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
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
- 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.
Class of 2014