SPRING CITY — Local clubs were reminded about the importance of helping others during the 50th annual Phoenixville Area Interservice Club Ambassador Dinner.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation Co-Executive Director Liz Scott was the featured guest speaker during the dinner on Oct. 10 at Spring Hollow Golf Club. The Kimberton Area Lions hosted the dinner. In addition to the Lions, service clubs including the Soroptimists, Women’s Club, Pilot Club of Valley Forge, Kiwanis Club, Phoenixville Jaycees, Rotary Club and Ches-Mont Business and Professional Women’s Club. The clubs recognized April Klotzbach with the Ambassador Award. Marjorie Lichert and James “Buzz” Gianguilio were also nominees for the award.
The mission of the Interservice Club dinner is to unite local clubs and increase fellowship among the clubs.
While introducing Scott, Jim Mitchell said he was very good friends with her and her husband, Jay. Mitchell said Scott has spoken at schools, community groups and in front of the United Nations.
Scott praised the work of the Phoenixville service clubs. She said to speak in front of them was humbling to her.
“I feel a little bit unworthy to speak to a group that has dedicated so many hours to so many causes over the last 50 years,” Scott said. “If someone could add up all of those numbers, the money given and the extra things you’ve done to help people in need...that’s amazing.”
“Another thing that makes it so amazing to me is that you do it because you want to do it,” she said about the service clubs helping others. “I feel like a little bit of a ripoff sometimes because I do this because I was dragged into it since my daughter had cancer. I’d like to think that I would have come to this point and dedicated my life to helping people, but in reality, I’m here because I had a personal cancer.”
Scott talked about the kind of rolemodel Alex was and how that relates to the service the clubs provide.
She said early in Alex’s diagnosis she learned the “little things really do matter.”
“It seems like a small thing when someone is dealing with something that has turned their life upside down or a tragedy, sometimes you think about it, ‘it’s just spaghetti’ or ‘it’s just a chicken dinner. How much does it matter?’” she said. “It really does matter.”
It was a little thing like a lemonade stand that made a difference in people’s lives.
Alex decided she wanted to start a lemonade stand when she was 4 years old. She was diagnosed with cancer before her first birthday.
Scott said Alex had been receiving experimental treatments from the hospital and was feeling better. She wanted to donate the money she planned on making from the stand to the hospital.
“I was incredibly proud and I thought it was adorable because she was 4,” Scott said. “She thought she was going to donate five or ten dollars to the hospital and that would make a difference. I knew it would make a difference to her, but I didn’t really believe that it would make a difference to kids with cancer because of the small amount it would be.”
She warned Alex that she might only raise $5 or $10, but Alex said she didn’t care.
One lemonade stand turned into 35,000 lemonade stands and $60 million has been raised for pediatric cancer, Scott said.
Before the award presentation part of the night, nomination letters were read about Klotzbach, Lichert and Gianguilio.
Janel A. Work, a board member of the Soroptimists of Phoenixville and director of the Kiddie Academy in Phoenixville, read her nomination letter about Klotzbach.
“April Klotzbach not only has a role in over eight organizations locally, but she also balances working at the National Penn Bank over 20 hours a week,” Work said.“Plus, she is a mom of two young girls. April’s life consists of balancing her family’s needs, even with her husband’s demanding job of being a funeral director, her own work and volunteerism. Her normal day consists of her working way into the evening to make sure all duties for all organizations get completed on time.”
Klotzbach is a co-chair of Phoenixville Relay For Life, a co-chair for Phoenixville’s Bark 4 Life, a board member for Stepping Stones Education Center and a member of Kiwanis.
Work said Klotzbach has served on the executive committee of Relay For Life for 8 or 9 years. She also fundraises for local fire companies Phoenix #1 & Kimberton Fire Company.
Lichert and Gianguilio have also been very active in the community. Lichert serves as the board president of the Phoenixville Hospital Thrift Shop and Gianguilio has volunteered in various capacities with Meals on Wheels.
Kimberton Area Lions Club President and emcee for the night James C. Kovaleski said people had nominated “truly great nominees for the award and it was a close decision for the judges.”
Klotzbach was very honored to receive the Ambassador Award.
“If it wasn’t for National Penn Bank in 2000 giving me the opportunity to come to Phoenixville, I would not have had the opportunity to meet and work with many wonderful people, meet my husband, start a family and raise a family in the community,” Klotzbach said. “It has my pleasure to give back to the community continuously and I will continue to do so.”
In addition to hearing Scott speak and the awards presentation, a representative from each organization shared missions and events they host each year.
History of the Club
According to the Phoenixville Interservice Club website, www.interserviceclub.org, the idea for the Interservice Club dinners came from Joseph Rudick, the editor of The Daily Republican (now The Phoenix). Rudick and other Phoenixville Lions Club members Wright Miller, Austin Messere and Richard Rosmos played golf together at Kimberton Golf Course. Rudick wanted to get all of the clubs together for one day. The uniting event started as a golf outing followed by a dinner in 1962.