Spanning over four decades, the Cortland Lions Club’s eager to serve attitude has a strong tradition of being the town’s silent partner in making Cortland a better place to live. Chartered on December 10th, 1973 with 34 members, meetings were held in Town Hall. At first, events such as annual Pancake Breakfasts, Chicken Barbeques, and Diabetes Awareness and Candy Days were also held at Town Hall.
In the fall of 1977, the Cortland Lions Club joined sixteen other Clubs to establish the Lions Fishing Derby. Averaging roughly 500 youth and adults with special needs in attendance, 2015 marks the 39th year of this remarkable event. Held every year in July at Lake Shabbona, Cortland Lions bring out their Pontoons and teach the kids how to fish. In 2008, the original pier was torn down and a new pier was built. The 14 clubs that built the original pier, along with a few other clubs that support the derby, raised the $30,000 needed to build the new pier. The Cortland Lions didn’t stop with fundraising: they put hammer to nail to help build and install the new pier.
As with any community based organization, the Cortland Lions have run the cycle from young members to older members back to a newer generational mix of older and newer members. Their motto, Eager to Serve, is a reflection of the depth of commitment their members started with and continue today. As the town grows, so does the club combining newer events with a desire to continue to maintain the mission of being the town of Cortland’s silent partner in making Cortland a better place to live. The Lions Den is rented out almost every weekend from Spring through Fall for private events and is available to anyone. Drive by during the week and you will see groups like the Cub Scouts, the Dekalb Senior Center and the Lions Club using the facility.