By: Veronica Leighton
The most recent award, (The 2019 Golden Life Achievements Award), that I accepted this month of April (14th) from the Chicago Philippine Lions Club, comes very close to my heart.
The spirit of Lionism that was instilled in me during my young, early days of community involvement here in Chicago has wakened up in me and took my mind to reminisce about my early Lions days. I will not actually call myself a LIONS for what its historic familiar name is known for, I can proudly say and would like to be called a LIONESS, the female counterpart of the Lions and LEOS were the club’s children’s group. I have always believed the Lions Club’s service mantra for the humanity, particularly for people with sight problems.
The Chicago Philippine Lions and Lioness Clubs were born in the 1970’s in the Filipino American community of Chicago as the premier and parent organization under the flagship of the most revered International Lions Club. Yes, the men as Lions were separated from the Lioness ladies then. As a Lionesses, I was a Charter member of the club and I actually served as its president in the 1980’s. I still remember that we always had money in our coffers more than our counterpart Lions Club. When the International Lions Club had decided to eliminate the Lioness Clubs and just had to recognize the Lions Clubs, in the 1990’s, that was when I had also decided to quit my Lionistic involvement in our community.
As the parent Lions Club, the Chicago Philippine Lions Club has twinned many community Lions clubs in District I-A through the years since its founding until the present time.
During the CPLC awards night held at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel, I felt proud and thankful for this still existing club that I belonged some years back, and happy to see the attendance and involvement of the younger generations following me.
To the current officers and members of this club headed by Ms. Brenda Stevens, to the founder, organizer and producer of the Golden Achievement Award, Ms. Dely Villalon, my sincere thanks for the most treasured Lions plaque award given to me. And, to my outstanding co-awardees, Cecilia M. Beauprie, Dr. David Calimag, Cynthia Flores, Dr. Lourdes D. Floro, Geraldine Gaden, Benilda Hizon, Ernie Lapid, and Yoly Zoleta, congratulations to all of you. It is a great honor to be receiving this award with your wonderful company!
(Thanks to Robert Chavez for hair & makeup; to Rosalina Evida Shea and Ellen Maguad for the photos; St. John evening collection is my gown designer.)
Veronica with Ellen Maguad
Veronica and Lindy Tan
Veronica’s CPLC souvenir book greeting page
Collaged frame of Veronica’s CPLC award created by Ellen Maguad.
A congratulatory peck from VT’s Elsie Sy-Niebar
Left to right: Joe Mauricio, Veronica, Dely Villalon, Violy Montoya & Mercy Matousek.
Lain & Nell Frias with Veronica
Veronica with Melody & Dino Dizon
Congratulatory kiss from Liza Vasich
Veronica & Robert Chavez, make-up artist.
Veronica with Jenita Julian Forrest