HISTORY OF THE LIONS CLUB
MERIDEN LIONS CLUB
Chicago Businessman Melvin Jones conceived the Lions Club concept in 1917 when he asked, “What if men
put their talents together into improving the community?”  In 1925, Helen Keller attended the Lions Clubs
International Convention and challenged the Lions to become "Knights of the Blind in the crusade against
darkness."  The Lions accepted Keller's challenge and our work ever since have included sight programs
aimed at preventable blindness.  The Meriden Lions Club is one of the oldest Clubs in Connecticut, Chartered
in November 1923, it has served Meriden continuously ever since. We have a well-deserved reputation for
“Dirty Hands Projects” that feature members’ talents and services in service to our community, in the spirit of
founder Melvin Jones. Major Lions projects are often the decision of the President, and/or Board of Directors,
and approved by the club members, with the goal of filling a need and benefit in the community. Each year, a
“President’s Project” is allocated financial resources in addition to the prodigious talents of our membership.   
The Meriden Lions provide a host of humanitarian activities that return over $70,000 annually into the
community, in addition to providing community assistance in a wide range of charitable events throughout the
city.    These activities are possible thanks to the major fund raising events conducted by the Meriden Lions,
and the generous financial support from the  Corporate and Business community. All of the dedicated Meriden
Lions Club members share a common goal; To Serve the Community.
1924   Carl T. Kent              
1925   H.J. Reeves              
1926   Dr. H.C. Quinlan              
1927   Donald M. Cameron     
1928   Sanford H. Wendover  
1929   George J. Sokol              
1930   Richard M. Rice              
1931   Irving D. Fowler              
1932   Kenneth C Woodward
1933   Harold R. Magowan     
1934   James H. Doak             
1935   Frank W. Drechsler      
1936   Robert M. Downing      
1937   Julius C. Stremlau       
1938   John R. Sexton            
1939   Stanley F. McGar         
1940   Henry J. Foell
1941   I. Irving Hance, Sr.
1942   John C. Petrucelli
1943   James F. Hirst
1944   William F. Lynch
1945   Ferguson D. Robinson
1946   I. Irving Hance, Jr.
1947   Ralph A. Clark
1948   Albert F. Sprafke, P.D.G.
1949   Dr. Robert I. Bunnell
1950   Spencer D. Hirst P.D.G.
1951   Henry G. Zimmerman
1952   Robert W. Seekamp
1953   Robert T. Hackbarth
1954   Edward G. Knell
1955   Frederick H. Mills
1956   Fred H. Edwards        
1957   Ralph R. Merril
1958   Harold R. Lampfier
1959   A. Leo Ricci
1960   Charles J. Gibbons
1961   Fred J. Knell
1962   Edward Papandrea P.D.G.
1963   Robert E. Marth
1964   William L. Roberts P.D.G.
1965   Kenneth S. Grandy
1966   Theodore Samaris
1967   Rene Tompkinson P.D.G.
1968   Russel Weldon P.D.G.
1969   William Pappas
1970   Donald Bilodeau
1971   William Phillips P.D.G.
1972   David H. Coutermash
1973   Edward Papandrea P.D.G.
1974   David Seitlinger
1975   Robert M. Butterfield
1976   Henry J. Zagorski
1977   Francis S. Noonan
1978   Joseph R. Vumback
1979   Mario Verdolini
1980   Salvatore Russo
1981   Charles Steigler
1982   Thomas Crean
1983   Frederick Danby
1984   Thomas Noonan
1985   Richard N. Barba
1986   Vincent T. Mule
1987   Peter J. Gostyla P.D.G.
1988   Dr. David W. Parke
1989   Benny P. Trella
1990   Stephen J. Richards
