There she was at her first meeting of an all male Lions Club! She joined with twelve other ladies when our local Lioness club disbanded in 1992. This event changed our Club in a very positive way-we not only had ladies, but one who was “trapped” in a wheel chair and could not speak so anyone could understand her. We had to learn to accept someone totally different from any of the rest of us.
This story will captivate you just as Sandy captivated our Lions Club. We all had to learn to look her in the eye and communicate through interpreting sounds. We even had to learn not to pat her on the back as she taught us that she is a real person – a real spirit – living trapped in a box with no way to get out except through others.
Sandy’s story is one we all lived as she participated in life to the fullest. Sometimes she put us to shame as we complained having to work in the rain, or on a very hot day in the sun. She was always there to SERVE in any way she could considering her physical limitations.
One event stands out in our minds. Bob decided to run for Vice Governor of our Lions District. At a meeting he announced he was resigning as Secretary of our club after ten years of service and there needed to be a replacement. Of course, everyone present looked at the floor so they wouldn’t have to feel guilty refusing the position.
Two days after the meeting Bob received an email from Sandy saying, “I am willing to be Secretary, as I have been secretary of other clubs. I don’t think the other members would approve, but I’m willing to do it.” He responded that he would be pleased to have her as Secretary, but needed her to tell how she would handle all aspects of the position. A long epistle appeared on Bob’s computer explaining in detail what she could do and what she couldn’t do, but had a plan for the “Couldn’t do” part.
Bob responded with joy. A new challenge for the Club. He got permission to pass her letter on to the membership. She was accepted as Secretary and held that position for several years. There were members in the club who were able to interpret her speech as time went on because of her tolerance and patience with us.
Rita remembers the many Lion’s Zone Meetings, training sessions, and conventions that Sandy attended. In spite of some barriers in facilities she always had that charming smile and great laugh to share. We even had the privilege of seeing her enjoying a dance with a member of the performing band at a convention.
Sandy’s story will have a profound influence on you as you read her story. Maybe, just maybe, it will change the way we look at those who are significantly different from the rest of us.
Enjoy the ride to the dance!
Former District Governor Bob and Rita Beard
Lions Club 5M9
After a few years of Serving behind the scenes, I’ have been nominated for First Vice President.