Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader
A man known for his big heart received a big surprise, and honor, on Wednesday afternoon.
The Orange Lions Club honored one of its own Wednesday afternoon as the charitable organization dedicated the Ferris Wheel, one of the most popular rides of the Orange Lions Carnival, in honor of Lee Roy Boehme Jr. The ride is now known as the “Lee Roy.”
Boehme, a member of the Orange Lions Club for 44 years, was surprised by the honor as family, friends and fellow Lions managed to keep the good news quiet until the announcement Wednesday.
“The kept it a good secret,” Boehme said. “I was speechless, but I’m honored they did this.”
Since joining the club, Boehme has been a visible figure within the community and at the annual Lions Carnival, which is now underway at Orange Lions Den Park. He can be found at the same place, just like every year before, working the Ferris Wheel.
“I inherited the old (Ferris) wheel from Hubert Meadows when I joined,” Boehme added. “And I’ve been there ever since.”
Stump Weatherford, president of the Orange Lions Club, said it was an easy decision to rename the Ferris Wheel in honor of Boehme.
“It was a unanimous decision for us because of his dedication and service he has given to the community for so many years,” Weatherford said. “His heart is in it, in everything he does, and it’s personal for him. He enjoys watching everyone have fun and seeing the smiles on the faces of young kids and their families when they ride.”
Weatherford said Boehme is a true “Lion” and will do anything asked of him.
“Not many people have his dedication,” Weatherford added.
Senator Robert Nichols (District 3) was in attendance and was able to see first hand how popular the Lions Carnival is.
“It’s very obvious this is a big community event,” Nichols said. “There’s an obvious attachment. People having been coming to the Lions Carnival for years, with their families as children and now with their own children. The Lions are a great organization and do so many good things for the community through this event.”
Once the carnival opened at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Boehme was back beside “Lee Roy,” right where he has been for so many years.