Remarks by Joe Preston, Past International President on May 18, 2024.

It is great … to be back here in beautiful California, attending this District 4L2 Convention.  It has been great seeing old friends and making new friends.

Thank you for your hospitality.

I recently ran across this letter:


I am writing to say what an excellent product you have.  I’ve used it throughout my married life.  Mom always told me it was best.

Now I am in my fifties, and I find it even better.  In fact, about a month ago, I spilled some red wine on my new white blouse.

My inconsiderate and uncaring husband started to belittle me about how clumsy I was, and generally started becoming a pain in the neck.

One thing led to another and somehow, I ended up with his blood on my new white blouse.

I grabbed my bottle of Tide with bleach alternative, and to my surprise and satisfaction, all the stains came out.

In fact, the stains came out so well the detective who came by yesterday told me that the DNA test on my blouse were negative.

Then my attorney called and said that I was no longer considered a suspect in the disappearance of my husband.

Thank goodness, going through my midlife crisis is bad enough.

Well, have to go.  Got to write to the Hefty Bag people.


DG Scarlett Ku

VDG Kaiser

IPDG Jacky


Visiting Dignitaries:

PCC’s, PDG’s, Distinguished Lions and Guests,

Congratulations to your Convention Committee for putting this weekend together.  They have done a great job.

In Lions, we are always looking for solutions.  Loyalty + Communication = Solutions.  I love DG Scarlett’s theme.

With Loyalty and Communication, it is easy to find Healthy. Positive, and Equitable Solutions.

A big thank you to DG Scarlett, who has been working hard for you despite having a demanding career, managing her family, chartering new clubs, leading disaster relief efforts, developing a Mental Health facility, and volunteering for the American Cancer Society.

I am very impressed with your District 4L2 Cabinet Officers.  DG Scarlett put together an awesome team.  Next year’s administration will have a solid base to work from.

Have you visited your District 4 L2 Website?  If not, please do so. Internally it has a wealth of information about upcoming events, it highlights your District Projects, has links to the Lions International Website, and much more …

It has a wealth of information, but remember, your Website should also have an external reach to it as well … with more pictures of local Lions in action, local impact stories, information about your district and state projects, and such:

Research shows that most people visit the local website to find out more about Lions … before joining.  So having the right information is critical to bringing in new members.

The same holds true for Club Websites.  People check it out, before they join, or go somewhere else. 

It takes time and updating, but it is worth the effort. Lions International has an e-clubhouse template that you can use for free.

And if your CLUB does not have a website, I encourage you to develop one. 

Websites and Social-Media are two great ways to market your district or club to the public, with little cost. The more that people know about your district and/or club … the more likely they will be to support you financially, partner with you on service projects, and join as members.

Have you ever noticed that Lionism:

  • Goes where it’s wanted
  • Stays where it’s needed
  • And grows when it’s nurtured?

Our International President is Dr. Patti Hill, from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada?

Wow, what a tremendous Lady. She is doing a sensational job in representing our Association and leading us to higher heights.

President Hill is asking us to Change the World.

She says, Change doesn’t happen all at once. It happens through many small choices.  With every act of kindness, we change a life.  With every Lions club and Leo Club, we change a community.

And when we change our communities … we change the world.

The Winter 2024 Edition of the Lion Magazine has “in depth coverage” of Mission 1.5, our Membership Growth Plan to build out global membership to 1.5M Members. If you have not seen it, I encourage you to do so.

There was a section that had some great tips for recruiting new members, such as:

1.      Make sure your club is open to accepting new members and new ideas they bring.  Lion Robin, British Columbia, Canada.

2.      Be enthusiastic when you talk about being a Lion.  When you’re excited, your enthusiasm will transfer to the person you are talking to.  Lion Vicki, Texas.

3.      You can never invite enough people or ask them enough times to be a Lion.  I’ve met people who were asked five times before they accepted.  They joined when they were ready.  Lion Dan, Illinois.

4.      A compelling story is our most powerful tool for attracting new members.  Incorporate personal stories highlighting the impact of your club’s work.  Lion Dipendra, Nepal.

5.     Find out what the prospective member is passionate about … and offer being a Lion “as a means to that end.”  Opening our clubs to new members means opening our minds to new ideas and new ways to serve.  International President Dr. Patti Hill, Canada.

It is always good to hear new ideas on how to recruit new members.

When I was International President in 2014-2015 … we launched the ASK ONE program, and it gave us a big boost in recruiting.

Halfway through my year, I realized that we were only addressing half of the situation … so I modified it to be ASK ONE/KEEP ONE, because it’s hard to have net growth when we lose members out the back door.

