Celebrating  Independance Day 2018

On Wednesday October 11th 2017, the Grand Island Lions Club held their annual joint meeting with their Lions Sister Club from Merritton Ontario. The meeting was held at the Moose Lodge on Grand Island Boulevard, arranged by Lions Past President Dick Crawford, and catered by McMahon’s Restaurant. All had a good time until the President's gavel was borrowed by some unknown perpetrator and had to be bought back to avoid it from being smuggled into Canada.

On Saturday September 30th the Grand Island Lions packed up excess durable medical equipment from their loan closet and donated it to St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy in Buffalo. The Lions donate free of charge to anyone in need, medical equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, shower seats, commodes, crutches and canes. See the Lions website, www.gilions.com, for contact information. Excess equipment is often shipped out to other communities in need. Pictured with one of two truckloads of equipment, are from the left: Dave Chervinsky, Dan Morabito. Tom Rusert, Anne Fahning, Olivia Corcoran, Norm Hahn, Danielle Rose, Kelley McGarvey, Donna Lavallee, Shelia Ferrentino, and Dick Crawford.

On Wednesday September 13th the Grand Island Lions inducted five new members. Seen
above from the left are Lions Jim Rose,Jeanine Justen, Danielle Rose, with sponsor
Tom Rusert, and sponser Tom Witkowski, with Cindy Sharpe. Paul Bassette officiated the ceremony. 

Lions Annette Boies-Lobl, Tom Witkowski, and Paul Bassette present the Melvin Jones Award to Henry Kammerer. Henry is a long time Rotarian and has been with the Grand Island Neighbors Foundation almost since it was founded close to 40 years ago.  Thru his leadership, there have been 1,000’s of individuals being helped with needed food and basic necessities of life here on Grand Island  The Melvin Jones award is the Lions Club International Foundations highest honor and is given to a lion’s member or citizen for outstanding humanitarian service.

Lions who attended our January 11th meeting pose with Lion President Dick Crawford as he presents our Guest Speaker, Maria Kraus with a check for $100 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). MDA has served over 100k individuals throughout the USA.  The local MDA hosts a summer camp in Rush NY for 1 week for children.  Last year 72 children attended with counselors the last week of June. Local retailers help raise money for the camp by “selling” paper shamrocks in March in support of the camp.  The MDA in Buffalo also has a loan closet that has wheelchairs, beds, and walkers.  Maria answered questions and was invited to attend the SKP in July.

At our 60th Anniversary Celebration, held at the Buffalo Launch Club on October 26th 2016, Lion
Donna Lavallee presented Lion Bob Goulding with a Certificate of  Appreciation for his 60 years of
service to the Riverside and Grand Island Lions Clubs. Congratulations Lion Bob!

Our Lions Club, selling popcorn and cookies, and doing some self promotion at the "Taste of Grand Island."
 It was a rewarding and fun day with many of our Club members coming out to help. Pictured from Left to right are
 Lions Bob Goulding, Jerry Dubiel, Tom Witkowski and Paul Krupa.

Absent a Leo's club on Grand Island it's nice to see young people helping. Olivia Corcoran has been involved in Lions events since she was 3 yrs old.
 Now at 10 years old, she raised $45 at Our Lions Club Fathers Day garage sale and cook out at her Lemonade stand.    Her goal was $80  Maybe next year!
Shown with Olivia are Lions outgoing President Tom Rusert on the left and current Lions President Dick Crawford.

The May 25th Grand Island Lions Club meeting was held in honor of the 2015-2016 Peace Poster Contest 1st and 2nd place winners.  The theme for the contest was “Share Peace”.  The objective of the contest is to allow these young people from ages 11-13 to think about and express their thoughts of peace through artistic interpretation.  These expressions of peace should help these young people with greater tolerance for others and for better international understanding.  Their creative artwork expresses what peace means to them. Pictured is T.J. Bender from the Grand Island Middle School with his 1st place Peace Poster along with his parents Jennifer and Jonathan Bender.  T.J. did a brief “show and tell” of his winning Peace Poster and explained what peace means to him.  Lion Paul Bassette, the Peace Poster Chair, is on the left.  The 2nd place winner was Hailey Watches from the Grand Island Middle School with her Peace Poster at the right.  Hailey was unable to attend the meeting to receive her honor.

