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Lions Club Service Award Will Go to Cronin

Cliona Cronin
(PHOTO: Cliona Cronin will receive the Rye Lions Club James A. and Marian M. Shea Community Service Award.)

The Rye City Lions Club will honor Cliona Cronin with the James A. and Marian M. Shea Community Service Award on Wednesday, November 17th at Whitby Castle. The Award was established in 2003 to recognize an individual(s) who lives or works in the Rye Community and has contributed to enhancing the lives of its citizens by volunteering services of an outstanding nature.

Cliona has been a Rye resident for 16 years, and her service to the community began upon arrival. She has been an active volunteer for the Rye City Schools including Milton School, Rye Middle School and Rye High School. One of the initiatives Cliona launched was a spirit campaign to raise funds for the RHS PO by selling lawn signs congratulating high school graduates. This fundraiser has become a RHS tradition that raises over $10,000 each year.

One of Cliona’s most inspiring volunteer initiatives came after the Sandy Hook tragedy in December 2012. Cliona, always looking to support those in need or crisis, organized a team of over 100 Rye moms to host 109 Sandy Hook moms for a day of healing in May of the following year. Although the Sandy Hook community had many offers for support, Cliona’s plan was so perfectly in tune with the needs of this grieving community, that the moms of Sandy Hook accepted Cliona’ s offer. This extraordinary day offered art, yoga, boot camp, and Zumba classes, kayaking, paddle boarding, meditation, and walks along Oakland Beach and Rye Town Park. The day culminated in a lovely luncheon and a small memorial service, dedicating a bench in honor of the Sandy Hook families. The special relationships forged between Rye and Sandy Hook moms continue to this day.

In 2020, when there was a critical mask shortage after the start of the pandemic, Cliona, along with co-founder Kim Mulcahy, started the Rye Mask Project. Cliona organized 200 volunteers to sew over 12,500 masks, half of which went to hospitals and the remaining to food pantries and the underserved. Masks sales netted more than $15,000 which was then donated to Feeding Westchester.

Most recently, Cliona stepped up again to benefit the Rye Community in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. Cliona created the Laundry Fairies, a group of Rye moms who provided free laundry service to those who lost their washers and dryers in the flood, including those living in apartment buildings and condos where the laundry rooms were flooded. Cliona was also part of the team who organized Rye Relief, creating a list of resources, coordinating meals, volunteers and emergency supplies for those impacted by the floods.

Cliona’s dedication to helping those in need has also benefitted other organizations including the Carver Center’s Carver Market food pantry and the Sharing Shelf, Westchester’s Clothing Bank for Children, where Cliona has been an active volunteer. Cliona was also a team leader for the 40-mile Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and has volunteered to support cancer patients through Soul Ryeders.

As friend Mindy Grigg shared “Cliona has a unique talent for zeroing in on the true needs of people in difficult or tragic situations, and she employs an action plan that fulfills those needs while enlisting the help of the community…. She is simply an inspirational person, and so many Rye residents have benefited from working alongside her in her philanthropic endeavors.”

Josh Nathan, who has known Cliona since she and her family moved to Rye, remarked “Cliona builds community. Her work strengthens friendships and networks that people can count on in good times and in tough times. She is remarkable and our Rye community is better for it.”

Cliona is a school nurse at Fox Meadow Elementary School in Scarsdale, NY.

The Rye City Lions Club is honored to recognize Cliona Cronin with the 2021 James A. and Marian M. Shea Community Service Award. All proceeds from the event support the Rye City Lions Club’s mission to help meet the ever increasing needs of our society, with a special focus on those who are blind or visually impaired. In the past, the Rye City Lions Club has donated to Guiding Eyes for the Blind; VISIONS Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Rye Free Reading Room to purchase large print books and books on tape. Additionally, the Club provides financial assistance to the Rye YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program and to Rye Recreation for their summer camp program.

The award was originally named the James A. Shea Community Service Award of the Rye City Lions Club in honor of James A. Shea, a past Club President and outstanding community citizen who served as President of the Board of Trustees of the Rye Free Reading Room. With unanimous approval of the Rye Lions Club members, the name was changed after the death of Club member Marian Shea, wife of the late James Shea. Marian was a tireless volunteer in the City of Rye and a past recipient of the award. She was known for her work with the Rye Senior Advocacy Group and “SPRYE” (Staying Put in Rye and Its Environs), a group helping seniors to age in place. The award is now known as the James A. and Marian M. Shea Community Service Award.

Tickets to the event are $125 per person. If interested in attending, please contact Brian Jackson, Rye City Lions Club President ryecitylions1@gmail.com by November 10. The Rye City Lions Club is requiring that all attendees are Covid vaccinated. You may Venmo @RyeCityLions or mail a check, made payable to the Rye City Lions Club, to: Rye City Lions Club, P.O. Box 354, Rye, NY 10580. The Rye City Lions Club is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.


  1. Congratulations, Cliona on your award. You were always destined to be a great community volunteer and this was evident from your fundraising work bringing Michael and Declan to Lourdes in 1981! Well done, Rye is lucky you chose to make your home there.


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