NEW BOSTON — Staying true to their motto, the New Boston Eagles assembled Saturday to enjoy some food and to support two of their longest-serving members.
At the center of the gathering, Juanita Shamhart and Harold “Sponge” Danes were celebrated for all their work throughout the years. Now both diagnosed with cancer, the Eagles decided to return the favor.
Proceeds collected during the afternoon dinner went toward Shamhart after Danes asked that the funds received go to covering his fellow member’s medical care costs.
“As an Eagle member, all over the country and the world the motto is “People helping people” and that’s what we are here for today,” said Eagles Secretary Bill Hanley.
The total proceeds collected were unknown at the time, but multiple donations above $100 were announced. For Hanley, having been with the Eagles since 2012, it was all about giving back to the two who had invested a lot of time and effort into the club.
A 1953 South Webster graduate, Shamhart found her way to the Eagles after working varying jobs throughout southern Ohio. She had no background in bartending before her time with the club, but the consensus among the dinner’s attendees found it be to a perfect fit.
“I don’t think you will find a more dedicated employee as she was,” said Hanley, where Shamhart had been the full-time bartender since 1980. “She was called and asked to work numerous times on her days off and she would never say no.”
Her presence, earning a reputation as a no-nonsense enforcer, was felt among the patrons and Hanley. In his 24 years as a Portsmouth Police Department officer, fear was never a feeling he had until he met Shamhart.
“She kept me in-line and if you knew her, she would keep you in-line,” he said. “She told the truth, sometimes I didn’t like it, but we did get along.”
Keeping everyone in line, occasionally chasing off bad actors with a broom, also proved to be beneficial for her two children- Keith and Kawannah- who have gone on to work with the county and as a Senior Branch office administrator at Edward Jones respectively.
Shamhart was unable to attend but did make a FaceTime appearance to thank the club for their help. Her children, along with Danes’ two daughters- Mary and Sharron- also expressed their gratitude.
“The 60 years I’ve been around here, I’ve probably been in this club several hundred times in my life,” said Danes, earning his Sponge nickname as a standout football player. “I’ve really enjoyed the company of everyone that comes around.”
Danes’ impact is seen throughout the Eagles’ Gallia Street location through varying handiwork. A member since 1960, he turned a blank wall into a painted nature scene at their new location and pieced together the current bar from its former club, only costing $81.
“He told us that will take me about two days,” said Hanley, recalling what his friend said of his work on the mural. “Well, it kept getting bigger and it took him eight days to paint that thing.”
Even with these diagnoses, the Eagles plan on preserving the memories of their friends- both through a photo collage present during the dinner and in their hearts.
“People die, but love doesn’t die,” said Hanley.
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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