The Palmerton Lions Club met May 7 at the Fireline Hotel to make its annual contributions to various civic organizations.
The welcome was given by Pres. George Unangst and the invocation by the Rev. John Hazel. Robert Silliman introduced the guests from the organizations that will receive the donations.
Domenica Borger introduced Michelle Rickert as the Leo of the Year. She is a senior at Palmerton High School where she is in the top 25 percent of the class. Rickert volunteers with Special Olympics and enjoys biking and reading. She works at the Palmerton Pool. Her plans include attending Moravian College and studying psychology and neuroscience. Rickert's parents are Laura and Randy Rickert.
Judy Borger said volunteers are the backbone of the community and that she was pleased that so many organizations were receiving awards.
Spirit Award recipients were the Aquashicola (Lower Towamensing) Fire Company with Chris Jahelka accepting the check for $200.
He said the fire company has been active a long time and tries to be good for the community. There are a lot of new members
George Roundeau accepted $200 for the Blue Ridge Toy and Food Drive.
One of the things the Marine Corps League Detachment does is to provide food and toys for kids. It is gratifying to see them when they get toys they would not otherwise have, said Roundeau.
George Ashman represented the Christian Action Council of Palmerton Area Churches (CACPAC). It received $500.
He said the group particularly needs more food because it has more people coming who need food. There are as many now as is usual for winter. It used to be a lot of people on fixed incomes but now there are young families coming.
Dream Come True's Joe Urban said on behalf of himself and the board it is a pleasure being there. The $200 will go for a good cause.
He said he gets choked up thinking about the generosity of the Lions Club.
Nick Hawkey said the group is working on a guitar dream. He is hoping Martin Guitar will help out. The person receiving the dream had a tumor removed and it looks like he will be okay.
Meals on Wheels, represented by Suzanne Blose, said it is the group's 40th anniversary. "We have 23 dedicated volunteers who use their own gas to make deliveries." It received $500.
Jean Solarczyk said the Palmerton Ambulance, which received $200, has been around since 1945. Last year it made 5,000 runs including transport and emergencies. It has both paid staff and volunteers.
She said the check will help purchase equipment.
Diane Danielson said she is glad the Lions are using the library as a new meeting place. The state has been slashing everyone including the library. The $400 will be a help.
Last year Palmerton Area Public Library served 40,000 people.
Towamensing Fire Company and West End Fire Company each received $200 but there were no representatives at the dinner.
"There are many ways to be a volunteer. Although he no longer lives in Polk Township, he helps by giving material to organizations when needed.
"The Volunteer of the Year award goes to Bernie Shea," said Karen Green
Shea said it is quite an honor to be selected as Volunteer of the Year. He thanked the Lions for all the work they do. "You are the backbone of the community," he said.
Hazel said he was in his 30s before he realized what sacrifice was and described it as "sacr" for sacred and "fice" to make or to do. "You are taking God's love to them."
He closed the meeting with the benediction.