Yesterday, Historic City News attended the festive ceremony and expo celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Florida Department of Education’s Division of Blind Services held in Daytona Beach.
The agency serves thousands of blind and visually impaired Floridians annually through its many educational, vocational, medical, social and recreational services.
“This year’s theme, Celebrating 75 Years of Fostering Independence for Blind and Visually Impaired Floridians, asks us to reflect on our past and proudly recognize the accomplishments and individuals who have made the Division of Blind Services a success,” Director Robert L. Doyle said. “As we look to the future, we continue to charge toward our vision of Florida being a barrier-free environment for residents with visual disabilities.”
Yesterday’s celebration featured keynote speaker Rachel McCullough who lost her vision during high school. The DeLand native immediately turned to the Division of Blind Services for services and began learning to live as a person with low vision. Now 30, McCullough is an associate attorney with the Landis Graham French law firm where she specializes in land-use law and civil litigation.
“The Division of Blind Services, its counselors and resources are invaluable,” said McCullough. “Every visually impaired or blind person should link up with the Division of Blind Services; if not to learn about the latest and greatest technology, then to have an advocate in their corner – someone to guide you through life as a person with low vision or blindness.”
Other speakers included Director Doyle, Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry and Daytona Beach Police Department Criminal Investigation Department’s Victim Aide Josh Espinal.
The anniversary celebration and expo provided educational sessions, business networking opportunities and a technology showcase, featuring displays and informative demonstrations tailored for visually impaired citizens, businesses and those wanting to learn more about Division of Blind Services and visual impairment.
As part of the Anniversary Ceremony, Division of Blind Services inducted the first members of the “Successful 75,” an award program to recognize individuals, organizations and businesses who have remained steadfast in the advancement of independence for persons who are blind and visually impaired.