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Lions Club begins new year dedicated to service

The torch was successfully passed on Saturday evening, June 16, from one administration to the next as the Lions Club of Pago Pago held their annual changeover night to induct the newest officers and board of directors for the upcoming year.

Outgoing president Jacinta Brown handed over the Lion bell and gavel, with all the duties and responsibilities of the position, to the newest Lion president, Isabel Steffany-Hudson.

As they have done every summer for nearly thirty years since their re-chartering in October, 1982, the Lions Club members publicly re-dedicated themselves to their core purpose and mission which is embodied in the simple motto of the worldwide club, “We Serve”.

It was a festive evening, held in a beautifully decorated room in the Ottoville Center, with nearly 80 guests composed of club members, families, friends, government leaders and community partners. Milestones were noted, rewards and recognitions were made, as well as special remarks by Governor Togiola Tulafono, who is himself an honorary Lion.

Guided by the master of MCs, Fagafaga Daniel Langkilde, the program moved through the reading of Lions Club Purposes by Lion Brenda Hoffman, and Code of Ethics by Lion Judy McCoy. Lions were reminded they exist “To create and foster a spirit of understanding among the peoples of the world; and “to encourage service minded people to serve their community without personal financial reward.” 

The code of ethics includes such reminders as “Always to bear in mind my obligations as a citizen to my nation, my state, and my community, and to...give freely of my time, labor and means”; to be careful with my criticism, and liberal with my praise.”

Outgoing president Jacinta Brown noted in her speech, “It is with genuine purpose that these principles are read out loud at every changeover ceremony as part of the official installation program-- to serve, not just as a reminder to new officers in the performance of their official duties-- but to ensure that each and every club member’s actions are a reflection of these principles.”

Newest Lion president Isabel Steffany-Hudson, who is now the fourth woman to hold the Lions highest office since 1982, said to the club, “I challenge each of you to do your personal best to provide for and support your families, professions and community with the faithful service and compassion that we Lions are known for.” Calling it a “family of unique volunteers” she voiced her humility in accepting the post, as well as her pride in the work Lions have done throughout the years.

Referring to her father’s belief that “ a community is only as good as its citizens” she vowed to  to work with other community organizations in special projects, promote youth in terms of the Leo Clubs and most importantly, to continue the work of Project Eye Care.

Said the newest Lion president, “I believe in all of you, so please join me in achieving these goals.”

Governor Togiola, who was present as an Honorary Lion, spoke briefly to the group, and reminded those present that “service is meant to inspire.”

“Tautua” he said, "is one of the most revered things in the Samoan culture", explaining, “O le ala i le pule o le tautua”-- the road to leadership is through service.

He said to the Lions, “Thank you sincerely for the work that you do, and the service that you render.”

As happens each year during the Installation dinner, exemplary service is acknowledged. Community Service awards were given to Fletcher Construction Co. Ltd and McConnell Dowell of American Samoa for their unwavering support of the Lions, as well as the community at large.

Tafa Tua-Tupuola, Director of UCEDD was also honored with an award for her work with the developmentally disabled and Special Olympics as well as serving for the past four years as Lion Secretary, an executive position on the board of directors, and a record for longest serving secretary.

Outgoing Lion President Cinta Brown gave the President’s Award to Dr. Ernest Oo, “a stalwart and faithful member of the club who has never missed a meeting, or an opportunity to serve others.”