Lion Anne Fahning recently returned from  the “Hopeful Ways” Medical Mission in Nicaragua and along with
 Pendleton Lion Brian Mau spoke to our club of their experiences at our March 23rd 2016 meeting.

As one of his last official functions, retiring Library Director Lynn Alan Konovitz is seen here receiving a check for $500.00 from Lions Club Treasurer Tom Witkowski. Posing with them are Lions Vice President Dick Crawford and Lion Tamer Anne Fahning. As part of the Lions ongoing mission, our Grand Island Lions Club annually donates to the Grand Island Library for the purchase large prints books for the sight impaired. To date over $10,000 has been donated for this purpose.

On November 3rd, the Grand Island Lions donated durable medical equipment to the Tuscorora Health Center in Lewiston. The Lions donate free of charge to anyone in need, medical equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, shower seats, comodes, crutches and canes. Excess equipment is often shipped out to other communities in need. Pictured at the Health Clinic are from left, Lions Pual Krupa, Dave Chervinsky and Henry Lobl. 

The Grand Island Lions held their Installation Dinner and Awards Banquet for the 2015-16 year on June 10 at Byblos Resort and Spa. The Lions International Foundation Melvin Jones Awards were given to Mary Dunbar-Daluisio and Lion Dan Morabito while Lion Fred Ruocco received a Robert Uplinger Distinguished Service Award. Lions Dick Crawford and Paul Bassette performed the Installation Ceremony of Officers. Pictured are the Lions Board of Directors from left to right: Director Paul Krupa, Third Vice President Henry Lobl, Corresponding Secretary Annette Boies-Lobl, Director Dave Chervinsky, Lion Twister Fred Ruocco, Second Vice President Dick Crawford, President Tom E. Rusert, and Director Brooks Rimes. Not present were First Vice President Mike Steinagel, Treasurer Tom Witkowski, Recording Secretary Donna Lavallee, Director Norm Hahn, and Lion Tamer Anne Fahning.

On Wednesday June 10th, The Grand Island Lions Club awarded Mary Dunbar-Daluisio and Lion Dan Morabito with the Lions Club International Foundation Melvin Jones Award at their annual Installation Dinner held at Byblos Niagara Resort and Spa. The award is the LCIF’s highest honor and is given to a lion’s member or citizen for outstanding humanitarian service. Mary Dubar-Daluisio has been instrumental in the Grand Island Relay for Life since its inception in 2003 and served as co-chairman from 2004 to 2012. During that time the fundraiser has brought in over one million dollars for cancer research. Lion Dan Morabito a past president of the Grand Island Lions Club has served the Grand Island Lions actively for the twenty years and he has worked tirelessly on our fundraisers and the Grand Island Lions “Special Kids Picnic.”  Lion Dan has also been a Scout leader for many years and was instrumental in setting up scouting at School 84 for children with special needs. Pictured are past and current award winners left to right: Dick Crawford, Dunbar-Daluisio, Dave Chervinsky, Morabito, and Paul Bassette.

Lion Fred Ruocco received The Robert J. Uplinger Distinguished Service Award at the Grand Island Lion Installation and Awards Dinner held on June 10th at Byblos Resort and Spa. 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. Pictured and shown with past Uplinger Award winners from left to right are: Paul Bassette, Annette Boies-Lobl, Dave Chervinsky, Ruocco, and Dick Crawford.

New Member:  At our May 13th meeting Kelly McGarvey  was inducted into our club. Lion Paul Bassette performed the ceremony and is seen here with Lion Kelly (on Right) along with her sponsor Lion Shelia Ferrentino.

The Grand Island Lions Club recently donated durable medical equipment to the Tuscarora Nation Health Center.
 Pictured is Lion Henry Lobl with a truckload of walkers, wheelchairs, canes, shower seats and commodes.

