Beaver Dam Lions Assist Afghan Refugees At Fort McCoy With Eyeglasses

(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam Lions Club has provided vision care for the refugees living at Fort McCoy. The organization collects used eye glass and takes them to a local ophthalmologist who cleans and classifies them. The glasses used to go to Mexico but the Lions Club there said it was too dangerous now for a contingent from Beaver Dam to visit.

Mark Barrette with the Beaver Dam Lions Club says they ended up taking the glasses to Fort McCoy to give to the Afghan refugees. He says some refugees packed their glasses into their suitcases and were not able to bring them because they were in such a hurry to leave. Barrette adds that it was quite the experience and their group learned some Afghanistan geography, history, and politics while they were there.

Barrette says the Lions organization worked with Homeland Security and military officials at Fort McCoy to bring this effort to life. During a recent appearance on WBEV’s Community, Barrette said their mission would not have been possible with the help from interpreters. He says there is 33 different dialects in Afghanistan.

Barrette believes they made a real difference in the lives of the refugees. He points to one young woman who needed glasses who was going to DePaul University in Chicago on a scholarship.

Over 500 refugees received glasses and another 2,000 were given vision screenings.

Listen to the program here: