Aylward was elected to the position in the spring after being nominated by a fellow club member, and hopes to continue the legacy held up by the former president, who originally invited him to participate in the organization about seven years ago.
“I got involved in the beginning of 2008, and Joe Papavero was a big part of that,” Aylward said during a recent discussion with the Queens Ledger. “He thought it would be a good idea if I joined. I figured it was time to get involved in the community and give back.”
About three years ago, Aylward, who is also senior vice president at Maspeth Federal Savings, was elected as the group’s treasurer, where he focused primarily on keeping the organization “in the black” along with Papavero, and now he hopes he will be able to help push up membership within the club.
“It’s a good strong club, we have 40 members, but I'd like to see the club grow,” Aylward said.
The Maspeth Lions are heavily active in their local community, with several fundraising endeavors throughout the year. Some of the charities that benefit from the club's efforts include Meals on Wheels, the Guide Dog Foundation, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and VISIONS Camp for the Blind.
Local schools also benefit from a scholarship fund that supports at least two children from the three local elementary schools in the area every year.
Other activities include participation in local parades, Smile on Maspeth Day, and a new collaboration to host a Vegas Club Night in the basement of Maspeth High School in collaboration with the Maspeth Kiwanis Club that was very successful in its first iteration this year.
Aylward said that his favorite activity every year is the club’s holiday visit to the local senior center, where he gets to dress up as Santa Claus and have a jolly old time with aging residents.
“When you go to the nursing home and you see the faces on the residents when they see Santa and you give them presents, it’s a good feeling, you know?” he said.