Lions District 20N Governor Mike Lawkowski was the guest speaker at the Grand Island Lions September 24th dinner meeting held at the
 Buffalo Launch Club. Governor Mike spoke about ways of making our, and all Lions clubs, more vibrant in the community and
the International Presidents call for Lions to do 100 million acts of kindness before our 100th Anniversary in 2017.
 Pictured Lt to Rt: PDG Kimberly Stribing, District20N and Grand Island Lions Secretary Tom Witkwski, DG Mike Lawkowski,
 GI Lions President Donna Lavallee, Past District Governor Bob Shivley and Lioness Joan Shivley.


The Grand Island Lions White Cane Days were a huge success on August 15 and 16th.
The Grand Island Community once again supported the Lions Club with donations totaling $2725.00.
These funds are used to support eyesight and hearing projects.
The Lion members want to thank all those individuals who contributed money and the
management of Tops and 1st Niagara Bank who participated.
Pictured collecting donations at Tops Markets is Lion Fred Ruocco donning the Lions costume.

August 3rd was Lions Day at the Miracle League Field. Before the games were started Lions and Miracle League staff and players posed for photos. Lion President Donna Lavallee presented a two thousand dollar check to Miracle League Commissioner Jeff Hocutt The funding was obtained through a grant submitted to the Brandel-Murphy Youth Foundation.

Our Lions Club members pose while preparing for the 2014 4th of July Parade. From left to right Lion President Donna Lavallee, Anne Fahning, Henry Lobl, Tim Lavallee, Shelia Ferrentino, Tom Witkowski and Dave Chervinsky.  During the parade, Our Club collected used eyeglasses for recycling to the needy in third world countries. The Lions would like to thank our community for the glasses donated and for their support throughout the year.

The Grand Island Lions Club held their annual Installation Dinner at Byblos Niagara Resort and Spa on June 11th 2014.  A number of members were recognized for perfect attendance and years of service. Most notably Lion Paul Bassette was recognized for 40 years of service and Lion Dick Crawford for 25 years. District 20N Governor Elect Lion Mike Lawkowski installed the Officers and Directors for the 2014-15 year.  Pictured from left to right: Lion Tamer Al Ackerman, Tail Twister Fred Ruocco, Corresponding Secretary Annette Boies-Lobl, First Vice –President Tom Rusert, Director Norm Hahn, President Donna Lavallee, Treasurer Dick Crawford, Recording Secretary Tom Witkowski, Director Anne Fahning, Director Dave Chervinsky, Immediate Past President Brooks Rimes, Director Paul Bassette and District Governor Elect Mike Lawkowski. Not in picture is Second Vice-President Mike Steinagel.

On Wednesday June 11th, The Grand Island Lions Club awarded Dan Drexelius with the Lions Club International Foundation Melvin Jones Award at their annual Installlation Dinner held at Byblos Niagara Resort and Spa. The award is the LCIF’s highest honor and is given to a lions member or citizen for outstanding humanitarian service. Drexelius a local contractor on Grand Island was instrumental in building the Miracle League Field on the Island. Lion Dick Crawford in presenting the award to Drexelius noted that because of Drexelius, the Field was completed in less than half the time it would ordinarilly take. Posing with Drexelius are past Melvin Jones Award recipients from left to right: Al Ackerman, Dick Crawford, Drexelius, Tom Witkowski, Dave Chervinsky, Paul Bassette, and Mike Lawkowski.

Lion Fred Ruocco prepares a plate of Spaghetti at our annual Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser held at Byblos Resort and Conference Center on April 28th 2014. The event was the "best ever" according to Lions Treasurer Dick Crawford raising around $4000 for our Special Kids Picnic held on the third Wednesday in July every year. Our Lions are very thankful for the strong support the Grand Island community gives to our club.

Lion Dan Morabito poses with his Wife Barbara along with his Daughter and Granddaughter during a break in the action at  our  Spaghetti Dinner.
 Lion Dan works tirelessly and is the Clubs chief cook at the Spaghetti Dinner and our Special Kids Picnic held in July.
 He has been doing this for many years and has a recipe for the sauce that everyone raves about.

