UNION — The contribution of a local woman will provide eye surgeries for at least 28 children who could not otherwise afford them.
During Thursday night’s meeting of the Union Lions Club, Barbara Rippy presented a donation to the club in the amount of $25,000.
Those involved in the presentation included Rippy, her financial adviser and Lions member Larry Craine, Lions District Governor Charlene Frye, CEO of South Carolina Lions Charitable Services and Foundation Gregg Turner, former District Governor and local member George Goings and Union Lions Club President Amy Hughes.
Rippy donated the funds in honor and memory of her late husband, Dr. Bobby Rippy, who was at one time a member and president of the Cowpens Lions Club. When he moved to Union, his pharmacy hours at the former Smith’s Drug Store kept him from participating as a member of the Union chapter, but he continued to fully support the organization.
“I know he’s looking down from heaven tonight and smiling real big that we’re able to give this donation,” Barbara said.
“You don’t know how grateful we are to you and your late husband,” Turner said, then turning to those in attendance. “She was astonished when I told her how we could stretch her donation.”
Turner said the $25,000 donated by the Rippys will provide eye surgeries for at least 28 children, and there are already two signed up for them. He also pointed out that the average cataract surgery costs around $7,500, and the foundation will actually be able to provide $210,000 worth of service with Rippy’s donation. The surgeries will be completed by a core group of doctors used by the foundation.
Turner also mentioned that in four months, the foundation had already exhausted all but 5 percent of its budget for this fiscal year.
“It was a blessing from God when we got this phone call,” he said.
“This is one of those things that was perfect timing,” Hughes added.
Because of the donation, Dr. Bobby Rippy will be honored as one of the first two members of the Knights of the Blind Society at the upcoming state convention. The Union Lions Club will also receive a Dr. Franklin Mason Fellowship award — one to display in the clubhouse and another for Barbara.
“I want to commend the Union Lions Club for the hard work they’ve done for the local people in this community,” Rippy said, explaining that the Union Lions Club chapter is an active one. “This is a wonderful thing people in Union do, and we wanted to give back to y’all since y’all have given so much to the people of Union.”
Staff Writer Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 29, or by email at email@example.com.