[Nfbmo] The Blind Missourian, Summer 2009

Gary Wunder gwunder at earthlink.net
Sun Aug 16 14:49:23 UTC 2009


Summer, 2009


National Federation of the Blind of Missouri

Gary L. Wunder, President

3910 Tropical Lane

Columbia, MO 65202

Phone: 573-874-1774


Table of Contents


A Heart Felt Thank You-Carol Coulter                            2                  

Presidential Report-Gary Wunder                            2


Living With Social Security Benefits-Gene Coulter 14


Dacia, The Guy, And The Gal-Tom Stevens           14               










                                      A Heart Felt Thank You 

                                            By Carol Coulter


I would like to thank Dr. Patricia Morrow for her hard work and dedication to the National Federation of the Blind.  Patricia served as the editor of the Blind Missourian for over 20 years.  When Patricia first started, the Blind Missourian was our main source of information. This very talented lady kept us up to date on legislation, board meetings, seminars, chapter news and anything else that needed reporting on.  One of my favorite "columns" was Roses and Raspberries, where Patricia would share with us important events that were going on in individuals' lives.  These events were things like weddings, births, graduations deaths, and family members going off to war. 

I believe this brought us all closer together, giving us other commonalities than just blindness.  Patricia your very capable pen will be missed and I only hope that I can do half the job that you have done, making our newsletter the one that other affiliates strive to be like.         








MARCH 28, 2009


Thirty years ago I witnessed the closing of our convention having just been elected as your President.  In the audience sat two of my predecessors, Tom Stevens and John Dower.  Not only would that day witness my election, but it would begin Missouri's participation in the Washington Seminar, which was then called the March on Washington.  Tom Stevens was our first representative, going in those first years at his own expense, his travel companion and our National Representative that year being none other than Richard J. Edlund, known to many of us as our dear friend Dick.


Tom and Dick tell the story that when they arrived at the small airport in Columbia, they found their 19 seater plane had been overbooked and airline personnel were asking for volunteers to stay behind.  Dick struck up a conversation with one of the pilots, saying he had once been the owner of an airport, and when the pilot took him out to see the airplane and this big tall fellow with his long white cane entered the cabin and took one of the pilot's seats, volunteers to take another flight quickly began to emerge.  Now both Tom and Dick have been known to tell their share of tall tails, but that's exactly how they say they got on the first leg of their trip to DC, and whether all of it is true or not, it certainly makes for a good story.


When we elected someone to be our State President throughout the 70's and a good bit of the 80's, not only did we require someone with  energy, drive and an ego strong enough to believe people should follow, but that person had to be able to afford to hold the office once elected.  On average it cost the State President from $150 to $200 a month out of pocket to travel, make long distance calls, purchase stationery, buy stamps, and pay for someone to read all of the print that came with the job.  In those days doing a mailing to the leadership consumed an entire evening.  Our leaders list was made up of Board Members, Chapter Presidents, and in those areas where we doubted the mail would be read promptly and acted upon, we would find someone who felt special to have a job and make it their mission to communicate our message and thereby elevate them to leader status.  Our leaders list for the longest time was composed of no more than 30 people, that number being dictated by available funds or the lack of same.


When we decided something was important enough to disseminate, first came writing the letter, not with a word processor but with a typewriter.  Then came the need to find a copy machine to make the 30 copies - we couldn't afford copy paper out of the treasury, let alone toner or our own copy machine.  Then came folding the letters, stuffing them in envelopes, addressing those envelopes one at a time, and then affixing postage to each letter before taking it to the box.  How different we find things now where I can dictate a letter, direct that it go to the leaders list, and presto, 96 people now get the message.


Back in those days, deciding who would edit the Blind Missourian was an easy task - just talk about the proud tradition of the newsletter, announce the publication was about to go out of business for lack of funding, and the first guy to raise his hand agreeing both to edit and pay for the publication got the job - Congratulations Editor Stevens!


Having mentioned the Washington Seminar, let me begin with a brief synopsis of the issues we presented.  Close to my heart is the issue of Quiet Cars, and there will be more on this topic on the agenda this afternoon.  The presentation will be ably presented for us here, as it was to members of Congress, by Gene Fleeman.  Gene is new to this event, but he is a veteran when it comes to persuasion, reasonably and articulately expressing his views, and just generally making a good impression among people who count.  I'm glad Gene was able to attend the Seminar and I'm sure you'll find his presentation to be one which inspires interest, gives lots of information, and calls you to immediate action.


