By Rick Dandes
The Daily Item
MILLERSBURG — In the weeks since one of the town’s most distinguished citizens died in a Feb. 19 car crash, those who knew and worked with her are coming to the realization that this vibrant, tireless woman will no longer be around to serve the community she loved so much.
Born in Millersburg on March 13, 1933, Lorena Lemons was a generous woman who gave freely of her time and finances, friends and colleagues say. She was active in the Millersburg Area Working Together organization, writing grants for the Millersburg swimming pool, organizing bicycle races, volunteering at the Senior Center and delivering food to the hungry.
She also was passionate about working with the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art.
‘Lorena was an amazing woman,” said Linda Butler, of Millersburg Area Working Together. “Her energy, even when she was not feeling well, was always unbelievable to me. She was a tireless champion of many causes and for many organizations in the community. And she was generous, not only with monetary contributions but with the contribution of her time. Her wealth of knowledge was unmatched.”
Butler said she has many memories of Lemons from working with her through Millersburg Area Working Together, “but what I will miss most about her will be the Lorena emails. She was the queen of sending emails, always keeping us on top of things. I cannot believe I will never see another Lorena email in my inbox.”
Lemons always attended Millersburg Area Working Together events no matter how she was feeling. She would run up and down Market Street at the Cherry Blossom Festival, showing the vendors to their booths. She also never missed a Christmas tree lighting event, no matter how cold it would get, Butler recalled. “Her passing is a great loss to Millersburg Area Working Together and the entire community. I will miss her terribly.”
Donna Fralick, also of Millersburg Area Working Together, agreed that Lemons had a generous heart and a sincere love of Millersburg, “and all who lived and visited here. Millersburg became Lorena’s extended family. Just as a mother would surround her children with love and guidance to help them grow and develop into successful adults, Lorena did the same with her untiring love, incredible patience and, at times, stern guidance, to help the different organizations and charities that she supported move forward for the betterment of the people and town she called home. She always wanted the best for her community.”
No one knows that more than Chris Dietz, president of the Borough Council
Dietz met Lemons shortly after moving to Millersburg in 2004. During the Millersburg bicentennial celebration preparations, they worked together on a regular basis. “Lorena was a mentor to me with grant writing, community development and volunteerism,” Dietz said. “She helped so many local organizations with her dedication and experience. I am thankful for her help in launching the Tour de Millersburg during the bicentennial and for being a sponsor and volunteer over the years since then.”
To honor Lorena, the town will be renaming the Tour de Millersburg college scholarship.
It will now be called the “Lorena F. Lemons Volunteer Scholarship (Sponsored by the Tour De Millersburg).” In addition, the 2013 edition of the first stage of the tour will be called the “Lorena F. Lemons Time Trial.”
Similarly, in honor of Lemons and her contributions to the Millersburg area, Borough Council will dedicate a bench in Seal Park to her memory.
“We have lost a fierce champion for Millersburg and a wonderful friend,” Dietz said. “Lorena had one of the biggest hearts of anyone that I have met. She was a dedicated philanthropist and was overly generous with her time. We are all much better people for having known Lorena and I challenge myself and others to strive to follow her example by working tirelessly to make the community around us a better place to live for everyone.”