"Roundheads and Ramblings"
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"Roundheads and Ramblings"

Volunteering

See the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras -- Change a Life

  I don’t use this space to solicit donations from my readers, but I’m making a single-time exception today.  I am the current president of Mid-South Lions Sight and Hearing Service, a four-state organization that provides free eye surgeries to patients who could not otherwise afford them.  We straighten the eyes of children with disfiguring muscle problems.  We treat amblyopia in small children who might otherwise lose the sight of one eye.  We re-attach retinas, treat glaucoma, and remove cataracts so that grandparents can see their grandchildren for the first time. I am justifiably proud of the work we do treating over 500 patients a year.  But such treatments are expensive, and we have no source of outside funding.  We finance our services through donations from Lions Clubs and individual Lions, as well as through legitimate fund-raisers.  Here’s our latest one:
 
This year’s big game, the NFL SUPER BOWL will be in New Orleans! The Louisiana Lions Eye Foundation has secured 2 tickets to the greatest game on earth, plus many other amenities. The best news is that the LLEF is sharing the proceeds with Mid-South Lions (LLEF has approved a grant of $10 per ticket to Mid-South!!)

This is a “Super Bowl / Mardi Gras” package. When will the Super Bowl ever be in New Orleans the same week that Mardi Gras kicks off?  The winners will be able to go to the greatest game on earth (the Super Bowl) and then see the kick off of the 2013 Mardi Gras season with parades on Wednesday and Thursday.

 
The lucky winner will be drawn on JANUARY 22, and will have a Super week consisting of the following:
 
  • Arriving at the Chateau Orleans in the French Quarter on Friday, February 1 for SEVEN (7) nights
  • Two (2) tickets to the Mardi Gras “Float Viewing Private Party” on Saturday, February 2. This party includes a live band, food, drinks and activities.  It will be the first time the Krewe members get to see this year’s parade floats.
  • Two (2) tickets to the SUPER BOWL in the Super Dome on Sunday, February 3.
  • Two tickets (2) for the Grand Stands to watch the Babylon parade on Thursday, February 7.
  • A very special value, two (2) Southwest airline tickets predicated on availability that week.
  • Plus lots of free time in between to enjoy the flavor of the French Quarter before having to check out on Friday, February 8.
 
This is a great opportunity to join the “Knights of the Blind in the Crusade against Darkness”… AND SEE THE GREATEST GAME ON EARTH…SUPER BOWL XLVII IN NEW ORLEANS AND EXPERIENCE MARDI GRAS IN PERSON!
 
 
To insure Mid-South’s grant portion of the program, make donations and get tickets online exclusively through a link on our website at www.midsouthlions.org
Can you spare $20.00 so that someone else can see again? Act now and you might just win the trip of a lifetime for yourself as well.

Discovering Another Knight of the Blind

The Southern College of Optometry in Memphis has its own Lions Club, with members drawn from faculty, staff, and students.  Chartered in 2004, they have grown to become the largest (and arguably the most active) club in West Tennessee.  My husband and I have been fortunate enough to serve as mentors for them during this entire period, and we are proud of their accomplishments. But once in a while, one of them shines particularly brightly, and we just have to brag.  The following blog appeared yesterday on the college website. I hope it gives you renewed hope for the future, safe in the hands of our young people.


Friday, November 30, 2012

A Knight to the Blind

Thanksgiving Break was great! My family and I spent much of it in the Smoky Mountains near Blue Ridge, GA. Besides over-eating and generally relaxing, we also spent a day hiking and it was beautiful! On the way back, we stopped at the Tennessee Aquarium and my kids loved it. Two huge buildings dedicated just to an aquarium meant that our 2.5 hours there was hardly enough. I’d highly recommend it to anyone with kids.

Perhaps the most memorable event during my vacation happened on the drive from Memphis. As I passed through the town of Tuscumbia, I noticed a sign announcing that this little city was the birthplace of Helen Keller. Had to stop. After hearing Helen Keller’s story all growing up, it was amazing to see it all materialize. There it was. Her playroom. The room she locked Anne Sullivan in. Most importantly, the pump where Helen first learned that each object has a name. Then, off to one side of the property sat a booth that caught my eye.

The booth was filled with Lions Club International banners from all over the world. As I paused there, I learned that in 1925, Helen Keller gave a speech at the Lions Club International Convention and this is the challenge she gave:

“Will you not help me hasten the day when there shall be no preventable blindness; no little deaf, blind child untaught; no blind man or woman unaided? I appeal to you Lions, you who have sight, your hearing, you who are strong and brave and kind. Will you not constitute yourselves Knights of the Blind in this crusade against darkness?”
- Helen Keller, June 30, 1925

As a result of that speech, Lions Club chose to make vision a priority in their quest to serve humanity. As I read and listened, her speech both humbled and emboldened me. It made me proud to be a Lions Club member. To be part of an organization so dedicated to helped bring sight to those in need. Moreover, it made me proud to be a future optometrist. One of some 35,000 optometrists trained and willing to end blindness in any way we can. I chose the right profession. I will be a Knight to the Blind.

Devin Duval
Class of 2014

Volunteering

Earlier today, I was the target of a bit of ridicule for giving away my books  on Amazon.  The person involved took the following stand: writing is work.  If the work is good, it deserves to be paid. If you give something away, therefore, it must not be any good. And then he topped his argument with this statement: I don't "get" volunteering. And he proceeded with an illustration of a hospital volunteer who gave him bad directions. "Next time I'll ask somebody who's getting paid," he said. And he implied, "And I'll read books whose authors charge for them."

I didn't respond to the comment at the time, although it was on a very public forum, but the more I've thought about that statement, the angrier it made me.  What kind of a person does not "get" volunteering? i started by looking for definitions. The best one said: "To choose to act in recognition of a need, with an attitude of social responsibility and  without concern for monetary profit, going beyond one's basic obligations." The same site defined a volunteer as "Someone who gives time, effort and talent to a need or cause without profiting monetarily."

Does that sound like something worthless?  Something to be ashamed of? Not to me, it doesn't. My critic was right in labeling my book give-away as volunteering.  I offered people a product that I had produced with my time, effort, and talent, and I did so without profiting monetarily, in hopes of making their lives a tiny bit richer.

The world is not a perfect place, with equal opportunities for all. There are always unmet needs and people who need more help than they can afford. What a cruel, sad world we would have if people acted only in their own self interest and demanded money for every act. Volunteers make that world happier and easier for all with their selfless acts.

So go ahead, Mr. Critic. Call me a volunteer.  I'll wear that label proudly. I'm happy to make my books available to people who can't afford to buy them.  I write to communicate with others, to tell a good story, to say something important. I don't write to make a living from it. Wouldn't that just make me a "hack," a writer for hire? I stand by my original statement. Kindle free books are the modern equivalent of a great public library--opening worlds of knowledge to all who want them.