Blackduck civic leader Kurt Cease was honored Tuesday by the local Lions Club. At a dinner at Hillcrest Supper Club, Cease was presented with the prestigious Helen Keller award by past Lions Club president Jim Gorman.
In recent years, Gorman and Orville "Bud" Olson were the two other Blackduck Lions who have received the award. It is presented in recognition of outstanding work in the field of sight improvement and is named in honor of Helen Keller who became blind and mute as an infant.
Gorman informed the club that Lions have made a $1.5 million start on the vision and hearing center recently opened in connection with the University of Minnesota near the Fairview Children's Hospital in St. Paul. That's half of the amount Lions have pledged to raise towards the project.
The location, he said, is important because so many children have problems with their sight or their hearing. An estimated 3,000-3,500 youngsters will be treated this year, many with glaucoma or cataract problems.
As he accepted the award, Cease urged others to get involved.
"Talk to your friends," he said. "Tell them how important it is to have their eyes examined regularly. It's especially important for people who have diabetes. Check the organ donor spot on your driver's license. Help the club collect used eye glasses."
The Helen Keller award is one of two major awards made by Lions. Gorman has been honored with both and noted as he handed the award to Cease, "They're both important, but to me, this is the best."