Edward Whit-lock, 17, wants to give the gift of good, clear sight to as many people as possible.
As an Eagle Scout project, the West Jordan High School senior is trying to collect as many eyeglasses as he can for the needy and is getting help for his project from Hardee's Family Restaurants and Lions International.Beginning Sunday, Oct. 7, anyone with used or outdated eyeglasses can drop them off at any Hardee's Restaurant. At the end of October, Whit-lock will gather up the eyeglasses and send them to Lions International headquarters in Illinois where volunteer optometrists will determine the prescriptions of the glasses.
Then the glasses will be distributed by Lions International to those who cannot afford glasses.
"This kind of a project was conducted before in Utah and 1,200 pairs of glasses were collected," Whitlock said. "I'd like to collect a lot more."
Whitlock, who wears contact lenses and started wearing glasses when he was 10, said he remembers vividly how much his life changed when he got his first pair of glasses.
"I didn't know I couldn't see well until I took an eye examination and got glasses. The change in my vision was astounding. I could see so clearly. Everything was bright and I could see the blackboard at school a lot better.
"I'd like to give the same experience to others," he said.
The Scout, who will graduate from high school next summer, says he will get plenty of help gathering up the eyeglasses from his girlfriend, Jenifer Hancock, a junior at West Jordan High, and from his two sisters, Elaine, 14, and Evelyn, 16, and his brother, Spencer, 9.
His parents, Kurt and Noriko Whitlock, say they are behind their son's project 100 percent and hope he needs a truck to hold all the eyeglasses he collects.
Whitlock's father says he is so impressed with Lions International and the organization's interest in helping the blind and sight-impaired that he would like to join a local Lions club.