Lions walk for a vision
Published 11:35 am Wednesday, September 7, 2016
The threat of rain, which didn’t come, and wind gusts, which did, didn’t deter about a dozen people from making an approximately 7-mile walk from Victoria to Kenbridge on Saturday morning.
For the 11th year, Ken Saunders, a legally blind member of the Kenbridge/Victoria Lions Club, led the walk, which serves as a fundraiser for the group’s vision programs. Before he arrived, club Secretary Ollie Wright said Saunders used to use a guide dog for the annual walk, but this year was relying on a human assistant.
Sure enough, a few minutes later, Saunders showed up with a teenage boy he’s mentoring, Quada Harris.
“I’m mentoring him to not be like me,” Saunders joked.
Saunders’ wife, Marlena, who is also blind, joined him at the starting point at the Food Lion in Victoria, but didn’t walk.
The relatively small group — Wright said they’ve had 20-25 people on previous walks — started off with a prayer circle. Wright led the prayer, which he ended by mentioning a request from Saunders: to dedicate the walk to Wright’s wife, Sue, the club’s treasurer, who has gone through some recent health issues.
“She’s cancer-free now,” Wright said. “Or, at least, it can’t be seen.”
Either way, it was happy news for the group.
Along with Saunders and Quada, among Saturday’s morning walkers were club President Sandra Gordon and Roxanne Logan. Also joining in was the club’s newest member, Josh Au. He brought his service dog, Rose, with him.
“I’ve known Ken for awhile,” Au said, who indicated he had joined the club a few months ago.
After the prayer, everyone got ready to walk — but not before Saunders made something of an announcement.
“Now, you’ve got to let me cross first. I’ve been first every year, but I cheat,” he said, joking once again, this time about finishing the walk first. “We’ll get to the line and I’ll say, ‘Oh, wait, I’ve got a cramp in my leg,’ and everyone will stop, and then I’ll put my foot over the line and win.”
Lions member James Bell drove ahead with a cooler of water and Gatorade. The Wrights also drove, stopping along the way to act as monitors in case anyone needed help.