Woodbury Lions Aid Local Minister with A Love of Reading

When faced with early-onset macular degeneration that hindered reading, the pieces fell into place to help a local minister read well again.


In the late 18th Century, William Cowper wrote that "God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform."

For the Reverend Dr. Craig McClellan, senior minister of the , and the Woodbury Lions Club, there could be no other reason than divine intervention when an unusual piece of reading
equipment, and the right person to use it, were put together at just the right time.

In the fall of 2011, Dr. McClellan realized he had problems seeing. An eye exam diagnosed him with a rapidly-progressing early-onset macular degeneration, hindering him professionally, and impairing his favorite hobby, reading.

By the beginning of 2012, Dr. McClellan was relying on a powerful magnifying glass to help him prepare his sermons and bible study classes, hunching over his desk to hold it inches away from the page to make out the words. He also had to drastically limit his reading time due to eye fatigue because it took such an effort to read anything.

About this same time, Woodbury Lions Bill Barthelmess and Tom Story were helping another Woodbury resident with his vision problem: The CCTV reader machine upon which he relied, which uses a television camera to greatly magnify printed words and display them on a video screen, no longer worked.

The man received a replacement, but he didn't seem to like it as much as the old one. So, a deal was struck: The Woodbury Lions would have the man's old reader repaired, and in return, the man donated the new reader to the club.

This expensive piece of equipment had limited applications: It was large and bulky and couldn't be carried around to use; it was fragile; and it needed electricity to run.

Many club members were wondering to what use it could be put , some thinking it could be used at the local , while others considered the unit a waste of resources.

Until a purpose for it could be found, the reader was packed away in a box and put into storage.

As Dr. McClellan's disease progressed, he found it was getting harder and harder for him to fulfill his daily work. He then remembered that there was a local Lions Club and that the Lions were dedicated to helping those with sight problems.

He also remembered that one of his parishioners, Karl Lindahl, was a member of the local club. He called Lindahl and on a Monday evening, Lindahl met with Dr. McClellan with fellow Lion James Trompeter. They soon realized that they already had the solution — the CCTV reader that the club had stored away.

By Wednesday, the reader had been taken out of storage, dusted off, and
set up for Dr. McClellan.

To Dr. McClellan, the CCTV reader has made all the difference: He is now able to prepare his sermons, as well as continue his personal reading, being able to adjust the size of the letters on the display to be comfortably seen as the disease progresses. He considers the reader he is using now as just being a loan from the Lions: Members of his church have already made a commitment to acquire a similar unit for him as a permanent solution, with the Woodbury Lions Club making a donation to the cause.

Additionally, Lions Lindahl and Trompeter will bring Dr. McClellan to one of the Lions' Low Vision Centers to see what can be done to preserve his remaining sight and to see what further assistance might be available.

So, how did it come to pass that this single piece of equipment that could immediately help Dr. McClellan the most, happened to come into the possession of the group in town dedicated to helping those with vision problems at the same time it was needed?

Some would call it coincidence; others would call it luck. For Dr. Craig McClellan and the Woodbury Lions, it could be said that it was the Hand of God working
behind the scenes to insure that the right people had the right
equipment at the right time.

"Each of us has our own challenges in life that we must face," Dr. McClellan said. "Often we feel that, in human terms, we must meet life’s disappointments and illnesses alone. That’s where the Lions come in to say, 'We are with you, and want to assist you.' This indeed makes you a force for God and for good."

Perhaps the Apostle Paul had the Lions in mind when he wrote: "And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness (Romans 2:19)"


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