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Lions Walk for Sight marks 40 years, with changes ahead

The Elk Point Lions Club’s Walk for Sight has been a longstanding tradition in the community.
The award winners at the very first Elk Point Lions Walk for Sight in 1984 were Laverne Wilson, oldest participant, Roger Smith, youngest participant, Russell Quinney, first male finisher and Stacey Beazley, first female finisher. That year’s Lions president Peter Tyler presented the awards. / File photo

ELK POINT – The Elk Point Lions Club’s Walk for Sight has been a longstanding tradition in the community.

Forty years ago this week, the club “joined with Lions around the world by sponsoring their first Journey For Sight walk-a-thon, which was declared an unqualified success by the local Lions Club membership,” according to a story by Lion Pat Vincent in the Lakeland Review two years later, as the club prepared for that year’s walk.

“The Journey for Sight walk-a-thon is an extension of an international program and includes such projects as the collection of eye glasses which are no longer used by the owners, the implementation and instruction of filling out eye donor cards and also establishing eye banks in major centres,” Vincent, the town administrator at that time, told readers. He added that the funds raised locally would go toward transporting eyes held in donor banks to needy recipients around the world and to support efforts to provide assistance to the visually impaired.

Vincent quoted Ron Smith, Lions president at that time, with saying, “The Elk Point Lions Club is looking for even greater community involvement and support with their Journey for Sight walk-a-thon in 1986.”

That involvement and support is still being sought this year, with the annual event’s 2024 version going this Saturday, May 4, starting at 9 a.m. at the Elk Point Curling Club. Participants continue to gather pledges, with awards going to those who collect the most pledges, as they have throughout the years, and also to the oldest and youngest walkers and the first walkers to complete the course.

Last year, only two walkers – multiple-year participant George Hahn and his grandson Everett – took part in the event, but the Lions hope to wind up their 40 years of involvement with a considerably larger group this year. Pledge sheets are now available at Elk Point Realty.

Changes ahead

This year’s Walk for Sight will be the final walk that gathers pledges for this particular cause. Next year, the Elk Point Lions will be changing their focus to another longstanding Lions program, the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides, whose mission is “to empower Canadians with disabilities to navigate their world with confidence and independence by providing Dog Guides at no cost to them and supporting each pair in their journey together.”

More information on that program is scheduled to be part of the Lions Club’s display at Elk Point’s Information Night in early September.

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