Honoring loved ones

Published 2:53 pm Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Members of the Kenbridge-Victoria Lions Club installed a bench at Victoria Railroad Park to remember people in the community, and club, who have died.

A ceremony for the installation took place May 15.

Kenbridge-Victoria Lions Club Secretary Bonnie Alston said the bench honors three members of the club and community who have made an impact.

“We felt since they (had) such an integral role through their dedication and commitment to serving the community we wanted to honor them,” Alston said.

The cost of the bench was $200, Alston said.

The first to be honored was Richard Speights. Speights, Alston said, severed as president of the Lions Club for several years before his death Feb. 13, 2017. In addition to working with the Lions Club, Speights also served on the board of directors with Lunenburg County Ministries (LCM), which recently dedicated its golf tournament to him.

In an earlier interview with The Dispatch, Tournament Coordinator Chris Craft said Speights had an indomitable impact in the area and those around him.

Speights, Craft said, was “a minister. He was a used car salesman. He loved his family and he loved God. He was just an all-around, genuine good guy.”

Susan Elizabeth Wright will also be honored. Alston said Wright was the Kenbridge-Victoria Lions Club treasurer for several years before her death Feb. 13, 2017, the same day as Speights.

Wright, according to her obituary, was born in Maryland and graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in social studies education in 1967. Wright married husband Oliver L. “Ollie” Wright and taught seventh and eighth grade mathematics in Leonardtown, Maryland Middle School and worked for 25 years for the Underwriters Adjusting Company of the Continental Insurance Group.

Wright was elected as the first woman president of the Virginia State Claims Association (VSCA) in 1984, confirmed by current VSCA President Jo Tomlin. In addition to working with the Kenbridge-Victoria Lions Club, Wright also served as a trustee and secretary of the Southside Regional Library system for eight years and served as treasurer for the Friends of the Victoria Public Library.

Kenneth “Ken” Saunders was the club’s tailtwister, an officer who creates support and enthusiasm for the club and the surrounding community.

Sanders organized the Ken’s Walk-a-Thon in the area nearly 21 years ago, and 2017 was the first year members of the community and of the Kenbridge-Victoria Lions Club walked in his memory, as Saunders died Feb. 28. He was born in Hamilton, Bermuda 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.

O’Connell said in a May 14 interview that her husband, Saunders had a great impact on her life and on the community, and noted Speights and Wright’s impact, describing Speights as a friend and someone dedicated to the club and the county, and describing Wright as a dear friend who often came together to go shopping.

“Ken, Richard and Sue all loved the Lions Club very much,” O’Connell said. “They did lots of things for Victoria. I believe they would really be happy that we’re remembering them because they did so much.”

She said the Kenbridge-Victoria Lions Club raises funds for various causes.

“We raise money so we can help all of the kids in the area, people that need glasses and hearing aids,” O’Connell said.

Those interested in learning more about the Kenbridge-Victoria Lions Club can contact Club President Sandra Gordon at (434) 262-1432 or Alston at (434) 696-3557.