1991   John E. Neville
1992   Conrad D. Kuzmich
1993   Francis H. Zygmont
1994   Vincent Caramanello
1995   Howard Park
1996   Michael Szymaszek
1997   Jack Fontanella
1998   John Albano
1999   Robert Keene
2000   Joseph Crowell
2001   William Murdy
2002   Edward Haberli
2003   Franklin Phillips
2004   Tracy Church
2005   Richard Carino
2006   William Panciera
2007   Thomas Raffile
2008   Arthur Forcier
2009   Bruce Maslar
2010   Ken Post
2011   William Lutz
2012   James Bartolotta
2013   Stephen Zerio
PAST PRESIDENTS OF THE MERIDEN LIONS CLUB
1939       Howard F. Saviteer
1952       Spencer B. Hirst
1954        Albert F. Sprafke
1965        Edward J. Papandrea
1970        Russell H. Weldon Jr.
1973        Theodore Samaris
1975        William L. Roberts
1982        William D. Phillips Jr.
1987        Rene H. Tompkinson
1992        Peter J. Gostyla
2013        Edward Haberli
PAST DISTRICT GOVERNORS
FROM THE MERIDEN LIONS
LION OF THE YEAR
1973  David Seitlinger
1974  Henry Zagorski
1975  Mario Verdolini
1976  Robert  Butterfield
1977  None Presented
1978  William Phillips
1979  Peter Gostyla
1980  Henry Zagorski
1981  Francis Noonan
1982  A. Leo Ricci
1983  Charles R. Stealer
1984  Stephen Richards
1985  Lee Barbagli
1986  Rene Tompkinson
1987  Vincent Mule
1988  Francis Zygmont
1989  Jack Service
1990  Charles R. Steigler
1991  Michael Szymaszek
1992  Lee Barbagli
1993  John Albano
1994  Vincent Mule
1995  Conrad Kuzmich
1996  Joseph Crowell
1997  Francis Zygmont
1998  James Mosier
1999  David Edgington
2000  William Murdy
2001  William Panciera
2002  James Bartolotta
2003  Larry Moto
2004  Thomas Raffile
2005  Richard Carino
2006  Ken Post
2007  Francis Zygmont
2008  Edward Haberli
2009  Walter Camp
2010  George Carabetta Sr.
2011  Les Herbst
2012  Dave Swedock
2013  Dave Lohman
2014  Jim Moran Jr.  
OLD TIMER OF THE YEAR
1999  William D. Phillips Jr.
2000  John Alfieri
2001  Henry Zagorski
2002  George Carabetta Sr.
& Mario Verdolini
2003  David Parke
2004  Vincent Mule
2005  Francis Zygmont
2006  Jack Neville
2007  Jack Fontanella
2008  Stephen Richards
2009  Michael Szymaszek
2010  William O’Loughlin
2011  Vince Caramanello
2012  Ron Berndt
2013  Walter Camp
2014  Arthur Forcier
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
1999  David Edginton
2000  David Lohman
2001  Joseph S. Crowell
2002  Patrick Carbone
2003  Thomas Raffile
2004  Larry Moro
2005  Les Herbst
2006  Dan Boutot
2007  Dan Smith        
2008  Paul Frasco
2009  Arthur Coscuna Jr
2010  David Swedock
2011  Gary Boudreau
2012  Daniel Pelletier
2013  Mike Zakrzewski
2014  John Beardsley Sr.
MELVIN JONES FELLOWS
John Alfieri
James Bartolotta
Ron Berndt
Ryan Brechlin
Walter Camp (1Diamond Y.G.)
George Carabetta Sr (1 Diamond Y.G.)
David J. Carabetta
Richard Carino
Joseph Crowell (1 Diamond Y.G.)
Jack Fontanella
Arthur Forcier
Paul Frasco
Peter Gostyla (5Diamond Y.G.)
Ed Haberli     (1 Diamond Y.G.)
Ted Hein
Les Herbst
David Lohman
William Lutz
Bruce Maslar
James Moran Jr.
Vincent Mule
William Murdy
William Panciera   (1Diamond Y.G.)
David W. Parke
Catherine Phillips---Special Award
William D. Phillips Jr (3 Diamond Y.G.)
Franklin Phillips
Kenneth Post
Thomas Raffile
Stephen Richards
Ralph Riello
David Swedock
Michael Szymaszek (1 Diamond Y.G.)
John Thorp
Rene Tompkinson
Mario Verdolini
Russell Weldon
Stephen Zerio
Francis Zygmont  (1 Diamond Y.G.)
AMBASSADOR OF SIGHT
2003  David W. Parke
2004  William D. Phillips Jr. &
      
