people with a concern for helping others
are the people who join the Lions Club.
President Dick Crawford (716) 818-6992, Corresponding Secretary Jim Ryan (703) 507-8696
Mission: "We Serve" is the Lions' Motto.
The mission of the Grand Island Lions Club is to help those in need in our
community with special
emphasis on the vision and hearing impaired, and children with disabilities.
Major fundraisers include a spaghetti dinner in the spring and a "White Cane" drive in August. Our
major event is the "Special Kids Picnic" in July when around
one thousand special needs
children from the Erie-Niagara area are treated to a picnic that includes a
lunch along with boat rides, pony rides, and other entertainment. We also
perform MTI Photo-screening of children's eyes (for early detection of eye
disease) coordinated through the local school systems. In addition we collect
eyeglasses and hearing aids for the disadvantaged and have a "loan closet" for distribution of walkers,
wheelchairs and other durable goods. Our club is also active in a number of
locally and internationally to help the vision impaired. Our Club also
recognizes the importance of youth in our community. We participate
annually in a Peace Poster Contest, which encourages our middle-school age
children to creatively express their concept of world
peace. We award scholarships
to high school graduates, based on their community involvement, scholastic
achievements and other criteria.
2022-23 Installation and Awards Banquet
on June 8th at the Buffalo Launch Club on Grand Island.
The Grand Island Lions Club held their Installation and awards Banquet
at the Buffalo Launch Club on Wednesday June 8th. Past District
Governor, Lion Jeff Jarvis installed our Board of Directors for the
2022/23 year. Pictured from the left, are Lions Jarvis, Dick Crawford
(President), Anne Fahning and Tom Rusert (Directors), Jim Ryan
(corresponding secretary), Paul Bassette (director), Tom Witkowski
(Treasurer), Donna Lavallee (Recording Secretary), and Kelly McGarvey
(First Vice President). Not present were Lions Second Vice President
Shelia Ferrentino, Director Henry Lobl, and Lion Tamer/ Tail Twisters
Ashley and Tom Digati.
The Lions also gave out various awards. Lions
outgoing President, Paul Krupa, received The Robert J. Uplinger
Distinguished Service Award. Established in 1993, the award honors
outstanding Lions and non-Lions or organizations who perform exemplary
service to a Club, District, or community. These honorees possess the
highest examples of Lionistic character, ideals, purpose, and service.
Over his 25-year career Lion Paul served two clubs in New York State,
was Grand Island Club President twice, and served on many committees
Lion Tom Rusert and Community leader and former
Grand Island Town Supervisor, Mary Cooke received The Lions Club
International Foundation Melvin Jones Award. The award is the LCIF’s
highest honor and is given to a lion’s member or citizen for
outstanding humanitarian service. Lion Tom is a long time Club member
and former Club President who has, during his 24 years of service,
spearheaded Lions donations to the Neighbors Foundation, collecting
many thousands of dollars’ worth of food and donations over the years.
He is instrumental in growing the Club as Membership Chairman, bringing
in new members on a regular basis. He has maintained a key role with
the Lions Special Kids Picnic, using his boat to give children the
thrill of a boat ride, and is one of the chief cooks at the Lions
Spaghetti Dinner. Mary Cooke is a longtime community leader who has
taught Life and Careers to many students, served as President of our
Library Board, Relay for Life, and the Grand Island Historical Society.
She is a former Grand Island Councilwoman and Town Supervisor. She is a
lector at St Stephens Church and has volunteered at Trinity United
Methodist Church's Clothing store and helps with many clothing drives.
Awards Chairman Lion Paul Bassette (left) and Lion Dave Chervinsky
stand with Robert J. Uplinger recipient Lion Paul Krupa at the Lions
June 8th Installation Dinner.
Lion Tom Rusert holds his Melvin Jones Award at the Lions June 8th
Installation Dinner. Past recipients with him are Lion Paul Bassette
and Lion Anne Fahning.
Grand Islands Mary Cooke displays her Melvin Jones Award. Seen with her are Lion Paul Bassette (left) and Lion Tom Withkowski.
On July 18, 2018
the Grand Island Lions Club held their 60th annual “Special Kids Picnic” at the
Buffalo Launch Club. 1006 kids with special needs and their
chaperones enjoyed a variety of entertainment including boat rides, pony rides,
Shiner mini kar rides and face painting and entertainment by Step in Time Baton
Dancers. Sabretooth and the Lions mascot, magicians and Pringles the
Clown, milled through the crowd and engaged the children. Lunch included hot
dogs, hamburgers, soda and popcorn. Lion Annette Boies-Lobl, picnic chairman,
gave credit to the 96 volunteers who helped the club carry this out. Volunteers
included Lions from our sister Club of Merritton Ontario, Canada as well as
members of the, the Knights of Columbus, and the Kenmore Boy Scout Troop
104. Special thanks goes to the Buffalo Launch Club for donating their
facilities for the 58th year, to the boat captains and Collins Marine who
donated their boats, to the crew of the Excalibur Boat, and to Tops Markets, Tim
Horton’s and Dunkin Donuts for their donations.
Helping the Neighbors
Lions with gifts for the Neighbors Foundation. Lt-rt Lions Al
Ackerman, DG Clancey Burkwit, Donna Lavallee, Tom Witkowski, Bill Wind, Brooks
Rimes, Shelia Ferrentino, Tom Rusert, Dave Chervinsky, Dick Planavsky, Ed Payan,
John McCartney, and Mike Steinagel. Obstructed and holding the banner is Fred
Lions donate $75,000 for Miracle
The Grand Island Lions Club has been working
with Miracle League of Grand Island and Western New York for the last six months
helping with fundraising, submitting grants and getting other Lions Clubs
involved with Miracle League. We now report our grant application to Lions Club
International Foundation (LCIF) http://www.lionsclubs.org/EN/lci-foundation/index.php
has been fully funded. Because the $75,000 requires matching funds, the
Grand Island Lions Club has been working together with Miracle League with
various fundraisers. In addition, Other Lions Clubs in the District are
participating. The Lancaster Lions have co-sponsored the grant application while
the Amherst Lions donated $1000 from a recent pancake breakfast fundraiser.
Lions District 20N, of which the Grand Island Lions is a member, also donated
$1000. Our Grand Island Club also has three smaller grants that will be
submitted to help Miracle League. Lions Club District 20N Governor Gary
Carini presents a check for $75,000 to Teresa Hooper, President of Miracle
League of Grand Island and Western New York. Also present 2nd from left Grand
Island Lions President Dave Chervinsky, 2nd Vice President Tom Witkowski and
Grand Island Lions and Miracle League member Mike Steinagel.
Grand Island, New York is one of the world's most unique locations. To
those who live here, it is much more. It shares the natural brilliance of
neighboring Niagara Falls, as well as the vibrancy and vitality of nearby
Buffalo. Grand Island is located on the Niagara River, an international border
between the United States and Canada. While serving the Community of Grand
Island and Western New York, Our Club interacts and shares in activities of our
"Sister Club" the Merritton Lions Club of St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada. To
visit our "Sister Club" go to: Merritton Lions
To see an enlarged view of the above photo click here
Photo courtesy of Paul McCarthy and the Grand Island Chamber of
Taken by Mark Dettmer - Angel Arts Publications
postcard, Chamber Office (5/$1.00)
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