[Missouri-l] Blind board operator retires after 33 years
John and Donna Weidlich
weidlich at swbell.net
Wed Sep 2 15:53:17 CDT 2009
BLIND RADIO PERSONALITY RETIRES AFTER 33 YEARS
BELLEVILLE, September 2, 2009 - John Weidlich, program director for Minds Eye radio reading service, will retire at the end of this month. Blind from birth, Weidlich has become the core of Minds Eye, providing invaluable advice to staff and volunteers and serving as an advocate for visually impaired listeners. For more than 33 years, he has touched the lives of countless blind, visually impaired and print impaired individuals living in the St. Louis metro area. Weidlich will hang up his headphones for the last time on Sept. 30.
"I can't think of anyone who has had more curveballs thrown at him during a career than John. He's hit a homerun every time and deserves some time to relax," said Marjorie Williams, executive director at Minds Eye.
>From eight track tapes to digital broadcasting technology and three volunteers to nearly 200, Weidlich has been there to witness and contribute to the growth of Minds Eye. In addition to the hundreds of printed publications currently broadcast by the station, Weidlich introduced programming dedicated to blind and visually impaired listeners that is not accessible elsewhere, such as the Blindness and Disability Hour and Talkback, a call-in show hosted by Weidlich with topics pertaining to vision loss. Weidlich's popularity among listeners and volunteers serves as a testament to his impact on the local community.
"I think we [Minds Eye] have shown the community at large that people who are blind or disabled can function capably and participate in community activities. I like to think that when volunteers see me, a blind person, working here, they will be educated and informed about what blind people can do. And if our listeners take part in a community activity because of something they hear about on our station, that further educates the general public about blindness," said Weidlich.
Before he signs off for the last time, Weidlich will be the guest of honor during his retirement at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows visitor's center on Sept. 20 from 4 - 6 p.m. and accept the Alumni Merit Award at Saint Louis University on Sept. 25 at 4 p.m. His official retirement date is Sept. 30.
"We're losing a very special part of Minds Eye with John's retirement," said Williams. "He taught our listeners, especially those just starting to deal with vision loss, that blindness isn't a death sentence and gave so many a new lease on life by sharing his voice and experiences."
Minds Eye Information Service is a nonprofit radio reading service located on the grounds of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Ill. The closed circuit radio station provides free radio receivers and Internet broadcasts to people who are blind, have low vision or are print disabled so they can listen to volunteers read newspapers, magazines, books and retail circulars. The service reaches nearly 11,000 people in private residences, nursing homes, retirement centers and hospitals in the St. Louis metro area. For more information, call 618-394-6444 or 314-241-3400, ext. 6444 or visit www.mindseyeradio.org.
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