Showing posts with label blindness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blindness. Show all posts

Friday, May 15, 2020

Nurse took care of blind Vietnam veteran...and service dog Cupid for 21 days~

Not just another patient: A nurse cared for a blind veteran and his guide dog while they were locked down in the hospital

By Lauren Lee
May 13, 2020
"Barbara stepped up and said, 'You don't worry about that. I will take care of that for you,'" Tasby recalled. For nearly three weeks, Borbeck walked, fed and cared for Cupid. She even enlisted other hospital staff to help out on her days off.
Nurse Barbara Borbeck cared for Cupid during Tasby's 21-day stay at Southern Hills Hospital.
Joe Tasby stands with his guide dog Cupid.

(CNN)Joe Tasby walked into the emergency room along with his faithful guide dog, Cupid. It was mid-March, and he thought he'd be home in a matter of days. But his hospital stay ended up lasting weeks. And when the coronavirus pandemic hit, no one could come into the hospital to care for Cupid.

Leave it to nurse -- and dog lover -- Barbara Borbeck to save the day.
read it here

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Disabled blind veterans heading to unemployment line after VA kills contract

47 workers lose jobs after IFB loses contract appeal

Winston-Salem Journal
By Richard Craver
September 10, 2019
“Already, the VA has cancelled numerous contracts held by AbilityOne qualified nonprofit agencies, which will result in the near-immediate termination of employment of hundreds of blind and severely disabled individuals, many of whom are veterans themselves.
A worker processes lenses after polishing in the optical department at IFB Solutions on Tuesday in Winston-Salem. Walt Unks/Journal
A federal judge has denied a stay request that would have allowed IFB Solutions Inc. to keep one of its three optical contracts with the U.S. Departments of Veterans Affairs, leaving 47 workers without jobs.

The Winston-Salem nonprofit agency said Tuesday that the contract was terminated Sept. 4.

“We are devastated for our employees whose positions have been eliminated with the loss of this VA contract,” David Horton, IFB’s president and chief executive, said in a statement.

Horton said it appears likely the other contracts will end on Sept. 30 and Oct. 31, affecting an additional combined 90 employees. Of the overall 137 jobs, 76 are held by employees who are blind and 15 by veterans.

IFB has been providing prescription eyewear to the VA since the late 1990s. The Winston-Salem company is the largest employer of the blind in the United States with about 1,000 employees overall and 556 locally.
read it here

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Blind veterans in Florida got their hands on flag they can feel!

Blind veterans get a flag they can see with their hands

WCJB ABC 20 News
Landon Harrar 
June 13, 2019

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -- Even if they can't see it, they know it's there and it's there for them.
Here's how blind veterans in Lake City are being honored with their own type of flag that they can see, with their fingers.

It may not be very big, but for the visually impaired veterans in Lake City, it's powerful. A plaque with the stars and stripes raised up so you can feel it with your fingers and the pledge of allegiance written in braille now adorns the VA hospitals walls.

The sight of the flag over Iwo Jima boosted the spirits of marines fighting there.

But there are now many veterans who can't see at all.

Humberto Rodriguez is a U.S. Army veteran who is totally blind who he said "it is important from the standpoint of being blind and the place like we are now in the VA hospital in Lake City. It's very important to know that you're remembered because we're a very small percentage of the population the blind percentage is less than 2 percent."
There are nearly one thousand legally blind veterans in North Florida and four times that many categorized as visually impaired.

Judy McMillan works as a case manager to blind veterans through the VA, she said "to not be able to see the flag is kind of sad. To be able to touch this and remember all the things that this means to you, this way he can touch that and it's going to bring back all those memories of colors."

James Hodges served in the naval reserved and is classified as visually impaired, he said: " you're never far away from it and it's never far from you. So to be included and know there's a flag there for vision impairment even though we can't see the flag, we still can."
read more here

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Vietnam veteran collected from VA for blindness since 1969...but had drivers license

Vietnam vet pretended to be blind to defraud VA

By: The Associated Press
April 13, 2019
Blea had eye exams outside of the VA system that showed his vision could be corrected to 20/30 in one eye and 20/40 in another. He also had a driver’s license and drove regularly.

