Members go from room to room greeting patients and delivering gifts. Sometimes, patients show members their cherished gifts from the previous year.
It's a sharing of love with those at the rehab center, said chairwoman Cindi Alleman.
“We come every year and we bring little stuffed animals or a token of our love for them, talk about Lionism and just give them a little joy for the day,” she said.
One man she spoke with was from Lebanon and he told her he was a member of the Lions club there in the 1970s, she said. When the war broke out they had to disperse and they weren't able to get back together again.
“He's been here since 1983 and he has been back and forth from Lebanon and the U.S., but he hasn't been able to be a part of Lions, but it has always been in his heart,” she said.
The Lions started the visitation project in the 1980s during the Christmas holidays, said member Marva Murphy. Several years ago, the facility staff suggested that because so many groups visited at Christmas while so few came at other times of the year, Lions should make their annual visit during another month. And the Valentine's Visit was born, she said.
--JOYCE RUDOLPH can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.