Ginger and spice and many things nice were among the activities and the memories Lions of 14U experienced at the annual Lions 14U District Convention held in Wilkes-Barre.
Official Leader Dog Graduate field representative Immediate Past District Governor (IPDG) Len Quinn, and his dog-in-service Ginger, a Golden Retriever, captivated the Lions Saturday luncheon convention crowd, as he told the story of how Lions decided to build their own facility to train dogs for those with sight problems with her staying at his side all the while.
That facility was 14 acres of land obtained over 70 years ago and they began with three dogs and three graduates. Last year Leader Dog celebrated dog Number 14,000.
"It is the largest such training facility," said IPDG Quinn, graduating and giving away 255 dogs yearly, free to the recipients.
And, he announced, as of April 1, each recipient can get a personal GPS, with amazing qualities, which is the size of a credit card.
Quinn was giving his 937th presentation. He travels much. However, he was not the first speaker at the convention to address the Lions and guests. The convention opened with the yearly Necrology service at which those District Lions and Lioness who have died in the past year are memorialized.
That ceremony was directed by District Cabinet Chaplain the Rev. Karl Jones with the message given by the V. Rev. Joseph Martin, PDG. A rose was given to family members of the deceased.
Tools for growing membership and keeping members was presented by Past Council Chair Dan Swincinski at the first general session. Among the tools: A team, goals, a plan, resources and communication and "spontaneous combustion."
Overseeing and observing all of this was special guest, Lions International Director Yamandu Acosta, from Eufaula, Alabama, who not only led a seminar, but also gave the principal address and helped mete out many of the awards presented to Lions who have served Lionism well, whether locally or on a higher level, such as the District.
The PA Counsellors are the Past District Governors of Multidistrict 14. That group has established an award to be presented to deserving Lions throughout the state. Recipients must have served at least 10 years as a Lion with a minimum of 5 years of perfect attendance.
Each District is limited to two Counsellors Awards per year. District Governor Bob Kelsey of Sciota named Lion Linda Benner of Lehighton and 2nd VDG Angie Mims from Greeley as recipients of this prestigious award.
The Lions of PA Foundation is the Pennsylvania Group that supports grants for humanitarian efforts within Pennsylvania that focus primarily on visual impairment. Supporting this foundation is the PA Fellow Program. 1st VDG Scott Dudley was named a PA Fellow at the luncheon and DG Bob Kelsey was surprised to be named a PA Fellow at the Saturday evening banquet.
The Joseph L. Wroblewski Fellowship is an award designed and established through the Lions of PA Foundation to honor Past International President Joe Wroblewski. That award may be given only by a Club or District to an Outstanding Lion, Lioness, Leo or a Community Leader who is also a Lions of PA Fellow.
To encourage and to recognize the financial support that Lions, and others, provide for the Lions Club Foundation, the grant-giving arm of Lions Clubs International, and to honor Lions founder, Melvin Jones, the Melvin Jones Fellowship has been established.
Lioness Marie Barth of New Ringgold was named a Melvin Jones Fellow by District 14U.
Lion Joseph Bussiere of Bushkill was named a Melvin Jones Fellow by the Stroudsburg Lions Club.
Western Pocono Lions Bethlinn Mackes of Effort and Matilda Galanzo of Brodheadsville were named Melvin Jones Fellows after a donation by Matilda Galanzo, while Mary Jane Lucrezi of Sciota was named a Melvin Jones Fellow after a donation by Herman Green.
The International President may award a certificate of appreciation to be presented to Lions who have performed a significant service to Lionism during his year in office. This is a true award and is indeed the fourth highest award in Lionism.
Zone Chairperson Wayne King of Pocono Pines, Lion Richard Angstadt from Pottsville, Lion Palmer Geist from Hegins, and PDG Judy Dudley from New Ringgold received Certificates of Appreciation.
"There is a difference in being a Lion and becoming a Lion," ID Yamandu Acosta said during his address to the Lions of 14U. All those Lions honored have their own a particular time when they truly became a Lion and showed the passion that the ID said a Lion must have.
That passion, translated to "You have the power in your hands," said by ID Acosta allows Lions to serve, whether in local villages or internationally.
It makes the Lions motto, "We serve" come to life whether trough providing eye exams, helping feed the hungry, building a playground, sending tents to Haiti, or raising funds to send to current problem areas in Japan to the tune of $7 million already.
Elections were held for next year's District 14 U leadership and Scott Dudley of New Ringgold is now District Governor-elect; Angie Mims will serve as 1st Vice District Governor and Lizanne McElwee of Pottsville as 2nd Vice District Governor.
They, too, embody and have embodied "We serve," and will lead District 14U in the next Lions year.