By TRINA RUNNER
News & Journal Staff Writer
Hunting for Easter eggs is a right of passage for most children. For the past decade, that also includes blind and visually impaired children, thanks to the dedication of Bridgeport Lions Club member Bill Miles.
“For over 100 years, the Lions Club has been dedicated to projects designed to prevent blindness, restore eyesight and improve eye health,” said Bridgeport Lions Club member Ruth Allen. “About 10 or 11 years ago, Bill Miles set out to create a way to use the Lion Clubs’ sight projects to make the annual Easter Egg Hunt accessible for children with visual disabilities.”
At the time, Miles worked for AT&T and enjoyed trying new things. He gathered supplies from Radio Shack and created eggs with beepers inside them. Each year since then, the Bridgeport Lions Club has hosted the special event, now named the Bill Miles Memorial Beeping Egg Hunt. This year, the event will be held on March 19 at Compton Park at 1:30p.m. with a rain date of March 20.
“We are thrilled to have Bill’s wife Rita helping alongside the other Lions Club members and GFWC Woman’s Club members, who are providing treat-filled Easter baskets and refreshments for the event,” said Allen. “This is such a worthwhile event and it is so important to keep Bill’s legacy alive to honor all his hard work.”
During the event, Lions Club members fan out across an open field with one of the eggs. The beepers are turned on and the children follow the sound to find the eggs.
“Sighted siblings are welcome to participate with the children as long as they wear a blindfold,” said Allen. “Once the eggs are found, each child will receive a candy-filled plastic egg along with an Easter basket full of treats.”
“Bill’s creation has allowed many blind and visually impaired children to participate over the years,” said Allen. “He has also inspired people in other cities to create similar projects.”
Anyone interested in participating can call 304-842-6798.