Washington Evening Journal
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Washington, IA 52353
WASHINGTON — Lions Club member Al Olson received the William Scott Distinguished Legacy Award at the club’s annual meeting for such honors July 12.
The award is named after Dr. William E. Scott, longtime medical director of Iowa KidSight — a vision screening service affiliated with the Lions Club — and recognizes members who have made major contributions to the program.
“We pick someone annually who has demonstrated those leadership traits,” said Lori Short, executive director of Iowa KidSight. “Al has been with the program since it started, for 20 years, and he’s always been in a leadership role … he’s really great at enabling other people to get involved.”
Iowa KidSight was founded in 2001, according to a Lions Club news release. The program uses a specially made camera to photograph children's’ eyes and highlight anomalies, allowing providers to recommend examination and treatment options before many kids know or can communicate their own vision impairments.
Olson was one of the program’s first screeners. Through KidSight’s history, he’s also been a major grant application writer, a busy session coordinator, and maker of its online training course. He continues to train others to use the cameras that require precision for accurate results.
“The camera has to be particularly, exactly, in focus when we take these photographs,” Olson said. “If it’s not in focus, then we have to discard that photograph and replace it with another one … and we need to know when we have a good photograph versus when we don’t.”
Despite his established history with the program, the award took Olson by surprise.
“I did not have any idea that something like this was coming,” he said. “They had misdirected me, and told me that they were coming down to give an award to somebody else. And then when they started to read the information about who they were giving the award to, I knew it was me and I was quite taken aback.”
Olson said the recognition was a major achievement.
“Dr. Scott and I have both with the program from the very beginning, he was doctor that really pushed the Lions Club to get involved,” he said. “To be named to a legacy award in his name is quite an honor.”