Remembering Saunders

Published 9:09 am Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Ken Saunders White Cane Walk, observed by many members of the community and those involved in of the Kenbridge-Victoria Lions Club, had a much different feel to it this year.

The 12th annual walk — held Sept. 9 — was void of Saunders, who died Feb. 28.

Every year, he sponsored the walk — a fundraiser where members of the Lion’s Club and friends walked from Kenbridge to Victoria.

The event has proved to unify our community for many, many years, and we commend the club for continuing the good work initiated by Saunders.

Saunders, who was a painter by trade, attended a school for the blind in Richmond, where he met his wife, Marlene O’Connell. She participated in this year’s event — not only representing her husband, but the unification he brought to this community.

During last year’s walk, which would be his last, before he arrived, Ollie Wright told us Saunders used to use a guide dog for the annual walk, but that year was relying on a human assistant.

“Now, you’ve got to let me cross first. I’ve been first every year, but I cheat,” Saunders said last year, joking 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,” he noted in 2016, showing his wit and friendliness.

Saunders had been a member of the 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 club.

It’s a beautiful thing when our community comes together for a great cause — such as that of the work of the Lion’s Club — and it’s even more special that the memory of Saunders is carried on through the positive actions of others.