Lions Senior StarsBlock Number: 83
“LION’S Senior Stars”
By Ginger Todd
On Wednesday morning, May 10, 2011, Mike Lucas and Jack Raker installed block number 83 on the McDowell Quilt Trail entitled “Lion’s Senior Stars.” It faces southeast on the left-hand wall to the entrance of the Blue Ridge Terrace Apartments located at 16 Carson Street. It can easily be admired from the entrance and parking lot, or driving north on Carson Street. Staff and several excited residents were on hand to witness the occasion, and comments such as, “I really like it” and “It looks good” and “I’m so glad we have one” were abundant. Two of the residents, James Allison and Maxine Allison, who are unrelated, jokingly even claimed to be represented by two of the stars in the design.
The Marion Lion’s Club constructed the apartment building and opened it in 1982 as a low-income public housing facility for seniors. It offers affordable rates, activities, and fellowship, including on-site management and maintenance. The 60 units are HUD financed and subsidized, presently filled to capacity with 61 residents. There is a lengthy waiting list.
The Lion’s Club association was founded in Chicago, Illinois in 1917, and although it is the youngest major service club organization, their international membership has grown to be the world’s largest. It consists of volunteers giving time to humanitarian causes in their local and world community by raising funds through service projects to help those in need. Although they are most often associated with their significant service to the blind and visually impaired, they also participate in service activities emphasizing other areas of health, education and community welfare. Their motto is “We Serve.”
Seeing the many blocks around McDowell County, the residents and staff decided to purchase one. When approached with the idea, the Lion’s Club Board members were supportive. They gathered recipes from those living in the complex and published a cookbook, which funded the block purchase.
Ideas for a design were forthcoming. In 2010, there was much excitement when Blue Ridge Terrace was named the “best apartment complex in McDowell County” and became dubbed among the residents and management as a Five Star Hotel. After a time-consuming search and many discussions, a design was decided for the block. It is a variation of a traditional block, with five stars representing the 2010 award and also to proclaim the fact that “seniors are stars.”
Painted by Mike Lucas and Jan Zimmerman, the colors representative of the Lion’s Club logo were incorporated. The 4 X 4 block consists of a cascading curve of five six-pointed stars in various fading shades of blue-purple. The largest star is in the foreground and is the darkest blue, each succeeding star a lighter shade. The midnight black background is highlighted with comet-like points in radiating shades of yellow. One descends from the upper left corner of the block and the other diagonally shoots through the stars from the right. It is outstanding on the beige siding of the apartment building.
Jill Lucas, chairperson of the McDowell Quilt Trail program, presented a Certificate of Authenticity to Judy Lail, on-site manager of Blue Ridge Terrace Apartments and Linda Mystic, service coordinator. Photos were also taken with the residents, all proud to be a part of the Trail. Afterwards a cookout picnic was held in celebration of the block installation, as well as that of a new management change. On May 1, 2011, the North Carolina Housing Services and Management Corporation (NCHSM) took on the job of overseeing the complex.