Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
By Jean Doran Matua, Editor
Nearly 50 years ago, Larry Flashchenriem and a handful of other Watkins men started a Lions Club in Watkins. He currently serves as treasurer of the club. He was honored Thursday, evening, March 8, when he was presented with the Helen Keller award and a pin by fellow member Jim Donnay.
Flaschenriem will receive a 75-year Catholic Order of Foresters pin this week.
Helen Adams Keller was born in 1880 in Alabama. An illness at 19 months of age left her deaf and blind. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude from Radcliffe College in 1904, and became a published author. She was a lecturer and ardent human rights advocate. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States, and she served as a spokesperson and ambassador for the American Foundation for the Blind until her death in 1968.
In 1925, Helen Keller spoke to the annual Lions Club convention. She challenged Lions members to become "knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness." Since then, millions of Lions members have worked diligently to help people with visual impairments.
The Minnesota Lions Eye Bank website states: "Helen Keller Awards are given to honor those who have distinguished themselves on behalf of sight. ... The award recipient receives a beautiful plaque and pin, and the recipient's name is displayed on a Helen Keller board in the Lions Children's Eye Clinic."
More than 2,000 Helen Keller Awards have been issued since it was established in 1992.