Local people with a concern for helping others
are the people who join the Lions Club.

2023-24 Club President Kelly McGarvey  (716) 491-8540, 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  drives both 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 peaceWe award scholarships to high school graduates, based on their community involvement, scholastic achievements and other criteria.

The Grand Island Lions Club held their Installation and Awards Dinner at the Bridgeview Tavern on Wednesday June 14th. 2023. Outgoing Lions President Dick Crawford hands off the symbolic gavel to incoming President Kelly McGarvey while Lion Jim Ryan looks on. Officers Inducted are: Kelly McGarvey- President, Tom Rusert-1st Vice President, Tom Witkowski-Treasurer, Jim Ryan-Corresponding Secretary, Donna Lavallee-Recording Secretary, Ashley and Tom Digati-Lion Tamer/Tail Twister, Paul Bassette-Director, Susan Standora-Director, Anne Fahning-Director, Shelia Ferrentino-Mambership chair, Dave Chervinsky-Publicity Chair, and Dick Crawford- Immediate Past President.

 2022-23 Installation and Awards Banquet
held 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 and programs. 
    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 Foundation


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 Ruocco.


Miracle League 
 Lions donate $75,000 for  Miracle League!
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 Club

To see an enlarged view of the above photo click here
Photo courtesy of Paul McCarthy and the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce
Taken by Mark Dettmer - Angel Arts Publications
Available as postcard, Chamber Office (5/$1.00)

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