Inauguration of the seventh Wisconsin-Lions Mission – Nicaragua 2018

Remarks by U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua, Laura F. Dogu
Chinandega, February 18, 2018

Estoy muy contenta de estar aquí nuevamente y me alegra ver caras familiares. Muchas gracias por invitarme nuevamente.

Good morning. It’s wonderful to be here today again with so many familiar faces. Thank you for inviting me to join you again.

I’d like to share with you, why after 3 years of getting to know the Lions of León and the Lions of Wisconsin your annual February visit has become a favorite of mine.

As the U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua, I lead a team of Americans and Nicaraguans, from the of State Department, – U.S. military personnel – the U.S. agency for international development – the Peace Corps – from our Agriculture department, and more.

And every day, the goal of everything my teammates and I work on, here in Nicaragua, is to promote and further: – a shared prosperity, – a more-secure region and world, – and a brighter, more developed and democratic future that we can all benefit from.

But this important mandate would not be possible, if it weren’t for the critical role you all play in ensuring that the bonds of good will between the people of Nicaragua and the people of the United States are not only built and maintained but that they become unbreakable.

Since 2012, the Wisconsin Lions Eyeglass Mission has come back every year with your important work helping thousands diagnose and prevent diabetes, while you help thousands with their vision.

And every year that you come the ties you have forged between the communities of Wisconsin and Nicaragua grow. You have learned what I have learned as well, the Nicaraguan people are very special. It is because of this that many of you return year after year. I understand that this year you hope to help 5,000 Nicaraguans with vision exams and glasses, as well as a diabetes clinic.

Congratulations to everyone for making this mission a reality! This is an achievement you should all be extremely proud of! I also know that, while you are busy helping Nicaraguans in these critical areas, you will also be busy exchanging and strengthening your friendships and increasing the special bond Wisconsin and Nicaragua have enjoyed for over forty years.

Did you know that the Wisconsin National Guard has been paired with Nicaragua under the Department of Defense State partnership program for over 40 years?

I’d like to take a minute to recognize two special Wisconsinites in particular, and this year’s mission honorees: Jim and Pauline Schiferl. Jim and Pauline, have logged over 20 Wisconsin Lions Eye Glass missions to Mexico, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Through their work with the Lions alone, they have helped thousands of people in Latin America.

The Schiferls’ combined years of public service, humanitarian medical assistance, and charitable foundation work, not only in Latin America, but in their hometown of Abbotsford City, make clear a couple things: They clearly do not understand what “retirement” means but more importantly, That they are extremely kindhearted.

Thank you both for your service and for being the very best of the America that it is my privilege to represent abroad.

I know Jim and Pauline and the Lions of Wisconsin will continue to come to Nicaragua until you are no longer needed, and until every Nicaraguan is a Milwaukee Brewers Baseball fan.

Congratulations and thank you once again.

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