Special hearing and vision testing constitutes an unfunded mandate by the State of Oregon. Yet, on December 13, six dedicated volunteers from Eagle Point Lions Club brought compliance at huge savings to D9’s cash-strapped taxpayers. Throughout that day, White City Elementary School youngsters encountered Lions Clubs’ modern, efficient equipment that screened them for hearing or visual abnormalities. The steady stream of children in grades K, 1, 3, and 5 totaled 237 of which 54 showed abnormal results. “We’ll wait about a month, and do a rescreening of those 54,” said District School Nurse, J. R. Rothenber, who is employed by the Community Health Center. “Most students pass the second time. If indicated, we refer children with hearing problems to the Education Service District’s audiologist for a more thorough examination process.”
Once White City Elementary students were tested, Eagle Point Lions completed testing some 1,000 District 9 students in grades K, 1, 3 and 5 in the seven schools that contain those grades. In addition to Rothenberg and a team of Lions, Rhonda Hussey, an instructional assistant, and Suzanne Hanson, R.N., have assisted as volunteers.
Each year, the Lions perform these preliminary screenings that Rothenberg deems essential to children’s health, development and educational success. If children never hear accurately, she maintains, they don’t know it, because they can’t know what normal sound volume should be. Often parents aren’t aware that their little one’s hearing is diminished.
At White City Elementary’s gym, Lion Chuck Timberman teamed with Club President, Rod Bunt to assist students with eye exams. At another post a few feet away, George Linder and Butch Briery guided a second group of pupils through similar tests. Timberman and Linder pointed to letters on wall charts. Bunt and Briery instructed the kiddies to cover one eye at a time and read the letters indicated. The kindergarteners and first graders viewed charts with familiar shapes instead of letters. “Tell me if this is a circle, square, house, or apple,” the examiners asked.
After the eye tests, children proceeded to the stage behind a curtain, where Wayne Lee, Wylie Johnson, and Rothenberg sat at three different tables. Each had sets of earphones to offer youngsters. Each pressed buttons on small electronic boxes, and asked kids to raise their hands when they heard a beep.
All six Lions present seemed to enjoy the euphoria of helping their community. Eagle Point Lions currently have 17 members, according to Bunt, but of those, perhaps a dozen are active. Bunt sought to dispel the notion that this noble, and largely unsung organization is just for retirees. They also need younger member,; many more community-minded members, and welcome both men and women, he stressed. “Drop in and visit us, or contact a member. We meet on the first and third Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. in Antonio’s Restaurant, on Highway 62,” he said.
He named several other worthy activities they perform including free eye exams, glasses, and hearing aids for persons of sufficiently depressed incomes, Christmas food baskets, four scholarships at Eagle Point High School, Santa Tree Lighting, and July 4th fireworks. He also encouraged people to recycle newspapers, magazines, catalogues, and cardboard through the collection bins on Eagle Point’s Main St., or White City’s Cascade Shopping Center. “We get $50 for each ton of paper,” he said. “That’s a good fund raiser. For more information about Eagle Point Lions, please call 541-879-1141 or 541-826-4853.”
By F. C. Blake
Of the Independent