Mike Rodolfo Blea, of Northglenn, Colorado, was sentenced Wednesday by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Wiley Daniel to serve twelve months in prison, followed by three years on supervised release for defrauding the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs out of nearly $1.3 million by pretending to be blind. (rclassenlayouts/Getty Images)
DENVER — A Colorado man has been sentenced to a year in prison for defrauding the Department of Veterans Affairs out of nearly $1.3 million by pretending to be blind.

Mike Blea, of Northglenn, was sentenced Wednesday and ordered to pay the VA $1,273,180 in restitution.

Investigators say Blea is a Vietnam veteran who started getting VA disability payments in 1969 for visual impairment.

He did have a minor problem with his eyesight but started to exaggerate how bad it was.
read more here

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Korean War Veteran losing sight, borrowed SWAT glasses

Police grant vet's wish to use night-vision goggles before going blind
FOX News
Caroline Judelson
July 17, 2018

An 88-year-old Florida veteran recently called his local police department with an unusual request.
Pembroke Pines PD
88-year old Navy Veteran Stanley Gold, who is 75% blind, reached out to our officers and asked if he could try their night vision equipment before he lost his vision completely. Last night members of our PPPD SWAT met with Mr. Gold to make his dream a reality.

Stanley Gold, who served in the Navy, wanted to know if he could use the Pembroke Pines Police Department's night-vision goggles before he completely loses his sight, Fox 13 reported.
read more here

Friday, June 15, 2018

Nebraska Disabled Veterans Cannot Get Care?

State senator claims VA Hospital locking out veterans from needed health care
Michelle Bandur
Jun 12, 2018

Carol Blood is working with veterans to get much needed equipment for hearing and visually impaired vets.
OMAHA, Neb.-
Nebraska State Senator Carol Blood said a growing number of veterans is being locked out of the VA health care system.
Some hearing and visually impaired veterans said they just want to be able to communicate with the TTY/TTD device.

"They are completely shut out of the VA system when it comes to communication," Shawn Wilbur, President of the Blinded Veterans Association said.

Wilbur said they can't do simple things like refilling a prescription because the VA lacks the proper equipment required by law.

"They are not equipped anywhere for these vets to do simplest of tasks," Wilbur said.

Another veteran advocated, Michael Young agreed.
read more here

Monday, April 16, 2018

Disabled Florida veteran gets home upgraded by "Military Makeover"

Disabled Iraq War veteran Aaron Cornelius, floral shirt, is greeted by Marcus Luttrell, also an Iraq War veteran, as he is presented with Military Makeover's renovation of his home in Bradenton

Monday, October 23, 2017

Award Winning Artist is Blind Vietnam Veteran

How a blind Vietnam veteran creates award-winning art
Abigail Edge
October 23, 2017

"For a lot of veterans, especially combat veterans, art has a way of refocusing their attention into something more constructive than feeling sorry for themselves or angry all the time," he says. "One gentleman was considering suicide until he got his artwork into Post 1 and people began buying it. It gave him a new lease of life. He had a purpose again."

Painter and sculptor Jim Stevens has been a professional artist for more than 15 years. He vividly captures portraits using oils, acrylics, and his trusty yellow no. 2 school pencil, the kind with a silver ferrule and a pink eraser on the end. Stevens' award-winning work is collected internationally. He's been featured in galleries in Seattle and Denver, where he lives.

He is also legally blind.

In 1970, Stevens was a sergeant in the U.S. army when he was shot in the head during a combat mission in Vietnam. At the military hospital at Cam Ranh Bay, surgeons removed two bullet fragments but couldn't retrieve the smaller pieces. He was told they would probably never bother him, and for 23 years, aside from occasional migraines, they didn't.
read more here

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Vietnam Veteran Donated Braille Flag So Others Could Feel It

Braille flag at Jacksonville VA clinic sends message of hope to blind community
Florida Times Union
Joe Daraskevich
May 31, 2017
Peters is a legally blind Army veteran who was born in Jacksonville but lives in St. Marys, Ga. He served as a special operations aviator in the Vietnam War and was the driving force behind bringing the braille flag to the Jacksonville clinic.
Anyone who visits the Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic in Jacksonville will notice a new bronze American flag fastened to the wall near the main elevator.

The flag is barely larger than a square foot, but even people without sight can appreciate the gesture and understand the power of its message.

