Lion Art Schmidt Reports: At the April 15th of the Bloomingdale HS LEO Club meeting in the Media Center of Bloomingdale HS, Lion Art Schmidt of the Brandon Lions Club gave an explanation of the canes used by the blind.

Jonathan Carmel, student LEO member, gave a demonstration in the use of 1 of the 3 canes.

Past District Governor Jackie Cameron whose husband founded the Bloomingdale LEO Club, presented a “locally made” banner for use at their meetings.

Lion Art Schmidt had 3 varieties of the canes in which he explained which were used & for what reason. The shorter canes with the red paint at the bottom were primarily used in close quarters, mainly in homes or places where there many obstacles, while the longer canes, which extend to about 7 feet, were generally used for outdoors. He also explained how the canes were handled by moving them back & forth across the walking area, raising them slightly at the center to avoid any pavement obtrusion so that the stick would not be jammed against the body. Usually the cane is moved back & forth no more that 6 inches either side of the body.

While PDG Jackie Cameron was attaching wax paper across Jonathan Carmel face to replicate total blindness, Lion Art Schmidt was reading to the approximate 30 in attendance the various laws that affect everybody pertaining to the blind.

Lion Schmidt read that Title XXX (Social Welfare) Section 413 (Vocational Rehabilitation) part 413.033- Definitions, paragraph (1) “Blind” means an individual having central visual acuity or 20/200 or less in the better eye….(with additional specifications). He followed next with reading from Title XXIII (Motor Vehicles) Section 316 (State Uniform Traffic Control) part 316.130 Pedestrian obedience to traffic control devices and traffic regulations paragraph (13)- Pedestrians shall move, whenever practicable, upon the right half of crosswalks. He then followed with reading Title XXIII Chapter 316 part 316.1301 (Traffic regulations to assist blind persons paragraph (2)- Whenever a pedestrian is crossing, or attempting to cross, a public street or highway, guided by a dog or carrying in a raised or extended position a cane or walking stick which is white in color or white tipped with red, the driver of every vehicle approaching the intersection or place where the pedestrian is attempting to cross shall bring his or her vehicle to a full stop before arriving at such intersection or place of crossing and, before proceeding, shall take such precautions as may be necessary to avoid injuring such pedestrian. A person who is convicted of a violation of this subsection is guilty of a moving violation punishable as provided in chapter 318.

Lion Art Schmidt had instructed Jonathan to “come” to his voice & there will be an “object” near the end of his demonstration for which he needs to detect, pick up the object, & deliver it to Art Schmidt at the end of his demonstration.

Jonathan Carmel has been in the media center many times during his high school years and is well familiar with its layout. Remembering that, Jonathan started out with uncertainty, but as his cane eventually touched something, he moved rather rapidly with confidence along the predetermined path to Lion Schmidt’s voice. He showed adeptness in the quick learning using the stick & sensing direction thru hearing. Upon detecting the “object” placed in one of the aisles, Jonathan quickly determined its size & leaned over in a very effortless manor, picked up the object, & proceeded to go to Lion Schmidt & hand him the package. While Jonathan was “picking” his way along the path, it was noticed that all of the students were keenly watching.

With the use of the cane, we returned to the area in the Media Center where the LEO students were located & were asked questions by the students while Jonathan still had the wax paper covering his face. After answering several questions, the wax paper was removed from Jonathan’s face in which he gave a sigh of relief. It was explained that a person uses the touch & hearing much more in coping with everyday living.

Lion Art Schmidt made an announcement that the Brandon Lions Club is planning for the 3 LEO Clubs to meet in late September on a Saturday morning at the Lions Eye Institute in Ybor City for a tour of their facility & afterwards having a “blind” luncheon.

PDG Jackie Cameron presented the “locally made” banner to Bloomingdale HS Advisor Diane Huber & President Stephen Leon. (The International Assn. Of Lions Clubs did not have a suitable banner to use, so one was made locally) In presenting the banner, PDG Jackie Cameron with outward emotions, stated that her husband started this LEO Club back in the late 1980’s. The 20 year patch, which was sown on, was given to the LEO Club by Immediate PDG Susan Stathas at their Club’s installation in November. PDG Jackie Cameron said that the Bloomingdale LEO Club is the oldest in District 35R. Efforts are underway to determine the oldest LEO Club in the state.

This is the last meeting of the year for the Bloomingdale LEOS.

My special thanks to William Noreiga of Brandon Brace and Ben Green of Sun City Center for the loan of the canes for this demonstration.”