Two Cities, separated by the Erie Canal share many a common bond and traditions. One of those bonds and traditions is a Club. That Club is, the Lions Club. 
For many years, the Twin Cities of Tonawanda and North Tonawanda shared a Lions Club that was so strong and brought great help and assistance to the residents in the immediate area who were vision impaired and needed assistance. After 67 years of successful operation, the original Tonawandas Club decided to go “dark” in an effort to revitalize its membership and start up under new charter. On March 16, 2016 that goal was reached and the dream became a reality and the Tonawandas Erie Canal Gateway Lions Club was Chartered and “born”.  It should be noted that the Lions Club is celebrating over 100 years of service to communities and countries all over the world and is the oldest “service club” in the world. 
Earlier this year, a member of the original Lions Club passed on. Delbert Lawrence, the founder of Little League baseball in the City of Tonawanda was an active member in these “original” Tonawandas Lions. Time took its toll on Mr. Lawrence and his sight began to fail him. For him to enjoy his daily newspaper, he had to rely on a magnifying glass as well as his regular glasses. As Mr. Lawrence’s sight situation diminished, he was able to get a device called a Merlin Magnifier to help magnify and project these magnifications on to a computer style screen for his viewing and pleasure. 
Upon Mr. Lawrence’s passing, his son, Tom (Lawrence), called Club Secretary, Bob Starr, and offered this device to the Tonawandas Erie Canal Gateway Lions Club. The Club accepted this offering and decided to donate this device to the City of Tonawanda Public Library so that other people with any sight impairment(s) can use and enjoy what they want to read or do. Earlier this month, Secretary Starr presented this device to Library Director John Gaff. When asked if the Library had a device like this in their current possession, Mr. Gaff answered “no, but we hope to get one”.
 At that point, Mr. Starr responded, “your wait is over” and presented Mr. Gaff with the device for the Library. 
“It felt good to give something so wonderful to two Communities that has been so wonderful to me, personally, and so very receptive and gracious to our “New” Lions Club. As a person and as an officer of the Tonawandas Erie Canal Gateway Lions Club, I can’t thank the Cities of Tonawanda and North Tonawanda enough”.
This device opens doors for many people who suffer from any type of vision impairment or affliction. What once was thought to be impossible now has become the probable. The Tonawandas Erie Canal Gateway Lions Club thanks the Lawrence family for this, very generous, donation. We made sure it will be of great use in the Tonawandas Communities.

Showing off the Merlin
Top picture shows City of Tonawanda Library Director, John Gaff with Tonawandas Erie Canal Gateway Lions Club President, Michael Drmacich showing off the Merlin Magnifier. “This machine will open up a lot of avenues, especially for our Sr. Citizens,  who struggle  with everyday reading”, stated Drmacich. 
Mr. Gaff stated that this Magnifier will be
 in the library to a more visible area in the front of the facility for all to make use of who need it. “It’s a remarkable machine”, stated Gaff.

Mr. Gaff also added this about the Tonawanda Library: “Libraries are constantly evolving to meet the needs of their communities, while continuing to provide the resources and services that the community depends on. We, here at the City of Tonawanda Library, proudly strive to meet those needs. There are so many reasons why people come through our doors every day and we celebrate that diversity. From the latest book, movie, and music releases to a variety of programs for all ages, and computer and wi-fi access to meeting room space, we are proud to offer resources and experiences that bring the community together. The Merlin Magnifier is a wonderful addition to the library and will greatly benefit the sight impaired in our community. We cannot thank the Lions Club enough for their support.  If you haven’t stopped by the library in a while, we welcome you to stop by and explore.” in the library to a more visible area in the front of the facility for all to make use of who need it. “It’s a remarkable machine”, stated Gaff. 





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