It’s meant to bring attention to the often-forgotten group of blinded veterans in the area. The Pledge of Allegiance is written in braille for anyone to feel.
read more here

Monday, May 8, 2017

Blind, Double Amputee Marine College Graduate Had Re-enlisted!

Retired Marine Corporal defies odds, graduates from University of Kentucky

WDRB NewsPosted: May 07, 2017

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A retired Marine Corporal who lost both his legs and his sight received his diploma from the University of Kentucky on Friday. 

Matt Bradford was severely hurt back in 2007, when he lost both his legs and his vision. But in April of 2010 he defied the odds and became the first blind, double amputee to re-enlist in the Marines.

read more here
WDRB 41 Louisville News

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Combat Wounded Marine Couldn't Fight for Himself, Now Fighting for Others

Decorated Broomfield veteran says ‘medicinal psychosis’ sparked ordeal
FOX 31 Denver
APRIL 27, 2017

BROOMFIELD, Colo. -- For the first time, Cory Hixson, a decorated Marine who disappeared from Broomfield, is speaking out about his ordeal.
"I just hope the VA starts listening to their vets,” he said in an interview Thursday with his wife Shala by his side.

"It weighs on veterans and the VA. ... That's our last resort where we need help."

Hixson's case sparked focus on the treatment of veterans coming home from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"They're just giving you medications that just ain't right because they're not listening," Hixson said.

He said at the time of the incident in March, Veterans Affairs staff had changed some of the many prescriptions he was taking for post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I went into a medicinal psychosis I wasn't even thinking straight,” he said of the night he disappeared with no shoes or coat in 20-degree weather, landing in jail 60 miles away after allegedly stealing a sweater and some food near Erie.
read more here

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

"Blind Veteran" Drove Car, Had Job and VA Comp Check?

Officials: Veteran faked blindness for 15 years, took home $400K in disability benefits
Jan. 24, 2017

A 60-year-old Florida woman has pleaded guilty to pretending to be blind for more than a decade to receive veterans disability benefits of nearly $400,000, investigators said.

Veronica Dale Hahn, of Bonifay, entered the guilty plea Friday in Panama City federal court.

Hahn is accused of convincing Veterans Health Administration staff and private doctors that her service-related injury caused nearly complete blindness in both eyes from 2001 to 2016, court documents say.
read more here

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Blind Veteran Takes Aim in Shooting Competition--Hits Target

St. Petersburg Blind Veteran Competing in Shooting Competition
ABC News
Nicole Grigg
Nov 18, 2016
“No matter how bad it gets, you can always remember a time when it was worse.” Michael Jernigan

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - It only took a split second for Marine Veteran Michael Jernigan to find his target 50 feet down the range.

“I was just shooting a target, with an AR-15,” he uttered.

Jernigan, blind in both eyes, was able to hit his target with the help of a spotter on the very first shot.

The Iraq War Veteran served in 2004, when he was hit by an IED.

Jernigan lost both eyes along with his frontal cranium — he was hospitalized for more than a year, before extensive therapy.

After years of looking for healing, Jernigan met other blind veterans and began hunting with a non-profit organization based out of Tampa, Black Dagger Military Hunt Club .

Black Dagger Hunt Club provides shooting, hunting, fishing and outdoor opportunities for veterans and active duty military veterans.

read more here

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Brad Snyder Lost Sight in Afghanistan but Not Inspiration

Brad Snyder, who lost his sight while serving his country, conquers treacherous Alcatraz swim
Dan Arritt
Jill Dahle and Brad Snyder get ready for their 2.1-mile open-water swim from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco. The Factory Agency
One, two, three, four ...

Brad Snyder managed to block out every next thought, every painful memory, every unwritten plan, and remain focused on the revolving numbers in his head.

24, 25, 26, 27 ...

With every long, powerful stroke -- the thrusts he learned as a child growing up in Florida, polished as captain of the Naval Academy's swim team, and brought back to life while winning five gold medals at the last two Paralympics -- Snyder kept his mind concentrated on pulling his body to a shoreline he'd never see.

56, 57, 58, 59 ...