My biggest regret was that I did not put enough emphasis on Retention … at the start of my year.

Retention is just as important as Recruiting … and both are essential for Net Growth.

I challenge every club here to discuss your recruiting and retention efforts at your Club Board of Directors Meeting.

Do this on a regular basis … and take the time to review your membership numbers, successes, and opportunities.

Always be looking for new ways to improve your efforts.

ASK ONE/KEEP ONE … Together, we can Grow.

 Every day we make decisions on what we will do.

When Mickey Mantle was playing baseball for the New York Yankees. Anybody remember Mickey Mantle?

Mickey hit a lot of Homeruns … and when he did, he always kept his head down as he rounded the bases.

Mickey explained, “I thought the pitcher felt bad enough already, that I did not want to show him up.

The day after reading that article, I was watching a College Baseball Game on TV.

One of the batters on the visiting team hit a 3-run homerun. The batter kept jawing at the pitcher all the way around the bases.

The umpire let the batter circle the bases … but when he touched home plate … the umpire threw him out for taunting and unsportsmanlike behavior.

The runs counted, but the batter was not only disqualified from the rest of that game, but for the following game as well.

What a stark contrast that was from the humility of Mickey Mantle.

It begs the question.  As we make our daily decisions, what role are we going to play?

As Lions, I hope we always choose the high road.  Because Kindness matters. And as Community Leaders our actions are always on display.

And we should always keep sight of our goals.

When it comes to commitment, there are four kinds of people:

Cop-Outs: People who have no goals and don’t commit.

Hold-Outs:  People who don’t know if they can reach their goals, so they are afraid to try.

Drop-Outs: People who start towards a goal but quit when the going gets tough.

All-Outs: People who set goals, commit to them, and pay the price to reach them.

Which of the four are you?  The one you choose will determine whether you succeed or fail.

Since I have been here, it seems like the Lions here in District 4L2 are All-Outs.  Thank you for your leadership, service, and your positive attitude.

One of my favorite poems comes from an unknown author.  It sheds light on what it takes to grow our membership, grow our leadership, and grow our service.

It is called, “Plant Your Garden Today.”

First plant three rows of peas,

  •     Patience,
  •     Promptness
  •     Persistence

Next plant three rows of squash,

  •     Squash gossip,
  •     Squash indifference,
  •     Squash criticism,

Then four rows of lettuce,

  •     Let us be good Lions,
  •     Let us be loyal,
  •     Let us be true to our obligations,
  •     Let us be unselfish,

Finish with four rows of turnip,

  •    Turn up when needed,
  •    Turrn up with a vision,
  •     Turn up with a smile,
  •     Turn up with determination,

If we do this, we will grow Lions, and serve more people than ever before, plus you will have a lot of fun & fellowship along the way.

 This year I am serving on the Board of Trustees for LCIF, Lions Clubs International Foundation.  LCIF supports Lion Led Projects.

Thank you for your support of our foundation, LCIF.  While you have been generous with your donations to LCIF, it is not a one-way street.  You also receive grants back.

At the recent Board of Trustee’s meeting, LCIF approved over $             in grants.

Congratulations to MD4.  Under PDG Manny Sanchez’ leadership you are currently number one in donations for CA1.  District 4L2 are more than doing your part as you at 149% for the year … and I don’t think that counts the fundraiser that DG Scarlett and her team held - $50K.

When we talk about LCIF, we are usually talking about grants or the donations. But there is an aspect that is also important – PARTNERSHIPS.

When I was in Ethiopia, I had the opportunity to participate in a Medical Mission.

On one of the days, we travelled to a remote village, that did not appear to have electricity, running water, or toilets.  We were giving oral antibiotics to every person in the village.

There was a long line of people waiting to get their medicine.  A couple of medical techs were there to dispense the medicine, along with a couple of other workers that were logging every person’s name as they received their dosage.

They were logging this by hand into a big journal book. No computers.

Why would all the villagers line up so eagerly?

This medicine prevents Trachoma from happening … and every family in the vast Amhara Region in Ethiopia has been touched by Trachoma.

Trachoma is a slow, painful disease, that causes your eyelashes to get hard and turn inward.  If not prevented in time, those eyelashes will scratch the person’s eyeballs beyond repair … robbing them of their vision.

The following day our group visited a Vision Clinic that was busy, because you can address Trachoma, surgically, if you catch it early enough.  However, taking the medicine is much preferred by all.

There was one woman that had walked miles and miles to get to the clinic.  She was in so much pain, that she had pulled out every one of her eyelashes … trying to get some relief.

