History of Lions

Stamford Lions Club

In January 1957, five community minded men: Curt Collard, his brother Bud, Bruce Malcolm, Past District Governor Al McDonald and Dr. Charlie Newman met to discuss and consider the formation of a Lions Club in the Township of Stamford. On May 6th 1957, under the sponsorship of the Niagara Falls Lions Club, the Stamford Lions received their charter with Lion Ben Prior serving as Charter President. The club held their meetings at the Red Casque Inn on Highway 8 until it was destoryed by fire in April 1959. They moved to the Stevens Hotel on Ferry St. until 1963 and then the Park Motor Hotel on Clifton Hill. In 1972 the Lions purchased the Memorial Hall from the Stamford Women's Institute at of cost of approximately $15,000 and after a number of renovations, the hall was officially dedicated on June 22 1974 by Niagara Falls Mayor George Bukator.

The Stamford Lions Club's first fundraiser was selling jars of screws door to door. They were able to raise over $600 at the club's first ham roll. Once the hall was renovated, they ran bingos to help pay off the mortgage, which was accomplished by 1982. Years gone by saw the Lions put on a yearly carnival, run a hockey league and also an annual hockey tournament. Through the years the club has expanded their fundraising efforts with Lions holding their very popular Harvest Breakfast for over 35 years and more recently their annual Wild Game Dinners, Daytona 500 Party and TV Giveaway, Pasta Dinners and the yearly Elimination Draw. They also work Bingo at the Delta Hall on Drummond Rd.

The funds raised by the Stamford Lions have been donated to such Lions projects as Lake Joseph, a camp for the blind; Camp Trillium, a camp for children living with cancer; Camp Dorset, a camp providing kidney dialysis; Camp Huronda, serving children, yeath and families with Type 1 diabetes; Lions Foundation of Canada, whose mission is to assist Canadians with medical or physical disability by providing them Dog Guides at no cost. Local organizations receiving funding include The Greater Niagara General Hospital, the Boys and Girls Club of Niagara, Project Share, Woman's Place of Niagara, Canadian Mental Health Association - Niagara Branch and high school bursaries.

Lions International

Lions Clubs International was founded in Evansville, Indiana on 24 October 1916 by William Perry Woods and subsequently evolved as an international service organization under the guidance and supervision of its secretary, Melvin Jones. In 1917, Jones was a 38-year-old Chicago business leader who told members of his local business club they should reach beyond business issues and address the betterment of their communities and the world. Jones' group, the Business Circle of Chicago, agreed. After contacting similar groups around the United States, an organizational meeting was held on June 7, 1917, in Chicago. The Business Circle subsequently joined one of the invited groups, the "International Association of Lions Clubs" and at a national convention held in Dallas, Texas, later that year, those who were assembled:

  1. Adopted a Constitution, By-Laws, Code of Ethics and an Emblem
  2. Established as a main tenet "unselfish service to others"
  3. Unanimously elected Woods as its first president ,effectively securing his leadership for the first two years of the existence of the International Association of Lions
  4. Selected Jones to serve as the organization's secretary-treasurer.

The organization became international on 12 March 1920, when the first club in Canada was established in Windsor, Ontario. Lions Clubs have since spread across the globe and have a current membership roster of 1.4 million members worldwide. An international convention is held annually in cities across the globe for members to meet other Lions, elect the coming year's officers, and partake in the many activities planned. At the convention, Lions can participate in elections and parades, display and discuss fundraisers and service projects, and trade pins and other souvenirs. The first convention was held in 1917, the first year of the club's existence, in Dallas, Texas.

Among the famous and noteworthy members of Lions International are former U.S. President Jimmy Carter; Her Royal Highness Sophie, Countess of Wessex, a member of the Wokingham Lions Club and Royal Patron of the Lions Clubs of the British Isles and Ireland; Amelia Earhart, pioneer U. S. aviator, author, and advocate for women's rights; Richard E. Byrd, admiral in the United States Navy, aviator, pioneer and polar explorer; and Helen Keller, American writer, lecturer and social activist.

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