Chicago, March 25, 2013: District 1A- Mother District of Lionism celebrated their 45th District Convention with great colors. International Director from Connecticut Carolyn Messier was the International Guest for the event.
Opening session was on Friday, March 22, 2013 at the Westin Chicago Northwest Hotel in Itasca. District Governor Dr. Austin Prabhu opened the session with his welcoming remarks. For the first time there was a parade of banners in District 1A. All 74 clubs and past district governors’ banners were brought to the banquet hall to the marching band music provided by young and talented Mangalorean star performer Darrel Mascarenhas.
Tammie Souza – meteorologist from Fox TV – a facebook friend of Dr. Austin Prabhu was the star guest for the event. Tammie made a presentation on Green Earth, Environment, hurricanes and weather. Many lions asked several questions to Tammie to grasp more knowledge. Kenneth Hadden performed a comedy show and made all the participants to fill the hall with laughter.
After this event, there were 7 hospitality rooms decorated to District Governor Dr. Austin Prabhu’s convention theme – “Indy 500 Comes to the Windy City.” All registrants were hopping from one hospitality room to another and having fun and fellowship. Lions work hard for the entire year and during convention time they celebrate their achievements and have fun by spending their own personal money.
Saturday, March 23, 2013 started with a breakfast for all past first ladies in the District. They shared their successes and made some suggestions on how to improve lionism in District 1A.
First Plenary Session started early morning with presentation of awards. Lions of Illinois Foundation Executive Director Van Stone gave away special awards to Jan Barber and Chris Coleman for their hard work in collecting donations to the foundation. Immediate past district governor Wes Salsbury conducted Melvin Jones Fellows ceremony for Lions Clubs International Foundation. Several lions received foundation recognition from International Director Carolyn Messier. Governor Dr. Austin Prabhu was recognized with his 14thlevel Melvin Jones Fellow. With this recognition Dr. Prabhu became the first ever lion in the State of Illinois to receive such a highest level recognition from LCIF.
There was past district governors’ luncheon and also district luncheon. Bob Block emceed this luncheon and District First Lady Terry D’Souza spoke during luncheon and shared her experience throughout the district with District Governor. She also encouraged lions to become more active in the district. 13 theme baskets were auctioned by Bob Hoffman which collected around two thousand dollars for the convention fund. There were nominating seconding speeches for District Candidates such as Lions of Illinois Foundation Trustee, II Vice District Governor, I Vice District Governor and District Governor. Maryann O’Reilly did nominating speech for Terry D’Souza – candidate for I Vice District Governor and Gail Anton made seconding speech. District charitable wing – VOICES (Volunteer Organization Involved in Charitable Expressions of Services) held their annual meeting and gave away fellowship awards.
There were two religious services for attendees. Catholic Mass was offered by Fr. Simon Braganza and distributed blessed palms. Pastor David Sagar held Ecumenical Services for non-Catholic lions.
There was a Wine and Cheese reception prior to the District Banquet. Banquet was emceed by I Vice District Governor Dave Hanssen. Presentations of Lion of the Year to Dawn Grogan, Lioness of the Year to Artiss Brown were made by chairman Dick Huels. International Director Carolyn Messier delivered her Keynote Speech and thanked all the lions for their services to the needy people in communities. She gave several examples where lions changed the life of individuals with their support and service. Darrel Mascarenhas entertained the participants with his live music and singing. Governor Dr. Prabhu and International Director Carolyn exchanged gifts as a memory of this convention. After the banquet all hospitality rooms were opened for fellowship until 1:00 a.m.
Sunday started with District Breakfast followed by Necrology Service in honor of deceased lions in the District. Dianne Hanssen, District Chaplain held the service. Evelyn Francis sang hymns to the music of Darrel Mascarenhas. Citizen of the Year was announced and honored. District and State Peace Poster Contest winner Anastasiia Sevriukova, Age 13 from Brooks Middle School, Oak Park was honored for her winning entry.
All winning candidates – Governor Elect Dave Hanssen, First District Governor Elect Terry D’Souza, II VDG Elect Ralph Zarada and Foundation Trustee Dr. Richard Racoba made their acceptance speeches.. With this election Terry D’Souza became the first ever Indian born in the US to decorate this high office of I Vice District Governor.
Governor Dr. Austin Prabhu gave his emotional and inspirational speech thanking his family and all lions for making his year a successful one. He compared lions to a burning candle by saying, “Lions, you are like a candle – as the candle brightens the room by sacrificing its wax, you brighten the lives of needy people in your communities by sacrificing your resources and time. Set your goals high to reach the stars. On the way to reach the stars, even though if you do not touch the stars, on the way you will touch a rainbow and feel those beautiful colors. Stop complaining and be a rose. Even though rose plant has hundreds of thorns, those rose buds and not staying down. They rise above these thorns and how the world their beauty and spread fragrance. There is nothing impossible in life; keep hopes alive, care humanity and share your resources to make it happen.