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A 30-year tradition for Steubenville Lions Club

January 24, 2011
By JANICE R. KIASKI, Community editor

A feel-good holiday memory for members of the Steubenville Lions Club involves sponsoring a Christmas lunch with Santa at the School of Bright Promise, a tradition of 30 years now.

Members of the club were on hand at the school on Dec. 8 to personally serve lunches to 90 children at the school, help provide gifts for them and make sure the delivery was made by none other than Santa Claus himself.

"This has always been a special thing near and dear to our hearts," said Tim Walters, club president, of the event where the club makes a donation that helps provide gifts for the children.

And up until two years ago, the club provided the Santa as well in fellow club member Joe DiCarlo, who passed away two years ago, according to Walters. His absence at the event makes the occasion all the more poignant. "He was a special part of the club and the No. 1 Santa," Walters said, noting DiCarlo assumed the role of Santa for the club for 28 years.

Club members participating, aside from Walters, were Mike McVey, immediate past president; Lion William Hendricks; Lion Mike Zinno, finance director at the School of Bright Promise; Donna Hrezo, secretary; Steve Pahides, first vice president; and Lions Jim Morgan and Mike Mehalik, Jefferson County Developmental Disabilities superintendent.

"It's something we look forward to every year, and it's probably one of the most emotional and gratifying as far as events we do," Walters said. "Watching these kids when Santa comes in and knowing these kids have special needs and to see them react - that's the thing where it's rewarding, watching their faces when Santa comes in and they're receiving gifts," Walters said of what's one of those goosebump moments. "And they're very appreciative," Walters said of the children's reaction.

The Steubenville Lions Club meets every Wednesday at noon for a luncheon meeting in the Fiesta Room of Froehlich's Classic Corner in Steubenville.

"We're working on fundraiser ideas and working on the curriculum we worked on last year," Walters said.

One of its ongoing objectives is helping individuals in need get glasses. Walters said applications for assistance are available at Ace Optical Co. at 153 N. Fourth St., Steubenville.

Like most clubs these days, recruiting new members is always a goal.

If you're interested in more information about the club, contact Walters at (740) 632-8693.

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