The Bank of Hank provided dividends for all in attendance at the 41st annual District A-9 Convention held this past weekend in Owen Sound, Ontario. District Governor Hank Van Moorsel established his “Bank of Hank” when he was elected to office; and throughout his term as Governor, he has preached that by giving “deposits” of time, resources, and energy in the cause of Lionism, the investor will reap short term and long term “dividends.” His “Bank of Hank” has strong assets as Lions across District A-9 have bought into its message.
The “Bank of Hank” dividends were apparent throughout the convention. For example, four Melvin Jones award winners were named and at every business meeting and convention event, certificates and plaques were presented to worthy recipients. What a wonderful tribute to the Lions of A-9.
Even though the Bank of Hank “credit card” technically expires at the end of his term on June 30th, I know that the nest egg DG Hank started will continue to earn interest and continue to grow in the months and year ahead.
My visit to District A-9 began when I arrived in Toronto and was met by International Director candidate Mense “Jim” Prenger and his partner in service, DG Linda Duffie who were my host couple for the weekend. On the two-hour drive from Tornoto North to Owen Sound, I had the opportunity to see expansive Ontario which reminded me of northern Minnesota and they told me a great deal about the programs at work in the District, including the Safety Village Project that provides children with the opportunity to learn about how to be safe in different environments. In Owen Sound, we stopped to see a ferry that is docked there during the winter months. Jim and Linda took good care of me and made sure that I had the opportunity to meet and talk with many Lions.
IPDG Jim had many good questions about the election process and he and Linda are looked forward to attend the International Convention in Hawaii. They are a great team.
For the benefit of my local Lions in North Dakota, I was proud to see North Dakota’s flag displayed in front of the hotel. I am a North Dakota Lion.
The convention planners organized a casino night on Friday and the games were great fun. The Lions got a good laugh when the District Governor and I were put in jail, but $25 bail put us right back into the games.
DG Hank was very effective in chairing the meetings and keeping everything on schedule. The voting cabinet and the delegates and guests were actively participating throughout the convention, so the entire event was very informative.
As has become our habit, I brought along the message from Lions Clubs International Foundation and sought support for the “One Shot One Life” measles initiative. The Lions of District A-9 were very generous and donated $300.
Displays filled the halls and Lions were able to learn about a variety of programs and events sponsored by the district and Lions Clubs International.
Inducting new members on my visits is one of my favorite things to do as an I.D. The newest Centennial Lion in District A-9 is Alex Schmidt invited by Centennial Member Sponsor Valerie Lang from the Sauble Beach Lions Club.
The delegates enjoyed a tremendous program about the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides project; and we all met “Grandpa Bob Facca,” a London business owner whose 7-year old grandson, Louie, has Duchenne muscular dystrophy. As Grandpa Bob says, DMD is a fatal disease affecting boys almost exclusively. There is no cure – yet, so the need for research is urgent. One in every 3,500 boys suffer from DMD. Few will survive beyond their mid-20’s. For them, research is the road to hope.
Because Grandpa Bob would do anything for his grandson, he walked across Quebec and Ontario (approximately 4,000 km) to raise awareness and research dollars to help find a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. He started May 12 in Quebec City and walked across Quebec and Ontario for almost 7 months, ending in Winnipeg, Manitoba on November 19. To recognize his commitment of raising over $700,000 to date, the Bank of Hank presented a Melvin Jones Fellow to “Grandpa Bob.”
The Bank of Hank also presented MJFs to a couple who has become the foundation for a strong youth exchange program. They were so surprised that it was a real pleasure to share the “dividend” with them.
It was also my pleasure to install the new cabinet officers for next year. District A-9 will be in good hands with these great leaders for 2015-2016. DG Elect JoAnne Klonikowski is a strong and energetic leader who has already set the tone for her year as Governor through the creation of a special award honoring Past International Director Bill Moody who was the founding executive director of the Lions Foundation of Canada.
When all was said and done, I enjoyed many good conversations from a wide range of Lions who are the heart and soul of District A-9, including (to name only a few): PDG Charles Little (the quiet, steady behind the scenes leader), Lion Lenora Raby (president of the host club—Scenic City Lions Club), Lion Andrew Lunshuf (a zone chair “extraordinaire”), Past Council Chair BJ Finley (a “force” who puts everything into promoting positive experiences in Lionism), and Lion Kurt Pillatzke (a rising leader in his club and district).
As I said good-bye to District A-9, I realized that I, too, had received a dividend from the Bank of Hank. I invested my friendship and I received friendship back with interest. Thank you Lions of A-9 for its hospitality and for the generous donation to LCIF.
To Lions everywhere, invest in your own version of Bank of Hank!
ID Lion Robert S. Littlefield