Lion Kathy and I were very excited to fly to Rapid City, South Dakota, and on to Deadwood, for the Multiple District 5 convention last weekend. What a great opportunity to re-connect with the outstanding Lions of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Saskatchewan.
Congratulations to the convention chairpersons, Past District Governor Ken Gifford and Past Council Chair Ken Wetz, and to their entire committee for planning and managing a memorable, meaningful, and productive convention. We had a lot of fun!
Council Chair Eunice Cameron (District 5-SKS) called the convention to order and presided over all of the business meetings.
District 5-SW Governor-Elect Tim Brown and Past District Governor Judy Beaudry (5-NW) staged a very successful fundraising dinner for Past District Governor Patricia “Pat” Vannett who is endorsed to seek a position on the International Board of Directors.
The next day, an extremely successful summit was convened for the leaders of each district to prepare for continued membership growth and leadership development. Past District Governor Rob Hill (5-SKS) and Endorsed Candidate Patricia “Pat” Vannett (5-NW) presented a recap to the convention participants with many positive remarks about this event.
While the summit was taking place, many partners and spouses enjoyed a tour of the local area. Next, Lions enjoyed a western-themed social on Thursday night. A local native dancer presented a powerful and emotional program for the audience. He explained the movements and cultural significance of the dance, inspired by his grandparents who raised him.
On Friday, Lions were immersed in training and informational sessions. Even though the parking lot of The Lodge was snow-covered, Lions warmed up to the powerful, entertaining presentation by Past District Governor Doug Scheller (5-SW) on the history of our great organization, Lions Clubs International.
At the senior councillor luncheon, Past District Governors who have remained active for 10 years after their term of office were recognized for their service and leadership. Past District Governor Herman Schafer received a posthumous recognition for his continued inspiration to Lions through a golf tournament staged annually in his name.
That evening, the Red Jacket Banquet was held to introduce the District Governors-Elect and award them their official blazers. Lion Kathy and I had the honor to escort the DGE for our district 5-NE, Lion Keith Zeutschel and his wife, Linda.
When all six DGEs were introduced, their Council Chair-Elect, Lion Terry Peterson (District 5-SW) joined them, along with their Trainer, PCC Rick Pockett (5-SKS) to raise the Centennial Torch to launch the 101st year of Lionism.
Later that night, Lions welcomed First International Vice President Naresh Aggarwal and his wife, Lion Navita, to the convention. I was watching the clock, worried that our honored guest would arrive while I was in the finals of the official convention “slot tournament.” Crisis averted when random luck showed I was lucky to win just in time! I donated the top prize to Lions Clubs International Foundation to support the measles initiative.
A large group of Lions was on hand greet VP Naresh in the lobby. Our international guests were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of the greeters who had awaited his arrival.
Early Saturday, VP Aggarwal and I visited the District breakfast meetings, where we learned the motivation for his greeting: “namaste.” The greeting translates to mean, “the divine spirit that is within me honors the divine spirit that is within you.”
Then, we prepped for the highlight of the weekend: a tremendous parade down main street in downtown Deadwood.
With 37 units, including horses, Lion costumes, wagons, clowns, classic cars, and even a pontoon, we all enjoyed a festive parade with some sunshine and an emcee–Past District Governor Neil Vollmer–who announced each parade unit with a booming and enthusiastic voice. The parade was a great experience.
Later, VP Aggarwal and his wife, Lion Navita were available to meet and greet Lions before the evening banquet.
His major address focused on the power of “we” and the power of “action.” He challenged all of us to be willing to move forward with confidence as we enter the 2nd century of Lions service to those in need.
The Multiple District 5 Lions gave Dr. Aggarwal a Progressive Melvin Jones Fellowship and a Black Hills gold money clip; and Mrs. Aggarwal received Black Hills gold jewelry. It was a memorable evening as PDG Pat Vannett and PDG Larry Burkhead (posthumously) received Leadership Medals, and CC Eunice Cameron and PDG Joan Marlene were honored with Presidential Medals.
On Sunday, PDG Pat and PDG Kevin Vannett were joined by PDG Dave C to bring us and the Aggarwals to the Crazy Horse Monument and Mount Rushmore.
As we pulled up and stopped at the Rapid City airport, we hurried to our flight headed south to our home in Orlando. The weekend reminded us of the great things that will be happening at the International Convention in Chicago next month. We are so honored that VP Aggarwal and Navita came to our Multiple District 5 for the parade and convention. Next stop, Chicago!
Best wishes to all who serve!
–PID Robert & Lion Kathy Littlefield