I said our first issue was close to my heart.  The second is close to my wallet and very closely tied to employment for blind people.  The issue is reforming the Social Security Disability Insurance Program (SSDI) so it ceases to discourage blind people from going to work.  It is one thing for us to argue that blind people should develop a positive attitude, get good skills, and be willing to use both in the pursuit of a paycheck, but it is quite another to ask blind people, or any human beings for that matter, to act in opposition to their own economic interest.  The law as it now stands says you can make up to x dollars and continue to draw the disability insurance for which you paid premiums while you worked.  Make one penny more, and your benefits are gone, zilch, zero.  This is so even if your earned income turns out to be less than you were receiving from Social Security.  Any rational program with the goal of moving people from Disability Insurance to work should employ a gradual withdrawal of support rather than an immediate cessation of benefits, and the legislation we have proposed does this by saying that for every three dollars you earn above the cut-off amount, one dollar will be deducted from your Social Security check.


Not only should Congress pass this much needed reform, but it should be used as a model for any program whose goal is to move people from public to self support.


Our third demand of Congress is that we, the blind, have a Technology Bill of Rights, one which ensures access to consumer electronics, home appliances, and office equipment.  In a world where we lack such fundamental access, we will not progress, we will not stand still, but we will most certainly drop behind our sighted friends and loved ones as we try to compete in the world.  The passage of this legislation has everything to do with freedom, to be a full participant in the world, and it, like all of these proposals, deserves our active support with letters, phone calls, and visits when you find your member of Congress in the district.


I can't leave this topic without thanking two other people who went to Washington on our behalf.  Shelia Wright again led our delegation, making our appointments, pressing for commitments, and then doing the follow-up work which is so crucial after the trip.  Shirley Graul attended for her first time, and I understand we couldn't have had anyone with more passion and vigor in our ranks.  Although we help where we can, going to this event always costs more than we give.  Please thank these fine folks for their work, their time and their economic sacrifice.


Without question the most enjoyable and rewarding activity we undertook this year was creating and carrying out Mission Believe.  Since there is a sizable segment of today's agenda devoted to it, let me simply make these observations.  The program was initiated by the Transformers Group which was established at a Leadership Retreat held in 2007.  It was conducted because the Imagination Fund and the NFB of Missouri both dug deeply into our wallets and said "This is a program worth doing." It was a success because, not only did we dream about it, but we meticulously planned it, monitored those plans, and then, when those plans encountered the unmovable reality which always emerges when an event takes place, the leaders of the event were flexible enough to modify their plans without abandoning the goals they were intended to meet.  Some of you will note I used the word they to indicate the key people here, for I was not one of the people who planned or managed this program, nor was I a significant part of its execution.  Mostly I was an observer, a job I think I could take too rather easily, but what a testament to the fact we have some really fine people who, when they work together, can bring about really spectacular results.


Please join me in thanking the youngsters who dared to do the adventure activities we assured them they could do, who endured the speeches of the talking heads with only the mildest of complaints, and who trusted us enough to confide their hopes, their dreams, their frustrations, and their very real fears about what life can hold for them as people who are blind and visually impaired.  Thanks to the parents who also gave their time, trusted us with the hearts, minds and bodies of their children, and who also engaged in the kind of soul searching we have all done in trying to understand what it means to be blind or to be responsible for raising a blind child in America.  Thank you to Kent Kolaga who gave his time to come as a representative from RSB to talk about the construction of the Individualized Education Plan.  Thanks to Sheila Koenig who came from Minnesota to deliver a major presentation and to show our young students that blind people too can teach, 


Sheila herself being a teacher of sighted students in a public school in Minneapolis.


Lastly let me thank the wonderful staff of Mission Believe, starting with Jeff Wright who was the can do man when something needed finding or moving.  He even had a song dedicated to him as he packed up and moved the karaoke machine on the last day of our event.  Thank you to Mike Edwards, Debra Busch, Katie Juetner, Dacia Luck and Janet Dew who were the backbone of the project in their role as mentors for the students.  Thank you to Sylvia Modesitt for being a Junior mentor, bridging the age gap, and making a spectacular presentation discussing NFB philosophy, alternative techniques, and helping to relate them to the world of the teenager.  Thank you to Debbi Head who helped throughout the course of the planning, and who provided invaluable support in her exemplary role as the kind of passionate, educated, dedicated teacher who so shapes the minds of her students and makes things happen they never thought possible.