The Excalibur handicapped accessible boat at our 2013 Special Kids Picnic.

On June 12th the Grand Island Lions Club held their annual Installation Dinner at the Grand Island Holliday Inn. In addition to Officers installed, the Club gave out milestone awards for years of service:  Tom Rusert (15 years), Fred Ruocco and Tom Witkowski (20 years), Tom DeCarlo, Pat Patterson, and Earl DeGlopper (35 years). Officers pictured at the event are from left to right: Lions Tom Witkowski (Immediate Past President), Paul Bassette (Director), Donna Lavallee (First Vice President, Recording Secretary), Annette Boies-Lobl (Corresponding Secretary), Brooks Rimes (President), Al Ackerman (Lion Tamer), Tom Rusert (Second Vice President), Dave Chervinsky and Anne Fahning (Directors), Fred Ruocco, (Tail Twister), and Dick Crawford (Treasurer). Not present was Norm Hahn (Director)

 The Grand Island Lions awarded Teresa Hooper with the Lions Club International Foundation Melvin Jones Award. The award is the LCIF’s highest honor. Hooper is the Past President of the Miracle League of Grand Island and was the driving force behind the successful completion of the Miracle League Field on the Island. Posing with Teresa Hooper holding her Melvin Jones Award are past Melvin Jones recipients from left: Dave Chervinsky, Al Ackerman, Dick Crawford, Hooper, Tom Witkowski and Paul Bassette.

    Lion Sean Kelly (left) from Kelly's Country Store Presented a check for $2800.00 to Lion President Tom Witkowski of the Grand Island Lions at their regular dinner meeting held at the Holiday Inn on May 8th. The Money, earmarked for the Special Kids Picnic to be held on July 17th of this year, represents all profits from the annual sale of Christmas trees at Kelly's Store. The sale in it's third year has progressively improved with Sean noting they have added 100 tree stands this year to make it easier to pick out a tree. Supporting the Special Kids picnic is a rewarding tradition for Kelly's started by Sean's Father Mike Kelly who was a long-standing member of the Lions and for many years donated his time and store resources for the benefit of kids with special needs.   


Three long time members of  Our Club were presented with longevity awards at our November 14th meeting. Pictured from left to right are Lions Tom Butler (30 years), President Tom Witkowski, Al Ackerman (40 years), and John McCarthy (45 years).  Lion John McCarthy Passed away unexpectedly on January 16th 2013. Rest in peace Lion John.

On December 12th the Grand Island Lions Club held their annual Christmas Party at the Grand Island Holiday Inn.  Lion Fred Ruocco was the Master of Ceremonies and entertained the Club with seasonal songs and much merriment. During the party the Lions raised $500 to be donated to the Neighbors Foundation for annual holiday fund drive.

Lions fellowship was at its finest on October 24th 2012, at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Lions from our Sister Club of
Merritton Ontario joined us for our joint dinner meeting on Grand Island. Steaks were on the grill, prizes were
drawn, and everyone enjoyed the laughter, fun and camaraderie.

Lion President Tom Witkowski presents a check in the amount of $200 to 

Tami Mills, Steve Krusicke, their son Ryan with Special Spaces Buffalo

co-founders Beverly Ann Olsen-Witkowski and Lynn Weber-Wall at our 9/26 meeting.

Special Kids Picnic 2012

The 54th Annual Grand Island Lions Club "Special Kids Picnic" was held on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 on the grounds of the Buffalo Launch Club. Around 700 kids with special needs from all over Western New York were treated to food and drink and a variety of entertainment including boat rides, horseback rides, Shriners truck rides, and face painting. The Niagara Experience players performed for the kids and the Grand Island Fire Company brought their fire trucks and equipment for the kids to explore. In addition Sabretooth and our Mascot Lion were real crowd pleasers.  Lion Annette Boies-Lobl, Picnic Chairman,  stated many  schools and organizations were in attendance including Autistic Services of WNY, Erie 1 BOCES from Clarence, Williamsville, Casey, Sweet Home and West Seneca West Schools,  in addition to Heritage Education Centers and People Inc.  Volunteers included many people from our community along with Lions from other clubs such as Ransomville, Wheatfield, Kenmore, South Buffalo-Lackawanna and Merritton Ontario. Community volunteers included the Grand Island Rotary, High School Cheerleaders,  and Football Team, Kelly's Country Store and Boy Scout Troop 104 from Kenmore.


