I salute you and your dedicated corps of volunteers. You were the salt of the earth throughout the convention. My wife, unfortunately, had her knee meniscus damaged and we were only able to attend on the final day. However, I planned a quixotic challenge of honoring, in vain, Fukuoka Founder Usui, the first Japanese Toastmaster behind the scenes. I'm not going into the inside story tonight. DTM Mohri, who chaired the Convention, knows the details.
TM Usui was the founder but he left Fukuoka shortly for Kitakyushu when he was hired to be on the faculty of Kitakyushu University. He left everything to the 2nd President Tadokoro. It was President Tadokoro who took on the gritty job and faced the full consequences. TM Tadokoro and I both are hearing impaired and as the proverb says "Fellow sufferers pity each other."
TM Tadokoro and I exchanged letters often and he sent me books he wrote. He reminisced about the great honor of being invited to the 80th birthday of Dr. Ralph Smedley in Santa Ana in 1957. He also confided to me that he felt relieved from the heavy burden entrusted on him by Founder Usui. He was happy to have kept his pledge to Founder Usui, a great episode of Fukuoka Founders.
In closing I wish to pay tribute to the Founders quoting TM Tadokoro's essay titled "A Road to Authentic Speaker."
"Strain your eyes in uttering any one word, uttering the first word and the stressed one of a sentence. It is the way you depart from the borrowed language and make it of your own."
May both founders rest easy now, assured that the group they founded will strive to continue the tradition of excellence they established.