Rome Lions Club to celebrate 65 years of service

Published Oct 15, 2017 at 9:00am

Rome Lions Club will celebrate 65 years of serving the community with a special Celebration of Service event at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4 at Teugega Country Club, 6801 Golf Course Road.

Cost is $40 per person and the reservation deadline is Wednesday, Oct. 25. Festivities will begin with social hour from 6-7 p.m., followed by dinner with a choice of grilled steak portobello, haddock oreganato or chicken romano.

To make a reservation, contact Victor Fariello at 315-723-7285; fax 315-292-5113; or email vjfariello@gmail.com. Checks should be made payable to Rome Lions Club and mailed to Victor Fariello, Rome Charter Night, P.O. Box 194, Washington Mills, N.Y. 13479.

Anthony Ciotti, Rome Lions Club vice president, said the city’s chapter was started on Oct. 21, 1952. A group of 25 business and professional men became the “charter members” of the organization. Later, in January 1953, the Rome Lions Club, under the sponsorship of the Utica Lions Club, received their charter from Lions Club International.  

Fast forward 65 years and today the men and women of Rome Lions Club are involved with service projects at the State School for the Deaf, Kings Kids Christian Preschool, Rome Rescue Mission, Lions Camp Badger, Rome Cemetery, Rome Art and Community Center, Jervis Public Library, Capitol Theater, and the Salvation Army, among others. The Rome Lions Club also provides free eye screenings at various local health fairs and schools. 

“We recently completed projects at Rome Art and Community Center oiling woodwork, and more recently, cleaning and getting ready for the fall season,” Ciotti said of the several community service projects underway by Rome Lions Club.  “We have supported the Rome Rescue Mission with 10,000 bequests to fund the Mobile Mission to bring the mission’s services into all areas of Rome. We have also completed hundreds of children’s eye screenings resulting in early detection of irregularities and a better chance of improved vision for the child.”

He continued, “We have ‘taken a swim’ several times at Rome Cemetery in an attempt to keep the pond clear and free of debris. We recently travelled to Camp Badger to continue work on our adopted cabin. We have replaced all of the windows, the roof, door, and painted interior and exterior of the cabin over the last 18 months.”

The club also continues to host a summer picnic and holiday party for the hearing and visually impaired community, and takes personal requests for vision and hearing assistance. Members annually volunteer for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign, and can often be found stationed outside Herb Philipson’s Army & Navy Store.

Rome Lions Club also raises money and contributes funds to different organizations throughout the city, such as providing funding to purchase large-print books for Jervis Library. It also gives to local food pantries like St. Paul’s Food Pantry, Loaves and Fishes and King’s Kids Christian Pre-School.

“We do all of this and more through our main fund-raisers such as the annual Golf Tournament, Legends of the Diamond Dinner, art auction, and our soon-to-be-first Craft Fair and Chicken Barbecue at the state School for the Deaf on Turin Street on Nov. 18,” Ciotti said.

Rome Lions Club has about 30 members and meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at the Toccolana Club on East Dominick Street.

Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization with more than 1.3 million members in approximately 45,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas around the world. Since 1917, Lions Clubs have aided the blind and visually impaired and made a strong commitment to community service and serving youth throughout the world. As with Lions Club International, the Rome Lions Club has expanded its outreach to serve in a multiplicity of community sectors ranging from vision, hunger, environment and youth. 

Ciotti said the Rome Lions Club’s most extensive growth in recent years has been through its sponsorship of the Rome Free Academy Leo Club. The Leo Club, started in 2012 is celebrating its fifth year of service.

“The Rome Lions Club’s renewed commitment to youth has both clubs working together for fund-raising and service activities,” Ciotti said. “All major events have been joint efforts by members of both groups. Most recently members of both groups and their families participated in the Honor America Days Parade. Coming up on Nov. 18 at 10 a.m., there will be a Craft Fair and Chicken Barbecue at the State School for the Deaf.”

Current Rome Lions Club membership has agreed that moving forward, the chapter will be, “Renewing a commitment to service,” said Ciotti. This year the club has substituted some traditional meetings for a service activity directly impacting the community, he said.

“It is this spirit and dedication that will sustain the Rome Lions Club many years to come,” Ciotti said.

For more information on the activities or how to join Rome Lions Club, check them out on the social media page Facebook, email them at romelionsclub@gmail.com or drop them a line at P.O. Box 765, Rome, N.Y. 13442.

For more information about Lions Clubs International, visit the website at www.lionsclubs.org.