June 1, 2019

Message from the District Governor

Welcome to Lions’ Year 2019-2020!To the Lions of District 9NW, DG Rev. Dale Schoening is a retired pastor who served the United Methodist Church in several locations in Iowa for 34 years, retiring in 2017. He still serves as a part-time pastor of the Napier United Methodist Church near Ames. Methodist pastors get moved around quite a lot and DG Dale has been a member of several Lions Clubs in Iowa, in Bagley, Stratford, Wood- ward and, more recently, Boone. He has served as Club President, Club Secretary, Vice President, Zone Chair and as a Past District Chaplain as well.

He is a KidSight screener, a transporter for Iowa Lions Eye Bank Tissue Transport Relay and drives the bus for Iowa Lions International Youth Exchange Camp. Not only that, in addition he also drives a school bus and is a Behind The Wheel driver education instructor as well! Raised on a farm near Carson, Iowa, Lion Dale is a graduate of Morningside College in Sioux City and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Semi- nary in Evanston, IL. His hobbies include license plate collecting, singing and playing the trombone. He has been married to his wife Mitzi for 32 years. Together they have three sons, two dogs and one grand- dog.


As I write this, we have made good progress towards starting the new Hispanic Lions Club in Denison, with the working name, not yet finalized, of Denison Hispanic American Lions Club (Club de Leones Hispano Americano de Denison in Spanish). We have just over half of the 20 members required for chartering signed up. We have several other people who are interested and the leaders already emerging among those who have signed up are actively working on recruiting the additional members we need. They have already begun discussing possible service projects and have set their next meeting for Dec. 7. I am hopeful they will be able to sign up enough additional members to have their organizational meeting. If that happens, they may have their charter approved by the end of December. Guiding Lion Sondra Rierson from the Carroll Lions Club is already working with them to help them get there and doing a great job. Thank you, Lion Sondra!

We also have gotten great help in this effort from our New Club Consultant Pablo Romano of New York, whose fluency in the Spanish language and Hispanic culture and ability to connect with people has been instrumental in helping us get things off the ground.

We also had great support from LaTanya Gatewood from the New Clubs Department at LCI Headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, who was there primarily to observe Pablo in action but also was a valuable resource in her own right. State Administrator Tim Wilson also has been a great help in sharing his knowledge and experience.

I am grateful for all of them. This was an especially gratifying experience for me. As our team began connecting with people in the Hispanic community in Denison and telling them what Lions is and what a Lions Club can do for their community, we heard over and over “We need this! This will be good for us! It will help unify our community.” We also received a great deal of encouragement from the Anglo community.

This will be the first Hispanic Lions Club in Iowa. I am told we are being watched with interest by Lion leaders all over the state who see communities in their areas that could benefit from a Hispanic Lions Club. We can be proud that District 9NW is being a pacesetter in this effort.

It is hard to believe I am nearly halfway through my year as district governor. The time is flying by rapidly. As I say this, I am concerned about what happens after June 30, 2020, when my term expires.

Lions district governors only serve one year and are not allowed to succeed themselves. At this point, we do not know who your district governor will be next year, or the year after that. With District Governor-Elect Training happening outside of Chicago in February, it would be good to have the next district governor attend that training so they will be better prepared for the job at hand. Being district governor is a rewarding experience.

I enjoy visiting clubs and learning about how they serve their communities. I appreciate the friendships I have made by serving in this way.

The experience of starting a new club, of watching new people get excited about being a Lion, is truly a blessing. If you are worried about cost, many of your expenses as district governor, and even as vice district governor, are reimbursed by Lions Clubs International, our multiple district, or your district.

Please consider stepping up. One usually has to be a zone chair to become 2nd vice district governor, but the two positions can be done simultaneously, if necessary. Our district has numerous zone chair positions open. The zone chair typically has oversight of five to eight clubs and is expected to visit the clubs and to hold three meetings a year for those clubs to come together to learn from one another and share ideas. Zone chairs are also members of the district cabinet, but we are now doing most cabinet meetings by conference call, eliminating the drive to attend a two-hour meeting.

The job is not hard and there is plenty of training, resources and support available for those who choose to serve in this way. There are many great leaders in our clubs.

Please step up and help lead our district and please encourage other leaders in your club to step up.

I wish you a blessed Christmas and all the best in the New Year.