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  • Writer's pictureBeltsville News

Memories of a White Cane Shift By Ted Ladd

Updated: Dec 31, 2021

This happened in October 1999, some 22 years ago. My job Saturday morning was to collect White Cane donations for the Beltsville Lions at the Beltsville Post Office. The Lions collect White Cane donations once a year to help pay expenses for eye exams, glasses and other needs in the community.

I recall a woman asking me for directions to Route 29 so she could avoid using Route 95 in getting to Columbia, and the man who asked where he could donate old glasses. That man drove from the Post Office parking lot, turned around, and came back to drop a dollar in the jar. Said he was running his mouth so much he forgot to contribute. Then there was the man who had a stack of envelopes in his hand and whiffled through them as he approached. “See these?” he asked. “When this pile goes down, I’ll be able to give you some money.” And so it went.

One man asked if I accepted Jesus as my savior and I answered yes. He dropped some change in the jar and I gave him one of our cards that tells what we do with the money. He was the second person to do a U-Turn and come back to make a larger donation.

A young man came out of the Post Office and placed $20 in the jar. Another placed $5 in the jar and asked if I remembered him. “Sure I do,” I said. I was bluffing. He looked familiar, but I couldn’t remember his name. “OK then, he said, “Who am I?” Luckily, he gave me a hint and I remembered him as the young man I would see at a neighborhood get-together or wedding on an average of once every five years.

Dave Pinchotti thanked me for recognizing the Boy’s and Girl’s Club in a recent Beltsville News item. Dave was one of 10 or so volunteers who helped paint the public entrance to High Point High School’s gym. The Lions Club recruited volunteers to paint the gym in school colors, and we did it in one day.

An old friend from my previous place of employment visited with me for 20 minutes or so. I hadn’t seen him in three or four years.

Alex Ross, formerly a Beltsville Lion, made a contribution and I was able to thank him for his previous generous donation to the Kathy Fund. (That’s a whole other story.)

And then there was Mrs. Silio. She had two sons who previously belonged to Troop 1033 sponsored by Emmanuel United Methodist Church. Both made Eagle Scout. The elder son had just graduated summa-cum-laude from Princeton and was employed in Manhattan. She quoted him as saying he learned more in Scouting than in school. Her younger son, Tom, was a member of the previous year’s District 22-C band and received one of the District’s scholarships. He graduated from DeMatha High School and was attending Notre Dame. Mrs. Silio said he just informed the family he made the Notre Dame marching band.

Another young man I knew as a Scout stopped by. His last name was Snyder, and at the time he worked at Beltsville Garage as a mechanic.

I don’t know how much money I collected at the Post Office that day, but the rekindled memories made it a very special day. It was almost as good as that White Cane Day on April 11, 1992 when a lady named Christina Sarigianis asked if the Lions could help her get a van for her daughter Kathy, who had multiple sclerosis. That request was answered after a terrific fund raiser (The Kathy Fund) and locating a late model van with a chairlift already installed. That White Cane shift was made even more special when I met Beltsville resident Roger Lohr, who joined our ranks and became an outstanding Lion who later served as President of the Club.

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