LIMA ‚?? The motto Elks Lodge members live by is, ‚??Elks care, Elks share.‚?Ě
According to the people who know Paul Kreher, that motto is what he has lived by his entire life.
Kreher, nominated for the Jefferson Awards both by the First Evangelical and Reformed Church and Lima Elks Lodge 54, has served these organizations and our community for more than 60 years. Kreher has served many volunteer roles and is treasurer for Elks Lodge 54.
As a member of the Lima Elks Lodge, Kreher has been essential to a variety of community programs. Some of his volunteer accomplishments include leading the veterans program to help residents in VA hospitals, the bowling program for Lima residents with Cerebral Palsy, the Ohio Elks Association Cerebral Palsy Charity that has raised and donated more than $200,000 for St. Rita‚??s Medical Center, the Lima Elks Western Ohio Aquatic League Championship and a weekly bingo volunteer.
Kreher‚??s first nomination came from Ardath Sunderland, who works with Kreher at the Lima Elks Lodge.
‚??I have known Paul for 30 years and very much thinks he deserves this nomination and award,‚?Ě Sunderland said. ‚??He exemplifies our Elks motto every day of his life and what he has done and continues to do will have a lasting impact on our area for many years to come.‚?Ě
Kreher was born and raised in Lima. He has lived here continuously except for military service during the 1940s.
He has been a vital member of First Evangelical and Reformed Church, both for his commitment and proclamation of Christianity and the service he provides to his congregation and community.
Reverend Ed Rinehart, pastor of Kreher‚??s church for the last eight years, also nominated Kreher and knows his impact on our community should not go unwarranted any longer.
‚??I have had the honor to know Paul since the first day I began my ministry here,‚?Ě Rinehart said. ‚??He serves our church in many different ways, has a strong hold on our annual Souper Bowl fundraiser and always wants what is best for the people of our community. This is my opportunity to applaud Paul for all the work he has done.‚?Ě
The Souper Bowl, having just completed its 16th year, is a fundraiser created with the help of Kreher to collect cans of soup for the needy. The cans are distributed to Lima Rescue Mission and Churches United Pantry. What started as a collection of 100 cans in the first year has risen to more than 5,300 cans raised this past year.
Kreher is very humbled by his nomination and wants to make sure his life work will continue to enrich our area for many more years to come.
‚??As a Christian, I believe community service is something that is necessary and something we should all stand for,‚?Ě Kreher said. ‚??I am proud of the contributions I have made to our community and hope that others will continue to take care of one another for as long as they can.‚?Ě