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A “Hoppy” Service Project for all Involved

My sisters, my 2-year-old nephew, DG Ron Fruit and I went to the Annual Kirkland Lions Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 23, 2011. With a ton of other parents and children waiting behind the white line, we all chatted with the people around us and watched the children eagerly wait for PDG Lion Wayne Fruit to announce when it was time to make a mad dash towards the candy, which was spread out onto the Hiawatha football field. After the call to “go” and even though it only lasted for about ten minutes, the other children and my nephew had a great time. He loved the candy and the stuffed bunny he received from the Kirkland Lions. This service project that the Kirkland Lions do for the community benefits parents and children and forms a more unified community.

Lion Nicole Fruit

 

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Following the Footsteps

Following the footsteps of the district governor is more time consuming than I thought. I apologize to all of you that wanted to follow throughout the year because I neglected this blog. So much has happened this year! I’ve visited a ton of clubs with my husband DG Ron Fruit of District 1-D. I also worked very hard on the district newsletter, which I am proud to say many people loved reading it.

 I would have liked to do the same for this blog, but going to the club visits and writing articles and creating the newsletters each month took up most of my time. Plus, everyone needs time for a little R&R when they can.

 During March and April, we also had conventions to go to as well as our own. Ron and I primarily worked on our district convention without appointing others to help us, so this also took much of our time throughout the year.

One thing I must tell you is that if you weren’t at District 1-D’s Convention April 15-16, 2011 in Galena, IL, you missed one hell of a good time (sorry for the language).  I couldn’t believe all the complements we received throughout the convention. First off, the Galena Lions Club threw us a great welcoming reception for our visiting International guest with smooth beer from the Galena Brewery, marvelous wine from Galena Cellars, and excellent food from the Log Cabin Restaurant. Thank you Galena!!! 

On Saturday, the food from Cindy’s Classic Catering was plentiful and delicious, our speakers were wonderful, and our International guests, PID Ross Thorfinnson, Jr and his wife Lynda, were very down to earth, great people to talk to, and his speech was like riding the emotional rollercoaster with funny jokes, serious content, and tear jerking moments.  It was great. I think it made a lot of Lions realize that it is really important to know and understand what it means to be a Lion and what moment in your life made you a Lion, not just a participant.

Another thing that really surprised me, which was a highlight for me anyway, was the fact that I was awarded the International President’s Letter of Commendation from LCIF for the hard work I have done for the district newsletter and for all my hard work with helping DG Ron have a successful year. Well, that wasn’t what surprised me the most though or what brought me to tears, it was the fact that I received a standing ovation from everyone. They all loved the work I have done with the district newsletter that much. See…I wasn’t just bragging. I do have proof. You can read them yourself if you want to, District 1-D Newsletters .

I had one of the longest standing members tell me during the convention that my newsletter was the best he has ever read. Then he stressed to me again the word “ever.” That praise meant a lot to me.

Well, I am continuing as Newsletter Editor for District 1-D for 2011-2012, 2012-2013, & …..  I guess until I decide to stop since the DGE and the VDG’s all asked me already to continue during their year too.  You haven’t heard the last of me. I’ll just have to change the subtitle though as I continue. I’m hoping instead of changing it from “Following the Footsteps of the MD 1-D’s District Governor” to “Past District Governor,” I can use the subtitle “Following the Footsteps of the MD 1-D’s Council Chair.”

Yep, my husband is running for Illinois Council Chair.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Best Wishes to All!

Nicole Fruit

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2011 in Lions Club

 

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Let Your Passion Lead You to Become a Beacon of Hope

A lot has happened since the Shabbona Fishing Derby. On July 21, District Governor Ron Fruit and I went to our first club visit in Hanover, IL. We were greeted warmly and had a blast talking with them about Ron’s theme for the year (Let Your Passion Lead), President Sid Scruggs III’s theme (A Beacon of Hope), and their current service projects. Ron stressed that through our passion for service we can make a difference in our communities. So, Ron joined the two themes together by stating, “Let Your Passion Lead You to Become a Beacon of Hope.” Throughout the year, Ron will stress this theme throughout the district in all our club visits. When we left Hanover Lions Club, we felt completely uplifted and happy to be a lion.

