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Poly Lat: The Kiwanis world pays tribute

Jack Brockley | Sep 19, 2019

Poly Lat and his wife, Susan, have fun singing karaoke at a Kiwanis club meeting.

The Kiwanis Club of Inter-City Homes, Muntinlupa, Metro Manila had adjourned its meeting. Minutes had been read, committee reports had been delivered, guests introduced. It was time for the entertainment. Music erupted from speakers, and schoolchildren – each a Bring Up Grades honoree and each in traditional Philippine attire – began to dance. Kiwanians formed a semicircle around the basketball court stage to watch the show.

View the video: Tributes for Poly Lat.  
 View the video: Tributes for Poly Lat.

Poly Lat stood in that semicircle, but he couldn’t stay there longer. He stepped forward and into the middle of the swaying children. With hands on his hips, he picked up the beat and joined the children. When they waved their arms, he waved his arms. When they twirled, he twirled.

He was smiling.

Big smile.

It was pure Poly, having fun and sharing his joy with others.

Upon the passing of Florencio C. “Poly” Lat this past September 18, fellow members worldwide expressed condolences and recalled memories of their 2018-19 Kiwanis International president. Emails, telephone calls and social media posts poured into the Kiwanis International Office. “His departure is a great loss to all Kiwanians,” wrote a club from India. “Let’s take his spirit and wishes and will to the next level, to do what we believe he would want us to do,” an Indiana member wrote. A collection of these messages has been compiled into a video tribute to a man who enjoyed life.

“This is why I like Kiwanis,” Lat said during that 2018 Inter-City Homes Kiwanis Club meeting of reports, decisions, food, dancing, karaoke, conversations and laughter. “We work. We serve. And we have fun together.”

Lat believed in Kiwanis. He understood the challenges facing a 105-year-old organization, but he was confident that its purpose – serving the children of the world – continues to make Kiwanis relevant and necessary.

“Guided by faith, love and fresh ideas, we can commit to building even stronger ties with our communities and help develop more self-confident, happy children,” Lat said.

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