Even before losing his eyesight in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan six years ago, swimming in chilly ocean temperatures didn't come naturally to the Gulf Coast native. So Snyder stayed locked in on his numbers Sunday morning, counting each stroke as he churned through the treacherous 2.1 miles from Alcatraz Island to a sandy beach just east of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
read more here

Friday, August 26, 2016

Community Refuses To Give Up On Blind, Homeless Vet

Grace In Action: Community Refuses To Give Up On Blind, Homeless Vet
CBS News
By Robbie Owens
August 25, 2016

DALLAS (CBS11) – With hugs and smiles all around, Willie Curtis King, Jr. is enjoying a homecoming of sorts.

“I had thought there weren’t no more really good people in the world,” said King. “I was so down on my luck. But, every day, I woke up. Every day I woke up, these people helped me.”

His visit to the MLK Community Center Thursday was made even more special when you consider that this time last year, King had no home. He was a card-carrying member of the angry, hard-to-help homeless, existing on the kindness of those at the center.

“I didn’t have to be outside that dumpster,” said King. “I was just belligerent… out of control.”

Those at the MLK Center would be inclined to agree.

“I reached out to his brother,” said Officer Terry Brookins. “He cursed his brother out. Everybody tried to help him; but, he refused.”

But, Officer Brookins was patient… and he was persistent, telling CBS11 that it was “heartbreaking” to see the veteran “digging in the trash cans, trying to find food to eat.”
read more here

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Blind Veteran Marine Helps Give Other Veterans A New VIsion

Wounded warrior shares story in new motivational book
Bay News 9
By Cait McVey, Reporter
June 03, 2016
Retired Marine Michael Jernigan shares his story of recovery and re-discovery of purpose in a new book titled "Vision," which was released on Memorial Day at the Armed Forces History Museum in Largo.
A marine critically wounded in Iraq is now sharing his story of recovery and rebirth in a book, which was released recently at Largo's Armed Forces History Museum in Largo.

Retired Marine Michael Jernigan was serving in Iraq in 2004 when he was severely injured by a roadside bomb.

“I had shrapnel enter my right eye and exit my left eye,“ Jernigan said. “I had two fingers re-attached. My right hand was fully reconstructed. My left knee was fully reconstructed. I fractured my patellar and cut my femoral artery.”

After 30 surgeries, Jernigan’s physical recovery was nothing short of remarkable. But he said his mind went to a very dark place.

“I was a Marine without a mission," said Jernigan. "Without a mission, I had no purpose or sense of direction. So my goal at that point was to find a mission. And I realized at that point, I needed to go back to college.”

Jernigan went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in history from University of South Florida St. Petersburg in 2012. He now works as a motivational speaker for Southeastern Guide Dogs.
read more here

Jan 8, 2015
Marine Warrior Michael Jernigan shares his story of overcoming adversity.
In 2014, Jernigan completed HCC's Fellowship Program and since has launched into his professional speaking career. He's continued to serve his community by pioneering the Paws for Patriots Program as well as over 500 hours of community service with Honor Courage Commitment, Inc (HCC) in Dallas, TX.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Blind Iraq War Veteran Needs Out of Trailer Home

Iraq War veteran and 970 WDAY host Eric Marts selected to receive home, but has trouble finding a spot to build it
By Kevin Wallevand
Nov 27, 2015
"I want to be close to Moorhead. My family is here and my whole support system is here and the VA is here which I have to frequent a lot," Marts said.
Moorhead (WDAY TV) - A Moorhead veteran who lost his sight after an IED blast while serving in Iraq is close to getting a special home to meet his needs thanks to a non-profit that helps vets. Homes For Our Troops selected Eric Marts as its latest recipient for a home, but because homes and land are so hard to come by in the Fargo-Moorhead area, the plan to move ahead has been on hold for months.

We followed Eric Marts to Washington DC recently during our Honor Flight special. The 970 WDAY radio host spends every weekend promoting veteran causes, but he rarely talks about his needs.

"A trailer house is all I have right now," Marts said.

His home now is anything but handy for a blind person.

"Not wide enough for Deacon and I to get through, too compacted and the kitchen is so small. I have to have everything laid out," Marts said.