Thank you to Lisa Brandt who was involved in our planning effort, was the Coordinator for the Parent track, and who provided the perspective which can only come from a loving parent who has spent more than her fare share of time in the trenches and who possesses the intelligence and good humor to share those with others, always emphasizing that at the end of the day, this country will educate its blind children if only the parent does their part.  Thanks to Dan Keller for serving on the Planning Committee and for his time in the adventure areas which earned him such a sunburn.  Some of our weekend's greatest adventure achievements quite literally rested on his shoulders.  Thanks to Leslie who, with her small body and big spirit, helped to lift us all.  Thank you to Dennis Miller who also served as a planner and whose presentations on technology were a learning experience for students, parents and staff alike.  Thank you to Valarie, his new wife, who helped with transportation and whose enthusiasm at being at her first NFB event was wonderfully contagious.


Thank you to Debbie Wunder who was the Coordinator for the Youth Activities, who served as one of the planners from the beginning of the project, and who had the unenviable task of having to be the Mom who kept things on schedule for the youth track, while at the same time being cool enough to be considered one of the gang.



The person who took primary responsibility for writing the grant was, as many of you may have guessed, Shelia Wright.  In addition to being the Project Coordinator and the responsible person for reporting on grant activity, Shelia was wonderful at fielding questions and offering insights from the perspective of a blind person, a consumer, and a former professional in the field of rehabilitation.  Shelia did one other thing of note in Mission Believe and that was appointing Robin House to be our Project Manager.  Why she did it is obvious; the fact she did is a very real credit to her foresight and inclusion.  Robin is an educator, a counselor and a parent.  Her experience and her understanding of Federation philosophy all contributed to her being the ideal choice for this job as we planned and conducted our first intensive youth outreach program.  It is clear why she was selected as Lead Teacher for the Jernigan Institute's very first Science Camps which she helped to design and carry out.


Robin's involvement with Mission Believe began with consulting about the grant, attending many committee and subcommittee meetings, and during the event making a major address to our parents.  The thing I noticed most was how she was everywhere, chiming in when a word was needed, observing silently just to make sure things were proceeding smoothly, and all the while, calmly and modestly being the rudder which kept us all on course.


Speaking about all of the staff, let me end by noting that they are passionate in their determination to be there for the Mission Believe families and other families we have and will encounter.  It's a huge part of our purpose and vision to ensure a brighter future for blind children, and to see that they are allowed to speak and have control over what that future will be.  Our hands are extended and we hope you reach out and take them.  All of these folks did a wonderful job and please join me in letting them know how very much we appreciate the 14 months of planning and work which went into the most spectacular weekend of our Federation year.


For more years than I can remember, we've made an annual trip to the hallowed halls of our State Capitol, our canes echoing throughout the cavernous chamber, and our words being absorbed by those we elect to serve there.  This year our message was that even in this declining economy and dwindling state budgets, the education of blind children must not suffer.  We explained how important it is that their continue to be an equipment loan program for school districts, and advanced the idea that when the State of Missouri purchases ever quieter vehicles, devices must be purchased to ensure they make a minimal level of sound so that pedestrians, both blind and sighted, may travel safely on the streets of Missouri.


Our attendance this year was the best it has been in a very very long time, and I thank the Chapter Presidents and the Governmental Affairs Committee members for doing such a superb job in encouraging and finding a way for people to come.  The logistics for our Seminar were again handled by a man who makes it look easy, our Chairman Brian Wekamp.  We thank you sir for all of your visits to the capitol, for your reminders that our legislators need calls and letters from us, and for your continued willingness to run a program so critical to our continuing to make lives better for blind Missourians.


A big part of our work this year has been oriented to building our Affiliate.  A quick look around the room will tell you why.  Our people stack up as well as any in the country when it comes to dedication, creativity, and investing a large part of themselves into making life better for the blind.  The problem is there are too few of us, and there are many more members over 45 than under.


We have been working with the National Office and specifically the Department on Affiliate Action to address this problem, and on the 24th of January Ron Gardner came to help us with some Strategic Planning which we will develop and present to the Board for decisions in June.  The Seminar gave us a wonderful grounding in the basics of our Federation philosophy, explored the value of being able to explain to new people in a sentence or two the work we do and why they should be a part, and finished by helping us develop specific programs we should consider doing to meet even more needs for people in Missouri.  January also found us sending Debra Bush, Chris Tisdal and Debbie Wunder for training in membership recruitment, and some of the activities you have seen today are a direct result of that training and the resources which have been so generously provided to us by the national office.


