Chicago, Mar 29: Lions Clubs International Mother District 1-A celebrated its 42nd District Convention at the Westin Hotel & Resort on Thursday March 25 to Sunday March 28.
In all 577 registrants from all over Chicagoland, Illinois and surrounding states were in attendance to witness the gala chain of events. Past International director Maurice Kahawaii and his wife Lani were international guests for the event. Past international directors Phil Y Tom and Bud Wahl with current international director Dan O'Reilly from District 1-A and MD1 was also present for the convention events.
The Initial programme began on Thursday with welcoming the dignitaries to a dinner reception at the Westin Hotel & Resort in Itasca, Illinois. First Plenary Session was held on Friday evening followed by hospitality rooms by various clubs in the district.
Prior to the event, all district cabinet members met with their international guest for the weekend past international director Maurice Kahawaii. Each room was decorated with convention theme Americana. Participants had lots of fun hopping one hospitality room to another for fellowship and entertainment. This is the way lions club members in District 1A hold their convention to have some fun after working hard for the betterment of their communities.
Saturday was the day of seminar. The year's presentation was from District Leadership Committee headed by Herb Zimmermann. Session title was, "Lionism "By" Dummies -"All 'Bout Change." An interesting power presentation on Lions Clubs history was held by past council chairman Georg Toft. Afternoon District Luncheon was headed by north sector co-ordinator of the district Terry DSouza. District first lady Marlene Jachim spoke on her experience attending various clubs in the district and meeting thousands of lions from the district. Jennifer Hichey held Theme Basket Auction which generated $3,400 auctioning 13 theme baskets.
After the event, second plenary session started by south sector co-ordinator Dawn Grogan. Various clubs presented their Melvin Jones Fellows with plaques and pins. District cabinet secretary and treasurer and past district governor Dr Austin Prabhu received his eight Diamond Progressive Melvin Jones Fellowship Award from Past International Director from Hawaii, Maurice Kahawaii Dr Austin set a new record in Mother District of Lionism, District 1-A as the first ever receipient to receive such an award in the history of lionism in Chicagoland for the past 93 years. District governor Ray Jachim commended Dr Austin Prabhu's service to humanity and dedication to lionism.
Candidates for district Offices were nominated and seconded by lion leaders from respective clubs. Past district governor and current district cabinet secretary/treasurer Dr Austin Prabhu from The Forest Kala Sampath Lions Club was nominated for the office of second district vice governor for the year 2010-2011 by past council chairman Georg Toft. Stan D'Souza, past zone chairman seconded Dr Austin's nomination. Both spoke about Dr Austin's accomplishments in India and in the United States as a community leader, organizer,actor,poet, editor and publisher of varous magaiznes and books This is the second record Dr Austin Prabhu set in District 1-A running for the second time as District Governor for the year 2012-2013.
Immediately following these awards and nominations, there was a Holy Mass for Catholic Lions and Fr Richie Vaz, SVD, a Mangalorean was the celebrant. He blessed palm sand distributed to attended devotees. Fr Richie's homily touched the hearts of those who attended this Palm Sunday Mass.
Saturday evening started with wine and cheese reception followed by District Banquet. There were following awards for the receipients - Leo of the Year, Lioness of the Year and Lion of the Year. Also four hard working lions received International President Appreciatin Certificates from the guest of honor. There was live music and entertainment by the members of Chicago Fil-USA Lions Club. International Guest Maurice appreciated the true leadership of District 1A lions and said that he learned many ideas during this convention from this district which he will take back to his district in Hawaii. After the dinner hospitality rooms were opened to all participants of the convention.
Sunday morning started with certification of the delegates and casting votes for the candidates. During District Breakfast, past district governor Harold Burkett held a necrology service for deceased lions from the district. Each lions photograph was displayed on the big screen and there were prayers and songs to honour this very meaningful and respectful event.
Election results were announced by past district governor John Coleman and declared the following candidates as winners. Steven Anton for governor, Wes Salsbury for the first vice district governor, Dr Austin Prabhu for the second vice district governor and Dave Derrenzo for Lions of Illinois Foundation Trustee. All elected officers thanked their club members, family members and well-wishers for their support in running for these offices. Past district governor Ken Accola was awarded with President's Leadership Medal. District Convention concluded with $100 Cash Raffle prizes to the winners. There were only 300 tickets printed and the first prize was $12,000. District Convention came to an end after singing American National Anthem.