History of the East Haddam Lions Club

The Haddam Lions are credited with sponsoring the East Haddam Lions Club, organized on February 21, 1955.

The club’s civic activities include a backstop, pitching machine, concession stand and lighting at the Legion field. The fire department would not have the tools that they require without the East Haddam Lions. The club purchased a rescue vehicle, the “Jaws of Life” and a thermal imaging camera among other accessories. A bus was donated to provide needed transportation for senior citizens, and when renovations were needed at the local library, the Lions were there with the necessary funds. The East Haddam Lions were instrumental in establishing an eye treatment room at Middlesex hospital as well as a fuel bank for the town. A pavilion was erected at the town beach, and an ambulance service was established for the town.

This club has supported District, State, and International Lions projects.  During the Sight First campaign the club pledged $10,000 to this International project to prevent blindness, and $5,000 to CLERF for Macular Degeneration as well as $5,000 to CLERF for the UConn Vascular Center. Camp Rising Sun has benefited greatly from the generosity of this club as well.

In all, the East Haddam Lions Club budgets about $30,000 annually for projects and services. A portion of these funds are distributed for scholarships, Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets, convalescent home visits, the American Legion, Nutmeg State, Boys and Girls scouting programs, Little League, as well as a myriad of other civic activities.

Fundraising to support these projects include the annual summer auction, Christmas tree sales, a food booth at country fairs, a golf tournament, direct mail solicitation, and the publishing of a local telephone directory.

Through the years, this club has named 28 members as Melvin Jones Fellows and 9 as Knights of the Blind. Lion Ed DesRosiers, a charter member served as Deputy District Governor, and Lion Bill Delehanty as District Governor. Lion John Kromish served the District Cabinet for 20 years, and CLERF in particular for18 years.

Others who served on various cabinets include Ed Barry, Zone Chairman, Fred Gagnon, Youth Exchange and Sight First chairman, Robert Rhodes, Deputy District Governor, Bill Nelson, Zone Chairman; Jerry Demi, Zone Chairman and Paul Maxwell, District Governor among other positions.
The members of this club attribute their success to leadership, pride in a job well done, and the enthusiastic involvement of the members. They are proud that in the 1981-82 Lions year, the District Governor named their club as the best Lions Club in District 23-C.

an excerpt from A Brief History of Lionism in Connecticut 2007 - see the website

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