Being a Lion is a family tradition for Joy Clontz of Manor. Her father has served in his local Lions Club in St. Mary’s, Pa., for 50 years.
“It means a lot to me,” said Clontz, who has been a member of the Manor Lions Club for the past 13 years.
And in testament to the club’s “We Serve” motto, instead of throwing a party to mark its 70th anniversary in 2018, members purchased four CPR trainers for the Penn Township Ambulance Service.
The club has been in existence since 1948, according to Joe Tauber of Hempfield, who has been a member for the past two decades.
“We were actually chartered the same day as the Bushy Run Lions Club,” Tauber said.
The club hosts chicken barbecues, soup fundraisers and also a duck race down Brush Creek on the final day of the tee-ball season.
“That’s dwindled a little because there aren’t as many young families in Manor, but it’s a good fundraiser,” Tauber said.
After being involved with the Lions when she was younger, Clontz drifted away from the organization as she began raising her family, but that changed when her children decided to join the Lions youth group, the Leos.
“When my daughter started attending Seton Hill, the Lions agreed to set up a branch there on the campus, and I was the ‘Guiding Lion’ for the club,” Clontz said.
That led to what she called her “a-ha” moment.
“A man who worked in the Seton Hill cafeteria had to give up his car because he was (legally) blind, and he had to take a taxi back and forth to work,” she said. “There was a surgery he could get to help, but he couldn’t afford it.”
Clontz organized a group of 17 Leo students, and along with some other university clubs, they raised money for the man’s surgery.
“Seventeen college kids went out, did bake sales and all sorts of things and made this happen,” she said.
Unfortunately, the Manor Lions have not had as much luck attracting younger members off-campus.
“We tried (a Leos Club) here. With three different school districts sort of colliding in Manor, it was tough to do, but we had some very good young people who started it,” Tauber said.
Clontz said the club’s membership, currently at about 25, does include a couple of members in their 30s but much like Clontz herself, family obligations often take priority.
“It’s difficult because of the young kids a lot of them have,” she said.
Tauber said it is a battle to retain and attract membership, but it’s one he’s willing to wage.
“Cooperative events with other clubs have been happening more and more,” he said, “and the local district has even sent people to help with events on occasion.”
At the end of the day, the hard work is worth it to keep the longtime organization going.
“You have to give back,” Tauber said. “If you have something, you should offer it to the community.”
For more on the club, see ManorLions.com.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.