In a time not so long ago, in a place not so far away…
Something magical happened in Bethel recently.
The town herald (Town Clerk Rita Sheehan) announced more than a year ago that Bethel, in celebrating its Bicentennial in 2009, would have a festive parade on July 11th, 2009 and rallied the residents. A call was made to the leaders of various organizations and they responded. 
The Bethel LIONS President at that time, Michael Fox, appointed a committee to plan our participation. One of the members, Maria Frangipane, suggested the theme of OZ because a lion figures prominently in the story. 
LIONS (Liberty, Intelligence, Our Nation’s Security) Clubs have as their vision to be the global leader in community and humanitarian service. Our mission is to empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions clubs. And our symbol is the lion (with a heart, with courage and a brain).
The Bethel LIONS float committee began meeting regularly a few months ago. Using only a sketch and our imaginations, OZ began to take form. Joe and Bernice Fowler had the vision and began building the frame in their garage. We collected donations of carpet tubes from Wyde and corrugated paper from K&H Corrugated. Members contributed all sorts of round-bottomed and pointy objects for the tower tops. Maria Frangipane coordinated the effort to procure costumes from Marlu Costumes in Port Jervis with which Leo Glass had negotiated a reduced fee.
A week before the parade the major construction was to begin. One of our members, Chad Phillips, contributed the use of his trailer which was going to be housed for the week in Michael Fox’s garage. However, when the trailer arrived, it was so huge that it would have obstructed traffic on Rt. 55. Dan Bloom, son of Carol and Ken (of Ken’s Cans/Sullivan Septic) graciously offered the use of their garages in White Lake. Little did they know that the Bethel LIONS would essentially move into their garage for the next week! One day there must have been 20 members working on various aspects of float construction. Other times one or more of us would just show up at all hours (like Al Frangipane at 6AM to reinforce the tubes and paint them by hand). Or we would stay there in the evening until nightfall. Irene O’Leary made the poppies, and Marc Lerner, Andy Maiorano and Joe Fowler, together with Al and Mike, built OZ. Shelly was the glitter guy and Bernice the tops gal. Marie Fox and Nicole Jones were the yellow brick road crew. And there were, of course, those who became Dorothy, The Wicked Witch, Glinda, the Lion, Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Wizard on July 11th.
Member LIONS contributed generously of their time, expertise and supplies. Fred Albrecht, Cornelius Alexy, Ed and Cindy Barber, John Bogaert, Joan and Louis Bortolotti, Jean Brucher, Bill Burns, Linda Driscoll, Bernice and Joe Fowler, Larysa Dyrszka, Marie and Mike Fox, Maria and Al Frangipane, Leo Glass, Jim Gordon, Tamara Guichard, Jonathan Hyman, Nicole Jones, Jerry Kallman, Shelly Knepper, Marc Lerner, Lynden Lilley, Andy Maiorano, Irene O’Leary, Chad Phillips, Dennis Psaroudis and Sal Vaccarino all had a hand in the Bethel LIONS’ tribute to Bethel’s Bicentennial.
After all, there’s no place like home…


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