Walk remembers Saunders

Published 2:22 pm Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The 11th annual Ken Saunders White Cane Walk to benefit the Kenbridge-Victoria Lions Club brought memories of the walk’s founder to the forefront and united members of the community recently.

The Sept. 9 event began at 7:30 a.m. on a crisp and sunny morning, where participants walked from the Food Lion located in Victoria to the Shoppers Value in Kenbridge — a distance of approximately five miles.

Drivers were on site to transport participants back to their vehicles after the walk, according to Club Leader and Organizer Bonnie Alston.

People brought donations to a table during the walk.

Victoria resident Ken Saunders organized the walk 11 years ago, and this was the first year members of the community and of the Kenbridge-Victoria Lions Club walked in his memory, as Saunders passed away Feb. 28.

He was born in Hamilton, Bermuda on Nov. 11, 1955, according to his obituary, and attended a school for the Blind in Richmond.

It was in school that Saunders met his wife, Marlene O’Connell, who also participated in this year’s White Cane Walk in Saunders’ honor.

Saunders had been a member of the Kenbridge-Victoria Lions Club since 2001, which supports efforts for preventative care and awareness for visual impairment.

In past years, Saunders would participate in the walk with his guide dog, Casper, according to the Kenbridge-Victoria Lions Club.

According to the obituary, Saunders was a notable painter and could “fix just about anything.”

The international club was established in 1917 to bring together businessmen to discuss issues present to community members in Chicago. A presentation by Helen Keller, a champion for the blind and deaf, prompted the Lions Club to create efforts to support people with visual impairments, according to the national Lions Club website.

Alston said the walk raises funds to assist the communities in giving residents access to eyesight care and tests.

Alston said before the event that members of the community would be there “in strong force” to support the efforts and honor Saunders.

A release from the Lions Club cited the walk was held in Saunders honor and remembering his service for the club.

“This year’s walk was in remembrance of him and his dedication to the visually impaired by raising funds,” the release cited. “We, the Kenbridge/Victoria Lions Club, will continue his walk every year.”

For more information about the walk and about the Lions Club, Alston can be reached at (434) 696-3557.