Family, community rally 'round Lionel [West Laurel]

The Wellness for Life Fitness Center is a Francis family business. Lionel Francis took over the business a couple years ago, but he was a familiar fitness fixture there way before that. A believer in health and fitness, Lionel cares about all the members and there is a true family atmosphere at the gym. You often see Donna, his wife, and their children Collin and Cassondra there as well. Cassondra is a certified trainer at the gym.

Lionel has been under the weather and unable to run the fitness center recently. Cassondra's boyfriend, Brian Lyko, has been doing an extraordinary job of filling in. Lionel's presence has been missed so family and friends decided to do something that would knock Lionel's socks right off. Lionel had wanted to give the gym a makeover for a while, so everyone got together and went to work. With paint brushes in hand, Buzz Dombrowski, Alicia Willey, Mike DiPietro, April Atkinson, Mike McPherson, Collin, Cassondra, Brian, Donna and many more trainers, employees and other friends of Lionel transformed the Wellness for Life Fitness Center into a vibrant beautiful center to work out and get healthy. Lionel was more than pleased and he is in high spirits.

The West Laurel community, the Wellness community as well as countless others have lent their love and support to Lionel and his family who appreciate all of it. Get well, Lionel!

Side by Side sponsored a kickball tournament at McCullough Field on Oct. 5, with teams formed from all over Laurel. The Bond Mill Elementary PTO sponsored the school team, led by Principal Justin FitzGerald. Much to their delight, and surprise, the team won their games and ended up in the championship. The Bond Mill staff ended up playing a Bond Mill alumni team called Team Eason. But in the end, the school's team won the championship. The victory was celebrated throughout the school on Monday morning — despite the pulled muscles, the finger splint and the crutches. Way to represent, Bond Mill!

Did you know that everyone that shops at Giant Food could help Bond Mill Elementary simply by registering for the A+ School Rewards program at Giant? You have to register every school year. It's easy. Register online at or in the store. Seniors, families with children who have grown up, families with children at Bond Mill and all neighbors can help raise much-needed funds to help our neighborhood school.

Halloween has traditionally been a lively fun time throughout our neighborhoods. Remember to drive slow and cautiously to keep our little ghosts and goblins safe and sound.

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