This blog is about my journey as a new Lion following the footsteps of my husband, District Governor Ron Fruit, who has been a Lion since 1994. Just out of college, he joined the Kirkland Lions Club. However, that is just a date he was inducted. In truth, he has been a Lion since he was old enough to know the meaning of Lionism. Ron is a third generation Lion.
At the age of eight, he joined his grandfather and grandmother in Ravenswood, IL to pass out hot dogs to visually impaired children at Camp Lions. Furthermore, he went to his first of many International Conventions at the age of thirteen when his grandparents took him with them to Hawaii. For years, Ron put his hands to work in helping his Kirkland community and his district even before he put the Lions pin on his vest. He has dreamed to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and father in becoming a District Governor. He has also dreamed for himself to surpass them by moving on in the ranks of Lionism.
When I first met Ron Fruit in 2005, he was already a Zone Chairperson for District 1-D. I was an English teacher at Belvidere High School. On our first date, we talked for four hours straight about his career as a mechanical engineer, my life as an English teacher and working with my parents, and he introduced me to Lionism by telling me about the Kirkland Club and LCIF. I had no idea what the Lions did until then.
As a teacher, I already saw the benefits of helping people who needed a helping hand. I have grown up believing that I wanted to make a difference somehow and I saw the Lions Club as a great organization that helps people do just that. During the time we dated, Ron took me to club meetings, dinners, and conventions to introduce me to the Lions community. I even helped at the Kirkland 4th of July celebration hosted by the Lions Club.
In June 2007, Ron and I were married. I quit teaching, moved to Woodstock, IL, but we still returned to Kirkland to help with Lions Club because that will always be home for Ron. I put on the Lions pin in February of ’09 because I knew I was a Lion too. I enjoyed being a part of the organization and felt like I had made many friends. I couldn’t help catching Ron’s passion for Lionism. I also joined the District 1-D cabinet by becoming the district’s Newsletter Editor in July 2010 and I will be continuing with that.
In September 2009, I went to my first USA/Canada Forum in Memphis, TN. It opened my eyes wider to Lionism, but it wasn’t the “ah ha” moment, the moment you can clearly identify why you are a Lion and why you will be for life. In July 2010, I went to my first Lions International Convention. I heard awe inspiring stories that made me so proud to be a Lion, but I still felt like I was missing my “ah ha” moment. My “ah ha” moment hit me during Quest Training in August 2010. I know it may seem odd, but I had been a teacher for three years and I saw so much pain in some of my students’ eyes due to bullying that it left me feeling like my hands were tied. Learning about Lions Quest felt like I found a way to free my hands so I could help those students by helping other students not have to suffer the pain of being tormented or ignored by their peers. My passion for Lionism strongly links to my passion to help the next generation through promoting Lions Quest.