The Saddle River Valley Lions Club recently passed another milestone as it welcomed its two newest members and was recognized for its efforts by Lions International.
S.R.V. Lions President Christopher Reichert began the initiation of Reverend Dawn Corlew of Upper Saddle River and Richard “Richie” Spincola of Mahwah by reading from a letter sent by Barry J. Palmer, the immediate Past President of Lions International. In congratulating the local club for its success in meeting its membership recruitment target, Palmer stated that “your club has demonstrated its ability to work together to achieve important goals.” The letter went on to add that “it is clubs like yours that exemplify the Lions Mission Statement: ‘To empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions clubs.’”
This theme was continued by Lions Past District Governor George Lesnik who officiated over the club’s traditional candlelight ceremony. Lesnik read a historical summary of the organization which emphasized Lions’ commitment to aiding the blind and visually impaired as well as supporting charities serving individuals with health-related issues.
After Corlew and Spincola completed the decades-old initiation rite, President Reichert offered his congratulations and spoke about the growing diversity of the Lions Club. “The number of women in our club has grown five-fold in just the last few years. We are doing our best to make sure that our membership truly reflects the world in which we live.”
The occupational backgrounds of the membership has also continued to broaden. In addition to members whose professional paths include such varied fields as law, educational administration, construction, and finance, to name just a few, the careers of Corlew and Spincola offer the club some new perspectives. Corlew, who holds a Master of Divinity degree as well as an M.B.A., is the pastor at Bergen Highlands United Methodist Church while Spincola’s career brings an understanding of the retail food industry gained from his longtime association a major national supermarket chain.
In addition to increasing the ranks of the local club’s membership roster to forty two active members, both bring an extensive background in service to others. Among her many other social service experiences, Corlew once spent six month’s in Ethiopia working with the families of HIV/AIDS victims, an undertaking that her sponsor, Lion May McDermott said “speaks volumes to her level of dedication and caring.” Likewise, albeit closer to home, Spincola has been a longtime ‘Friend of the Lions,’ as non-member frequent volunteers are affectionately known, and has worked at the annual Lions Carnival as well as various other club projects. His sponsor, Lion Jim Murphy, described Spincola a “genuinely kind human being who just enjoys serving others.” Both new Lions spoke enthusiastically about their futures in the club. Spincola seemed to summarize their feelings by saying how happy he was “to be part of an organization that is doing something important: helping people.”
Lions Clubs International is the world's largest service club organization with more than 1.3 million members in approximately 45,000 clubs across more than 208 countries and geographical areas around the world. Founded in 1917, the organization is best known for fighting blindness, the Club also performs volunteer work for many different kinds of community projects – including caring for the environment, feeding the hungry, and aiding seniors and the disabled.
Locally, the Saddle River Valley Lions Club was chartered in 1958. For 56 years the club has been an integral part of the communities from which its members are drawn: Allendale, Mahwah, Ramsey, Saddle River, and Upper Saddle River. Membership is by invitation and is open to men and women of legal majority and good reputation within the community.
Classified as a 501C(3) non-profit entity, the Saddle River Valley Lions Club has raised and distributed more than $2,000,000 since its inception. 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 more information about the Saddle River Valley Lions Club and its many worthwhile programs and activities, please visit the clubs website at www.SRVLions.org.