One man’s vision: Restoring services for the blind to Franklin County

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Cincinnati, Cleveland and Toledo have them, but Columbus does not have a center for the blind.

A vision center that operated in Columbus for nearly a century closed its doors back in 2009. A grassroots effort is underway to bring blind services back to Columbus, led by a man who knows the problem firsthand.

Due to a fall a few years ago that resulted in a broken neck, Reggie Anglen cannot walk. But from his chair, he is getting quite a bit done.

Anglen is pulling together a board of directors to help him do it. He wants to help more than 12,000 blind adults in Franklin County over the age of 40. Many of those are newly blind.

Asked what it world is like for a newly blind person, Anglen said, “It would be traumatic it would just be detrimental because you are waking up in the hospital and you are discovering that you’re blind and you are what do I do, do I commit suicide? Who’s there to help me?  This is where we want to come in.”

Columbus once had a vision center for training, networking and life skills, but it closed in 2009 due to lack of funding.

“If you stop and think I could wake up tomorrow and lose my sight and I don’t know what the heck I would do,” said board secretary Susan Jones. “And if those services aren’t available for people, really as a city we should be ashamed of ourselves. Something needs to be done.”

Their first goal is to recruit 100 volunteers, to do things like help people read their mail and go grocery shopping.

After that, they want to build a new vision center with a state of the art computer lab, a fragrance garden and an exercise track.

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