In August 1946, Dr. Walter Briggs was among a group of East Aurorans who founded our club. The club counted 35 people among its original members. Burke I. Burke served as the club’s first president. The Lions Clubs International chartered the East Aurora Lions Club on September 24, 1946.

From 1961 to 1962, East Aurora Lion Russell Corser, also principal of Iroquois High School, was a District Governor.

In 1964, in typical Lion fashion, club member Norm Yossie rallied fellow Lions and community members to help a traveling circus that had lost its home. Yossie and others aided the circus by sponsoring an event in the employee parking lot at Fisher-Price in East Aurora. To thank Yossie and the Lions, the circus returned once a year for nearly four years to East Aurora to perform a two-day show, which attracted up to 500 people per show.

In June 1972, tropical storm Agnes caused severe flooding across southern New York, including Portville. According to the USGS, “The flood, on many major streams were the highest known since the river valleys were settled.” The flood destroyed 75 to 100 homes along the Allegheny River near Olean and Portville, N.Y. The East Aurora Lions Club helped rebuild half the homes in Portville by securing materials and tradespeople. The project took over a year with East Aurora Lions Club members working weekdays and weekends. The Lions International gave the East Aurora Lions Club the Outstanding Club Award for effort on behalf of the Portville community. The East Aurora Lions Club then sponsored the formation of the Portville Lions Club, which continues to this day.

Also in the early 1970s, the East Aurora Lions created the “New Eyes for Needy” eyeglass collection program. Lion Al Dorsey was the first to lead this program, which continues distributing thousands of used eyeglasses to those in Third World countries. Dorsey added to these efforts by leading the “Crop Walk for the Hungry,” which raised funds, in part, by sponsoring walkers.

The East Aurora Lions Club published its first East Aurora phone directory in 1978, an effort spearheaded by club President Al Andrews, a retired Buffalo policeman. The club continued printing the widely recognized directory with the purple-colored Lions logo into the 2000s until the advent of mobile phones and tablets.

On June 7, 1999, the East Aurora Lions Club and the Wainfleet Lions Club (Canada) kicked off a twinning relationship spearheaded by Lion Phil Silliman. The club members meet semi-annually for mutual support and fellowship.

The club also funded, along with three other major contributors, the construction of the Aurora Senior Center. A plaque in the center’s entryway honors our club along with the other contributors; the center’s library is named in our honor.

From 1996 to 1997, East Aurora Lions Club member Floyd Silliman served as a District Governor.

For more than 75 years, the East Aurora Lions Club has served our community and will continue for many years to come.

Originally submitted by Lion Paul Waggoner


Historical Documents: 

EALC Incorporation Dept of State 1985

East Aurora Lions Club Directory 1988-1989


Lions Clubs International News
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