Lions keep up the pride and service to community
Chamber honors 5 clubs for good deeds
Photos by Tom Rivers: Leaders from the five Lions Clubs in Orleans County are pictured on Friday when the clubs were presented Community Service Awards from the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce. Pictured from left includes: Kendall President Tom Minigiello; Medina Past President Jim Hancock; Mary Janet Sahukar, president of the Albion Lions; Kevin Johnson, Clarendon’s president; and Terry Stinson, third vice president for Lyndonville.
GAINES – Lions Club members have been giving back in Orleans County for nearly a century, beginning in 1924 when the Albion club was chartered.
There are now five clubs in the county with about 200 members. They tackle many community service projects, from planning an annual music festival, to community cleanups, to running the Fourth of July bash in Lyndonville. They serve hot dogs, provide scholarships, and look out for residents in need.
The Orleans County Chamber of Commerce has recognized the Lions with a Community Service Award. The five clubs all had representatives at Friday’s awards dinner, when the plaques were handed out.
The Lions founder, Melvin Jones, was in insurance business in Chicago and pushed to start the humanitarian organization in 1917. Jones had a motto: “You can’t get very far until you start doing something for somebody else.”
The club in Albion is the second oldest in the region between Niagara Falls and Rochester. Only the Lions in Rochester predate the club in Albion.
The club currently has 22 members. They are active in the annual Rock the Park music fest, which raises funds for Bullard Park.
The Albion Lions sponsor a youth baseball team and works on other community projects, raising money with a sausage booth at the Strawberry Festival, and by selling roses on Mother’s Day and geraniums during Memorial Day.
The Clarendon Lions were chartered in 1998 after being sponsored by the club in Kendall. There are 23 Lions in Clarendon and they help at the Holley Community Center, and with other service projects.
This photo from July 2013 shows Kevin Johnson, left, and Don Knapp. In addition to serving food at the OONA concerts, the Clarendon Lions also serve hot dogs and hamburgers at the annual Tonawanda Valley Kennel Club dog shows over the Labor Day weekend. The Clarendon Lions Club serves hamburgers and sausage at the Oak Orchard Neighborhood Association concerts at the Orleans County Marine Park.
Each year the Kendall Lions awards four scholarships for $250 each to deserving seniors. The Kendall Lions in January presented scholarship checks to three of the 2015 recipients.
The Kendall Club has 61 members, making it the largest Lions Club in Orleans County.
The Kendall Lions has a Leo Club in the school, where high schoolers work on service projects.
The Kendall Club started in 1975 after being sponsored by the Medina Lions Club.
The Kendall Lions do an annual community cleanup day. They also purchased a defibrillator for the Kendall Fire Department, and they collect used eyeglasses to be given to people who need glasses.
The Lyndonville Lions formed in 1951. The club’s 47 members are busy throughout the year with a host of projects, including running a medical equipment closet where residents can borrow wheelchairs, port-a-potties and other equipment.
The Lions do a roadside cleanup along Route 63, a pumpkin carving contest and give out awards to the best-decorating homes during the holiday season.
Lyndonville Central School plans to implement a new Leo Club. The Leo Club gives students in grades 7-12 the opportunity to serve their communities and make a positive impact. It offers a great way to have fun, make new friends and develop valuable leadership skills.
There will be an informational meeting Thursday from 2:35 to 3:15 at the school.
The Medina Lions Club formed in 1935 and has 55 members.
The club and other community volunteers decorate the State Street Park in Medina each holiday season, putting lights on Christmas trees, and setting up a Nativity scene and other signs of the upcoming holiday season.
The Medina Lions also do a community cleanup, organize a community-wide garage sale, run a scarecrow fest and maintain a park by the canal, as well as other projects.
Medina Lions Club members Dave Denny, left, and Dave Bellucci, right, work with Ben Kaiser, a volunteer, to set up one of the animals at State Street Park last November. Kaiser’s father Pete supervises the set up and tear down of the display.