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VisionAware

Resources for Independent Living with Vision Loss

American Foundation for the Blind® | Reader's Digest Partners for Sight

VisionAware Profiles of Veterans and Those Who Serve Them

Staff Sgt. Brian Pearce, USA-Ret., of Mechanicsville, VA, with his wife, Angie, daughter Jordan, and son Logan

Staff Sgt. Brian Pearce and family

Staff Sgt. Brian Pearce, USA-Ret.—SSG Pearce lost his vision and much of his hearing due to a traumatic brain injury. On October 20, 2006, his squad was escorting a water tanker when the convoy was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Mushada, Iraq. Pearce was struck in the back of his skull by a piece of shrapnel, and during a craniotomy to remove the fragments, nerves related to his sight and hearing was severed.
Master Sgt. Jeffrey Mittman at the microphone

Master Sgt. Jeffrey Mittman

Master Sgt. Jeffrey Mittman, Wounded by a Roadside Bomb in Baghdad, Iraq —Master Sgt. Jeffrey Mittman was wounded by a roadside bomb on July 7, 2005 in Baghdad, Iraq. In that attack, his left eye was destroyed, his right arm was badly damaged, and he lost his nose, his lips, and most of his teeth. "My first concern was how I was going to recover and take care of my family," he said, since he could no longer lead soldiers in combat. Read about Sgt. Mittman's long and arduous journey through healing and rehabilitation to his new life as an inspirational public speaker, master's student, and national account manager with National Industries for the Blind.

Jim Hammond, left, and Gerry Fitzpatrick

Jim Hammond and Gerry Fitzpatrick

Gerry Fitzpatrick and Jim Hammond: Two Vietnam-Era Veterans Epitomize the Goals of the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA)—Two Vietnam-era veterans who provide volunteer service to their fellow vets at the Martinsburg, West Virginia Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center epitomize what the founders of the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) envisioned for the organization and its members 65 years ago.

Head shot of Tom Miller

Tom Miller

Tom Miller, Former Executive Director of the Blinded Veterans Association—"The problem is that there are so many challenges involved in finding the thousands of veterans who are dealing with vision loss. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, there are an estimated 158,300 legally blind veterans and 700,000 veterans with low vision." Tom Miller, former Executive Director of the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA), knows all about these challenges, from both a personal and a professional perspective: Tom lost his sight in 1967 during a combat mission in Vietnam and received a medical discharge a year later.

Head shot of Barbara Hunt

Barbara Hunt

Barbara Hunt, CVRT, Chief of Voluntary Services at the Edward Hines, Jr. Veterans' Administration (VA) Hospital—Follow Barb's long professional journey from her early days at the German School for the Blind in Marburg, Germany to her present position with the Hines VA. As Barb says of her long career at Hines, "I was hooked! I knew I needed to work with America's heroes!"

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