|The Albany Host Lions Club and the Troy Lions Club were both founded
in 1925. The two clubs joined forces in July, 2006 to become the Albany
& Troy Lions Club. Here are histories of the clubs before the
HISTORY OF THE ALBANY LIONS
Lions Club of Albany was organized on May 14, 1925, with meetings set
for every Wednesday at 12:15 A.M. at the former Keeler’s Restaurant on
State Street. The first
president was Dr. E. Lester Jones, Jr., an Albany dentist.
The Secretary was Edgar G. Luby and the Treasurer was Charles H.
Bissikummer, Jr., both of Albany.
Charter, dated October 2, 1925, was officially presented at a gala
Charter Night Dinner, October 7, held in the famed ballroom of the Hotel
Ten Eyck. Mayor William
Hackett, in extending the official greeting of the City of Albany said,
“I know that this good old city of ours will be a far better city and
that it will accomplish far more good because of the Albany Lions
Club.” The Presidents of
Rotary, Kiwanis, Exchange and Reciprocity Clubs brought greetings from
their organizations. The
Albany Chamber of Commerce extended a welcome, and there were large
delegations from Troy and Schenectady in attendance.
Albany Lions were honored to host three State conventions; the first was
in June of 1942, the second in May of 1983, and the third in May of
1999. At the Club’s 20th
Anniversary in 1945, they were honored by the presence of Melvin Jones,
Founder and Secretary General of Lions International.
In 1954, the Club sponsored both the Bethlehem and Colonie Lions
Clubs. The Bethlehem Club
is strong and active, however the Colonie Club disbanded in 1989.
The Albany Club became a charter member and primary organizer of
the Sight Conservation Society of Northeastern New York in 1950.
Club also helped to establish RISE, the radio reading service for blind
and visually impaired people with the public radio station WMHT.
The Albany Lions were involved with the Lions Eye Institute at
Albany Medical Center. The
Club raised approximately $10,000 to help with the multi-district
project to raise $1 Million to increase and improve eye services in the
Albany Club has produced five District Governors, two of which, Henry
McFarland and James Kent, went on to become International Directors and
served with great distinction worldwide.
Our recently deceased member and poet laureate, Walter Holmes,
was District Governor and International Counselor before coming to
Albany. We have eight
former Presidents currently in the club.
Lion Irving Richter, a former dentist, was president in 1953 and
is still a member of the club. Five of our current members are Melvin
Jones’ Recipients: Lion Jack Elliott, Lion Rod Kermani, Lion Larry
Krug, Lion Harvey Lifset, and Lion Art Pitts.
Located in the “Capital City”, we have had the opportunity to
host Governors, United States Representatives, State Senators and
several Mayors. The Honorable Gerald D. Jennings, Mayor of Albany, is a
current member of the Albany Lions.
the club’s 81-year history, The Albany Lions have performed countless
deeds and taken on too many projects to enumerate.
However, some of the Club’s more innovative and successful
projects include, in the early years, a Soap Box Derby, Babe Ruth
Baseball League sponsorship, parades and Christmas Carol singing at the
Club helped the Northeastern Association of the Blind with many projects
over the years, from the buying of a station wagon to the purchase of
new equipment for its workshop. In addition to NABA, the Albany Lions have supported the
Albany Boys & Girls Clubs, Adirondack Experience Program, WGY
Christmas Wish, YMCA, Salvation Army, Camp Pinnacle and other camp
programs. The Albany Club
succeeded in having the long neglected Washington Park Boathouse
renovated and revitalized to promote our Winter Carnival in 1980.
In the past, the Club has sold high efficiency light bulbs and
sponsored swim-a-thons. The club continues its annual holiday evergreen
sale and most recently participated in the “Garage Sale of the
Millennium," sponsored by the Times Union at Colonie Shopping
Center. In 1992, a
scholarship program was instituted to assist blind and/or deaf college
students toward their academic goals and/or college students in a
curriculum to aid the visually or hearing impaired.
The Club continues to provide eye exams and eyeglasses to a vast
number of children and adults throughout the Albany community.
the past three years, The Albany Lions have supported: MD20 Youth Band,
Guiding Eyes for the Blind, Lions District 20-Y2 Tornado Relief, Lions
Eye Institute, Camp Badger (ESSH), Guide Dog Foundation, NYS &
Bermuda Foundation, The Sight Society of NYS, Inc. and LCIF.
Albany Lions Club has labored hard to live up to the dream that its
charter members had 80 years ago. In 2006, with a dwindling of members attending the meetings
and participating in fundraisers, the decision was made to merge with
the Troy Lions Club. The
Albany Lions Club and the Troy Lions Club had come together in recent
years to have joint meetings and work on fundraisers as a group.
It seemed like a perfect fit since both Clubs work well together
and also celebrate the same Charter Anniversary in 1925.
HISTORY OF THE TROY LIONS CLUB
Ever since August 1925, when a dedicated
group of 37 men met to form what was to become the Lions Club of Troy,
the Troy club has been a leader among its peers. We received our charter
from the International Association of Lions in June of 1926, when Dr. D.
A. Calhoun was starting his term as president.
1937, we sponsored and hosted the New York State Lions Convention,
chaired by James T. Whitehurst under the presidency of Clarence G.
Simmons, Sr., and in 1956, through the efforts of Lion Simmons, the Troy
Lions became incorporated by the State of New York. In 1987, when Jerome
C. Ochs was president, the group voted to accept qualified women
are all geared to accomplishing the goals of sight preservation, aiding
the blind and community betterment. Over the years, the Troy Lions Club
Troy Club assisted in the formation of the Sight Conservation Society of
Northeastern New York and continues to be a liberal supporter. Three
past presidents of the Society have been Troy Lions, and we currently
have members serving on its board, and on the board of the Hearing
have made substantial cash contributions to the Northeastern Association
of the Blind at Albany (NABA), Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF),
Sight Society of Northeastern New York, Lions Hearing Conservation
Society of District 20-Y2, Guiding Eyes for the Blind and the Lions
Quest Program. The Troy
Lions initiated multi-club participation in performing vision screenings
at the Hadassah Health Fair at Colonie Center, and they were the prime
mover in a multi-zone project to provide assistive-listening devices and
Braille signage to the new Junior Museum.
raise funds for these programs through our Journey for Sight, Seal
campaign, magazine subscriptions, sale of energy-efficient light bulbs,
50-50 raffle, sale of Lions mints, sale of Entertainment books,
“Moonlight Scramble” night golf game, popcorn sales at Troy’s
Victorian Stroll and other community events, and our annual auction.
Troy Club meets September through June on the third Wednesday evening of
each month at the Red Front Restaurant in downtown Troy; board meetings
are on the first Wednesday. The club’s newsletter, Rare
Meat, is distributed to the membership monthly. The Club phone
number is 518-266-7788, our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org and our
web page is at AlbanyTroyLions.org.
the years, our Club’s goal has been to conform to Lions International
principles. In doing so, we have endeavored to the best of our ability
in financial and manpower aid to make life a little more pleasant for
the blind and needy in our community.
A new phase of our history began in July 2006, when we merged with the Albany Lions Club to become the Albany & Troy Lions Club. We enter the 2006-07 Lions year remembering our past, as we build for the future.