Rostraver woman grabs 1 of top spots in Lions Club
Cynthia “Cindy” Gregg of Rostraver had resisted becoming a member of the Lions Club, turning down overtures from her husband and her father, both of whom were active in the Lions.
But, Gregg could not say “no” when her then, 18-year-old daughter, Ashley, already a Leo in the Rostraver Township Lions Club, asked her in 2000 to join the Lions Club. It was Ashley who sponsored her membership into the Lions Club, Gregg said.
That began a strong commitment to the Lions Club's mission to help communities, which only has grown as Gregg has held numerous Lions Club offices, culminating in her election in Hamburg, Germany, in July 2013 as one of just 34 directors of Lions Club International.
Gregg, one of 14 Lions Club International directors from the United States, is an international leader in the world's largest service organization, with 1.35 million members spread over 208 countries and geographic areas. Her two-year term will end in July 2015.
“It's really nice to see the service activities being done and the research activities,” Gregg said.
The Lions Club International serves to improve lives through eye, hearing and diabetic research, digging water holes to provide more sanitary conditions, eradicating measles and river blindness, helping to rebuild communities following disasters, working and supplying food banks and providing dogs to guide people as they live normal lives, Gregg said.
“It's amazing to see the impact that we are making. I wish that everyone had this unique and wonderful experience,” said Gregg, a retired music teacher from the Washington School District in Washington County.
In order to win her international Lions Club office, Gregg had to campaign against three other candidates from Pennsylvania and had to have her brochures translated into German, French, Chinese and Japanese to reach the voters from Lions Clubs from around the world. There were Lions Clubs from all over the world. and there were translators for 11 main languages, Gregg said.
Just like in U.S. political campaigns, she had to get name recognition among the voters.
“We also had election “giveaways” like stickers and small notepads to pass out at the convention center. However, because (German) customs declared them to be business items, we had to pay extra to retrieve the items at customs,” Gregg said.
Gregg said it was a little intimidating to speak to almost 20,000 Lions Club members at the Hamburg convention.
“We were allotted two minutes to speak, and the TV monitors were on each side of the dais to remind us, in nanoseconds, of the remaining time,” Gregg said.
Gregg rose from the ranks of Lions Club offices to become an international director. She has served as club president and governor for Westmoreland County district, following in the footsteps of both her father, the late Michael Bucci, and her husband, Tom. Rounding out the Gregg family involvement is her son, Tommy, a Lions Club member who lives in Milwaukee.
She also has been a trailblazer, becoming was the first woman to become a Lions Club council chairperson in Pennsylvania, which is council of leaders of the 18 Lions Club districts in the state. She also was first female international director from Pennsylvania.
Gregg has been council chairwoman; district Membership, Extension, Retention and Leadership coordinator; district Lions Club International Foundation coordinator and a member of the U.S.A.-Canada Lions Leadership Forum.
“I took on more responsibility,” Gregg said.
Gregg is involved with an initiative to plant trees to help the environment and is part of a women's and family task force that strives to make sure women are recognized and appreciated “because there are some countries where women are treated as second-class citizens.”
Since becoming international director, she has been doing quite a lot of traveling, flying to Australia in October. Among her domestic trips for the Lions Club was a journey to a town in rural northern Minnesota in January to meet with members at a time when the temperatures plummeted to minus 20 degrees during the day.
“They were used to it,” Gregg said of the hardy Lions Club members she met in Minnesota.
Not all trips are to freezing climates. She is scheduled to go to San Diego for a board meeting at the end of February and to San Juan, Puerto Rico, in September.
Gregg has been highly decorated with many awards for her Lions Club service, including: the Club Excellence Award, Leadership Award, three Lions President's Medals, four International President's certificates of appreciation and the Certified Guiding Lion Medal.
Gregg is a Lions Club Progressive Melvin Jones Fellow, which recognizes $1,000 donations to the Lions Club International Foundation, which is the official charitable arm of Lions Clubs International.
Gregg received the Joseph L. Wroblewski Award, named after a past international president and only given by a club or district to an outstanding Lion, Lioness, Leo or a community leader who holds a Pennsylvania Fellows Award, the Lions Club said on its website
Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.