I am sure you are aware of the Lions Clubs' marvelous work with people with sight problems. You may even know someone who received glasses or assistance with their eye problem from their local Lions Club. Well, this story is about a man who is a Glen Alum decendant. His father is Donald E. Bowens, Sr., the son of Blaine and Ollie Bowen. The Bowens family lived just down the railroad tracks from the Glen Alum station, and Glen Alum was a part of their childhood experiences.

Don Bowen, Jr. has severe retinitis pigmentosa, and after several weeks of training, he recently received a Labrador guide dog named Lucky from the Lake Alfred, Florida Lions Foundation.
Donnie Bowen and his black lab, Lucky

Lucky has made such a change in his life that in cooperation with The Even Keel Band, he used his musical abilities to prepare a CD entitled "I'm the Lucky One." The CD has two songs: "The Labrador Shuffle," and a lovely haunting ballad, "Lucky Eyes."

I received the CD as a gift from Don's aunt, Mavis (Bowen) Cox-Burton, who is a avid reader of the Glen Alum site updates and news. I was so impressed, not only with the music on the CD but also, the story behind the music, and the story behind the Lions Club and ALL the people they have helped, and of course, Don Bowen's personal story.

The following is just part of the story of Lucky and Don.

"Where to start....I guess the beginning is a good place. The first person I met when I got to Southeastern Guide Dog School in Palmetto, Florida was Hiedi Illgen, a trainng supervisor at the school. Hiedi lead the team of trainers who had given the dogs their professional instruction and would now supervise the training of the humans. The latter being the more difficult aspect I have long thought! On the second day we were assigned our dogs, I got Lucky! During our first lecture, Hiedi taught us to do the Labrador Shuffle. With fourteen dogs and their humans in a close arrangement it seemed impossible to move about without stepping on someone's paw! "Just kinda shuffle along guys" she said. "Just shuffle your feet like you're dancing. Stop about every fourth step and slide your foot around to see how close you are to someone's dog. It was then that the song "The Labrador Shuffle" descended upon me!"

This excerpt was taken from the acknowledgements on the cover of the CD.

Don sent me a note along with the CD telling me that his father took him to Glen Alum when he was a child and how "cool" he thought it was to have a web site created to memorialize our Glen Alum heritage.

Now.....What I am doing with this page is called "Pay Forward". When someone does something good or nice for you, don't try to pay them back. Do something for someone else and call it Pay Forward instead of Pay Back. I saw a movie or tv show recently telling a story of paying forward and thought it was such a great idea.

If you are impressed by the diligent work of the Lions Clubs and would like to do a little something good that will bring you enjoyment as well, order one of these CDs from the Lake Alfred Lions Foundation, Inc. The cost is $10.00 and an extra dollar or two for postage. Donnie Bowen wrote these songs as his way of thanking the Southeastern Guide Dog School for the miraculous gift of Paws for Independence which allows him to see the world through "Lucky's" eyes. All proceeds from the sale of this CD go to the Lions Clubs International. Let's do a little "Pay Forward" for that last favor someone did for you.

The address is:

Lions Clubs International
Lake Alfred Lions Foundtion, Inc. P.O. Box 1401
Lake Alfred, Florida , 33850-1401
telephone: 863-956-0517
On the Web: www.LaLions.Org