A major goal and focus of our organization is changing what it means to be blind.  This includes everything from working with blind people to rethink what we've been taught about the disabling condition we share, to tackling the myths and misconceptions held by the general public about us.  At the beginning of the year we mobilized to protest Blindness, the Movie, whose plot centers around a mysterious disease which randomly and instantaneously causes normally sighted people to go blind.  The movie went well beyond the reasonable problems one could anticipate for society and for those so blinded.  Of course people effected by the disease would have none of the skills we have mastered such as reading and writing, independent travel, and the skills necessary for homemaking.  But confronting these problems wasn't spectacular enough for Hollywood.  In the movie, to be blind caused one to lose every shred of human dignity, decency, and morality, turning to gang violence to meet immediate needs, and even resorting to thievery and vicious sexual assault.  Using bathroom facilities was beyond the capabilities of the blind, and there was little in the way of teamwork for common problem-solving.


The one person who was blind before the epidemic who is accidentally ushered into the institution turns into the record keeper for the worst of the gangs so they can know what they have stolen from some of the groups and what they have been promised by others.  As you might guess, the only group with any sense of decency or organization is the one in which a sighted woman pretends to be blind in order to stay with her husband, and it is her information and inspiration which brings what little humanity there is to the blind for whom she cares.


Our protest was held in Kansas City on the day the movie premiered, and our messages were clear and simple.  "This movie gets it wrong." "I'm not an actor, but I play a blind person in real life." "Blindness is not a tragedy - this movie is a travesty." Where is the movie now? It's gone! How did it play with the public? It was a flop! Where are the blind? We're still here, and we're still living lives which say it is respectable to be blind.


Today we are honored to have so many new people with us.  Some come from Mission Believe, some come from using the lists we have for the distribution of our publications, and some come from our presence in the media and on the web where we offer our message of encouragement and hope.  For the first time ever, we held a youth session which ran concurrently with our morning session, and most of our participants from this morning are with us now.  Please join me in welcoming all of our new people, letting them know how glad we are they have chosen to spend their days with us and hoping this is only the beginning of a wonderful and invigorating experience for us all.


It seems that every year we have a case or two where blind people need our assistance to protect their income, their property, and even their right to keep and raise their children.  There are two cases we are very close to resolving.  Both involve the Social Security Administration and the receipt of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).  Carol Coulter was contacted earlier this year and told she had been significantly overpaid.  The Agency alleged Carol's overpayments began sometime in 1985 when she began the Carol Coulter Child Care Business.  In point of fact, Carol started her business on November 19, 1986 and didn't pay enough into the system to begin receiving benefits until 1990.  In recalculating her eligibility, the Social Security Administration forgot to take into account Carol is blind, and therefore figured her expected benefit based on having a different disability.  Conservatively, should they decide to seek repayment based on their erroneous information, Carol could be liable for up to $300,000 in back payments.


Now Gene Coulter does his best to be responsive to all blind people who suffer at the hands of Social Security, but some members just seem, in his opinion, to merit special attention and find their way to the head of the line.  I suspect Carol had no problem making the case she should be priority one, and the paperwork has now been submitted to clarify the error in the calculation of Carol's benefits.


Gary Owens worked at 3M in Columbia Missouri until blindness cost him his job in 1991.  The very day he was terminated, he drove to a local grocery store and saw some blind people selling candy for the National Federation of the Blind.  He says I was one of those people, that he took some literature, and on the following Saturday, attended his first NFB meeting.  Since that time Gary has held a number of jobs in the Columbia area, but has always made little enough to believe he qualified for benefits from Social Security.


Several months ago when Gary went to his mailbox, he was greeted with a letter saying his record had been reviewed, and that it was determined he had not been qualified to receive benefits since the beginning of 1999.  His letter said he owed the government and that he should begin making arrangements for immediate repayment.  As a first step, benefits would be immediately discontinued, which is, to say the least, a tremendous difficulty for someone who is currently not employed.  We helped Gary write a letter asking for the right to appeal the findings of the Agency, which drew the response that he had 30 days to get all of his records together for the past ten years and submit them for any reconsideration the Agency might see fit to offer.


With Gene's help, Gary has put together a record of his income and deductible expenses for the period in question, and their calculations indicate that in only three months of this ten year period did his income exceed the allowable amount by $30.  Even this amount is clearly offset by the transportation costs he incurred, which are countable as a work related expense.  So why does Gary Owens belong to the NFB? I can't begin to tell you all the reasons, but I feel safe in saying that at least 120,000 of those reasons are green.


