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Smith making most of Lions' post

August 10, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

HANCOCK - James Edward Smith says his former fellow employees at Jerr-Dann started calling him "Red" in the mid-1980s and the nickname stuck.

It wasn't hard to see why they called the new Hancock Lions Club president that as he took off his hat on a recent hot summer day at Widmeyer Park in Hancock. At age 51, his red hair and red beard show only a few signs of gray.

"Before then, I was Jimmy to everybody," Smith said. Now his mail sometimes comes addressed to Red Smith.

A Warfordsburg, Pa., resident, Smith joined the club in 1997. Encouraged by a friend at his church, Smith said he also was "nudged" by Fran Shives, a longtime Lions member whom Smith has known for more than 20 years.

Elected president in July, Smith said he is taking his responsibilities seriously, starting with the upcoming Lions Club Canal Apple Fest in September.

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Smith retired from Jerr-Dann after 27 1/2 years. But that doesn't mean he is idle by any means. In fact he thinks that is part of why he was chosen to be the Lions president.

"When I do something, I get it done," Smith said. "I'm busy all the time."

Smith said the Hancock Lions Club sponsors Canal Apple Fest every year. "It is our biggest community project but it doesn't make us a lot of money," he said.

Chairman of the event this year, Smith said it is a lot to take on but he is determined it will be as good as last year's event.

The Hancock Lions Club has approximately 38 members, Smith said. The club members meet the second and fourth Mondays of the month at 6:30 p.m. at the Park-n-Dine Restaurant.

Responsible for many of the improvements at Widmeyer Park, the Hancock Lions Club is soon to embark on an expansion of the existing bandstand.

"We are just waiting for the permit," Smith said.

A joiner by nature, Smith said he has a lifetime membership in the Jaycees and is an active member of the Ali Ghan Shrine. But the Hancock Lions Club has been special for him.

"Being a Lion has enriched my life," Smith said. "It gives me direct contact for what is done in the community ... for people."

Like most organizations, the Hancock Lions Club is always looking for members.

He said he sees his role as president as doing what needs to be done so the members will work together. "We try always and sometimes we fail but we keep going," Smith said.

Good support is the mainstay of the organization and Smith said the members are definitely putting their time into it.

"My philosophy, is we do good work and we do it together," Smith said. "No one person can do it all."

Always willing to chair a committee, Smith said he will continue that effort as long as he isn't left holding the bag.

"I enjoy guest speakers and being involved in building character in our members and the community," Smith said.

Bottom line, he wants things to be better within the Hancock Lions Club and the community when he leaves office than when he came in.

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