In addition to his integrity PID Phil is a Lion of personal physical courage.
At the start of his year of office (1995 – 1996) as District Governor, Phil initiated a major welfare project within District 105EA, Operation Lionheart; the aim being to take 100,000 shoeboxes, filled with small personal necessities and supplies, together with other badly needed supplies to displaced persons in the former Yugoslavia, a country at that time still suffering from and devastated by the effects of a civil war based on the several communities, a conflict that earned the epithet ‘ethnic cleansing’.
After several months fundraising, in April 1996, a convoy, of eight vehicles in total, was driven overland, across Europe, to Croatia, one of the nation states emerging out of the bitter civil war in what was then Yugoslavia. The total value of the goods transported, in 1996, was £1.3 Million. Croatian television followed the convoy and referred to them as ‘Forty Crazy English with the Big Hearts’.
In 1995 an approach was made to the British & Irish Lions by a, then, relatively new charity, Child Advocacy International (now Childhealth Advocacy International (CHAI)), asking if Lions would assist CAI transport children who were in extreme medical need, and for whom there was no local treatment, from war torn Yugoslavia to England for medical treatment in English hospitals.
Phil Nathan was one of three members of the Council of Governors appointed to serve on the organising committee. Between July 1995 and June 1996, £150,000 was raised and 41 seriously ill children were flown from the former Yugoslavia to receive treatment they would not have been able to receive in their homeland.
1997 saw PID Phil lead the project to construct paediatric hospitals in both East and West Mostar, Bosnia Herzegovina,
Following on from Mostar, PID Phil has personally led the campaign to raise funds to build hospitals and provide medical training, so that the children of Bosnia Herzegovina have the opportunity to receive medical care of the highest quality.
Our Foundation, LCIF, has recognised the commitment of the Lions of MD105, led by PID Phil, by providing matching grants. To date more than US$ 1,500,000 has helped to:
- Construct pediatric hospitals in both East and West Mostar
- Construct an intensive care unit for children – Sarajevo
- Improve Bihac children’s hospital and establish a children’s unit at the hospital in Gorazde. The list goes on.
Ask how he has maintained the drive, commitment and energy required to continue this work, in addition to the many other activities he undertakes on behalf of the Association, PID Phil will reply:
“As Lions, how can we tire of saving babies and children’s lives?”
During 1997- 1998 International President Judge Howard L “Pat” Patterson recognised Lion Phil’s achievements with the Ambassador of Goodwill award, the highest recognition made to a Lion.
Uniquely, Phil received his ‘Ambassador’ before he was elected International Director.
An 8 Page article is available Here with more information on the Gift for Living Project (This is a Adobe Acrobat document, so you will need Adobe Reader installed on your computer, this is available free from www.adobe.com. Please, also note the file is 2.64Mb in size so will take some time to download)