By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA
(© 2017 Journal GlobaLinks)
CHICAGO (JGL) – About 600 Lions Clubs members from the Philippines are arriving in Chicago, Illinois area later this month to attend
the Lions Club International Centennial Convention, according to Filipino journalist Robert Bellis Roque, Jr., Past Council Chairperson of Lions Multiple District 301 Philippines, who will be part of the delegation.
The Philippines Lions contingent will join 30,000 Lions members from all over the world who will attend this year’s five-day Lions convention that starts June 30 and wraps up on the Fourth of July.
The Philippine delegation will be led by Past District Governor George Ong Tan, the incoming Chairperson of the State Council of Governors of Multiple District 301 (Philippines), and his spouse, Lady Rose.
Ong Tan, of District 301-D2, will steer the council composed of eight districts represented by District Governor-elect (DGE) Marlan Manguba of District 301-A2, DGE Jimmy Ong (A3), DGE Dr. Eriberto Layda (B1), DGE Stephen Yap (B2), DGE Maurino Tabora (C), DGE Angelito Santillan (D1), DGE Rosalily De Lara (D2), and DGE Allan Sanidad (E).
MANILA SAKURA LIONS CLUB:
ROBERT BELLIS ROQUE, JR. (second from left), Past Council Chairperson of Lions Multiple District 301 Philippines, was a guest during the Charter Night of Manila Sakura Lions Club at the Manila Hotel Centennial Hall in the Philippines last June 3, 2017. Others in photo from left are Rotillo Soriano, Michael Sato and Rose Sato. (FB photo)
Dane LaJoye, Division Manager, Public Relations and Communications at Lions Clubs International headquartered in Chicago’s suburban Oak Brook, Illinois, told this reporter, “We have booked 10,000 hotel rooms so far in the City of Chicago for our convention. There are currently 424 Lions from The Philippines registered for our convention. The economic impact to the City of Chicago, according to their convention bureau, is approximately $64-M.”
30K TO ATTEND
This convention easily tops the last convention in “Chicago in 2007 when approximately 15,000 attended. This year, we are expecting 30,000 attendees,” Mr. LaJoye added.
Mr. LaJoye said that the keynote speaker on July 2nd is former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. The keynote speaker on July 3rd is former U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and the keynote speaker on July 4th is singer Patti LaBelle.
During the event, Lions and Leos (youth club) from around the world will hold a variety of hands-on service projects taking place at McCormick Place and around Chicago.
CHICAGO, ILLINOS businessman Melvin Jones started the Lions Clubs International 100 years ago this year.
One of the highlights of the convention will be the "Parade of Nations" wherein Lions from various parts of the world – with different languages and backgrounds, and many in native dress – will march side-by-side down the streets of the host city on July 1st.
"The Philippine Lions will be donning our national dress -- the Barong Tagalog (Philippine formal wear). Ladies will wear red terno," said MD 301 Council Chairperson-elect Ong Tan. Barong is an embroidered formal shirt while terno, a Spanish term for "matching", is a one-piece long dress with butterfly sleeves, Mr. Roque explained.
THIS IS THE front (or heads) of the Lions Club commemorative centennial coin featuring the headshot of LCI founder Melvin Jones.
Another highlight of the event is the two-part international show.
The Beach Boys, known to be America’s first, best rock band, will start off the weekend festivities.
Closing out the convention on July 3 will be Chicago’s very own "Chicago", one of the world's best-selling, longest-running and most successful rock groups of all time. Delegates will also attend seminars, plenary sessions and exhibits, and vote on the association’s future.
BOOSTS 1.4-M MEMBERS
Each year, more than 20,000 Lions from across the globe gather to celebrate the international convention, an ideal setting to reunite acquaintances and make new friends.
THIS IS THE obverse (tails) of the Lions Club commemorative centennial coin showing the faces of lions.
LCI is the world's largest service club organization. It boasts of 1.4 million members performing valuable service in 210 countries and geographical areas around the globe.
The Lions’ Centennial celebration preparation started almost five years ago in 2012 when President Obama signed the “Lions Club International Century of Service Commemorative Coin Act,” providing a worthy tribute to the millions of Lions who have served their communities during the last 100 years. The $1 coin will be available this year to celebrate the Lions Centennial.
According to the website, Lions Clubs Centennial Commemorative Coin, the Commemorative Coin Prof Finish will cost US$52.95 while the Commemorative Coin Uncirculated Finish will cost $51.95. The law that created the Coin Act provides that a “surcharge of US$10 for every commemorative coin sold – without any cost to taxpayers – will be donated to Lions Clubs International foundation.
CENTENNIAL LCI PRESIDENT:
These funds will support ongoing Lions programs that assist the visually impaired, disabled and those affected by major disasters.
Throughout the last century, Lions clubs have played a lead role in the fight against blindness by preventing vision loss for more than 30 million people. Additionally, Lions efforts have saved the sight of more than 14 million children through eye screenings, surgeries, vaccinations and other treatments.
LARGEST SERVICE ORGANIZATION
“This coin will provide greater awareness of our organization, encourage Lions to move forward with their selfless volunteer service, and raise critical resources to continue to help those in need,” said Lions Clubs International President Wayne A. Madden after the adoption of the commemorative coin law.
Another way to commemorate the Lions Centennial in other countries was the issuance of “colorful, custom Lions postage stamp that’s perfectly designed to showcase club’s Centennial spirit.”
In the case of the Philippines, the Philippines’s Lions clubs’ stamp features a 30-cent 50th anniversary Lions International in 1967.
EVOLUTION OF LCI LOGO:
THIS IS HOW the logo for the Lions Clubs International has evolved.
Dr. William Woods was elected Lions Clubs International’s first international president at its 1917 convention. In 2016, Lions celebrated the election of their first female vice president, Gudrun Yngvadottir.
HELEN KELLER CHALLENGES LIONS
During the 1925 International Convention, Helen Keller challenged Lions to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.” It would become a signature cause Lions Clubs’ first 100 years of service.
Detroit Uptown Lions Club established a guide dog training school. Known today as Leader Dog for the Blind, the school has graduated more than 14,500 guide dogs since 1939 and helped popularized the idea of service dogs.
LION OF DEFIANCE:
MEMBERS OF THE original Lions Club of Chicago, later the Chicago Central Lions Club, gather in front of the south lion that “stands in an attitude of defiance” in front of the Art Institute of Chicago at 111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.
In a message, Chancellor Bob Corlew, who was elected as 2017 president of Lions Clubs International at the 99th
International convention held in Fukuoka, Japan last year, said altho “we set a goal to serve 100 million people by June 30, 2018 .. I’m elated to tell you that in early September, we reached our of goal of serving 100 million people. Take part in being part of an association that lives up to its amazing ideals.”
In 1952, Filipino Lions reached out to Japan and encouraged the chartering of the first Japanese Lions club.
In 1977, Lion Jimmy Carter, a peanut farmer from Georgia, became president of the United States of America.
From the ashes of World War I, with the social problems spawned by the war and rapid industrialization in 1917, a Chicago businessman Melvin Jones invited business clubs from around the U.S. to a meeting where the Association of Lions Clubs was formed.
Jones formed the Lions Club of Chicago, the first new Lions Club since the association began in 1917. The Chicago Lions Club, later the Chicago Central Lions Club, has been in operation ever since.