Our History
The Columbia Lions Club was organized May 23 1955 and chartered June 29, 1955 through the sponsorship of the Lebanon and Willimantic Lions Clubs. The Columbia Lions sponsored the Hebron Lions Club which was organized December 3, 1969.
The Columbia Lions Club is governed by a Board of Directors elected annually by our membership.  The Board consists of the President, Vice Presidents, Treasurer, Secretary, Tailtwister, Liontamer, and other Directors who serve to coordinate the activities of the club and to promote participation in club functions by all members.
The club meets twice monthly.  The meetings are dinner meetings where invited guests discuss topics and issues that are important to the community, or to promote Lionism.
The Columbia Lions Club has "served" our community in many ways as mentioned previously.  To meet the financial demands of serving our community we sponsor a variety of fundraising activities.  The most notable are the Chicken Barbecue held the 3rd Sunday of August at Recreation Park, a Pancake Breakfast usually in the spring at Porter School, a bingo  concession at the Hebron Lions Harvest Fair in early September, the scholarship fund raffle held during the fall, and an annual mail campaign to support the activities of the Connecticut Lions Eye Research Foundation.  These activities allow the Columbia Lions to "Serve" in the spirit of Lionism.
Since 1955 the Columbia Lions Club has strived to work for the betterment of the community and to assist those in need.  Our success has been realized because of the hard work of our members and the generous support from the people of Columbia.
The Lions Presence in Columbia
Throughout the Town of Columbia, there are signs of the Lions' motto: "We Serve."  However, it isn't more evident than what is found on the Town's Green, or adjacent to it for that matter.
It all started with the Veterans Memorial and the flagpole with its light to illuminate the Star Spangled Banner during the darkened hours in front of Yeomans Hall.  Later came the planting of the maple trees on both sides of Route 87. In 1988, the Gazebo was purchased by the Columbia Lions, and turned over to the Town in July of that year.
Each year since, The Gazebo has been decorated with glittering lights during the Christmas season.  At the official lighting ceremony, the Lions jointly sponsor a Carol Sing with a local bank, and the Town Government.
Six benches were provided in 1990 to be located by the Saxton B. Little Free Library, the Gazebo, and along a proposed walkway between the Town Hall and the Gazebo. The Walkway became a reality in the fall of 1993. The Gazebo, benches, and walkway are identified as President's Projects.  In recent years, the Presidents of the Lions Club have had the honored privilege of identifying a project to be accomplished during their tenure in office.
Also situated on the Green in the Saxton B. Little Free Library, the site of another President's Project. In need of financial assistance to qualify for a state grant to computerize library records. The Lions contributed $5,000 toward that goal in 1992. This, along with the $10,000 state grant, helped to modernize the Library and to improve its services to the community.
The original Library, now known, as The Meeting Place, was also the recipient of Lions' assistance.  As the Town's Library, the exterior was painted, and some interior work was accomplished by members of the Lions Club.  When it was renamed to the The Meeting Place, the landscaping around the building was done by the Lions.  Space has been reserved in The Meeting Place to house and display Lions Club memorabilia which has been collected over the years. This includes the original charter and a deceased Lions memorial plaque.
During July of each year, the tranquility of the Green, is disturbed by the sounds of marching bands, firing muskets and cheers of joy when the annual Lions July 4th Parade takes place.  Originated in 1961, the parade has been a source of entertainment not only for Columbia residents, but also for scores of visitors from surrounding towns who line the parade route and the Green, and enjoy the spectacle.  Judged to be one of the very few old-fashioned parades held in the State, the parade is today jointly sponsored by the Town of Columbia, and the Lions Club.
Just about several hundred yards east of the Town Green are the Horace W. Porter School and the Columbia Volunteer Fire Department.  Both have been the recipients of Lions Club support.  Annually, two graduates, one female and one male graduate of Porter School are the recipients of the Lions Good Citizenship Award - a $50.00 U.S. Savings Bond.  Two student athletes, one male and one female, are awarded trophies designating them as the Lions Athletes of the Year.  In addition, Porter School students are encouraged to enter the July 4th Parade Theme Contest.  The winner is presented with a $50.00 U.S. Savings Bond.
The original Fire Rescue truck owned by the Columbia Volunteer Fire Department was donated by the Columbia Lions as one of their first contributions to the community.  An ice rescue sled, still in service, was a later donation.
The very first project of the Columbia Lions was torn down - the Beach House at Columbia Lake.  With the Town's acquisition of the Murphy House, the Lions Beach House was no longer needed.
Approximately one mile from the Town Green, on Hennequin Road is the town's Recreation Field.  One of the original Lions Projects, an ice skating rink, was provided in the Club's earliest days.  That also, no longer exists, due to a lack of use and vandalism.  However, the William "Buzz" Burnham Pavilion is still in use for family and group gatherings at Rec Field. The Pavilion was dedicated in 1980 to honor the memory of Columbia Lions Club Charter President, Buzz Burnham. The Lions were also instrumental in clearing brush, trees, etc., in the development of a nature trail in Rec Field.
The Lions club helps provide for eye and audio examinations, including eye glasses and hearing aids for less fortunate members of our community.  Used eye glasses are also collected for use by those in need throughout the world of Lionism.
Support is provided to the Connecticut Lions Eye Research Foundation.  Columbia residents have responded generously over the years to our annual mail fund drive.  Columbia can boast to one of the highest per capita support ratios in the state.
We also provide camperships to Camp Rising Sun, operated by the American Cancer Society, to benefit youngsters who are terminally ill.
We sponsor a Columbia high school student annually to the Connecticut Boys State which is operated by the American Legion.  The award is known as the John T. Forryan Award, in memory of a past president of the Lions Club, and Past American Legion Commander.
The Club sponsors Boy Scout Troop 162.  In addition, each Scout achieving the highest honor of Eagle Scout is awarded a $50.00 U.S. Savings Bond.
In the past we have sponsored local teachers in the Lions Quest Program aimed at reducing drug and alcohol abuse, and we support the DARE program as well.
Support is provided for programs that help those in need, such as the Church World Service Crop Walk to "feed the hungry", the Salvation Army, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, St. Paul's Covenant Soup Kitchen, and the Town of Columbia's Social Services Office, to name a few.

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