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 Visually-Impaired –
Two Dedicated Lions I Admire
My Guiding Lions

When I joined the West County (WC) Lions Club, I had so much to learn!  Recognizing members of my group was difficult enough. Add that to getting to know the names and faces of those I met at out-of-town district, region and cabinet meetings. Because I had a strong desire to share my story, I jumped in feet first. It was tough all the way around.

Two dedicated Lion Club members have done a lot to help me in my Lion journey: Bev Kennedy and Dave Davis, both from the Albion Area Lions Club I initially connected with Bev through Dinner in the Dark, an event in which I served as the keynote speaker and Dave through our WC Club meetings when I became a member.  

Guiding Lions
Because WC was a new club, Bev and Dave became guiding lions to teach, motivate and help the club grow. Both members were approachable, easy to talk to and modeled how to serve.

But sometimes I felt they were my guiding Lions.  

Over and beyond their duties to their own club and their responsibilities to WC, they assisted me. Since I have a restricted visual field, I don’t drive. Transport has always been a big challenge for me. Yet, I learned to relax as they made sure I reached all the meetings because they picked up me up. But I never felt I was a burden to them. This allowed me to focus on becoming a more active Lion. 

Problem Solvers

ride
Bev Kennedy helped me get to my out-of-town book signing

Away from the Club
In one instance, I  needed transport to a book signing at a library nearly three hours away. I shared my dilemma with Bev. Though the event was on a Saturday, prime time to spend with her grandkids, she drove me to Pittsburgh as well as helped me set up and tear down my book display. The drive gave us time to become better acquainted. We shared stories of faith and personal challenges. I was so grateful! 

In another instance, one holiday my brother’s truck broke down about forty-five minutes away from home. My mother and I spent a few hours calling other family members and friends to help but no one was available.  Then I remembered Dave lived somewhere near where my brother was stranded. I asked for help. Guess what? Dave came through for us! The Lions Club motto, ‘We Serve,” is part of who he is. 

Inside the Club
When I despaired as to how to get to my Writer’s Critique Group on Thursday nights, Bev suggested I ask members of WC to assist me. I would have never been courageous enough to ask if she hadn’t pushed me. Initially, club members took turns taking me. Eventually, a husband and wife team took on that task. Such a blessing! 

Bev also helped me network within the Lions Club organization to educate other groups in our district about my condition, Usher Syndrome (the leading cause of deaf blindness in the world).  

Patient with my weak areas

When the WC Secretary left her position shortly after I joined, I volunteered to take it on. It has challenged me–not only  because of my hearing / vision loss but also because administration is not my gifting. They’ve patiently trained me in the year and a half I’ve served to complete the duties in a timely manner. This July I will step back and relinquish those duties to someone more suited to them. But I didn’t give up on myself and neither did they. 

A sense of humor! 

Thank God Dave and Bev have a sense of humor, which I greatly appreciate. At one of our dinner meetings, I spilled an entire glass of ice water on Dave’s lap. He was quite light on his feet as he jumped out of his seat. On another occasion, I opened my white cane and it snapped back and hit Bev in the neck. She said, “Amy, you nearly decapitated me!”  

Behind-the-scenes support. 

I also admire how Dave and Bev support nearly every activity 14-F Lions Club takes on. Albion Lions Club held an All You Can Eat Pancake Breakfast to benefit their local library. Of course, Dave was on hand to lend a hand. Bev’s pharmaceutical job is the only activity that keeps her from a Lions Club function. Both are modest and play down their roles. 

Albion Area Lions Club sell tickets at the door. Dave Davis is on the right.  

Welcoming

Sometimes it’s easy to forget how others struggle to fit into new social situations–but it’s especially important to  be sensitive when there is a vision or hearing impairment involved. Both Bev and Dave helped me feel at ease in our meetings. I remember how anxious I was before speaking at the start but with their encouragement, I shared my ideas. They also took time get to know my brother, who is in the process of joining the WC group now.  

 


Who do you admire and why? It can be a friend, family member, colleague, business associate, or whomever.  

You have just read, “Two Dedicated Lions I Admire’ by Amy L. Bovaird. Copyright April 2, 2017. Be sure to take a moment and leave a comment! 

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Amy

Amy Bovaird is the author of two best-selling books Mobility Matters and Cane Confessions: The Lighter Side to Mobility.  An accomplished and inspirational speaker, she talks on a variety of topics based on her life experiences and continues to educate and inspire others through her writing and speaking. She lives with a dual disability—progressive vision and hearing loss due to Usher Syndrome. She blogs about the challenges she faces as she loses more vision and hearing and manages to find humor around almost every corner, AmyBovaird.com. Her books are available at Amazon. Follow her on social media at Amy Bovaird, Author.
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