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Delaware Health and Social Services

DHSS Press Release

Date: October 13, 2015

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498


NEW CASTLE (Oct. 13, 2015) - The employment achievements of Delawareans who are blind or have visual impairments will be honored Oct. 16 at a special luncheon hosted by the Delaware Division for the Visually Impaired (DVI) and the Vocational Rehabilitation Advisory Council (VRAC) for DVI. Also being recognized are legislators and business leaders who work to empower their fellow Delawareans to realize their potential.

"During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, it's important to recognize the contributions of employees with disabilities, employers who provide opportunities, and our legislators and advocates who know we are a stronger Delaware when we value everyone's abilities," Gov. Jack Markell said. "I offer my thanks to all who will be honored at the Legislative/Business Luncheon."

In addition to recognizing Sens. Bethany Hall-Long and David Lawson, awards will be presented to Linda Riecker (Delaware Park employee), Patti Addison (Advocate), Bayhealth Medical Center and Delaware Park (Employers). The Legislative/Business Luncheon will be held at Dover Downs Hotel, in celebration of White Cane Safety Day, World Blindness Awareness Month and National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

"The people we serve demonstrate creative leadership and successes, not in spite of the barriers they may face, but through their unique capabilities and talents that they bring to our community," said DVI Director Daniel Madrid, "It's an honor to celebrate these successes as well as acknowledge the hard work of our legislators, community partners, and business leaders who strive to promote a world without barriers."

Immediately preceding the Legislative/Business Luncheon, the Division for the Visually Impaired and the Vocational Rehabilitation Advisory Council will host a Community Enrichment Fair during the morning at Dover Downs Hotel, featuring exhibitors who specialize in assistive technology and services for people with visual impairments.

Since 1964, the nation has recognized October 15th as White Cane Safety Day, the day when governments reaffirm their commitment to providing services to increase the independence and self-sufficiency of people who are blind or visually impaired. In addition to White Cane Safety Day, President Barack Obama also has named every October 15th to be Blind Americans Equality Day to celebrate the important role that Americans who are blind or visually impaired have played in the nation's life and culture.

World Blindness Awareness Month was established each October to help people understand the realities of living without sight. The World Health Organization estimates that almost 285 million people live with blindness or visual impairments worldwide. In the United States, about 4 million Americans are blind and 47,000 people (1 person every minute) become blind each year. Roughly one in 50 Delawareans is a person with a significant visual impairment or blindness. At least 40 of the 50 United States and countries worldwide organize events through the month of October as part of World Blindness Awareness Month to bring awareness to blindness and related blindness issues.

For 70 years, October also has marked National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a nationwide campaign to advance employment opportunities for people with disabilities and to celebrate the contributions of American workers with disabilities.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.

Last Updated: Wednesday October 14 2015
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