The gift of sight

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - 20:00

Year after year many of us have made the annual trip to the State Fair with our pre-set agendas and carefully considered meal plans. We saunter through the many booths, navigate through the crowds and try to avoid eye contact with the hard pitch vendors. But this year I elected to do something a little different; I donned my stylish blue Lions vest, adorned with numerous colorful pins, and became one of the many volunteers at the Alaska State Fair.

As I looked across the purple trail, I saw a number of National Guard soldiers smiling and showing moms, dads and kid after kid their cool guns; I saw little boy after little boy light up with the opportunity to see our local heroes and the tools they use to keep us all safe. I looked to my right and saw a lone Big Lake Lion stand dutifully next to the ATV he was selling raffle tickets for. As I watched man after man in their Mossy Oak Break Up and broken-in Carhartt apparel stop and buy raffle tickets, it brought the realization that each ticket sale supported a group that put the money back into their community and helped our vision screening effort as well.

Over a period of five hours I watched a crew of volunteers screen almost a hundred kids, and was amazed to see almost 20 percent of those screened needed to follow up with an eye doctor. I had heard stories of these volunteers finding babies with cataracts and children who needed glasses, but this time I saw their work in action. Over just a few hours, volunteers detected multiple vision impairments — including some eye diseases that had no symptoms but with early detection and treatment can be corrected. The Lions Mobile Vision Screening trailer will be open and screening people for the duration of the fair…and it’s free! We encourage you all to stop by say hello to our heroes in uniform, check out their impressive guns, and then walk across the purple trail and get your kids eyes checked. It only takes a minute, and while there are many precious gifts in life, the gift of sight sometimes is taken away far too soon.

For more information on Lions visit, or call Lion Amy at 301-9179.

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