by Elpidio R. Estioko
This article’s title is the motto of Lions International, a guiding principle of every Lion member, whether they are in California or Hawaii. They are everywhere!
Serving the community, the Lion-way takes long years to be able to rise from an ordinary member to a lion-servant, says the governorship. But there is a lion who broke the cycle by becoming the governor-elect for only years, not the normal 10-year period. In a short period of time, Lion Benjie Fernandez became the Governor-Elect of Lions District 4-C6 in the latest Lions International Convention held at Dublin, Pleasanton, California last week.
Wow, amazing performance, Benjie! That’s one for the books! What’s amazing is that he first became a member of the Milpitas Executive Lions Club in 2018. Then the following year, he became the president of the club. After that, he became zone chair, and then 2nd vice district governor, and after another year he became the 1st Vice District Governor. Now, during the last international convention held in Dublin, he was elected Governor of Lions Int’l. District 4-C6.
It was a sensational rise for my friend Benjie who was relatively a new member of Lions International, but a confirmation of his long service in the community for many years. Benjie loved being a servant of the people he serves pursuant to the International Lions Club motto: “We serve. Where there is a need there is a lion.”
Immediately after the election from his Holiday Inn Dublin Hotel in Pleasanton where he was billeted with his wife Luz Fernandez, Benjie said:
“Thank you, Lions District 4-C6, California for a great convention. I humbly accept the honor as your Governor-Elect for 2023-2024.
Though I know it hasn’t been long… to lead in servicing our community. Thank you for your dedication, commitment, and role in playing in building a future for anyone we serve. I am looking forward to being your servant leader and working alongside all of you in the next Lions year and beyond.”He ended up repeating his guiding principle, actually his theme for his term this year as governor: “Service knows no boundaries.”
In a phone interview, he confirmed, “Yes, commissioner, this is my theme for my term as governor. I will launch it next week.”
I had collaborative work with Benjie in the service of the community. When I was a chair of the Milpitas Library Education and Advisory Commission (LEAC), I invited him one summer, at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, to be one of the judges of commission’s Essay Writing Contest 2021 for Milpitas Youth!
He willingly accepted the invitation and went through the rigorous process of judging the essay entries of some 175 contestants from elementary and high school.
He shared LEAC’s idea that the contest helps students express their feelings and thoughts on a selected topic of community concern, such as tobacco awareness.
LEAC recognizes writing essays by students will enable them to practice and perfect skills transferable throughout their learning career and into their entry into the world market.
The contest was sponsored by LEAC, the Milpitas Library, Friends of the Milpitas Library, and the Milpitas Youth Commission. Prizes were provided by the City Council of Milpitas. During the essay writing contest, students had two weeks to write and submit their entries.
Judges for the high school category: Harvey Barkin, Editor-In-Chief, FilAm Star weekly newspaper; Francis Espiritu, Executive Editor/Publisher, Philippine News Today weekly newspaper; Romy Morales, Former daily field reporter; People’s Journal and book author. And Don Orozco, Sr. International Correspondent, Eagle Broadcasting Corporation; Host, Radyo Agila sa Amerika.
For the Middle School Category are: Benjie Fernandez, Immediate Past President, Milpitas Executive Lions Club; 2nd Vice Governor, District, Lions International; Dr. Roman Dannug, PhD, Former PUP Dean; Rudolfo Brillantes, Former PUP English Lit. Professor; Denis Marks, Former Stage Drama and English/Journalism Professor, Evergreen Community College; and Lino F. Caringal, Jr., Co-Editor, Palaris and The Urdaneta Voice.
The collaborative effort for community service went on because every time Lions International has projects, he invites me to join him and be a judge. He invited me to be a judge during the Lions International Peace Poster Contest 2020-2021. I went through the judging criteria and submitted to him the scores of the contestants.
Okay, folks, the Lion superstar is here!
His installation as district governor by Lions International will be held on July 6-11, 2023, and his installation by the district will be on August 12, 2023, at Newark, Fremont, California.
Kudos to the rising star and superhero Lion-Governor-Elect Benjie Fernandez!
Elpidio R. Estioko was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and an award-winning journalist here in the US. He just published his book “Unlocking the Chain of Poverty: In Pursuit of the American Dream” now available in Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Xlibris Publishing. For feedbacks, comments… please email the author at email@example.com
by Elpidio R. Estioko