Richmond Lions have a long history of helping and supporting – Macomb Daily

A $10 wheelchair was the first item the Richmond Lions Club purchased for its medical equipment rental program. It was 1944 and it was the wooden and wicker type that could have been used by Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had polio.

The story about it is believed to have been published in a 1966 Goodfellows newspaper, possibly reported by Lions member Fred Penwarden, who wanted people in the Richmond area to know about the loan scheme.

Keith Rengert researched the story and said that a member by the name of Frank Moran came up with the idea to buy the original wheelchair in 1944 and that it was to be used by the mayor of the city. town.

“December 1944, the first rental item, the wheelchair went to Mr. OB Evans,” said Rengert. “This wheelchair was the start of the Richmond Lions no-cost medical equipment rental program.”

He believes his club was the first Lions club internationally to launch such a program. Richmond Lion “Hub” Swantek was one of the first to run the program from Meade Lumber Company, and in the decades that followed, other club members stocked items at the Richmond Hardware Store and Richmond Mower Shop.

“Hank Kolinski, a member of the Snyderville Lions Club, also stored items in his barn,” Rengert said.

But, from 2015 to present, the management, distribution, collection, repair and storage of medical equipment is done through the Richmond-Lenox EMS, with the Lions club providing funds for expenses. storage, maintenance, repair and purchase of equipment as needed through the club’s Goodfellows program.

Rengert said most requests were for wheelchairs, walkers, shower chairs and toilet seats, but newer knee scooters, pediatric walkers, larger wheelchairs and batteries for carts of electric mobility were available.

“The 2022 program is strong and well and the Richmond Lions medical equipment rental program continues to serve,” he said. “It is very rare that residents are turned away due to a lack of equipment. Little did the club know the program would continue for 78 years and provide such an important service to area residents.

Area residents can call 586-727-2184 and request information about Richmond Lions medical equipment rentals. Donations of used medical equipment can also be made to the program.

Jeff White is the club president and head of Richmond-Lenox EMS.

Richmond Lions help support medical equipment rental program. (PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY KEITH RENGERT)

“We accept donations of things like wheelchairs, crutches, canes — things of that nature,” White said. “We take medical equipment, but not disposable medical supplies. We have battery powered wheelchairs. People can bring gear and we’ll fix it up and clean it up like new. Some things are in such poor condition that we scrap them.

Money from this is reinvested in repairing other equipment or goes to the Goodfellows fund.

Equipment is stored at the Richmond EMS facility at 34505 32 Mile Road.

“People can call our office and arrange to pick up what they need and keep it for as long as they need it and it costs nothing. When they’re done, they can give it back to us,” White said.

The longevity of club projects extends to other programs. The Richmond Lions have performed Goodfellows Good Works for over 80 holiday seasons.

close up of group with safety vests in front of roadside cleaning sign
Members of the Richmond Lions Club have completed two of three Michigan Department of Transportation Adopt-A-Highway cleanups. One of the work crews included Brian Walmsley, Paul Ostby, Derek Habel, John Malburg and Jeff Yaroch. (PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY KEITH RENGERT)

The Michigan Department of Transportation recognizes the Richmond Lions Club as the state’s oldest continuing participant organization in the Adopt-a-Highway program.

“The program started in 1991 on the initiative of club member Carl Laich, and the club has been cleaning up ever since,” Rengert said.

Club volunteers recently completed the second of three roadside litter collections along Memphis Ridge (M-19) from Richmond Cemetery north to School Section Road. Members of the cleanup crew, who filled 17 bags of trash in this second cleanup alone, included Brian Walmsley, Paul Ostby, Derek Habel, John Malburg, Jeff Yaroch, Doug Conner and Keith Rengert. The other crew members this year were Keegan Gennari, Len Konwinski, Shellie Daleo and John Clausen.

close up of group with safety vests in front of roadside cleaning sign
Members of the Richmond Lions Club have completed two of three Michigan Department of Transportation Adopt-A-Highway cleanups. One of the work crews included Brian Walmsley, Paul Ostby, Derek Habel, John Malburg and Jeff Yaroch. (PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY KEITH RENGERT)

Lions members also volunteer at the Selfridge Military Air Museum each summer and clean a North American F-86A Saber that was flown by a Michigan Air National Guard pilot in 1950s Korea. The plane is about 37 feet long with a wingspan of about 37 feet and it stands over 14 feet tall.

One of the club’s fundraisers is an annual golf outing – this year on September 18. The deadline is September 1 to purchase tickets for the 27th Annual Richmond Lions Club Golf Outing, an 18-hole four-person golf outing. a contest. Shotgun departure is at 1 p.m. and cost is $125 per person at Richmond Forest Golf Course, 33300 32 Mile Road, Lenox. There is a hot dog lunch and a prime rib dinner. For more information, call Tom Hebel at 810-392-0262.

The Richmond Lions describe themselves as “everyday people doing amazing things” and continuous service to improve the lives of those less fortunate.

“Membership in the Richmond Lions Club is fun, challenging and very rewarding. We won’t ask you a lot of time. We’ve been asking for a little of your time for a long time,” Membership Chair Brenda Edwards said.

She can be reached at 248-376-5913.

The Veterans Cemetery Council Golf Outing will be on August 27

Hole sponsors at $100 each are needed for the Great Lakes National Cemetery Advisory Board Annual Fundraiser Aug. 27 at Lapeer Country Club, 3786 Hunt Road, Lapeer. The council looks to other veterans service organizations and the public for donations and support. The golfer entry fee is $100/$400 per team and only 36 teams can play. A few golfer openings are yet to be had. Traditionally, 144 prizes are awarded. For more information, contact Jim French Jr. at 248-707-9805 or

The council welcomes donations to replace the American flags on the Avenue of Cemetery Flags at the cemetery at 4200 Belford Road, Holly. Volunteers inspect and maintain the flags weekly. At least 70 damaged flags have been replaced this year. The flags are made of cotton or polyester; approximately nine feet by five feet in height; and cost around $80 each. At least one leaning mast needs repair. If you can help, contact French. Mail your donations to: Great Lakes National Cemetery Advisory Board, PO Box 227, Holly MI 48442-0227.

Send news from service clubs and veterans organizations to Linda May at or call the landline 586-791-8116.

Charles P. Patton