While NDSU’s quarterback Carson Wendt may have captured the headlines at the NFL Combine while we were in Zionsville, Indiana for the Lions District 25-C midwinter conference, Kathy and I felt like celebrities with the Lions who gave us a rousing “Hoosier” welcome.
Fellow LCI Director Linda and PDG Vern Tincher, and District Governor Richard and Karen McKellar met us at the Indianapolis airport. We immediately knew we were in racing territory, and we took the opportunity to capture a photo before we were even out of the terminal.
Our first stop was at the Indiana State Lions Office. What a great facility! State executive secretary Past Council Chair Sue Topf gave us the grand tour, and we were especially impressed with the patio where past Lions presidents, international directors, district governors, and Indiana Lions were acknowledged for their service.
Later, we attended a “welcome dinner” sponsored by the Zionsville Lions Club at their clubhouse overlooking Lions Park, a centerpiece of the community. The Zionsville Lions Club is one of the largest in the state and District Governor Dick is the first chief executive for the district to come from this club.
Having two Past International Directors from Indiana—PID Joe Marcheggiani and PID Doug Lozier—attending the midwinter conference was a special treat. It is often hard to have informal time together with members of the international family at conventions and Forums, so having the opportunity for one-on-one conversations at the district conference made our visit even more special.
The guests were very gracious and they even planned a sing-a-long, knowing how much I enjoy a good chorus! PDG Charles Short led the singing and created some fun lyrics in honor of our presence.
The conference officially began on Saturday morning and DG Dick and his wife, Lion Karen, expertly managed the full agenda. The St. Alphonsus Church was a great facility for the event, allowing for common meeting spaces as well as individual breakout rooms for the training programs in the morning. Kathy and I attended all of the sessions and I was asked to share a few words about serving on the international board and responded to some questions from the participants.
On a personal note, a close family friend and one of our former students from Shanley High School, Dr. Sarah Nathan, was able to join us at the luncheon. She and her family have relocated to Indianapolis and she met many Lions who would like to welcome her to their clubs.
Lion Kathy and I were so pleased with the responses of the Lions to our LCIF One Shot, One Life Measles Initiative presentation. Not only did District 25-C dedicate all of the funds from its Silent Auction to the Measles Initiative (over $2,000 raised), but we sold Measles pins and added an additional $1,200+ to the cause. Lions of Indiana, you are so generous!
I was especially pleased that the conference planners were able to communicate my desire to induct new members as part of our visit. Four new Lions were sworn in and another two will soon follow. Planning organized membership recruitment activities is essential to keep membership on the forefront of every Lion’s mind because we have work to do and more hands will help us serve those in need.
Many Lions stood out for their dedication to Lionism, but few had the enthusiasm as Lion Kenny Caldwell. He expressed in all sincerity that every Lion has a responsibility to do what is asked of him or her; and he is always willing to do his part to contribute to the activities and programs of his club.
Several awards were presented, including the District and Multiple District Peace Poster Contest winner Jack Boyer pictured here with his parents, and Peace Poster Contest Chair Lion Jan Drapalik (far right). Jack’s entry is sponsored by the Lafayette Lions Club.
ID Linda Tincher and I presented well-deserved Presidential Certificates of Appreciation—recommended by District Governor Dick—to Lion Tom Pile (Plainfield), Lion Lora Fenwick (Brazil), PDG Nick and Lion Gretchen Zinopoulos (Brownsburg), and PDG Sara Provines (Spencer).
During my official remarks, I spoke of President Yamada’s theme: Dignity, Harmony, Humanity. As I concluded, I asked all participants to join hands and consider how historians would write about Lions looking back from the future.
We were able to attend mass at St. Alphonsus after the convention concluded and the day ended with a lovely dinner at Ciao by Villaggio with district leaders in downtown Zionsville. We thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to relax and talk about family, work, and Lionism; and I had the pleasure of sitting next to the daughter of DGE Ross and Lion Jennifer Drapalik. This little girl is a delight, and clearly the darling of the district. In fact, she already is called a “little Lion.”
In the morning, our hosts ID Linda and PDG Vern accompanied us to the airport and the four of us were off to the LCI Board of Directors meeting in Savannah, Georgia. The week ahead will be full of meetings and strategic planning as our international association approaches its Centennial celebration and the start of its second century of service. Lion Kathy and I are grateful every day for this opportunity to serve the Lions of the world.
Best wishes to all who serve.
ID Robert and Lion Kathy Littlefield