Shuray Bethea, a Lighthouse volunteer, helps a Lighthouse client through the emotional distress of vision loss.
In August of 2009, Shuray Bethea, a volunteer at Lighthouse International, received an urgent phone call. A low vision client named Ellen had just experienced a sudden loss of vision and needed help traveling to her medical appointment. “It just so happened I was available,” says Shuray, who traveled one hour from his home in Glen Cove, Long Island, NY, to Manhattan, NY, to help guide her.
[Left to Right] Lighthouse Chairman Roger Goldman, Shuray Bethea and Lighthouse President and CEO Mark Ackermann
Even though Shuray was only obligated to assist Ellen on this one day, the two formed an immediate and lasting bond. “We’re close to the same age [and] we had a lot of things in common – theatre, art, history, music,” says Shuray. “We definitely enjoyed each other’s company.” As Ellen required more medical assistance, Shuray was committed to being by her side. Over a four-month period, he spent more than six hours a week escorting her to some two dozen appointments.
Shuray even helped Ellen deal with the emotional distress of her vision loss. “She got really down on herself because she was so independent [and] strong,” he says. Thankfully, through Shuray’s persistent comfort and advice, Ellen’s spirits were lifted. She now refers to Shuray as her “guardian angel.”
For more than three years, Shuray Bethea has dedicated his time to helping those in need at the Lighthouse. He also acts as a role model for young boys in the Summer Youth Transition Program. His generosity is boundless. “I’m a community-minded person,” he says. “It’s having the mindset … [of] trying to make our society a better place for the ones coming behind us.”
For his selfless contributions, we honored Shuray on June 17, 2010 with the General Support Services Award at the 2010 Lighthouse Volunteer Awards. “The Lighthouse is a pillar of strength,” he says. “I think our world needs more Lighthouses. I’m happy just to be a small part of it.”
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