We knew our trip to District 13-C would be special as we approached our plane in Minneapolis departing from gate C-13! PDG Pam and Lion Dick Abrams picked us up at the airport; and they brought us to the hotel where we checked in and got settled.
Later, we were treated to a fantastic dinner at the historic Pomeroy House with PDG Pam and Lion Dick, as well as District Governor Neil and Lion Jean Sheeley, PDG Carol and PDG Dan Lester, and VDG Cindy and Lion Paul Palmentera. In a beautiful setting, we became more closely acquainted with these Lion leaders of District 13-C.
Saturday morning started with a well-run business meeting led by VDG Cindy Palmentera. I was especially pleased because I inducted eight new members of a branch club that was started by Lion Nancee Visintainer. These new members were fired up and will infuse additional energy and commitment during this time of redistricting.
Within the convention, the “mini mart” featured a display area where historical materials were posted. Because this was the last district convention for 13-C before splitting into the new Ohio 3 and Ohio 4, many Past District Governors displayed photos and mementos of their time in office. In addition, the Ohio Lions Foundation and other programs had display tables; and BlueFrog sold a variety of clothes (including the famous red jackets) and accessories, many featuring the Centennial logo.
At lunch, Jim Boedicker—a fan favorite of this area—played the guitar and shared some of his original songs.
It was at this time that Lion Kathy and I introduced our invitation for those present to join the One Shot, One Life Measles Initiative sponsored by the Lions Clubs International Foundation. We are pleased to report that $340 was raised (which means 680 children were vaccinated with the GAVI match). What a great example of our global mission to begin International Vaccination Week. The District also recognized the Peace Poster Winner and her family.
In the afternoon, I held a Town Hall and responded to a wide range of questions. This session provided me with the opportunity to promote the Centennial and focus on the importance of our new membership initiative. The Lions of these Ohio districts presented their concerns and we had a fruitful discussion.
Then, with the competitive juices flowing, the fun kicked up a notch. We divided into teams for a photo scavenger hunt and spent the next two hours finding key items and combining as many of them as possible into each photo in order to get the most points. I must admit, we did win. I guess having an ID in the photo gave every picture 10 extra points. What an exhilarating challenge.
The hospitality time involved karaoke with a variety of voices that included both Lion Kathy and me. Thank you Lion Josie Prokop for your DJ skills and “props” to you and your sisters (all LIONS!!) for your beautiful vocals. We had a great time.
On Sunday, the memorial service was beautifully done under the leadership of Lion Ada Ahrens. She led the service that had for years been carried out by her husband, Lion Robert Ahrens (recently deceased). It was a poignant moment for her but it was clear that she is surrounded by Lions who care a great deal about both her and her now-deceased husband.
Following the service, we got into our formal attire and prepared for the Grand Banquet. A procession of Past District Governors led the way and we enjoyed a wonderful lunch. It was very special to have two Past International Directors in attendance: PID Jerry Smith (with Lion Judy) and PID Steven Scheerer (with Lion Mary Ellen). PID Steve is Ohio’s endorsed candidate for 3rd Vice President and it was clear he has the support of Ohio Lions as they endorsed him for the third time.
We presented Presidential Certificates of Appreciation to PDG Carol Lester (convention chair), PDG Mary Chentnik (cabinet secretary), Lion Richard Abrams (district bulletin editor), and VDG Cindy Palmentera (redistricting transition chair).
Two special ceremonies took place as the convention ended. First, the parade of checks was completed and it was announced that during the history of District 13-C over three and one-half million dollars had been donated to International or state Lions charities. What a gift!
Second, the District Governors in attendance passed the gavel along the line and at the end, DG Neil passed the gavel to the two new District Governors-Elect: Lion Robyn McClintock (new Ohio 3) and Lion Betty Robbins (new Ohio 4).
After the banquet, PDG Pam and Lion Dick took Kathy and me on a tour of the area. We even got downtown to see the stadiums and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We took the late flights back to Fargo.
As we reflect on our trip to the Cleveland area, we will remember the tremendous projects that district 13-C has supported including the Adopt-a Veteran program and the eyeglass collection boxes built by Boy Scouts for their Eagle Scout badge. The Lions here also have increased their vision-screening program. Thank you Disctrict 13-C for your hospitality and for a very successful convention. and we know that your newly-formed Districts OH-3 and OH-4 will be successful in building Lionism in Ohio. For us, the saying proved quite true: “Cleveland Rocks!”
Best wishes to those who serve.
–ID Robert and Lion Kathy Littlefield