The national charity Homes For Our Troops has built 200 homes nationwide for paralyzed, injured or blind soldiers like Eric.
read more here

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Judge Rules For Disabled Veterans, Slams Bureacrats

Judge blasts bureaucrats, reinstates benefits for wounded combat veteran 
Michael Doyle September 15, 2015
Minney enlisted in the Navy in 1985, serving both in active duty and in the reserves. He also worked as a firefighter and civilian paramedic in Ohio. He was wounded at the Haditha Dam while attached to the Marines as a field corpsman. The attack came late in the afternoon of April 18.
Navy corpsman Glenn Minney badly wounded in Iraq
Judge says federal benefits were ‘extinguished on a technicality’
Office of Personnel Management bureaucrats sharply criticized in opinion
A former Navy corpsman badly wounded in Iraq will have his federal benefits restored, following a judge’s ruling that repeatedly blasts bureaucrats for their rigidity.

In a remarkably sharp-edged opinion, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon ordered the Office of Personnel Management to restore benefits to 21-year Navy veteran Glenn Minney. Minney was left nearly blind following a mortar attack at the Haditha Dam in April 2005.

When Minney retired from the Navy and federal service and started working for the Blinded Veterans Association, federal officials cut his government benefits because of his private salary. Minney said he wasn’t adequately informed that his disability payments were at risk; the letter sent to him, for instance, was not in Braille.

Leon called the move a “profound injustice committed by the federal bureaucracy against a blinded veteran.”

In his 18-page decision, Leon granted Minney’s request for a preliminary injunction and directed the OPM to reinstate Minney’s disability payments under the Federal Employee Retirement System.

“Indeed, it is difficult to imagine a situation more extraordinary, or an individual more deserving, of such relief,” Leon wrote.
read more here

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ironman Iraq Veteran Has Ironwife By His Side

Army veteran defies Iraq injury to compete in Ironman 
KREM2 News
Jane McCarthy,
June 23, 2015
"For me, the only way to get out of that dark place was love," said Scotty.
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho—The Spokane man who lost his eyesight serving his country is embodying Steve Gleason's mantra of "No White Flags" by not letting a physical setback limit his will to succeed.

Scotty Smiley, who is blind, will attempt to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and a run a marathon on Sunday, June 28 with the help of a guide. In early June, he sat down with KREM 2 News to share his inspirational story of faith, determination and Ironman grit.

"On April 6, 2005, I was given a mission to find a suicide car bomb," said Scott Smiley as he remembered the day that changed his life forever.

"I parked my Stryker vehicle about 30 yards away from his, and yelled at him to get out of his vehicle," said the Pasco, Washington native. "He looked over his left shoulder at me, raised his hands off the steering wheel and just shook his head no. And then – boom – he detonated his car."
"I could let my mind go that way and say we are ruined and we are not going to be able to do anything," said Tiffany. "Or I could go the other way and just be his biggest cheerleader. And I just sort of took that on, even if I didn't believe it myself."
read more here

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Veteran to Homeless to Blindness to Powerlifter

Blind veteran power lifts to world games
Carly Q. Romalino
April 16, 2015
"I've been blind for 25 years. Just in the last 12 years or so I've come to understand what blindness is as far as being able to navigate and accept it," said King, a post-Vietnam war veteran honorably discharged from the Army for health reasons.

Powerlifter Charles King, a blind and formerly homeless veteran, works out at the Carousel House in Philadelphia as GW Stilwell, a Logan Township man and VA Hospital employee who helped King get back on his feet, looks on. King is trying to fundraise his way to the International Blind Sports Association's World Games in South Korea in May. (Photo: JOHN ZIOMEK/COURIER-POST)
PHILADELPHIA – As Charles King adds weight to the bench press bar, it's easy to forget the Philadelphia man is blind. He lifts the 250-pound bar over his head, then holds a perfect squat position.

He moves through the Fairmount Park Carriage House's gym, avoiding collisions with machines, chairs and stacks of weights. At 5-foot-9 and 208 pounds, King seems invincible.

After everything the formerly homeless veteran has endured in 20 years, he just might be. He may be on track to compete in the International Blind Sports Association's World Games in South Korea next month, but he'll still tell you he's a "dead man."

He lived on the streets, lost his daughter in 2000 and battles addiction, prostate cancer, arthritis and diabetes. "Everybody has to be passionate about something in life to keep them going," said Logan Township resident GW Stilwell, coordinator of the blind rehabilitation staff at Philadelphia VA Medical Center.

It took 64 years and lots of support from Stilwell and the VA, but King finally found his passion — power lifting.
read more here