by Lisa Tome
Janet Montgomery is in the business of making people's lives more comfortable.
Montgomery, her husband Richard, and other members of the Rising Sun Lions Club, work to provide free home healthcare and disability equipment to anyone who needs it.
"We get calls from people of all ages - young and old. They want it delivered, but we do not deliver," said Janet Montgomery.
The Lions Club has been lending medical equipment since 2006. The Montgomerys handle the phone calls and coordinate pick up and storage. Dale Lofthouse keeps track of the equipment that is available. He also keeps it in working order, making repairs when needed. Dana Fritts helps with labeling the equipment and sends thank you notes for donations.
The goal for the Lions Club, whose club motto is We Serve, is to provide the equipment - crutches, canes, wheelchairs, shower chairs, hospital beds and more, is to lend the equipment to whomever needs it. Lofthouse said that 80 percent of the items are on loan to those who live in Cecil County. They currently have equipment in Salisbury and as far away as Virginia.
The club also has partnerships with other Lions Clubs through this program. They work closely with the Wakefield and Avon Grove clubs in Pennsylvania. They also partner with the Lions in Conowingo, North East, Perryville, and Brookside, Delaware.
At least twice a year, all the equipment is cleaned and checked. It is stored at Cherry Grove Tree Farm, where the Montgomerys live. Richard Montgomery said that during the month of December, 22 items were loaned. In a typical month, the club provides 20-25 items. One month, 37 items were lent out. "Almost daily, something goes out," said Richard Montgomery. Since it started, nearly 600 items have been loaned. Some, multiple times.
The program is always accepting donated items. The current items badly needed are wheelchairs, Rollators (walkers with brakes and a seat), transport chairs, and bath chairs. All items are loaned with the expectation that they will be returned to the club when no longer needed. Power chairs are often requested at such a high rate that the club can't fill all the needs. "We have a constant need for those," Richard Montgomery said.
Those who do the lending, tracking, and thanking admit that the project is a lot of work. "People are grateful. They always say 'thank you'," said Lofthouse.
Those in need of medical equipment or who wish to donate may call 410-658-0177. Or contact the Rising Sun Lions Club on the internet.