At the Multiple District 23 Nominating Convention, Lion Marie Salpietro, GLT Coordinator, District 23-C and sister of Lion Carolyn, nominated her sister for the high office of Lions Clubs International Vice President.
I am here to talk to you about my sister who is asking the multiple district for their vote to endorse her to run for Vice President of Lions International. It is a lofty ambition and not without its challenges. It requires the candidate to sacrifice time with their family and friends and overcome financial challenges, with no guarantees. We come from a family of working class parents who had to work hard for whatever they had. We were taught to do the same. We learned to pursue our dreams, and go after what we believed in. We were taught that “when there’s a will, there is a way.” Let me tell you a little bit about who my sister is:
- She was a young married woman who wanted a baby. It took 9 years of persistence, testing, and surgery, but she had her first-born Jeffrey. He was worth the wait. She went on to have a second son Jason. Persistence, caring, action.
- She was one of the first women in her Lion’s club and became an active member right from the start. She had new ideas of how to make her club even better than it was. She proved herself to be a valued member and became the first woman President of the Windsor Locks Lion’s club. Persistence, caring, action.
- She was a Lion and he was her 40-year-old brother-in-law who lost his eyesight in 3 short weeks. He thought he would never work again. He thought his life was over. She didn’t hesitate; she made calls to every contact she had to find out what he needed to overcome this setback. She provided support to him and his family to work through these challenges. He was back to work in a year. Persistence, caring, action.
- She was pursuing the office of International Director amongst several other candidates. There were no guarantees that after months of campaigning and expense, her dream would become a reality. She felt she could make a difference. She was elected as International Director and followed her dream of making a difference for two years where she led by example to Lions around the world to follow their dreams and take an active role in Lions. Persistence, caring, action.
- After her term as International Director she was asked to serve as a board appointee for Lions International where she served on the Membership Development Committee. She is a founding charter member of the Kid’s Sight committee and served on the Families and Women’s Action committee during that year. In her travels she mentored and inspired men and women alike to make a difference, one person at a time. Persistence, caring, action.
Time after time my sister has worked through her own challenges and the challenges of people she knew or met in her travels. She never gave up; she never backed down, no matter what the setback was. She knew in her heart that “a setback is only an opportunity for a comeback.”
Challenges are not exclusive. There’s not a person here that hasn’t had them. Many of you, like Carolyn, found a way. Others, if they are lucky, will have had someone in their life who found a way when they didn’t think they could.
No doubt that International Presidents have set-backs and challenges every day and they need to be the kind of person who is persistent, caring, and takes action. These qualities are valuable assets for a leader.
If we didn’t reach for the stars, we wouldn’t have people like Helen Keller, Rosa Parks, or Nelson Mandela who forged ahead to beat the odds.
I don’t know where this journey will end. What I do know is regardless of the outcome she will continue to pursue making a difference, one person at a time. She will continue to mentor others, and she will continue working with Lions towards their objectives. It’s what she does; it’s what she’s always done. Past International Director Carolyn has all the qualifications of a great leader.
I am very proud and honored to nominate my sister, Carolyn Messier, for the high office of Vice President of Lions International.