By Rich Bockmann
Familiar names are popping up in northeast Queens.
Earlier this week, Paul Vallone of Flushing announced the formation of the Bayside-Whitestone Lions Club. The Lions Club International is the world’s largest service club organization, and Vallone is the brother of City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) and son of former Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr.
“The community used to have a Lions Club, but it kind of disbanded over time. It was just Bayside,” said Vallone, who was elected president of the chapter. He said the group was formed out of what he perceived to be a need for a community-based, nonpartisan civic group to take up under-served causes in northeast Queens.
One of the Lions’ first initiatives will be to establish scholarships for high school seniors in recognition of their excellence in academics and the arts as well as service to the community. Vallone said the scholarships will range from $500 to $2,500 and that he would prefer to spread smaller amounts to a greater number of students rather than award larger amounts to just one or two. He said it will be left up to officials at selected schools to decide who best meets the Lions’ criteria.
The other planned initiative is to set up a dinner honoring the officer of the year, who will be chosen from either the 109th Precinct covering Flushing, College Point, Bay Terrace and part of Auburndale, or the 111th Precinct, which includes Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston and the eastern part of Auburndale..
Vallone said that through word of mouth the club already has about 50 members. Meetings are held the first Wednesday of every month at the law offices of Vallone & Vallone, at 25-59 Francis Lewis Blvd. The club will adopt its charter at the June meeting.
“Being a charter member will enable [members] to say for generations to come that they were there at the beginning of something very special and needed in their community,” said Vallone.
Vallone, who made an unsuccessful bid for the City Council seat in Bayside in 2009, said the Lions Club will sponsor a local Alpha Leo club for members ages 12 to 18. The Lions Club’s next meeting will be May 4 at 7 p.m. The group can be contacted at 718-428-7285.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4574.