Dennis Minner has always enjoyed giving others a hand, and now he's been awarded for it.

Dennis Minner has always enjoyed giving others a hand, and now he’s been awarded for it.

The Kansas Kiwanis Foundation awarded the McPherson resident with the R. C. “Pete” Loux Achievement Award for overcoming difficulties of blindness. He received recognition and a plaque at the statewide Kiwanis district convention last week.

“I like to help people so that’s why I think they chose me. It was kind of a surprise,” Minner said. “Bob Carson asked if he could nominate me, and next thing I know he called and said I got the award.”

Minner was born blind, which doesn’t appear to hinder him much. Bob Carson McPherson Kiwanis Club member and club president Judy Carson nominated him because Minner fixes appliances for low-income families just by listening to the appliance run.

“We have a program at Free Methodist Church called Outreach McPherson, where we help people out with finding furniture. I do the repairs on appliances that people bring in, and if I can get it fixed well enough, we’ll give it to people who need them,” Minner explained. “We do a lot of other things, like beds or furniture that people might need. Most times, they can’t afford them, so it’s a need that I feel we can help them out with. A lot of them can’t afford them, so we like to help them with that.”

Most donated items are outdated or have little use left in them, but that’s how Minner prefers them.

“Sometimes I can hear what’s wrong, not as much with newer ones, but as long as the older ones are around, I’ll work on them,” Minner said. “I just enjoy doing it. I started in the early 1970s. My dad and I used to work on stuff when I was younger, so that got me started and I keep busy that way.”

Minner is plenty busy already — he’s run the switchboard at Disability Supports for 8 years, as well as the Central Christian College switchboard, and managed the radio broadcast of church services at FUMC since 2003.

Minner explained that social interactions are key for anyone wanting to foster a positive outlook.

“You can’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself when you have a disability. You have to keep going. That’s what I try to do,” Minner said. “I have lots of friends and that really helps with encouragement. Working helps too because otherwise, I’d just be at home not doing much.”

Minner said that one of the main ways individuals can connect is by sharing a meal.

“I like to go out to eat, so I’ll take people out to eat if they provide transportation,” Minner said. “I don’t like to cook for myself, so it’s easier to go out and it’s good fellowship too. I like the conversation.”

Minner explained that life with a disability can be challenging because loneliness can quickly set in. However, Minner maintains his positivity through persistence.

“It can be a challenge sometimes if I want to go out to eat and there’s no one around or they’re busy, but I don’t let it get to me. Pizza Hut always delivers,” Minner laughed. “I enjoy hanging out at The Well just to visit. They have good food, good coffee and waffles on Wednesdays. I made a deal with them and said I’d buy them a waffle maker if they start making them and that’s been pretty good so far.”

Though Minner now has a statewide award on his resume, he doesn’t think it will affect his everyday life much — Minner wants to stay focused on helping others.

“People will see that I got it, but I don’t want to make a big deal of it. I just appreciate it,” Minner said. “As long as I’m able, I want to keep doing what I’m doing.”

For more information on the R. C. “Pete” Loux Achievement Award or Kiwanis Club, visit http://www.kskiwanis.org.