Celebrating 60 Years of Leos: A Leo Family
December 5th is the 60th Anniversary of the Leo Club Program. To celebrate 60 years of Leo history, we will feature stories from former Leos around the world on what being a Leo has meant to them. Our first feature comes from Past International Director Roberto Fresia who, inspired by his father, became a Leo in his home country of Italy. Today, he reflects on how being a Leo helped him find success and on his proudest moments watching his three daughters serve as Leos.
Past International Director Roberto Fresia knows that being a Leo is a family affair. As the son and husband of Lions and father to two Leos and a Lion, the Fresia family has spent a collective 50 years serving their community through the organization. When reflecting back on what inspired him to join Leos, he points to his father’s passing as a major catalyst. “My father encouraged me to become a Leo, and after his passing I hoped to honor my father’s legacy as a Leo.” He became a member of the Savona Leo Club in 1972, later chartering his own club as a founding member of the Varazze Leo Club in 1975. Even after becoming a Lion, he continued to encourage and support youth, developing the official “Italian Leo” magazine for Multiple District 108 and serving as a Youth Exchange Chairperson and Leo Chairperson for over a decade.
When asked what advice he has for today’s Leos, PID Fresia points to the importance of engaging as Leo club members. “Being a Leo teaches you to be a leader in life through experiences in managing groups, coordinating activities, and making big decisions. Being a Leo was the base of success of my life without my father, and I encourage all young people to find success by becoming a Leo.” Though he assumed international leadership as a member of the board from 2013 – 2015, he says that his greatest achievement is knowing his daughters are continuing their family’s legacy as Leos. “My proudest moments are seeing my daughters serve as leaders for Leos. My daughter Eleonora was recently chosen to be a Leo representative at District Governor-Elect School and Lions Day at the UN in Geneva, and my daughter Emilia was elected this year as president of Leo District 108. In Emilia’s acceptance speech, she began by thanking my wife, Raffaella, and I for having ‘obliged’ her to become a Leo. With a big smile, she proclaimed it had proven to be one of the best decisions in her life.”