   Francis Zygmont
2005  Joseph Crowell, David Murdy
2006  Jack Fontanella, John Albano
       
  Richard Carino, Walter Camp
       
  & Stephen Richards
2008  Les Herbst , Howard Park  
       
  & Herbert Greenbacker
2009  Mark Appellof, William Lutz,
       
  Vincent Caramanello &
       
  Marion Crowell
2010  Edward Haberli, Kenneth  Post        
          Franklin Phillips
                        ****** Mario Verdolini
2011  Vincent Mule, Arthur Coscuna
2012  George Carabetta, Sr.
       
  Thomas Raffile, Stephen Zerio
2013  Dave Lohman, Jim Moran,
       
  Brian Mahon
2014 Ralph Riello, David Swedock,
       
  Michael Szymaszek  

******Awarded Posthumously
KNIGHTS OF THE BLIND
John Alfieri
Mark Appellof
Lee Barbagli
Joseph Berg
James Bartolotta
Ryan Brechlin
Thomas Burr
Walter Camp
David Carabetta
George Carabetta Sr.
Vincent Caramanello
Richard Carino
Joseph Crowell
Arthur Forcier
Paul Frasco
Peter Gostyla
Raymond Gradwell
Edward Haberli
Les Herbst
Conrad Kuzmich
David Lohman
Brian Mahon
Vincent Mule
David Murdy
William Panciera
Howard Park
David Parke
Franklin Phillips
Ken Post
Tim Puglielli
Thomas Raffile
Stephen Richards
Ralph Riello
William Roberts
Michael Szymaszek
John Thorp
Michael Zakrzewski
Steven Zerio
Francis Zygmont
PRESIDENTS PROJECTS
THE MERIDEN LIONS CLUB ALLOCATES SPECIAL
FUNDS FOR THE OUTGOING PRESIDENT EACH YEAR
TO CHOSE A PROJECT THAT BENEFITS THE
COMMUNITY.  THE FOLLOWING LIST IS THE
COMPILATION OF THOSE PROJECTS.
1950’s     Major Lions Project
              Hubbard Park & Ceppa Field
              Field Swimming Pools
1967        Rene Tompkinson       
          Ski Lift / Tow Rope at Golf Course
1968        Russel Weldon
          $100  Dinner Dance
1969        William Pappas            
          $100  Dinner Dance
1970        Donald Bilodeau          
           $100  Dinner Dance
1971        William Phillips            
          Restrooms at Undercliffe Hospital
1972        David H. Coutermash
1973        Edward Papandrea
1974        David Seitlinger
1975        Robert M. Butterfield
1976        Henry J. Zagorski
1977        Francis S. Noonan       
          Rebuilt Ceppa Field Pool
1978       Joseph R. Vumback    
          Bath House at Baldwins Pond
1979       Mario Verdolini             
         Refurbished Pool at Hubbard Park
1980       Salvatore Russo
1981       Charles Steigler           
         Gazebo’s, Willow & Hanover Towers
1982       Thomas Crean
1983       Frederick Danby
1984       Thomas Noonan          
         Stairs at Castle Craig
1985       Richard N. Barba         
         Station Wagon for Easter Seals
1986       Vincent T. Mule            
         Flag Pole & Flag on West Peak
1987       Peter J. Gostyla           
         Handicapped Van for Easter Seals
1988       Dr. David W. Parke      
         Cancer Center Furniture at Old
1989       Benny Trella
         Original Playscape at Hubbard Park
1990       Stephen J. Richards    
         Flag Pole Lighting at West Peak
1991       John E. Neville             
         Rebuilt Hubbard Park Pool
1992       Conrad D. Kuzmich     
         Drinking Fountain Memorial West Main
1993       Francis H. Zygmont     
         Red Bridge Overhaul
1994       Vincent Caramanello   
         Lions Club Genealogy Room at the
                   Meriden Public Library
1995       Howard Park                 
         Cages at Humane Society
1996       Michael Szymaszek     
         Equipment for Girls Softball league
1997       Jack Fontanella            
         Computer Room at Boys & Girls Club  
1998        John Albano                
          Water Park at City Park
1999        Robert Keene               
          Bath House updates at YMCA Camp
2000        Joseph Crowell            
          Air Conditioning & Electrical Upgrade
                        at Nerden Camp
2001        William Murdy              
          Rebuilt Wading Pool at Hubbard Park
2002        Edward Haberli            
          Lions Learning Center at QRWA
2003        Franklin Phillips          
          Financial Assistance for P.P.’s
2004        Tracy Church               
          Kitchen at Augusta Curtis C.C.
2005        Richard Carino            
          Obelisk’s & Parking Lot at Linear Trail
2006        William Panciera         
          Obelisk’s & Parking Lot at Linear Trail
2007        Thomas Raffile            
          Storage Facility at BMX
2008        Arthur Forcier              
          Lions Learning Center at QRWA
2009        Bruce Maslar               
          Batting Cages at Girls Softball Field
Melvin Jones