It was a rainy, rainy night.
As District 25 Toastmasters gathered in the spirit of joy and celebration, each was invited to look back upon the 2016-2017 year of excellent achievements. Nestled in the hills of Southlake, the Whites Chapel Methodist church became this year’s conclave for two hundred plus Toastmasters.
Although outside the North Texas weather was alarming, inside the festive meeting room abounded with smiles of anticipation as Toastmaster friends greeted one other for another year of remembered successes. The room had a touch of elegance with tables adorned with festive colors of beautiful lavender and turquoise, and complementing each table a centerpiece of mountain flower arrangements were decorated in hues of lavender, blue, pink and green.
The program began with a moving invocation by Past District Director, Distinguished Toastmaster, David Martin who gave a glowing tribute to Past District Director, Maurice Tate who passed away last week.
During dinner we viewed a beautiful photo story of the past year accomplishments prepared by our District Webmaster, Distinguished Toastmaster Diana Patton.
The meal, catered by Mi Cocina, was delicious and filling and the service efficient as each Toastmaster, quickly moving through four serving lines, served themselves in record time. Afterwards, Toastmasters enjoyed a light and fluffy piece of banquet cake.
Following the evening meal, our beautiful Toastmaster of the day, Past District Director, Distinguished Toastmaster, Cindy Hinckley opened the program by engaging the audience with vocal variety and meaningful gestures. She encouraged all to participate by using our listening skills and following directions. Each recognition and award announcement was followed by applause and giggles as the audience contributed their appropriately queued responses.
As each award was announced by Cindy Hinckley, the ribbon was proudly displayed by Recognition chair, Debra Sanford, for all to view. Members and leaders were touched and proud to stand and be recognized for the various achievements of their respective clubs. Later, recipients stood and joined District Director Jodie Sanders on the stage for a photo opportunity.
The biggest delight of the night occurred when our outgoing District Director, Jodie Sanders, was roasted by her dear friend Cindy Hinckley. The audience welcomed members of Jodie’s family. All were touched to view a short photo story of Jodie’s life and her years of Toastmasters service.
When Jodie got up to speak, she evoked smiles, as she abruptly pulled out her manual and called for a volunteer to evaluate her speech. Suanna Davis seized the challenge, running to the front and read Jodie’s objective for her speech. Jodie, true to her Toastmasters values, gave tribute to the Toastmasters and friends who encouraged and mentored her through the years. It was a touching tribute by Jodie to the District.
Thank you, Jodie, for leading us to Experience Excellence this past year!
The final tribute came for those outstanding Toastmasters that embodied the Toastmasters values, by going beyond their position and served the District Toastmasters in Excellence. The District recognized Daniel Baumgartner, of Golden Triangle Toastmasters for the District Directors Service Award, Janet Bates, of BNSF Toastmasters for the Experience Excellence Award, Susan Thompson of Mid Cities Achievers and Executive Leadership for Area Director of the Year, Pamela Benjamin, of Irving Toastmasters and Highway to Excellence for Division Director of the Year and finally Les Condit, of Savy Sayers & Swesters Toastmasters for the Toastmaster of the Year Award! Congratulations go to these outstanding Toastmasters.
Visit http://d25toastmasters.org/halloffame/districtawards.html to see all the awards.
As the evening wrapped up, the thunder continued to boom, yet District 25 Toastmasters lingered and hugged and congratulated each other for their achievements. It was an excellent experience to give honor and tribute to the many individuals and clubs who seized the opportunities to stretch, to reach out, and achieve goals in speaking and in leadership. Yes, this last year was a climb, a climb to excellence. As we accomplished each individual act, we built habits and experienced excellence together. We grew and became stronger and more effective communicators. Each discovered first-hand the teachings of Aristotle as he said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act. It’s a habit!” For those who have accomplished this habit of excellence, we honor and recognize your efforts and valiant successes.
We give to our District Director, Jodie Sanders, special congratulations and thanks for her unwavering enthusiasm and efforts to inspire and motivate each member of District 25 to Experience Excellence!
We look forward to another wonderful year ahead with Greg Pick, Robi Ley and Jamie Pickering, full of many incredible contests, conferences and events.
As the outgoing Recognition Chair, it was a joy to serve the district handling and delivering awards and ribbons throughout the year. A special recognition and thank you to the Awards Banquet committee for their excellence contribution to the banquet: Wendy Alston, Tessie Clark, Cindy Hinckley, Curtis Holland, Tammy McCormick, Diana Patton, Ray Ramon, Jodie Sanders and Laura Stewart.
The weather did not dampen our spirits, but thunder and rain only echoed the applause and joy in our hearts as we give final tribute to a Year of Excellence for District 25.
by Debra Sanford, DTM