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Scouts focus on compassion

Andalusia Cub Scouts are shown with Susan Craig at the annual Blue and Gold banquet Sunday afternoon.

Andalusia area Cub Scouts got a new perspective on compassion at their annual Blue and Gold banquet Sunday afternoon.

The scouts had as their guest speaker Susan Craig, who was confined to a wheelchair following an illness when she was 20.

Craig told the boys a little bit about her life and allowed them to ask questions – even very personal ones.

“I can’t walk,” she explained. “But there are other disabilities, too, like blindness, deafness or cerebral palsy.”

Asked “what’s it like” to be confined to a chair, Craig explained that “it takes me longer to do things and I have different ways of doing things.”

“Sometimes it’s frustrating because I like to get things done,” she said, adding, “I’m no different from you guys other than I use a wheelchair to move from one place to another.”

Craig said she likes to plant roses, hunt and fish.

“And yes, I have to have help with some of those things,” she said.

She explained that she drives with the help of hand controls and uses a transfer board to get in and out of her van.

She said that she is part of the organization Outdoors Without Limits which pairs disabled persons with able-bodied persons for outdoor adventures.

“Sometimes, someone has to physically pick me up to take me out to the bind,” she said. She said she loves spending time in the blinds, and in her must successful hunt, she bagged a 130-pound doe.

She shops on her own, putting a shopping basket in her lap and filling it “until it touches my chin. Then I figure it’s time to go.”

And if you saw her with that basket filled to her chin and offered to help, how would she feel?

“I really like to do things myself, but I’m not offended if people ask,” she said.

The boys also asked “how do you get dressed?”

“Just like you do,” she said. “Only I have to sit on my bed.”

Pack master Carmen Martin said the program was chosen because Cub Scouts’ focus this month is compassion.

“All of us need to get out of our comfort zone,” she said. “We want to be accepting other people.”