You Each Made It Possible

When you start out on a journey, you always hope that it leads smoothly to the destination you have planned for. Four years ago, Council Chairman “T.J.” asked me, together with Lions Liz and Juanita, to start planning our trip. Little did we know how magnificent the vistas would be when we arrived at our final destination. Each of you have had an important part in our journey painting your own special “brush strokes” on this vista mural that will remain in my mind’s eye for an eternity.

As we planned, we knew it had to be special because we were marking some 100 years of service provided by the Lions of Texas to their communities and the World. It had to be memorable because we wanted to energize the Lions to look to the future. It had to be historical because we were celebrating a “Centennial.” It had to be larger than Texas because that’s where it began and that is always where our leadership will come from. It had to be magical and spectacular because we accept nothing less.

Each of you were asked to play a role in our wonderful journey and because you agreed, you made it possible.

We wanted to create a desire in the “grass roots” Lions to come and experience our centennial convention. They did and over 200 registered, volunteered and participated. We wanted to have the largest MD-2 Texas Lions State Convention in recent memory and we did with over 600 registered. We wanted to welcome the Lions to our beautiful “Alamo City” and we did so with unbelievable Hospitality Bags and Welcome Baskets, which set the stage for what would follow. If this was the beginning, what surprises waited in store for them?

We wanted to have a fabulous setting like no other and we did by choosing the “Grande Dame” of all hotels, The Historic Menger Hotel as our headquarters. We wanted everyone to experience the finest in dining and we arranged meals to please every palate. We wanted to have capacity crowds attend the different convention functions and we did by inviting 5 of the very best “Keynote Speakers” that Lions Clubs International can offer. Each of our speakers brought a message, to their capacity crowds, of celebration and challenge to continue, into our second century, the Legacy of leadership and service that the Lions of Texas are known for. We wanted everyone feel welcomed into our home and our “Centennial Ambassadors” certainly accomplished that. We wanted to offer an experience like an International Convention or USA/Canada Lions Leadership Forum, so we developed and offered over 20 different Seminars. We wanted to create a sense of historical fun so we developed 4 “Special Events” and 3 “Free Tours” all designed to inform, excite and enlighten all the Lions.

We wanted to honor our humble beginnings as an Association by establishing a Legacy Project acknowledging Texas as the “Birthplace of Lionism” and we did so by dedicating a “Centennial Service Rose Garden” recognizing the 12 Founder Lions Clubs from Texas.

We wanted to showcase and acknowledge the leadership, commitment and service of our Council Chairman and special “Keynote Speakers” and in doing so, they were each acknowledged by Bexar County, San Antonio, Texas with the unprecedented distinction of being named as an “Hidalgo de San Antonio de Bejar”. This is the highest form of recognition offered to anyone and dates to the beginning of San Antonio in 1718 when the first settlers, from the Canary Islands, were named as Hidalgo – Royal Nobleman.

Finally, as we came together to complete our journey alongside the magical Ice Sculpture emblazoned with the logos of Lions International and our Council Chairman and showing for all to enjoy the Texas Star with the “100” on top, we celebrated and honored the work of the 2016 – 2017 Texas Lions Council of Governors. We welcomed each of them and our honored guests and their First Ladies into our Magical Kingdom Ballroom, with staged lighting and tables full of beautiful floral illumination, through a cordon of the Texas Elite Centennial Honor Guard to the sounds of our state song, “Texas our Texas.”

Over my almost 40 years of Lions service, God has blessed Liz and me with many friends. We are honored to be able to call each of you our friends and are forever thankful for all you have done and all of your commitment to bring our “Celebration of Service Here In Texas – Where It All Began” to such a masterful conclusion.

Please enjoy these comments from our Fellow Lions.
…spectacular convention ~ PIP Sid Scruggs
…amazing organization ~  PIP Jimmy Ross
…magical in every aspect ~ PIP William L. “Bill” Biggs
…will never be surpassed ~ PIP Everett J. “Ebb” Grindstaff
…truly one of a kind ~ PID M.P. “Mike” Butler
… an inspiration for all ~ PID Dana Biggs
…model convention for Lions to follow ~ Lion Stephen Mabry
…much more than just a Convention ~ PDG J.P. Kirksey
…greatest MD-2 Convention ever ~ PDGs Jeanne & Jack Adkison
…majestic convention ~ DG-E Donald & Lion Harriet Kirchhoff
…the convention was wonderful and we enjoyed every minute ~ CC-E Nancy & PDG Leon Van Alstine
…far exceeded every expectation
…masterful committee organization
…our First timers had a wonderful experience
…Congratulations on a convention that will not be forgotten
…congratulate your Convention Committee for the best one ever
…we loved everything you did for the Lions of Texas
…thank you for sharing your considerable talent with all of us
…proud to have been a part of this convention
…acute attention to detail
…unique and first-class event
…you provided many new ideas to help the Lions for years to come
…the good feelings we take home will continue for a lifetime
…outstanding tours, we had so much fun
…learned a lot to take home from the seminars
…thanks for remembering and honoring the Founder Clubs
…your dedication and commitment were evident throughout
…you succeeded fabulously
…The Menger was the perfect place to celebrate 100 years of Lionism
…wonderful historic hotel
…best convention meals I’ve ever had
…cannot believe what you provided for the cost
…thanks to the entire host committee for providing the memory of a lifetime.

We love each of you and thank you for your friendship and support. We could have never done it without each of you.

Lions Mike & Liz