When the flood rains hit our district on the 23rd and 24th of July, Ron received calls from Pearl City, Leaf River, and Freeport asking for aid in supplying drinking water and cleaning supplies to help those that were displaced from their homes due to flooding. Over 2,000 people were said to be displaced. Ron immediately set to work in getting a grant from LCIF. To help matters along, Ron and I went to Pearl City and took pictures of the damage after the water started to recede. In record time, we received a grant from Lions Clubs International for $5,000. Thank you LCIF!

While working on that, we also had our second club visit in East Dubuque. Again, we felt completely welcomed and emphasized service. We also learned more about their service projects and affirmed our passion for being lions. If anyone is interested, they are having a dinner auction this Friday, August 13th at D’s Place on Hwy 20 in East Dubuque, IL at 6pm. Some auction items include golf outings, restaurant meals, gift certificates, hotel stays, & more!

Next step, our first Cabinet Meeting…well mine actually. Ron’s first as District Governor. It started a little rocky, but straightened out once PDG Austin D’Souza presented PID Russ Sarver with a prestigious Humanitarian Award from President Obama. Then, PID Bud Wahl talked to the Cabinet about his campaign to run as Second Vice President of Lions Clubs International and asked for our support during state convention. The Cabinet meeting continued on as scheduled after that, then adjurned to dinner, which was catered by the Leaf River Lions Club and it was delicious. Thank you!

On August 3, we went to our third club visit in Belvidere, which really felt like returning home for me because I grew up in Belvidere. Ron encouraged service projects and even suggested giving the scholarship winners T-Shirts announcing that their scholarships came from the Belvidere Lions Club to wear for the Boone County Fair this week, August 10 through the 15. The Belvidere Club loved the idea and some thought Ron was a great speaker. We might even help at their food stand if we manage to get there sometime this week. Of course we will be there, since I have never missed the Boone County Fair. Besides, we are helping with the pedal pulls Sunday morning. We also have a Council Meeting this weekend, so we will just make it to the fair Sunday morning. I’m hoping to go sometime this week after work with my nephew. So, if your interested come on out to the Boone County Fair in Belvidere, IL on Rt. 76 to support the Belvidere Lions Club.

On August 5, Ron went to Lena for the district golf outing. I could not miss work that day, but everyone said it was a perfect sunny, breezy day to go golfing. I’ve had people tell me how much fun they had, even Ron took the time to play even though he hasn’t golfed in about five years.

Now, this week I also have an electronic newsletter to create for the month of August. I received rave reviews on my newsletter from last month, so I’m hoping not to disappoint anyone. If you know of anything you think should be in the District 1D newsletter this month, let me know.

Please feel free to comment. I love to chat with people.

Thanks, Lion Nicole Fruit

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2010 in Lions Club, Service projects

 

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Shabbona Handicap Fishing Derby

On July 15, 2010, Ron and I went on our first service project as District Governor and partner in service. We both took that hot 92°  sunny Thursday off of work to help pass out popcorn with the Kirkland Lions Club to handicap children and their aids at the Shabbona, IL Handicap Fishing Derby. Well, Ron mostly past out popcorn while I tended to eat it. I was amazed that twenty-two volunteers from Kirkland alone came to the derby to help out. While Kirkland passed out popcorn, other clubs from district 1-D, 1-J, and 1-K did other great things for the participants.

Most of the time, Ron and I walked around talking with people from all over. Watching the kids play baggo, or take rides out in the lake to fish, or have their face painted, or try painting their own faces on their own. There was even a petting zoo for everyone to enjoy. There were even tractor trailer rides to help people get around.

The day went along famously, but because of the heat and lack of state funding, there were not as many children this year as in most years. Another major disappointment for me was the fact that my battery in my camera died at the beginning of the day. I took a total of three pictures and then it was dead. It didn’t even say it was low before hand. When I went to take pictures of the children enjoying themselves, the camera would no longer work. I love taking pictures and there were some great shots I missed.