However, the doctors could not perform the surgery on her until the swelling in her eyes went down.

That is how painful the effects of Trachoma can be.

In two weeks … we administered medicine to over 17M people.  That’s about 44% of the population of California.

I’m not sure you could round up 44% of the people in California within two weeks if you were giving away free $20 bills. And this was in the most remote area of Ethiopia.

Surprisingly, they administer 80 percent of the medicine the first week, and they spent the second week rounding everyone else up.

So, how did we accomplish such great a task as treating 17M people within two weeks?  Partnerships and a willing audience.

  • LCIF provided much of the funding.
  • The Carter Center organized the trip and provided project management and accountability.
  • The Ethiopian government hired 25,000 people to administer the drug and log every dosage given
  • The Ethiopian Lions went village to village announcing when the medicine was coming and provided other support.
  • Pfizer Corporation provided all the medicine for free.
  • A shipping company from Germany shipped all the product to Ethiopia, for free.
  • And there were others that played smaller roles.

That is the magic of TEAMWORK.  Lions joining together with others … to address major health and social issues.

As a side note, the World Health Organization confirmed that this year, Trachoma has been eliminated in the country of Mali.  Thank you, Lions.  Thank you, LCIF.

Not many organizations have the credibility, ground support, and connections to take on projects of this magnitude … and get everyone organized and on the same page.


That’s the Power of Lions.

And you and your Lions Club can tag onto the long-standing credibility of LCIF and Lions International to expand your Service Impact and Reach.

WE have a very strong Brand. You can partner with schools, municipalities, businesses, other service organizations … wherever it is mutually beneficial to do so.

Partnership can be powerful.

And every time you put on your Lion’s pin, shirt, vest … you are representing and backed by the world’s largest and most active service organization … Lions International.

I wrote a song about who Lions are and what we do.  Is it okay if I share it with you?  It is called; Lions Lead the Way.


Lions are Leaders … we come from many lands,

A global movement catching on … united in our stance,

We’re out to aid humanity … it’s all because we care,

Love, Peace, and Understanding … there’s so much we can share,

Some people dream of Changing the World, we Lions know we can,

We open our hearts, put on a smile, reach out a helping hand,


Lions feed the hungry … give substance to the weak,

While serving our community … a better place is what we seek,

We treasure our environment … and value what it’s worth,

We do our best … but need your help … to save this planet earth,

Some people dream of Changing the World, we Lions know we can,

We open our hearts, put on a smile, reach out a helping hand,


We are men and women … our hearts are on display,

If you want to make a difference … let the Lions Lead the Way,

You can think about tomorrow … but work your plan today,

If you want to make a difference … let the Lions Lead the Way,


Lions … are … Changing … the World … with each service project or act of kindness that we perform.

When IPIP Brian Sheehan was International President last year, his theme was Together We Can.

I like to combine it with Current International President Patti Hill’s theme, of Change the World.

Because Together We Can … Change the World.

We’ve talked about growing our Service and Membership.  One proven way to accomplish both is to identify and develop New Leaders … while still enhancing the skills of our existing members.

When Lions work together … we make miracles come true. And we do it day in and day out.

Together We Can address pressing health issues.

Together We Can make a difference in our local communities.

Together We Can extend our service reach around the world.

Together We Can grow our Membership.

Together We Can develop more Leaders.

Together We Can serve more people than ever before.

Together We Can … Change the World

Together We Can … Change the World … and Together We Will.

My question for each of you:  Are you ready to do your part?  If so, hop on and hold on … because this is going to be a wild ride.

Lions … Changing the World.  Oh, and ask a friend to join us.   

God Bless You…


District 4-L2 Bulletin - January 2024
News of year-end activities and successes, welcoming new members and bidding farewell to one, plus all the dates to save for club and district events through June 2024. Don't miss out on our new feature: "As Seen on Social Media" featuring some of our favorite posts from clubs that highlight service projects in the communities we serve.
Fellow KidSight Vision Screening Team Members
(and those interested in getting involved as a KidSight screener)


Student Speaker Contest
MD4 Lions Clubs of California

Club, Zone, Region, District, Area 4 and Final Contest Dates are listed on Calendar Page of Website.
Contact: PDG Chris Ohrmund  E: 
2023-2024 Topic "For A Better World, What Would You Change?"
For more information click on Student Speaker Foundation
Upper left corner fourth button


Donations to the Lions Family Center project are suggested and deeply appreciated. Questions? Please call Michelle Vigue at (626) 218-6560.    
















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