Palmes-Dennis: Lions of CDO tour the US

Susan Palmes-Dennis

CLOSE to 50 Kagay-anons (natives of Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental, northern Mindanao in the Philippines) are in the United States today for the 100th Lions Convention held in Chicago.

I learned about this from my friend Dorena Reynolds here in Charlotte, North Carolina. One of the Lions who attended the event is Fred Buten, who used to work in Xavier University, Cagayan de Oro and resided in Scions, Canitoan village also in Cagayan de Oro.

The Lion District Governor is Mart Maandig, a former city councilor of Cagayan de Oro. Fred is the brother of Dorena's mother. When she told me about it, I was excited to see the group picture of the Lions in their journey to the capital cities of the US.

That got me started in reconnecting with Atty. Mart Maandig, a lawyer by profession through the web. He told me that there were 150 delegates from Mindanao and 42 from Cagayan de Oro.

“I’m glad I visited the US to attend the 100th Lions Convention,” Maandig said. The convention started last June 30 and lasted for five days. Maandig said it was held in Chicago where the group was founded in June 1971.

The event drew groups from 210 countries around the world. Maandig was proud that he was chosen to be the centennial district governor for 2016-2017. His rank is DG Mart B Maandig, Progressive Melvin Jones Fellowship (PMJF).

"I'm the District Governor for all clubs in Mindanao with 2,110 members and 53 clubs." Maandig became a PMJF fellow after donating US$2,000 to the Lions Foundations for Humanitarian projects.

I knew some members of the Lions back in the Philippines and every now and then I saw the logo of the Lions in some benches or in waste dumpsters. I also heard the name as sponsors in some activities.

Lions is a service club just like the Rotary. But what makes them different is that in Lions, it is a family membership.

Lions also focused on four core programs namely conservation, relieving hunger, youth development and environment preservation. “Other projects are done on what the community needs,” the young lawyer said.

Lions, Rotary or Kiwanis clubs and other social-civic clubs in the Philippines are really partners of community development for a long time. They delivered all sorts of beneficial projects to the community and we should be thankful to them for that.

Just like any other clubs they have to work harder to recruit younger folk in the club beyond the children of their members and I think they are doing it. The presence of Atty. Mart as Lion DG is a testimony.

Lawyer Mart Maandig was a city councilor during the term of former mayor Vicente Emano.

I learned that Mart opened a bar review center in the city that helped those reviewing the bar exams in Mindanao sometime after he served his term of office.

That is his contribution, I guess. I have no idea if that review center is existing. Maybe I knew that he would make good in life and him leading delegates from Mindanao is something else.

He also said that after the convention the group rented a van and went to Niagara Falls and passed many counties and states before visiting New York. I saw the photo posts of Fred Buten with the White House and Congress as background.

The group planned to visit Texas on Thursday. I wish them luck. May these Lions continue to soar and help their fellow Mindanoans especially those in Cagayan de Oro.

Good luck Mart, hope you join Fred and his wife in visiting us here in Charlotte. Fred Buten and his wife are scheduled to visit Charlotte since his niece Dorena is the current auditor of the Filipino-American Community of the Carolinas, Inc.

Welcome to the US Lions from Mindanao especially those from Cagayan de Oro.