King, Pearl

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                                       PEARL KING
                                    By Cathy Carnahan


When Pearl King was nine she fell and damaged her optic nerves. By the time the little Loggieville girl was 11, she started losing her sight. It gradually got worse over the years, but Pearl didn’t let that stand in her way. She grew up, married Percy King, had four children and lived to the fullest. She still does. She has been president of the Miramichi branch of the Canadian Council of the Blind for the past 10 years.

This week it was announced that Pearl King received the Canada Volunteer Award Certificate of Merit from National Health and Welfare Minister Perrin Beatty. “The certificate is awarded each year to recognize and encourage those who have made valuable voluntary contributions towards improving the health and social well-being of their fellow citizens,” Beatty said in a letter to her.

“It’s like a dream. It’s an honour,” Pearl said shaking her head during an interview. “But like I said before, I think there are more people deserving of the award than me.” She is a modest woman. She doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about being visually impaired or the work she does for others.

She says of her handicap, “I grew up with it and learned to live with it. I didn’t let that stand in my way. I never think of myself. I always think there are people worse off than myself.”

Pearl sat in the kitchen of her Chatham home as she talked. The place is spotless. Pearl does all her own cooking and cleaning. “It takes me a little longer, but I get it done,” she said.

                          King enjoys lending a hand to other people

Pearl King likes to help others. She is particularly interested in the blind and visually impaired. King knows how they feel because she too is visually impaired.

The Chatham woman has been president of the Miramichi branch of the Canadian Council of the Blind for the past 10 years. The club is run by volunteers – all blind and visually impaired persons. It is non-government funded and operates on donations. Members also have fund raising events like chocolate bar campaigns.

“Any money we get goes to blind and visually impaired persons on the Miramichi,” King said. “We buy visual aids for the blind and visually impaired.” This year the club bought two $3,100 Visual Teks for clients, she said. The machine magnifies print 100 times. There are about 100 blind and visually impaired persons on the Miramichi. Only 42 are members of the CCB club and King would like to see that change.

“Our objective is to get more members. I know there are people out there who need to with other who are having the same problems coping with their blindness. I know the club can help these people,” she said. “Our priority is to get the blind and visually impaired together. I know some of them feel down. I know some of them feel lonely,” said King. “Our main goal is to help them help themselves by getting them involved in recreation, employment, education and socially. We are the advocate of the blind people,” she said.

This week it was announced that King has received the Canada Volunteer Award Certificate of Merit from National Health and Welfare Minister Perrin Beatty.

“What I do is from the heart,” King said. “It’s not because I have to do it, it’s because I love to do it. I enjoy doing it,” she said.

King is also quick to add she is able help those in need because of support from her husband, Percy, and their children. Percy sat quietly in a rocking chair and said, “Oh, I don’t do much. I just do a little volunteer work.”

The truth is Percy drives Pearl or any of the CCB members to any meetings or appointments they may have. And like Pearl, he is there to lend a helping hand or a listening ear if someone needs it.

During the interview the phone rang. Percy had to go deliver potatoes to a needy Chatham family. He is a member of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society and that’s what they do - help others.


Source: Miramichi Leader Weekend – December 08, 1989

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