The Lion and The Mule: Volunteering During Lockdown

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FULLERTON, Calif.—Inside Wings Café, an American aviation diner astatine the Fullerton Airport filled with vintage World War II décor, Matt Hunyadi, 81, recalls stories his parents and older siblings told him astir their flight from Germany successful 1945.

Before the warfare ended, helium and his family, forced by the Nazis, rode successful the Holocaust trains with different refugees were utilized arsenic shields to support the Germans from American warplanes attacking the locomotive.

At five, Hunyadi, returned to his birthplace, Hódmezővásárhely, Hungary, a metropolis successful the southeast connected the Great Hungarian Plain, astir 30 miles from the Romanian border.

A decennary later, Hunyadi protested the Stalinist authorities during the Hungarian Revolution until helium escaped to the United States, the aforesaid state the Hungarian authorities told him was evil increasing up. He remembers often wearing his firearm strapped implicit his close shoulder.

He orders a fractional tuna sandwich connected toasted rye breadstuff with a cupful of minestrone.

“And delight springiness maine the bill,” helium says.

Hunyadi passes the paper backmost to the waitress and smiles with a charming glare successful his eyes down wide frames.

“He comes present a lot,” says the waitress.

Epoch Times Photo Fullerton Lions Club subordinate Matyas “Matt” Hunyadi dines astatine Inside Wings Café successful Fullerton, Calif., connected Nov. 9, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Hunyadi often dines astatine the edifice betwixt delivering boxes of nutrient to stateless communities crossed northbound Orange County.

Each week, helium hauls betwixt 1,200 to 1,800 pounds of nutrient successful the furniture of his 2018 Chevy Silverado pickup motortruck helium calls “The Mule.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic deed California and Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered residents to stay-at-home, Hunyadi and chap Lions Club members jumped into action.

The lions packed up “The Mule” with nutrient donations from spiritual groups similar the Sikhs to the Lutherans.

“We’re successful the organisation business,” helium says.

Hunyadi is 1 of 1.5 cardinal Lions—in implicit 200 countries—worldwide.

And rank is exclusive—by invitation only, according to Walter Rountree, president of the Fullerton Lions Club. Lions are radical of bully motivation quality who pb by example, physique relationships and amended the satellite done kindness, helium says.

“Matt never, arsenic acold arsenic I know, saved anybody from drowning oregon thing similar that,” Rountree says. “However, helium is giving a batch of himself to others, and that’s what Lions do.”

Epoch Times Photo Fullerton Lions Club subordinate Matyas Hunyadi stands adjacent his motortruck helium nicknamed “The Mule” successful which helium helped present nutrient and supplies to the needy successful Fullerton, Calif., connected Nov. 9, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Not lone does Hunyadi and the Fullerton nine present nutrient to the bare weekly, but they besides donated handmade masks to the section St. Jude’s Hospital. Additionally, they collected and donated astir 700 eyeglasses.

“The bottommost enactment is we serve,” says Hunyadi. “We assistance different radical who request help.”

Hunyadi pauses arsenic the waitress refills his iced tea.

“Why bash I bash it? Because it makes maine consciousness good,” helium says. “When you spot the radical that enactment up for the food, you know? I helped somebody. It’s good.”

While the pandemic locked Californians wrong their homes, Hunyadi says helium ne'er felt acrophobic of the microorganism and roseate to the juncture to assistance those who had sheltered successful place.

“Remember, I’m an aged infantryman,” helium says. “As a young antheral from Hungary, I won’t enactment my hands up precise easily, you know?”

Epoch Times Photo Fullerton Lions Club subordinate Matyas “Matt” Hunyadi points astatine a Lions Club motion successful Fullerton, Calif., connected Nov. 9, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

An bare cupful of minestrone sits connected apical of an bare sheet successful beforehand of Hunyadi.

He pulls retired a reddish and achromatic canvas tote container with the Lions Club International awesome patched successful the center.

Operation Military Christmas is his adjacent enactment of assemblage service, helium says, walking retired to his “ol’ trusty Mule.”

He says the Lions volition capable the tote container with gifts for young subject members who volition acquisition their archetypal Christmas overseas.

The cognition started 5 years agone with astir 100 bags delivered. This twelvemonth they volition capable and administer implicit 1,000.

“I tin subordinate to them,” Hunyadi says. “Although I was 21 astatine the clip that I joined, galore kids joined the service astatine 18. … and the archetypal Christmas, particularly if you’re overseas, is truly hard and each of a sudden, you’re implicit determination with a clump of guys older than you and you get precise sentimental.”

Epoch Times Photo Fullerton Lions Club subordinate Matyas “Matt” Hunyadi drives his motortruck helium nicknamed “The Mule” successful which helium helped present nutrient and supplies to the needy successful Fullerton, Calif., connected Nov. 9, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Brandon Drey

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Brandon Drey is simply a California-based newsman for The Epoch Times.

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