busey is treasurer; Warren Middlekauff is lion tamer; and Roy Sisk is the tail twister.

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