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Many Local Lions Receive Recognition

Elizabeth Montenegro, State Sen. Mike Gianaris, Ona Whitman, Norberto Saldana (president), Francis Schmidt, Marie Konecko & Maura Wilson

Jan. 3, 2011 By Christian Murray

Several members of the Sunnyside Woodside Lions Club received awards from Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan’s office last Wednesday for a “life time of good citizenship,” when the group held its holiday party at Queen of Angels Church on 44th Street.

There were about 50 attendees at the Sunnyside Woodside Lions Club annual dinner, which was comprised mostly of its 30 earthy members. The members, mainly seniors, are involved in a number of civic activities–from raising funds for local food pantries, visiting the elderly at senior centers, cleaning up parks and getting toys for poor children.

With Assemblywoman Nolan not in attendance, Sunnyside’s new state senator Mike Gianaris was in charge of the award ceremony. One other notable absence was Luke Adams, a long-time champion of the neighborhood.

There were five Lions’ members, one of which was Adams, that were awarded the citation for a life time of good citizenship. They were Maura Wilson, who has lived in Sunnyside for the past 40 years and volunteers five days a week at a local senior center; Ona Whitman, a fundraiser and member of the St. Teresa and St. Raphael’s food pantries; Francis Schmidt, a park volunteer and volunteer at the Museum of the Moving Image; and Marie Konecko, a long-time volunteer.

“It’s a crying shame that Luke [Adams] is not here,” said Don McCallian, who represented Assemblywoman Nolan that night. “No one has done more for Sunnyside and Woodside that Luke Adams.”

The club is seeking new members, both young and old. Last week, it recruited two new members: Brent O’Leary, a board member on the Sunnyside Woodside Boys & Girls Club and previous Democratic contender for the Sunnyside council district seat; and Janet Viana, a Sunnyside resident.

Mark Wilensky, a long-time member, said “It’s good that people give at Christmas time, but it is even better when people give all year.”

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The Lions Club does such great community service work for our town. It is a shame more people are not member of this organizaiton. the more active our community is civicly the better it is for all serviceing our needs as volunteers in helping each other.


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