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SW Florida Council of the Blind holding informational meeting

By Staff | Jun 14, 2010

If you have ever tried to cross a busy intersection and felt in danger — picture crossing that intersection without sight.
Making awareness of what is called the White Cane Law — which legally allows blind and visually impaired individuals the right of way at intersections — is only one of the goals of Southwest Chapter of the Florida Council of the Blind.
The organization is seeking new members, and will have an informational meeting Saturday, June 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Assembly of God Church in Fort Myers.
Mike Ulrich is the president for the Southwest Chapter of the Florida Council of the Blind. A Cape Coral resident, he said many current members are from North Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Fort Myers.
“We serve a tri-county area,” he said.
He’s been blind for six years.
“When you first go blind, it’s hard the get the answers you need,” he said. “The doctors really don’t tell you where to go or what to do next. I feel with the group of members we have, and ‘newbies’ that come in can get their own answers from us.”
Membership is only $10 a year.
“If I had to pick three major issues to us, it would be transportation, white cane issues and advocacy,” he said.
Ulrich said besides offering information at the meeting, they will discuss upcoming fund raising and the social committee will report on social events the group holds every other month. The transportation committee also will give a report.
Leah Lewis is the vice president of the council chapter.
“The purpose of the council is to help people in the community join in the community and be all they can be,” she said.
“We are now in the process of setting up a new structure within the organization,” she said, encouraging all interested parties in attending the upcoming meeting.
“In other community outreach, we have a blind student at Edison College who will be demonstrating Braille to benefit sighted children,” she said.
Last year, a big media splash resulted when the group was out promoting the White Cane Law on the busy corner of Business U.S. 41 and Bayshore Road, along with police support, and support of the local Lions Club. They held a massive crossing with white canes for driver and public awareness.
They’ll be doing it again this October.
Fund-raising member Doreen King, who last year floated in a pool for pennies per minute pledges, will be partnering this year with Wilma Peterson, a local resident and double amputee. King will duct tape her legs together so the two have an equal “floating ground” and they will be looking for sponsors in late summer.
“It will be interesting and a lot of fun,” said Peterson of doing the fund-raising challenge later this year.
She lost both legs in medical problems that first started with poor circulation, then progressed to a need for the double amputation.
“I take care of myself now, and look forward to this event,” she said.
The Assembly of God Church is located at 4701 Summerlin Road, Fort Myers. For information, call Ulrich at 540-7431.