I have tried to share with you some of the major accomplishments of our Federation this past year, so now let me talk about a few observations and challenges.  One of the fundamental truths of a membership organization is that we are only strong if people decide what we do is worth their time, their energy, their commitment, and some of their treasure.  Sometimes we have let ourselves be seen as just another service provider in the blindness field, fearing that to actually ask someone we have helped to make a commitment to us would be off-putting and somehow not very professional.  Not everyone we help will join with us to bring what we have freely given to them, but they most certainly won't and can't if we don't at least make the ask.


A word which has gained common usage of late is infrastructure, a concept which points out that in order to ride on an airplane, not only do you need the pilot, who has a very visible and important job, but you also need airports, runways, mechanics, baggage handlers, security personnel and a whole cast of characters and equipment which aren't immediately apparent when you think about flying.  No one can drive a car without someone to make it, and someone to sell them fuel.  You get the idea.


So what does it take to affect real change for blind people.  What is the necessary infrastructure.  First it takes a philosophy which says that blind people deserve to be full first-class citizens, that we deserve it because we are capable of assuming the responsibilities which go along with such a classification, and that society shorts all of us, blind and sighted alike, if we cannot exploit our God-given abilities to join the community of the productive.



I've heard many people say they share our philosophy, always have, but they just aren't joiners, don't like politics, and will do their part by setting a good example in their own lives.  I ask you if you think we will change the attitudes in this country about quiet cars just by being good examples, whether Social Security laws will change if one or two of us writes to suggest a modification, and whether, by one person's example, anyone is likely to create the programs we have to reach out to blind people who feel abandoned and alone? To do what we do takes the active recruitment of talent, acceptance of what that talent has to offer, and raising the money it takes to do the work which only money can do.


Some of us have had our Federation jobs for a long time.  Sometimes we think we can do them in our sleep, and sometimes from our results, it seems that's exactly how we've done them.  I was tardy this year in getting out committee appointments, most chapters were very late in getting in their nominations for convention committees, activities whose dates are well-known because we have done them for years were late in the planning, and we have not fund-raised at either the chapter or Affiliate level at a rate which will support our current programs, let alone expand them.  Whatever you may think about the current bailout being conducted by our Government, we are not one of the recipients and spending more than we take in as a matter of course doesn't work in this organization.  The point I am trying to convey is that we are becoming a bit too complacent, a bit too certain that if it worked out last year, certainly it will work out this year, and this complacency causes us to lose valuable momentum.  It is much easier to destroy than to build, and this is true even when the destruction goes almost unobserved and even when it is allowed to happen with the best of intentions.


Young people in this room take note.  The people who lead now are getting older every day.  That should give you pause.  One day most of us will stop getting older, and that should cause you worry.  We whom you have elected to lead have no lock on our jobs.  We do them because you ask us too, but most of us are as excited at the possibility of transition as you.  Which of you wants to stand at this microphone and show the audience how a real report should be delivered? Which of you wants to become our resident expert on Social Security? Who here in this audience loves writing and is skilled enough to edit our Blind Missourian - and no, at this point you don't have to commit to pay for its publication.  Who believes we should have a higher profile in the media and believes it enough to take on chairing or serving on our Public Relations Committee? Who is so committed to helping us raise funds that your name should be on, or near the head of the list, for serving on the Ways and Means Committee? Who believes Membership to be so critical to the advancement of blind people that you pledge to make it your major Federation priority?


To my knowledge, no one is offering his or her resignation, and no one wants to be turned out to pasture with the message that all of our productive time is over.  I mean here to plant seeds, to start a transition, to get you to think about how the convention will be when more of you are center-stage and more of us are sitting where you do.  We must act before we have to; we must plan before change is forced upon us, and we should do it while those of us you have entrusted to lead still have the capacity to help, not only in transition, but to fill other roles with energy and enthusiasm.


I believe I am safe in saying that everyone you have elected or who serves by appointment walks a little prouder for your vote of confidence.  You have given to our lives a trust we will always value, and we, in turn, have tried to answer that trust by representing you in the best way we know how.  The challenges we face today require the very best we have here in this room and a great deal from blind and sighted people who aren't here today, but should be next year or the year following.  I do not want blind people in twenty years to look back on these days as the best of times, nor do I want 2009 to be remembered as the start of a great decline in service, the time when it no longer became safe to travel on the streets, or when we lost the ability to run our household equipment because we didn't advocate for accessibility in everything from the washing machine to the exercise bicycle.


