By SAMANTHA BEAL
Lions Clubs International was founded in 1917, making 2017 its 100th anniversary and to commemorate the celebration, the organization developed Lions Legacy Projects, encouraging clubs internationally to raise their community visibility, provide a community gift and make a community impact.
“All clubs across the world were asked to do something for a community,” stated Knox Lions Club member Hal Wassink.
After Knox Area Little League approached the Lions Club with a proposal for a new backstop and fence at the Shippenville ball field, club members decided their Lions Legacy would be a $5,000 donation.
“We’re always talking,” explained Little League board member Amanda O’Neil.
According to Wassink, he and O’Neil were discussing in a “social setting” the league’s activities. The conversation turned to league needs, and Wassink decided to bring these to the club’s attention. At the time, the group was considering two other options for the Lions Legacy Project. But Little League’s plans gained the most favor.
O’Neil’s formal proposal offered quotes for a few projects, including renovations for the league’s “sandlot” in Knox. (The association, with 22 teams and 246 kids in 2017, plays on the Keystone High School ball fields, Shippenville Borough’s ball field and the three fields in Knox Civic Club Park.)
Of the proposed ventures, the club chose to help fund a new fence. Members presented a $5,000 check to the league Aug. 3.
“I think it helped, too, that you had some grandfathers of granddaughters,” O’Neil teased.
“We had grandfathers when we started talking about this,” added Lions member John Mason, “That really liked the idea of upgrading the (opportunities for) softball girls.”
Mason himself likes watching the games in Knox Civic Club Park. He noted he is “known to sneak up there and grab a hotdog” from time to time.
Over all, the Lions Club sees the league as a valued community asset. Its activities helped win the club’s favor.
Mason said, “We feel that the Knox Little League Association has, for many years, done a terrific job.”
“It’s just very nice to see that activity in the community,” he added.
According to Wassink, the league’s project is one of several recent renovations made in the community. Specifically, he recognized the installation of a dusk-to-dawn light and changes to the basketball courts by Knox Eagle Scout Dalton Jones.
“There have been some pretty important recreational changes made,” he said.
Wassink indicated the club feels adding this fence and backstop will continue to improve community opportunities in Knox and Shippenville.
O’Neil’s proposal quotes the project at $10,000. The Lions’ $5,000 will join Shippenville Borough’s $2,500 to help fund the construction. The league will make up the difference, in part with a grant it received this season from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
O’Neil said C & H Fencing of Punxsutawney will be doing to work.
“That’s who did our (Knox) Little League field,” she stated, “And they did a great job.”
Construction is scheduled for September, and should last a few days. Upon completion, the Lions Club will supply a sign for the field, which will be known as Knox’s Lions Club Field in Shippenville.
The Knox Lions Club, a 501(c)(3), has 58 volunteer members. Those interested in becoming part of the group which serves the community through health, social and environmental services are asked to contact membership chair Jack Deible at 797-1667.
According to Lions Club President Dan Beichner, club meetings take place the second and fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at 618 West State St. in Knox. Meetings are open to the public.
For more information, visit the Knox Lions Club on Facebook.