WAIPOULI — An international field of guests joined the East Kaua‘i Lions Club on the 75th anniversary celebration of its charter, Saturday night at the Courtyard by Marriott at the Coconut Beach.
“Over a period of 75 years, the East Kaua‘i Lions have been a wellspring of humanitarian effort in the Lihu‘e area, District 50, and in Lions Club International,” said John “Jack” Kempfer, the District Governor of District 50 Hawai‘i, in a message. “Your club’s longevity testifies to the dedication, enlightened stewardship, and dynamic leadership of your club.”
Jeff Venzon, the president of the EK Lions Club, said he is grateful and thankful for being part of the 75th anniversary celebration.
“I am sure that the club members who came together back then did not envision what is now a milestone of memorable achievements,” Venzon said. “All they probably had in mind was the opportunity to serve their friends, families and neighbors. Since that time, past and present members of the club have joined hands in making the community a better place as well as making a difference in the lives of many people.”
Gov. Neil Abercrombie, in his message of congratulations, said the EK Lions Club was chartered on May 18, 1938, and co-sponsored Kaua‘i’s first glaucoma clinic, established the “Sight is Beautiful” poster contest, and provided financial aid for those needing eyewear.
Additionally, he said the club hosts vision and hearing screenings and supports health care initiatives, including the annual “Summer Bash” which focuses on increasing diabetes awareness and education.
Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., represented at the celebration by Finance Director Steve Hunt, said what makes the 75th anniversary celebration special is the delegation from the Shimonoseki West Lions Club of Japan making the trip to Kaua‘i to join the celebration.
Joining the slate of international guests, Lion Jackie Acoba-Ver, president of the Baguio City Host Lions Club of the Philippines, also sent a message of congratulations, noting the Philippines’ club roster of International Twins includes the EK Lions Club in the United States and others in Japan, Korea and Taiwan.
“We creatively raised the level of our relationship by working together across international boundaries with no obligation to each other beyond incidental cost of any service project, domestic or international,” Acoba-Ver said in her message. “This is in keeping with Twinning provisions to promote international understanding and world peace without political, financial or otherwise binding obligation to each other.”
Joseph “Joe” Preston, the second vice president of The International Association of Lions Club, was the featured speaker, Lions Past International Director Phil Sterker noting that Preston will be the president when the International Lions hosts its convention in Hawai‘i.
The Tsunami Taiko, under the direction of Joanne Parongao, and one of its members related to the 75th anniversary chair Elaine Saiki, was joined by the EK Lions homegrown band led by Phil Keopuhiwa in providing the entertainment for the evening’s celebration.
The East Kaua‘i Lions Club meets on the first and third Thursday of each month starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Lihu‘e Neighborhood Center.
Visit www.eastkauai.lionwrap.org for more information.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.