Council Chairman PDG Greg Hess and his wife Zone 8 Chairwoman Tresa Hess, and their daughter Megan were guests of the Loudonville Lions at their dinner meeting on Oct. 23. Zone Chairman Tresa congratulated the club on the projects they do, talked about a new club being formed in Mansfield with an organizational meeting Nov. 6. PDG Greg presented a Council of Governor's award to Jeff Frankford for his work with Leos.
President Jan Abee introduced the speaker, Lee Fromme, and his wife Diane. Fromme reported and showed photos on his pilgrimage to Santiago de Compastel through northern Spain, the program and how it got started. There are three different paths for the pilgrimage. He chose the northernmost through the Pyrenees mountains. The walk is 500 miles from the French border all the way across Spain to Santiago. The trail varies from a cow path over slippery and rocky hills, narrow farm roads to that of a highway. Normally it should be done in 33 days. Fromme took 28 days beginning April 2 and ending May 1 this year. The path is the third largest place for pilgrimages in the world.
The walk is named The Way of St. James and there are many statues and memorials to St. James along the way. One church is the resting place of the bones of St. James. There are numerous bridges and structures dating back to the Romans in 20 BC. There are no homes or businesses along the trail. People all live in small villages, including the farmers who keep their animals and equipment within the village. During the day the farmers go out to their lands, then return at night.
Fromme spent nights in churches or in various places provided by people along the trail. Sometimes people set up booths where travelers could obtain food and necessities. He met one lady who had begun the walk with absolutely no money and had spent no money the whole trek. He actually found one KFC and loved it. He walked anywhere from 13 to 18 miles per day, passing many sites where Charlemagne fought battles, jousting fields, monasteries and cathedrals. Fromme said he always felt safe. He started carrying a pack of 28 pounds, soon shipped some of it home to lessen the weight to 18 pounds. He said some hikers even cut the used pages from their guide books to lessen their weight, and cut the pockets out of their pants.
There were many pilgrims walking. Statistics reported 22,067 made the trip in April ending in Santiago on May Day, with 7 percent of those from the U.S. One lady was 95 years old. In Santiago he received two awards for doing the walk, having presented the desired proofs of having his itinerary stamped along the way.
Why take the pilgrimage? Many say it is enlightening, they learn to help others, and become willing to let others help them. Fromme said he was looking for gratitude for blessings in his life and to recognize the good things in his life. He found it very enlightening. He would like to do it again, and next time his wife will accompany him. He took questions. President Jan presented him with a Lions mug.
The secretary read a letter from Dave Hunter, chairman of the Career Center bookcase project, asking for donations. Club approved donating $100 to the project.
Thank-you card was read from Elaine Burgett thanking Lions for the trophy for small quilt at the Loudonville Fair, which was won by Norma Snyder.
President Jan presented a 10-year continuous membership chevron to Jeff Frankford, and a 45-year chevron to Roger Lowe.
The club has sold 80 pole banners, is in the process of getting them approved by those who purchased them and hopes to get them up before the snow flies.
Frankford reported Leos will have a float in the Halloween parade. They will be helping with Helping Hand in November, and would like to do a father/daughter dance for Valentine's Day. They received a grant from Mohican Area Community Fund and will use the money to finish their basketball and tennis court project started with Lions and Rotary money.
The next Lions fish fry will be Nov. 16. There will be no fish fry in December.