Lion Ruth Heaney

Every month is special for some reason, but June is important to all Lions Clubs. We celebrate Helen Keller and her challenge given to each Lion on June 30, 1925, when she spoke at the Lions International Convention in Cedar Point, Ohio. She challenged all Lions to be “…Knights of the Blind in this crusade against darkness.”

Helen Keller knew about “darkness.” She was born June 27, 1880, as a healthy child. At the age of 19 months, an unidentified child illness left Helen blind and deaf. At age six, Alexander Graham Bell referred Helen to the Perkins Institute for the Blind. Twenty-year-old Anne Sullivan was selected to be Helen Keller’s teacher and arrived at the Keller’s Alabama home on March 3, 1887.

To experience the trials of all those involved—the Keller family, Helen Keller, and Anne Sullivan—check out The Miracle Worker from your public library. The 1962 black-and-white film stars Patty Duke as Helen Keller and Anne Bancroft as Anne Sullivan. In one intense dining room scene, it is obvious that the child and the teacher each test their determination to maintain their own ground. Helen could neither see nor hear, so it was through physical interaction that Anne gets across the message that eating will be done with forks, not hands.  After seeing the movie, it is easy to understand why Anne Sullivan is called “The Miracle Worker.”

The Thurmont Lions Club is one of the “Knights of the Blind” by collecting eyeglasses, eyeglass cases, and usable hearing aids. These items are taken to Frederick and then given to those who need assistance with vision and hearing. The drop-off sites are the Thurmont Public Library, Mountain Gate Restaurant (in the inside entrance), Med 1 Pharmacy, Goodwill, and the Thurmont Senior Center.

We are fortunate for the many in Thurmont who donate eyeglasses and hearing aids, but the Lions Club also sponsors other programs to nurture leadership and caring, including the Leo Clubs at Thurmont  Middle School and Catoctin High School. In April, the Thurmont Lions hosted a benefit breakfast for Bentley Wetzel at Bell Hill Farm, and the Thurmont Kountry Kitchen donated a portion of their proceeds to Rex Davis.

If you want to help others and accept Helen Keller’s challenge, think about joining a Lions Club. Visit as the place to start if there are questions or if you want to take a look at the coming events. We meet at St. John Lutheran Church the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. We look forward to seeing you!

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