By 1:30 pm, we started packing up and the children were headed back home by getting on the buses. Because there was to be a Lions Club dinner in the park at 6pm that same day in Shabbona, we decided not to go home to only have to come back later. We all went for ice cream at the restaurant there at the park connected to the bait shop. Afterwards, the secretary of the Kirkland Club invited us all back to the camp grounds where he had his camper parked for a weekend vacation. About ten of us joined him for some cold drinks and polite company….okay, there were two females versus eight men so they behaved as much as possible. Actually, they behaved very well because we also had two teenagers with us. Of course, we had a blast! While we waited for dinner, I got to know the members a lot more and I even learned how to play spoons. Of course, I was the worst at playing it, because when it came down to me being quicker than Ron to get the spoon between the two of us, I was in trouble. Ron still has his football quick reflexes that freak me out sometimes.

By the time 6pm rolled around, I was burnt. We went to dinner and had some great pork chops. We even met up with another couple on our council, Bob and Darlene Jackson. We ate together and reminisced about Australia. The day was so much fun that I plan to keep going to the Fishing Derby whenever I can.

Lion Nicole Fruit

 

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Kirkland’s 4th of July

As soon as we returned home on Saturday from Australia, we turned around and went to the Kirkland, IL’s 4th of July celebration on Sunday. We arrived in Kirkland early that morning so that Ron could help direct people for the parade and so I could start creating last-minute signs for the float we were going to be on for the parade. Since Ron is a third generation district governor, we had his grandfather and father join us on the float. Everything went quite well.

Unfortunately, Ron’s mother could not be with us because of hip surgery, but we did have a sign announcing that Ron’s parents, Wayne and Jan Fruit, won the Fred Manni award. The award is given to those who have done a great service for the Kirkland community.

After the parade, we went for a Reign bow pork chop dinner. Denny Reign makes the best pork chops ever known to mankind! I’m serious. You have to try them some time in your life. It really should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Our day continued to be busy as we went to Rockford to visit Ron’s mother in the hospital. Then we stopped by my parents’ house in Belvidere to say hello and rest.

My sisters and mother then joined us as we returned to the Kirkland festivities. Ron went to help in the Lion Club’s food stand, while I led my family around the park. We hit the flea market first. Then got some dinner and watched the band in the beer tent. Then we played some bingo. I felt guilty for not helping this year, but I enjoyed the various activities.

Finally, my mother, sisters, and I joined an old high school friend and her family to wade through the huge crowd assembled on the football field to watch the fireworks. The show was marvelous, as always. The Kirkland Lions Club put on an excellent fireworks display that seemed endless. Everyone had a great time. You really should join us next year for the 4th of July.

Lion Nicole Fruit

 

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Lessons from Down Under

by: Lion Nicole Fruit

The 93rd Lions Club International Convention was in Sydney, Australia this year. Ron and I had the privilege of going. This was Ron’s fifth International Convention and his fifth time in Australia. His first convention was when he was twelve in Honolulu, Hawaii. He went with his grandparents that time.

For me, our trip was a whole new adventure. With the Kirkland 4th of July festivities usually falling during the convention, I never had the opportunity to go, so this time we made the time. The flight to Sydney was surprisingly long, but I was lucky enough to sit with a nice lady whose husband was also going to be district governor in New Jersey. They were so enjoyable. By the end of the three hour delay in Brisbane, I was ready to see Sydney. Nineteen hours is too long to be trapped on an airplane.

Finding the Star City Hotel beautiful and the bed extremely comfortable, I really wanted to sleep, but instead our council assembled to go to Steyne’s Restaurant, which I hear makes a killer kangaroo steak. By 9pm Australian time, I was beat. Because our time was limited due to work schedule, the convention, and district governor elect school, Ron and I stayed in Sydney. We took a boat tour with our council and saw the Sydney Harbor. We also went on a tour to see the Sydney Opera House and listened to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra practice. Many of the things we did, we did with the other members of our council. By the end of the trip, we all really got to know each other better and became good friends.