Henry Ford reminds us that "You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do." Ladies and gentlemen, the future for blind people rests with us, and for my part, I wouldn't have it any other way.    Thank you for listening, thank you for thinking about what I've said, and thank you most of all for deciding to turn these words into action in the form of your own commitment, whether it is to commit for the first time, or to recommit for the 40th.  Let's make 2009 the start of something wonderful, and let's do it with the energy which comes from love, conviction and the absolute certainty that we are giving blind people the very best this organization has to give.



Living with Social Security Benefits

By Eugene Coulter


Sometimes it seems like receiving either Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI) can be a huge hassle and perhaps occasionally not worth the trouble. This can be especially true when you get that ominous letter claiming you are overpaid.


On August 22, 2009 the Columbia Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind will host a seminar focusing on successfully dealing with Social Security problems. A lot of trouble with SSA can be avoided by practicing the three R's of Reporting, Responding and Recording. 


We will explain your basic responsibilities and how to deal with problems as they arise. And, do you know what the Disability Cliff is and why we need to work on eliminating it?  The seminar will last from 10:00 to 4:00. There is a $10.00 charge which includes lunch. If you would like more information, or would like to reserve a spot, Email Debbie Wunder at debbiewunder at earthlink.net , or call Debbie at 573-874-1774. Reservations should be made by August 18, 2009.We will try to have an opportunity for questions and hopefully answers to meet the needs of attendees. If you receive SSDI you should plan on attending this event.




By Tom Stevens


Last May, Dacia Luck made a talk to the Columbia Evening Lions. She did it very well, reading it in Braille. Dacia exemplified to me what we of the National Federation of the blind are about.

          In her talk, she noted that her ambition is to be a teacher of the blind. We all know this implies college and eventually an advanced degree. To be certain, she should be an expert at Braille and cane travel by the time she reaches college. But she also has role models via our Columbia Chapter members and has even been known to remark that maybe by age 20 or so she could be a chapter officer.        

We often hear that dreams are what make this world go. While wondering about that, we also know there is a great grain of truth in it. As an example, biographers say that a dream of eventual President Andrew Jackson was to be a great military leader. To say the least, he succeeded. 

Recently, I dallied over a tape recorder at an electronics store. The fellow behind the counter conversed idly with the lass who worked beside him. The guy remarked that he hoped soon to change jobs; a new bar would be opening in Columbia and he had connections that would permit him to be a bartender. The gal shared that she had been thinking about being a truck driver.

          Thinking about the contrast between Dacia, the guy and the gal, one realizes that each of the jobs is an entry-level job. Each job has its positive side for each hopeful. I think Dacia's has more formal training and broader opportunities, but I don't know that either the guy or the gal plans to stop with the bar or the truck.

          As I think about our involvement in blindness related matters, I note that the issues we face often mean that blind persons are literally irrelevant or expendable.

To illustrate, just take a look at the 2007 or 2008 National Federation of the Blind resolutions. Pick out those, which if we are not successful, will mean a deferring of hope (Dr. tenBroek's concept) or an actual denial of hope. One example of the latter is the road to illiteracy on which many of our younger blind persons presently tread, because they do not learn Braille. Without literacy, what expectations can one have?

          But, more importantly, I hope that people will learn about blindness. By doing so, they can help in so many ways. Some 0f Dacia's hopes/expectations were expressed in her speech. She recognizes roadblocks. I expect to help her learn to overcome those. No, I don't want to do it all for her, but to help her learn to fish.

          What are your expectations? We should have expectations for each day and we should have a goal at which we arrive in a given time. Many of us refuse to set goals or we set them so high that we can make excuses about the impossible. Yet, every goal can be broken down into small steps. That is the way I walk a mile, a step at a time. Set your goal. If you reach it before the allotted time, simply keep going.

          Do you suppose Mark McGuire of the St. Louis Cardinals expected to hit only singles or to walk? NOOOOO. He swung for the fence. If he did not succeed with that swing, he was ready for another one. He had expectations (goals). Let us urge ourselves forward. Neither bars, trucks nor illiteracy should be dead ends. Let's field a team and play to win. There is no other way to go.

          Many blind people have earned college degrees and many work successfully. Dacia plows new ground for herself and expands her capabilities as she succeeds.

          NOTE: Dacia Luck is approximately 22 years old and did graduate with a Bachelors Degree in Education in the spring of 2008. Our Columbia Chapter has the good fortune of being a part of her life since she was eight years old and her parents have been highly supportive. At this writing, she is doing student teaching in a regular classroom of 4th graders. "I just love it!" she enthuses. While she is succeeding, she is an example for others. 

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