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About Opticians Association of Kentucky

History of the Opticians Association of Kentucky

July 10, 1954 - till'? 25 years and still growing.

History has shown that may inventions are invented and organizations are organized because they are needed. Our society was formed because of the need of opticians to unite, in order to survive.

On Sunday, October 11, 1953, a group of individual dispensing opticians met in the Gold Room of the Seelbach Hotel at 10:00 o'clock A.M. The assembly was called to order by Mr. H. Lyle Duerson, Sr. who explained the reason for the assembly, namely the importance of drawing up a dispensing bill or to decide what would be the best way to defeat the proposed optometrist bill. Mr. Duerson introduced Mr. Stanley Mayer, an attorney familiar with the problem. Mr. Mayer explained how the proposed optometrist bill could be most detrimental to the dispensing opticians. It was unanimously decided that the individuals present be organized into a professional society subscribing to a dispensing opticians licensing law. It was agreed that such a society be known as "The Society of Dispensing Opticians of Kentucky".

Mr. W.G. Ostertag was nominated for President. Due to the fact that he was not present to accept the nomination at the time, the nomination was withdrawn. Mr. William Tucker of Lexington, Kentucky was then nominated and unanimously elected. It was agreed that there would be no need for a Vice President at this time and the only other officers should be a Secretary and Treasurer. Mr. Charles T. Ball was nominated and elected Secretary. It was decided that the initiation fee should be $10.00 per individual. The Secretary was instructed to have appropriate stationery printed for the society. Mr. H.L. Duress, Sr. was appointed Chairman of the Legislative Committee and Mr. Mayer was designated to be the society's attorney.

Adopted at this meeting was the slogan for the society "An association to promote increased efficiency and higher qualifications of dispensing opticians by state law providing for the licensing for only properly qualified persons". The meeting was adjourned by the President at 12:15 P.M.

On December 21,1953, Mr. Charles T. Ball, the newly elected Secretary, sent a letter to Mr. Charles C. Krebs, President of Southern Optical Company, to inform him of the context of the October 11th meeting. He also wanted to impress on him the need for a licensing bill for opticians. This bill would counteract the proposed optometrist bill which would deny opticians the privilege of practicing their profession. Mr. Ball's letter also stated that all persons of our profession, who were presently engaged in dispensing and were in favor of a state law for the licensing of dispensing opticians, were eligible for membership in the society. He urged Mr. Krebs to join and to urge his fellow dispensers to do likewise.

On February 7, 1954, another meeting was held to discuss the licensing bill which was known as Senate Bill #104. This bill was introduced on February 4, 1954.

The next meeting was held on June 13, 1954. It was announced at this meeting that Senate Bill #104 had been passed by the legislature and would become effective June 17, 1954. The cost of getting this bill passed was $3,544.63. It was decided that the owners of firms present would pay $50.00 per each dispenser employed by their firm. It was also decided to ask each member dispenser to contribute $25.00 to help defray this large expense. At this time there were 45 members.

The individuals most responsible for getting Senate Bill #104 passed by the legislature were: Mr. H.L. Duerson, Sr., Mr. Charles T. Ball, Mr. John W. Tinder, Mr. John G. Krauss, Jr., Mr. H.L. Duerson, Jr., Mr. W.G. Ostertag, Mr. Pierre StockIer, Mr. William Tucker, Mr. Frank F. Sanning, Mr. Robert J. Ball, Sr., Mr. Robert J. Ball, Jr., and many others. If it had not been for the foresight of these individuals we might all be in some other profession or dispensing eyeglasses for optometrists. We can't thank them enough.

In June, 1954 the Kentucky Board of Ophthalmic Dispensers was formed and the following members were appointed to this board by the Governor of Kentucky:

Albert E. Leggett, Jr., M.D. E.H. Schmidt, Jr., O.D., Robert J Ball, Jr., Dispensing Optician H.L. Duerson, Sr., Dispensing Optician  John G. Krauss, Jr., Dispensing Optician

Charles O'Connell, who was then Secretary of State, certified the Articles of Incorporation of the society on July 10, 1954.

On January 25, 1955 the new president, Mr. Jack Millsipp, called a meeting to read and adopt the new by-laws of the society.

Our society has naturally had many meetings over the years. We have had some well known and outstanding speakers. To name a few: Dr. C. Dwight Townes, Dr. Arthur H. Keeney, Dr. Ed Shrader, Dr. A.E. Leggett, Jr., Dr. David McClure, Dr. Harry C. Stephenson, Dr. Frank Wells, Dr. James Stambaugh, Mr. Roy Marks, Mr. John Davis, Mr. Jack Duerson, Mr. Adolph Rupp, Mr. Joe B. Hall, Mr. Tommy Bell and many more.

Some of the notable functions we have sponsored in the recent years:

An optics course - " Optics for Opticians" at the University of Louisville in 1960, 29 members attended.

We have taken two tours of the Corning Glass Works located in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, both were well attended.

In 1974, we voted to join two fine organizations; The Opticians Association of America and the Southeastern Society of Dispensing Opticians. We send voting delegates to both of these conventions.

In 1975, we held the first of our educational seminars. Since that time we have held four more with the sixth scheduled in November, 1979. These have all been well attended, with 130 members attending the most recent. If any organization is to function well and grow, it must have good leadership. Our society has been blessed over the years with this fine quality. The following individuals served at least one term as president of our organization. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their unselfish service. They are listed in the order in which they served. Our first president was Mr. William Tucker of Lexington followed by: Jack Millsipp, Bill Lenz, Lester Daniel, Jerry Ostertag, Bobby Faulkner, Bob Wellman, Julius Payne, Frank Gates, Jon Durkin, Joe Fears, Pete Elliott, Granville Smith, Jack Springer, Fred Woosley, Don Schuler, Randy Fraze, John Shouse, Terry Kennedy, Jim Osborne, Jim Morrison and Chuck Krebs.

One might ask, "What does the future hold"? This depends on the future administrations of our society and especially on you the membership. We will accomplish whatever the members want to accomplish and whatever you are willing to work for. Let's keep a good thing going. Several of the fine opticians who helped form this organization are no longer with us, however, they have left us a challenge for the future.

This pretty well brings us up to date. We are sure there were some historical facts possibly omitted, however, due to space limitations, it is impossible to cover everything over a 25 year period. We do hope that you have enjoyed reading about how we came to be the Opticians Association of Kentucky.

Written and Compiled by
Don A. Schuler
September, 1979

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The Opticians Association of Kentucky is the only voice that represents Kentucky opticians solely, legislatively, educationally and professionally.
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The Kentucky Opticians Committee for political education is a voluntary, non-partisan political organization, established in accordance with the State Election Campaign Act.