The most memorable moments for me in Sydney were actually of the convention and spouse training during DGE School. The speakers were wonderful and they made me feel excited to be a Lion. During governor elect school, the spouses had their own sessions to go to. PIP Bill Biggs was inspirational when he highlighted the nine attributes someone needs to have to be successful. He even stressed that our #1 job was to build stronger and more Lions Clubs.

On the second day of spouse training, Lion Judy Scruggs and the representative from Minnesota (sorry, I don’t recall his name) hit home when they encouraged us as spouses to become Lions and to find our own service project to promote during our many visits to the clubs in our district.

Well, I am a Lion, so that leaves me to create or support a service project to speak about at the club visits. I knew before the convention from Ron and his family that the spouses are encouraged to speak at the club meetings, so I had a project in mind. However, I was leery about whether this new project would be acceptable. Learning more about all the service projects all over the world, I learned that I had to at least try.

All throughout DGE School and the convention, President Sid Scruggs III talked about the importance of service. His theme, “A Beacon of Hope,” encouraged me to become that light in the light house to combat the darkness from someone else’s life.

Another person who was truly awesome to hear speak at the convention was Wangari Maathai from Kenya who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 and who also received the Lions 2010 Humanitarian award. Her endeavors to save the rainforest and teach her people the importance of democracy and basic human rights brought tears of awe to my eyes. She really is a remarkable woman. I loved the parable of the hummingbird that she ended with. The parable encouraged everyone to do the best that they can even if the task is impossible.

As a Lion, I plan to do the best I can by organizing a new service project in our district. I may be like the little hummingbird trying to put out the forest fire with the water from my beak, but to me it is better than doing nothing at all.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”             –Helen Keller

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2010 in Lions Club

 

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Hello Everyone!

As of July 1, 2010, my husband, Lion Ronald Fruit, became MD 1-D’s District Governor, which also made me his partner in service. Everyone has been telling me to save pictures and create a scrapbook of his year as DG, but I’ve decided that writing a blog about it is more my cup of tea. I love to write, and I hope writing this blog will allow other people to learn what it is like to be a Lion and to volunteer one’s time to service.

For those of you that don’t know Ron or me from Adam, let me tell you more about ourselves. Lionism has been in Ron’s family for about sixty years, ever since his grandfather, Neilan Fruit, joined the Kirkland, IL Lions Club. Neilan also became District Governor in 1967-1968. Ron’s father, Wayne Fruit, also became District Governor in 2002-2003, which makes Ron a third generation District Governor. His mother and his brother are also Lions. Impressive, but that is not how Ron wants to be remembered. He wants his year as District Governor to stand out and prove that his own accomplishments will earn him a memorable year. He wants his passion for Lionism to become apparent to all, so he can lead MD 1-D to a year of membership growth and service. After all, his theme this year is “Let Your Passion Lead.”

His passion started at a young age when he helped his grandparents serve meals at the Camp Lions for the blind and continued throughout his many years of service by a variety of other service projects. However, his passion for Lionism became infectious.

In 2005, here I was a high school English teacher who had no idea what doors were about to open for me the day I met Ron. Even on our first date, he spoke passionately about the Lions Club, a club I knew nothing about before I met him. I was so taken by his belief that being a Lion really helps make a difference in people’s lives. The power of his conviction spoke to my fundamental reason why I became a teacher. I wanted to help people, but I was losing that feeling of accomplishment every day. Ron awakened a sleeping Lion that day.

Lionism is a pivotal part of Ron’s life, so I knew the day I married him that the Lion’s Club was going to affect my life. I just didn’t know how much I enveloped into the passion of Lionism on that fateful day. Now, I stand beside Ron as a Lion. I have so many new ideas for our district that sometimes Ron has to tell me to slow down. This blog idea was one of them.

So, let your passion lead you into new heights and help your fellow man by doing a good deed or by volunteering your time to a service project. Join the Lion’s Club if you haven’t already to become a “beacon of hope,” a light to combat darkness in someone else’s life.

Please comment as to how passion for service has affected you.

Lion Nicole Fruit

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2010 in Lions Club

 

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