|BY JACK BARNWELL|
Following a ceremony in Chicago this month, Ridgecrest resident Steven Morgan has taken a leadership role for a pride of 846 Lions Club members and individual 36 clubs.
Morgan was sworn in along with other Lions Club members as district governors. Morgan will lead District 4-L1, which runs from Mammoth Lakes down through Ridgecrest, California City, Boron, Tehachapi, Palmdale, Lancaster, Acton, Castaic, and L.A. Basin communities like Glendale, Burbank, Crescenta- Canada, Northridge, Toluca Lake, all the way into downtown Chinatown. The district is one of 15, with just more than 21,000 Lions members in California.
“I recently came back from one week of intensive training, which caused me to miss this year’s July 4th Fireworks for the first time in 24 years,” Morgan said by email Tuesday. “This training partnered me with Lions from all over the world Listening, learning, and sharing ideas and thoughts with Lions from England, Wales, Africa, Australia, China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Iceland, etc … what an incredible experience.” One of the more memorable experiences of the training was returning a historical book to the Hungarian Lions delegation and dining with them and their diplomat, Zita Bencsik.
“The historical book was taken out of Hungary during the Revolution of 1956 to protect it. It found its way of all places to Bishop California, in possession of Bishop Lions Member and Hungarian descendant Lion Kazmer Simon,” Morgan said. “I was entrusted to take the Book to our Lions 100th International Convention in Chicago, where I dutifully returned this Book with over 450 years of history included, to its’ rightful owners to be shared and displayed back in Hungary. How many times in one lifetime do you get a chance to do something like that?”
Morgan said he will represent the clubs in his district on various levels, and “to uphold the International Association of Lions Clubs commitment to service those in need as to our Motto ‘We Serve’ simply states, and also to uphold the Lions Code of Ethics.”
Lions Club International includes 1.4 million Lions Club members worldwide, with 46,000 clubs in 205 countries and geographic areas. Morgan is one of more than 750 district governors of one of the world’s largest nonprofit service organizations in the world.
Morgan said his duties will include maintaining his district’s service as if they were all one group.
“All these things I take very, very seriously, just like when I sat on the Ridgecrest City Council,” Morgan said. He added, “Not an easy task, but nothing worthwhile ever comes easy, and I do not shy away from the difficult.”
Lions Clubs bear the moniker “Knights of the Blind” due to their collective work through the Lions Club International Fund following a 1925 challenge by Hellen Keller to focus on vision-related charitable activities (providing eyeglasses are one example. Morgan added that the Lions Club is also focused on combatting measles, focusing on youth, the environment, and hunger relief. The Lions are also adding diabetes and pediatric cancer to the club’s list of causes.
“The last two initiatives — diabetes and pediatric cancer — will give the Lions more opportu nities to partner with new groups in our area, and we shall be working on improving that network to expand the areas of awareness, health information, and giving assistance when and where we can,” Morgan said. “Our Lions already have a close working relationship with the City of Hope, and soon there shall be a building named for the California Lions in Duarte, Calif., as the Lions have made donations in excess of [one] million dollars to build a new facility there.”
For Morgan, adding diabetes to the Lions’ list of causes adds a personal layer of involvement for him.
“Being a diabetic myself, I want my District Team to take on education and fundraising to combat diabetes, which is one of th e fastest growing diseases of our time due to the knowledge and information we now have about the number of persons affected,” Morgan said.
He describes his role as “one of total support,” and is tasked with strengthening Lions Club membership in his district “as more hands do more and better work.”
To accomplish that, Morgan said he will hold information nights throughout the 4-L1 district, especially in underserved communities, creating branch clubs that eventually grow into their own separate chapters and stand on their own.
“I’d like to think I can help the Ridgecrest Lions Club along the way too, we should have 50 members at least in Ridgecrest, which would allow for us to help serve more within our own community,” Morgan said. “To do that would be a major accomplishment not only here, but throughout the entire District, and I shall be working on that goal as well.”
Ridgecrest Lions Club member and new District 4-L1 governor Steven Morgan, right, returns a Hungarian Historical Book with 450 years of history within to the Hungarian Lions delegation. The book was taken from Hungary at the outbreak of the 1956 revolution to protect it.
COURTESY OF STEVEN MORGAN
Ridgecrest Lions Club member Steven Morgan, center left, is sworn in along with the rest of the Lions Club District 4-L1 Cabinet in Chicago. Morgan will serve as district governor, which includes 36 Lions Clubs and 846 Lions members.
PHOTO COURTESY OF STEVEN MORGAN
The Daily Independent
07/20/2017 – Page A07