Celso Vera, director of Catholic Guild for the Blind, joined former Governor David A. Paterson and a host of other dignitaries at the 100-year anniversary celebration of the New York State Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped held in Albany on April 30.
Former Gov. Paterson literally leapt on to the stage at Hotel Albany where the event was held, reported the Oneida Daily Dispatch.
“Never underestimate the blind,” Gov. Paterson deadpanned to the crowd’s delight after ignoring the stairs and jumping several feet up to the podium. Paterson, who served for almost three years after Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s resignation, was the first blind person to serve as governor in the U.S. He was also New York’s first black governor, eventually abandoning an uphill effort to get elected and clearing the way for Andrew Cuomo.
Gov. Paterson shared his experience with an employer who denied him a job and the profound impact that being rejected had on him. He described his personal experiences as a consumer of services and how he was helped to overcome the challenges of his disability. And he credited the Commission for the Blind with helping him re-gain his confidence.
Guild for the Blind, a program of Catholic Charities Community Services, has contracted with the state commission for 45 years to provide social services as well as training in employment skills, independent living, in home and mobility training for visually impaired persons.
“The Guild, along with the Commission for the Blind and other agencies in New York State, has allowed thousands of visually impaired people gain independence, making them productive members of society,” Mr. Vera said as he joined in the celebration.
Read Gov. Paterson’s powerful story.
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