Hazlet and Middletown, N.J. – The Hazlet Township Board of Education recognized the Middletown Township Lions Club Vision Screening Team, the ‘Knights of Sight,’ at their regular meeting on Monday, October 3rd. The volunteer vision screening team recently tested the eyes of 254 kindergarten students at the Sycamore Drive Early Childhood Learning Center at no charge to the school district. Superintendant of Schools Dr. William O. George III, Ed. D., Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bernard F. Bragen, Jr., and Board of Education President Stephen F. Willig presented certificates of appreciation to each member of the team.

Sight preservation and prevention of blindness are major global initiatives of Lions Clubs throughout the world. Middletown Lions Sight Committee Chairman Rich LaBarbera stated the purpose of the screenings is to detect common eye ailments such as lazy eye, shaking eyes, and refractive errors like near-sightedness and far-sightedness. Noting that lazy eye is one of the leading causes of blindness in children, he clarified that the condition can be corrected up until the age of eight.


Members of the ‘Knights of Sight,’ the Middletown Lions Club all-volunteer vision screening team, are congratulated by Superintendent of Schools William O. George III and Board of Education President Stephen F. Willig. Back row, left to right, included Superintendent George, Sycamore Drive School Nurse Jill Generelli, Lions Craig Finnegan, Larry Caminiti, Ben Albala, Rich LaBarbera, and President Willig. Front row, left to right, included Lions Tom Mahon, Eleanor Holstein, Beverly Bova Scarano, Lion President Lori Anne Oliwa, and Lion Kathy Davies. Not pictured: Lions Ron Finnegan and Tom Guarino.


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Lion volunteers conduct the vision screenings using special cameras know as Welch Allyn Suresight Vision Screeners. Team members receive extensive training in the operation of the cameras. The Suresight Vision Screeners take digital readings without physical contact, and results from the exams are sent directly to the South Jersey Eye Center, Camden, where they are evaluated by medical doctors. Parents are notified of any problems.

To date, the ‘Knights of Sight’ have performed vision screenings in the Middletown Township and Red Bank School Districts and will be visiting the Matawan School District in the near future. Several thousand students have had their eyes tested.

The Middletown Township Lions Club, chartered in 1946 under Lions International, is a volunteer service organization consisting of men and women who help the community through various charitable service programs and fundraising initiatives. The club assists individuals and families by underwriting free eye exams, eyeglasses, and hearing aids for those who cannot afford them and also donates funds to local charities that advocate for the blind and visually-impaired. Members also volunteer directly at The Kitchen at St. Marks Food Pantry, Keansburg, by purchasing, preparing and serving meals to the hungry.

The club has instituted a capital campaign – ‘Hear Their Voices’ – which will guarantee the continuation and expansion of all charitable programs. Checks can be sent to the Middletown Lions Club, c/o Lion President Lori Anne Oliwa, P.O. Box 75, Middletown, N.J., 07748 and should contain a designation for the capital campaign in the memo area. Membership in the Lions is by invitation. The club meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at Fratelli’s Pizzeria & Restaurant, Union Square Mall, 500 Highway 35 South, Middletown Township. Additional information is available on the website or by contacting President Lori Anne Oliwa at [email protected]

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...