The Statesboro Lions Club recently accepted a precious personal treasure and passed it along to a museum where it can be admired and appreciated by others.
An 18-volume complete Braille Bible was donated to the club by Statesboro resident Joan Slaght. The Bible set belonged to her sister, Linda Lea Salzman, who was blind when she was born in May 1948.
When she was 10, Salzman received the Braille Bible books from a New Jersey Lions Club, where Linda and her sister Joan lived. Linda lived in Middlesex County, New Jersey, for all but the last two years of her life, when she moved to assisted living in Morris County, New Jersey.
"When we were little, the Sunday school teacher would tell my sister what we would be studying the next week so that she could bring the correct volume with her to church," Slaght said of the large, heavy books.
Salzman died in April 2013. This year, Joan and her husband, Dale, retrieved the Bibles from New Jersey, made the trip back to Statesboro with all 18 books of the set and gave them to Sunday school friends, Lion Glen and Lioness Ann Hall, members of the Statesboro Lions Club. Hoping to preserve the beauty and sentimental value of the Bibles, Slaght returned them to Lions for use in the Lighthouse Museum in Atlanta.
The first of its kind, the Lighthouse Museum had a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony in mid-May. The museum houses Lions memorabilia from all over the world, including many pieces formerly owned by a lifelong Lion, former President Jimmy Carter.
From African headdresses presented to Carter to antique glasses and reading materials, the museum offers much history about services to the blind as provided by Lions Clubs all across the country.
Established in 1919 by business leaders in Chicago, the first Lions Club groups provided various services to those in need. But it was not until 1927, in response to a challenge by guest speaker Helen Keller at the Lions Club National Convention, when Lions Clubs began to focus on the needs of the blind.
Statesboro Lions Club President Sue Brannon and Roberta Green, the executive director of Georgia Lions Lighthouse, graciously accepted the Braille Bible volumes.
"It's a very valuable collection," Brannon said.
She added that with modern audio technology, the Braille Bibles are obsolete but added, "They're not out of date as a treasure."