Dr. Karen Berdan is always busy in her optometry office on South Prospect Street — when she's not helping to screen kindergartners-to-be in an area school.

Berdan, who has owned and operated Granville Vision Center since 1989 after entering practice there in 1983, was presented the Granville Rotary Club's Vocational Service Award. It is presented to either a Rotarian or non-Rotarian who exemplify Rotary’s "second avenue of service" that encourages and fosters high ethical standards in business and professions.

 

Granville Schools Superintendent Jeff Brown, speaking on behalf of retired school nurse Joanne Sherwood, praised Berdan's devotion to helping schools, saying, "Everybody knows the schools can't do it alone. We need people like Karen and Rotary."

Sherwood, in her letter, said "I could not have managed our school's kindergarten visioning screening program without her each year. Of the 23 years I worked as the district nurse, Dr. Berdan volunteered every time I asked. She has screened thousands of students over the years."

Sherwood added that if not treated at a young age, vision abnormalities can lead to permanent loss of sight.

Berdan assisted at least one day a year if not more days with the screening, Sherwood wrote, also testing new students.

"She was always helpful with her advice about serious problems and many times helped me decide the appropriate emergency plan, often seeing the individual herself," Sherwood related, "when I had serious concerns about eye conditions of staff members."

"This is an incredible gift she has given not only to students, but to parents as well," said Rotarian Elizabeth Gray, who nominated Berdan for the honor along with Rotarian Dena McKinley.

Gray applauded Berdan as a professional as well, especially her policy of scheduling one patient at a time.

"It's a totally different experience because you are the only person she is dealing with at the time," Gray said of a typical office visit. "She continues to provide traditional personal service in an increasingly impersonal world."

She added that Berdan includes her home and cell phone numbers on her card along with the office number.

"It does come in handy when you have a puppy eat your glasses," Gray said.

Berdan's husband, Clarke, a former Granville Board of Education member, said his wife does not seek the spotlight.

"What is happening here is an acknowledgement of her hard work," he said.

"We all like to work hard in Rotary," Berdan said, also pleased that she has been able to catch potential problems in the student screening. "Every year we catch things even when I think we're not going to."