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Merrillville Lions celebrate survival

Merrillville Lions Club member Carol Miano learns about service organization's conventiMarch from Clarence Davis president Hobart Lions zone chair District

Merrillville Lions Club member Carol Miano learns about the service organization's convention in March from Clarence Davis, president of the Hobart Lions and zone chair of District 25A. | Karen Caffarini/Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 15, 2014 6:10AM

MERRILLVILLE — The Merrillville Lions Club had much to celebrate at its recent holiday dinner — 10 new members and the fact that it continues to survive.

The 67-year-old club was down to 15 members and on the verge of disbandment when Lions members, including Town Council President Carol Miano, rallied friends and family members to join the group in the fall.

That resulted in 10 new members, said John King, of Crown Point, a longtime member.

“It’s an improvement,” King said during the dinner Thursday night at the Slovak Club.

Miano said the club lost only one person among those who promised to join in the fall.

New members Bill and Donna Roth enjoyed dinner and conversation with 25-year member Mike Minogue.

Donna Roth said they were looking to join a group after Bill retired recently. They asked Minogue, an acquaintance, if he knew of any group they should join, and he suggested the Lions.

“We needed an outlet, socialization,” Donna Roth said.

This was the third Lions meeting they attended and they plan on staying.

“It looks like a good bunch of people,” Bill Roth said.

It’s not all socialization for members of the local chapter of the international service club, however.

Miano said they’re planning several service projects including a basketball training camp for kids ages 8 to 12, which new member Beth Gregor will lead.

“We’re looking at eye testing for pre-schoolers. The children may not realize they have visual problems,” Miano said.

She said the club also will put a box in the clerk-treasurer’s office at Merrillville Town Hall for people to drop off donated used eyeglasses, will look at getting hearing aids for seniors and learning how to train leader dogs for the blind, and will be involved with the Merrillville parades.

Clarence Davis, president of the Hobart Lions and zone chair of District 25A of the Lions, said 100 percent of money collected from Lions fundraisers goes back to the public.

“The International Lions Clubs help people everywhere. We’re not in it for politics or to benefit your business. You’re fined if you talk about either at a meeting,” Davis said.

Michael and Carol Kalmar, both 15-year members of the Merrillville club, said they’re happy to see the club survive.

“Under Carol (Miano) I look forward to seeing big growth and progress in the club,” Carol Kalmar said.

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