Jerry Pope has been volunteering with the Leonardtown Lions Club since 1989 and has managed their vision and hearing assistance program for almost as long.
HOLLYWOOD, Md. (May 31, 2018)—Jerry Pope has been volunteering with the Leonardtown Lions Club since 1989 and has managed their vision and hearing assistance program for almost as long.
In working to help the needy of St. Mary's County see and hear better his own eyes were opened.
The Lions Club's vision program is the largest community charity they run, Pope said, while the hearing program is a close second.
His leadership in the critical program earned him his organization's Unsung Hero award this year.
"It does reach quite a few people," Pope, 70, of Redgate said. "Our program treats the young as well as the elderly. "I didn't realize so many needed help until I got involved."
He operates screenings to find out which applicants to the program qualify for help; those applicants are then referred to either a vision or hearing physician for treatment with the aid of the Lion's Club.
When he started volunteering with the club, it was out of love of the community, he said.
"It was for the community to support both the elderly and the young," Pope said.
At that time he was holding down a full-time job and continues to work parttime jobs now as well as volunteering. He was born and raised in Leonardtown.
"It's very rewarding," Pope said of helping to restore people's sight and hearing. "To see people walking around, enjoying life with their sight and their hearing, that's gratifying to me."
The work the Lion's Club does particularly affects young people, he said, by ensuring they can master their education with the best eyesight they can get.
"The simple fact is that some families can't afford it or they don't have insurance or they lost their job," Pope said. "These young kids are our future.
"We've got to support them in getting an education."
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