2014-2015 S.R.V. Lions Club Officers Installed and Awards Presented
The Saddle River Valley Lions Club officially marked the beginning of its fifty seventh year at the Club’s Annual Installation Dinner by celebrating the swearing-in of a new slate of officers and by honoring several of its members and supporters for their distinguished service.
Following the Club’s long standing tradition, Lion President Jerry Michota welcomed members and guests with the ‘Lion’s Toast’ – “Never above you. Never beneath you. Always with you” – and congratulated the assemblage for what he termed “a year of real accomplishment.” In his final address as president, Michota noted that the Club had “achieved numerous noteworthy accomplishments” during the preceding year stating that a number of the Club’s goals had been successfully attained.
The outgoing president spoke with pride of the Club’s success in passing the $2 million mark in terms of funds raised and distributed to various charities and organizations during the course its long history. Michota went on to mention the almost 20% increase in the Club’s membership and described the improved flow of information of Lion activities to the members of the public as very positive signs for the future. Michota also took the opportunity to thank Lion Al Kusada for his work in improving the Club’s website.
Lion David Verducci was also recognized for his successful efforts to create two Leo Clubs which is the student arm of the Lions organization. Verducci then presented the first “Leo of the Year” Award to Alexandra Lesnik, the charter president of the Northern Highlands Regional High School Leo Club. Lesnik was cited for her “outstanding leadership in helping to launch the new club and for her dedication in service to others.”
Acting in his capacity as a Lions Past District Governor, George Lesnik, Alexandra’s Dad, then installed the Club’s new officers for the coming year. Sworn in along with new President Chris Reichert was his new ‘cabinet.’ Included were 1st Vice President Jim Murphy, 2nd Vice President Vic Heineman, 3rd Vice President David Verducci, Secretary Bob May, Treasurer Paula Turrin, Membership Chairman Gene Leporiere, ‘Lion Tamer’ Wilfredo Gonzales, and Directors John Chambers, Art Keys, Paul Beck, and Dennis Schubert.
Named after the founder of Lions International, the Melvin Jones Fellowship consists of a donation made in the winner’s name to the Lions Club International Fund. Presented with a plaque commemorating the award, the Fellowship is the highest honor bestowed by the local club. Including the 2014 awardees, Lion Al Kusada, Lion Wilfredo Gongales, and Lion Floyd Rafferty, only 32 members have been recognized in this way over the course of the Saddle River Valley Club’s entire history.
The final award of the evening, the Community Partner Award went to Bottle King of Ramsey for “their ongoing support of the Lions in our effort to raise funds for those in need.” The Club expressed its thanks and appreciation to Bottle King for its help, particularly during the annual car raffle.
The evening closed with the presentation of the Past President’s Plaque to Michota and the President’s Gavel to Chris Reichert. Reichert then added his thanks for the hard work of the membership during the past year while at the same expressing his optimism about the potential of his the upcoming Lions year, which traditionally begins on July 1st.
Closing the evening, Reichert summed up the concept of ‘Lionism’ for his audience. According to the newly installed president, “our members are all here because we believe in – and act on – the Lions’ motto: ‘We Serve.’ That the reason we’re Lions. It’s not just what we do. It’s who we are.”
Classified as a 501C(3) non-profit entity, the Saddle River Valley Lions Club has raised and distributed more than $2,000,000 during its almost six decade history. 100% of its net proceeds go directly to the charities that the Club supports with none of the funds raised being used to meet administrative expenses, a cost borne by the Lions themselves.
For membership information about the Saddle River Valley Lions Club, or any of its events or activities, please visit the S.R.V. Lions website: www.SRVLions.org .
In the picture: Outgoing President Jerry Michota (left) presents the President’s Gavel to Chris Reichert (right).