The Founding of Aibonito's Lions Club
In 1936, a group of young men from Aibonito, recent university graduates, decided to unite in order to channel their cultural and civic concerns. They were initially influenced by their college fraternity experience; this interest took them to organize the Alpha Gamma Beta Fraternity. The letters corresponded in part to the names of the three friends' that originated the idea: Lemuel Abrams, Fernando Canino, and Héctor L. Benítez. Shortly after, they were joined by other Aiboniteños that shared their ideas. Once organized, the Fraternity began its cultural & civic activities. They organized conferences in the theater, for the benefit of those interested in cultural activities. Among the first well known speakers of the time to give conferences were: the Rev. Father Murga, Don Juan Ramón Jiménez, and Don Fernando de los Rios. It organized and it maintained a library for several years and when the local Catholic High School suffered a financial crisis, they took charge of the school to assure that the students didn't lose their academic year. They contributed with money and their services.
In 1940, V.H. Galloway, representative of the International Lions Club, visited Coamo. He was looking to organize new Lions clubs in the Island. When he found out about the existence of the Fraternity in Aibonito and of the work that they had carried out, he proceeded to interview its board of directors with the hope of transforming it into a Lions Club. His efforts were successful and on the 16th of December of 1940, sponsored by the Coamo Club, the official letter creating Aibonito's Lions Club was received. On that date, Aibonito became Club #14 of Lion District 51.
The founding members were:
C/L Héctor L. Benítez, President
C/L Carlos J. Ortiz, First Vice Pres.
C/L Lemuel Abrams, Second Vice Pres.
C/l Ismael O. Torres, Secretary
C/L Primitivo Muñiz, Treasurer
C/L Jesús Rolón, Lion Tamer
C/L José A. Canino
C/L Modesto Arribas
C/L Raúl Martínez
C/L Francisco Ortiz
C/L Carlos Pont, Tail Twister
C/L Miguel Hernández
C/L Ramón Santini
C/L Antonio Ginorio
C/L Rafael Bonilla"
Note: Information provided by Miguel Idrach.