Lions Club opens 2022 scholarship program to North Smithfield students

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BURRILLVILLE – The Burrillville Lions Club has announced that in 2022, its long-running scholarship program will also be open to students from the town of North Smithfield.

The club serves both towns, and is open to residents of both neighboring communities, with the mission, “we serve,” and motto, “When there’s a need, there’s a Lion.”

The scholarship, which gives major consideration to a student’s community service activities, in keeping with that mission, provides college funding to several applicants every year.

Headquartered at Uncle Ronnie’s Tavern with meetings on the first and third Wednesday of every month, the Burrillville Lions Club first opened to the neighboring town’s residents several years ago after the North Smithfield Lions Club dissolved its charter due to dwindling membership.

“The Burrillville Club offered to take in any members,” explained former Burrillville resident and Lion Dana Gould.

At the time, only one member – the late former Lions District Governor Marcel Cote – opted to join the Burrillville Club.

But it was enough to build the bridge: Burrillville Lions have since worked to serve both communities, offering annual vision screenings to students, and delivering dictionaries each year to all third-graders, among other activities.

Cote died in 2019 at the age of 87.

“He was a good member,” said Gould.

As the club celebrates its 75th year in 2022, Membership Chairman Tom Tatro noted that Burrillville Lions are making a concerted effort to continue the work of both Cote and other former North Smithfield Lions. Opening the scholarship to North Smithfield seniors, he said, is another step forward toward that goal.

In 2019, Tatro organized a two-town forum with Burrillville Town Manager Michael Wood and former North Smithfield Town Administrator Gary Ezovski. While such events took a hiatus in 2020 and 2021 over pandemic concerns, a second forum uniting the communities has tentatively been scheduled for June of 2022.

NRI NOW will publish details of the event once they are finalized.

Tatro, who is also chairman of the club’s scholarship selection committee, said the Lions were able to open the program to college-bound Northmen this year, along with Broncos, thanks to a large donation from an individual who has asked to remain anonymous.

More information on the scholarship and the application are available at the school guidance offices or online at https://e-clubhouse.org/sites/burrillville/page-7.php The deadline to apply is May 7.

On Monday, April 25, the club will raise more funds for graduating seniors with its annual Scholarship Dinner. The event will be held at Serio’s Pizza on Church Street in Pascoag from 4-8 p.m. and will include raffles and a 50/50 split the pot. Tickets cost $10, or $5 for children 10 and under, and include ziti, meatballs, bread and salad for eat-in or take-out. For tickets contact Scott Blanchette at (401) 323-5354.

Tatro notes he’s hopeful the efforts will inspire more North Smithfield residents to join the Burrillville Lions in their mission to serve both towns. Those interested should contact him at (401) 474-8251 or tpt1224@yahoo.com.

Editor’s note: Publisher Sandy Seoane is a North Smithfield resident and member of the Burrillville Lions Club.

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