2012-13 Officers


The Grand Island Lions Inducted their 2012-13 President Lion Tom Witkowski at their Board of Directors Meeting on June 26th aboard Past President Anne Fahnings Boat.  Pictured on the bow are Lions Al Ackerman (Lion Tamer), Anne Fahning (Past President), Annette Boies-Lobl (Corresponding Secretary), Donna Lavallee (Recording Secretary), Tom Witkowski (President) Henry Lobl (Director), Dave Chervinsky (Director), Tom Rusert (3rd Vice President), Shelia Ferrentino (Director) and Brooks Rimes (1st Vice President). Not present were Fred Ruocco (Tail Twister), Norm Hahn (Director), and Dick Crawford (Treasurer).

Large Print Donation

large type

As part of our ongoing mission, our Grand Island Lions Club recently donated $1000 to the Grand Island Library to purchase large prints books for the sight impaired. To date $9550 have been donated by our Club for this purpose. Library Director Lynn Alan Konovitz is seen here receiving the check from Lions Club President Anne Fahning while Lion Dave Chervinsky looks on.

Peace Poster Awards

peace poster

The 1st and 2nd place winners of the Lions Club Peace Poster contest were honored recently, along with their families, at the Buffalo Launch Club. From among 76 entries, Allison Sorci  was selected to receive $100 and second place winner, Katie Gibbons was given $50. Both girls attend Grand Island Middle school. The contest has been open, for 24 years, to 11-13 year olds at St. Stephens and the Middle School. This years theme was "Children Know Peace". Posters are judged on expression of theme, artistic merit and originality. The posters will be on displayed at the Grand Island Library along with previous winners Pictured are Club President Anne Fahning, Allison Sorci, Katie Gibbons and Paul Bassette, committee chairman.

Glaucoma Seminar


Guest speaker;  Dr. Sandy Sieminski, addressed our club at our March 14th meeting. Dr Sieminski spoke about the newer treatments for glaucoma available at the Ross Eye Institute.

Tree Decorating Fundraiser


GIHS Teachers Lt to Rt, Cheryl Chamberlain, Christina Podlucki and Bob Simpson, presented a check for $300 to Lion President Anne Fahning from Grand Island Student Council Holiday Tree Decorating Fundraiser.  Various school clubs decorated trees that were auctioned off at the Town Hall Recreational department’s community event with Santa on December 14th in the Viking Mall at the GIHS.  The clubs sponsored 12 trees with $100 of donated decorations. There were 8 different activities available for the participants including ornament making, food drive with GI Neighbors Foundation, Santa and Face Painting. Along with  many students volunteers, there were approximately 300-400 people who came to participate.  

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.

Special Kids Picnic 2011

Special Kids

On July 20 at the Buffalo Launch Club grounds over 750 children and staff were treated to boat rides, pony rides, Shriner Mini Kar rides, magicians, clowns, face painting, popcorn, soda, hot dogs and hamburgers. The Niagara Experience Players, a group of young people from Niagara Falls and North Tonawanda, entertained the children with singing and dancing. Over 110 volunteers from the Grand Island, Ransomville, Kenmore, Merritton Ontario Lions Clubs teamed with Excalibur Leisure Skills, private boat owners, Knights of Columbus, Grand Island High School cheerleaders and football team as well as Girl Scout Troop 39 and Boy Scout Troop 104 and community citizens worked to make the day a special summer experience for kids with special needs. Participating schools were Erie 1 BOCES, Niagara Orleans BOCES, Autistic Services, and Heritage Education Centers, Sweet Home School, People Inc, and the Health association of Niagara County Day Camp.

  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. 

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.