At an event held June 6 at the Carroll Center for the Blind, five employees who had lost their vision were honored by the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind and the Carroll Center for re-entering the workforce.
The Carroll Society Awards are a collaboration between the Carroll Center, a private non-profit rehabilitation and training center, and the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. The awards publicly acknowledge contributions in the workforce by people who are legally blind, and are named after the late Reverend Thomas J. Carroll, who pioneered breakthroughs in rehabilitation and vocational development for World War 2 veterans.
According to a press release published by the Carroll Center, nearly 70 percent of Massachusetts' blind and disabled adult population is unemployed.
Jay Blake of Barnstable, Roslyn Nadler and Martha Steele of Arlington, and Myra Ross of Amherst were presented with Carroll Society Awards, while Jini Fairley of Newton was named 2013 Blind Employee of the Year.
Fairley, who took home the event's biggest award, lost her sight as a result of Retinitis Pigmentosa, an inherited, degenerative disease, and was declared legally blind in 1994. When her husband died soon after, Fairley was left to raise five young children. She attended the Carroll Center's independent living and office skills training programs where she gained the skills that have made her so successful in the workforce.
"The Carroll Centerís vocational rehabilitation programs, combined with Jiniís personal drive to succeed, gave her the confidence she needed to return to the workforce," said Joseph T. Abely, president of the Carroll Center. She is a great example for other people living and working with a disability.Ē