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January 20, 1996

We were lucky enough to wangle an invitation to the Lions club's 70th anniversary party the other night at the Catholic parish hall, and it was quite an affair. Those Catholic ladies are deservedly famous for the family-style meals they serve. All the out-of-town visitors were amazed, not only at how quickly the tables were served with those great heaping quantities of food, but also at its marvelous quality.

The Lions club has about 80 members now and they had invited a number of guests from neighboring clubs plus their district governor, Pat Shurley of Oklahoma City, and other dignitaries. The weather that day was bad enough that all schools in this area were closed and many other activities were called off. Despite that, the parish hall was nearly full for his auspicious occasion, and the Lions should be proud of that. I belong to several minority groups (Rotary, Presbyterian church, the Republican party) and it is not unusual to see only a handful of people at some of our meetings, even when the weather is good. So congratulations to the Lions on their Dedication.

W. R. Fry of Guthrie, who may be the only surviving charter member of the Perry club, had planned to be here but could not make it because of illness. He sent his regrets through the Guthrie club president. The Fry family operated a well known meat market in this city years ago.

A story in this paper the other day told about many of the Lions club's accomplishments. They are widely known as the instigators of the Oklahoma Lions Eye Bank in 1956. Former Perryan Bill Parker was the main force behind the effort and A. J. Bontrager was president of the Perry club that year. Bill, now a resident of Arkansas, is in Florida this month and just had back surgery or he would have been here for the anniversary party. A. J. and his wife, Frances, who now live in Oklahoma City, did drive up for the celebration.

The eye bank has made a significant contribution to hundreds of people in this state and today's Perry Lions can be rightfully proud of what their club has brought about in that regard. They continue to look for and find areas where they can be of service to this community. Perry is the richer for what they have done, and we all owe them a tip of the hat. This city's Lions are known for their willingness to work hard at any project they undertake.

Hal Long of Garber, a past district governor, set the tone for the meeting with his enthusiasm for the brand of civic service typified by Lions clubs everywhere. He urged his audience to continue their search for the needs of their own community and to find solutions to those problems.

If you read the summary of what the Perry Lions have done in the 70 years since their charter was granted, I think you'll agree that Perry is a better community because of them. Here's wishing the Perry Lions club many more happy anniversaries and thanks for all you've done to make Perry the special community it is.