On Thursday, September 16, several tornadoes touched down in Southeastern Ohio. The hardest hit areas included Reedsville (near Coolville), The Plains (near Athens), and areas near Nelsonville, Roseville and Crooksville.
Area Lions Club members, including Larry and Charlene Roberts of the Thornville Lions Club immediately moved into action contacting the Ohio Lions Foundation trustees and within minutes had $5,000 available for disbursement. Just one day later they were distributing $50 Kroger gift cards to The Plains residents, working with the Lion leadership in these affected areas including Bruce Hayes of Coolville, Clyde Baker of The Plains, Ed Gamble of Roseville and Laura Jordan who is Zone Chairman.
In the following two days it became clear to area Lions that more assistance was needed, so they requested an additional $6,000 from the State Lions Foundation as well as the Lions International Foundation headquartered in Oak Brook Illinois. Within days additional Kroger and Wal-Mart gift cards were being purchased and distributed in the affected areas.
The Lions, who were a part of this “first response” group were deeply affected by tremendous devastation and the personal stories from victims of the storm. They were pleased and proud that the Worlds’ Largest Service Organization could be immediately helpful to their friends and neighbors in the local affected areas. “That’s what we do,” said Past District Governor Larry Roberts, “we are about serving our neighbors and friends, that’s what Lions are all about.”
Michael A. Buscemi