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Darien Lions Club
Melvin Jones Fellowship
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The Darien Lions

Club meets at 7pm
on the 2nd and 4th
Thursday of each
Lionism begins at 6pm.

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Darien Lions Club

1702 Plainfield Rd.
Darien, IL  60561
This page last updated 6/13/16

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The Melvin Jones Award, also known as our Lifetime Achievement Award, is named after the founder of the Lions Clubs International.  It is the highest award that a Lion member can receive.

    Congratulations to Lion Jim Kiser our Melvin Jones Award recipient for 2016.




Lion Kooch is our Melvin Jones Award recipient for 2015.

Lion Bill Cernugal is our Melvin Jones Award recipient for 2014.








Lion President Steve Hiatt presenting award to Lion Mike McLamore.  He is our Melvin Jones Award recipient for 2013.









Lion President Lloyd Hemauer presenting award to Lion Ray Krusinski.  He is our Melvin Jones Award recipient for 2012.



Lion Frank Modelski is our Melvin Jones Award recipient for 2011. Shown here with his lovely wife Fran, Lion Frank has been a highly active member in the Darien Lions organization since 1984.  Dedicating his time to support a multitude of committees over the years, Lion Frank has served as chairman of committees such as our food baskets program and safe-n-well.  He has been membership director, and also held other high ranking posts which include financial secretary and club president.  Lion Frank is well deserving of this honor and we thank him as well as congratulate him for the leadership he has provided and his steadfast efforts in serving the club and community.  





Lion Hue Stephan has been a member in the Lions organization since 1982 and is noted to have served with distinction and humility.  As a past Director and Lion Tamer he has helped to grow and shape our club into what it has become today.  A chairman of such committees as Eyeglass collections, Sight & Sound, and Sick & Visiting, Lion Hue has helped to promote Lionism at all levels in the organization.  On another front, his effort towards raising awareness of drug abuse and its prevention have helped our community as well as our youth.  This year we honor Lion Hue Stephan as our Melvin Jones Award recipient for 2010.  Congratulations Lion Hue!



Lion Tony Gricus is our Melvin Jones Award recipient for 2008-09.









Our 2007-08 Lifetime Achievement Award winner is Lion Don Cozzolino. 

Lion Don has been a resident of Darien for 24 years.  He lives here with his wife, Peggy, and their three children, Courtney, Matt and Mike.  He is CEO of an Industrial Distribution company. 

Lion Don has been a member of the Darien Lions club for 21 years.  Over that time, he has served on the board of directors for 8 years and served as president of the club in 2003.  Lion Don currently helps the club as chairman of the Audit & Budget Committee as well as Chairman of the Foundation Advisory Committee.  Lion Don has also served as chairman of many of the major functions including Candy Day, $100 Raffle and Holiday Food Baskets.   

Outside of the Darien Lions Club, Don has been involved in DYC as a coach for baseball, softball and soccer, has served the City of Darien on economic development committee’s,  served as a member of PADS to help the homeless and has been involved in committee’s for the Cass School district.  In his free time he enjoys golf and volleyball.   

Don would like to say “Thank You” to all of the residents of Darien and the surrounding communities for their support of the Darien Lions club.  We couldn’t do it without you!


Lion Art Donner is our 2006-07 recipient of the Melvin Jones Award.







Our 2005-06 Lifetime Achievement Award winner is Lion Greg Ruffolo.  

Lion Greg, his wife Deneen and their two children Cassi and Mike have been life-long Darien area residents.  Lion Greg has been in community banking for the past 29 years and, in 1997, Greg and Deneen started their own company G Michael Construction to build residential homes.  

Lion Greg joined the Darien Lions Club in 1987 and has held virtually every Board position ascending to President in 1997.  Lion Greg has served as chairman for many club committees and received the club’s Lion of the Year award in 1999.  Greg currently enjoys working with new members on the Indoctrination Committee and participating in the installation of club officers.  Over the past several years Greg has been active with the development of our Darien Lions Club Foundation and now serves as Chairman of the Foundation Advisory Committee.  Lion Greg can often be seen providing the Invocation before meals while serving as the “Club Chaplain”.  

Greg has also been active in the Darien community and has been a member of the City’s Economic Development Committee and President of the Chamber of Commerce.   

Lion Greg is proud to be able to serve those in need through the Darien Lions Club and is honored to have received this Melvin Jones Lifetime Achievement Award.


Our 2004-05 Melvin Jones (Lifetime Achievement Award) recipient is Lion Joe Marchese.

Lion Joe, his wife Cathy and his sons Jeff, Jon and Jameson have been Darien residents since 1986.  Lion Joe has been involved in the field of education for the past 33 years as a teacher and more recently a high school administrator.  He plans to retire in June, 2006 and intends to become more involved in community service events.

Lion Joe has been involved in a wide variety of church (Our Lady of Peace) and civic activities over the past 32 years.  In 1988, Lion Joe was sponsored for membership with the Darien Lions Club where he has served in all Board of Directors position, including his 1.5 year tenure as Club President.  During that time he has also served as committee chairman for a number of Club functions, including Nominations, Budget and Audit, Membership Book, Pancake Breakfast, Halloween Party, and Convention, to name a few.

Lion Joe was elected to a seat on the Darien City Council in 1997 as an alderman for Ward Five and was recently elected to his third term.  He believes firmly in giving back to his community, and his work is a result of his philosophy.

Lion Joe is honored and proud to be named the Melvin Jones recipient, considering it to be the “pinnacle” award in Lionism.


Lion Rick Biehl was our 2003-04 Melvin Jones Award recipient. 

Lion Rick, his wife Marlene, and daughters Michelle, Kathleen, and Tracie moved to the area in 1976.

He has been involved with Our Lady of Peace Holy Name Society for many years, is a Life Member of the Darien Historical Society, and is also a contributor of the Darien Blood Drive.  In 1983, he was elected Alderman of Darien's Ward 2 and continues to serve as the city's "senior" Alderman.

Lion Rick joined the Darien Lions Club in 1977 and has been an active and dedicated member ever since.  He has served as chairman of the Club's major functions and numerous other events.  He served on the Board of Directors for seven years, is a Past-President (1984-85), and was the Club's Lion of the Year in 1986-87.

Lion Rick is truly honored and proud to be this year's Melvin Jones recipient.

Way to go, Lion Rick!


Our 2002-2003 program year Melvin Jones recipient was Lion Gerry Kucera.  Gerry, his wife Susan and son Kevin have been residents of the Darien area for over 32 years.  Gerry has been involved with our lady of Mount Carmel Church, and has made numerous contributions to the Darien community over the years. 

As an active and dedicated member of the Darien Lions Club for 12 years, Gerry has served as chairman of many major functions, served on the Board of Directors for the last 5 years, and was our Lion of the Year in 1997-1998. 

Lion Gerry was truly overwhelmed, honored and proud to receive this year’s Melvin Jones Award.

Our Melvin Jones Fellow for program year 2001-02 was Lion Joe Carr. Joe is a long-time resident of Darien and has been a member since 1981.  He was our Lion of the Year in 1987-88 and is very active in all Club activities.  You can see Joe driving around town in a Sebring convertible whose license plate is DAIRY N. 


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