White canes tap through mall announcing ‘independence’

LIHUE — Stan Young of Oahu serves nearly 70,000 meals a month at the Kaneohe U.S. Marine Corps base.

“I was working for a top Fortune 500 company until I couldn’t see clearly,” Young said Friday during the White Cane Safety Day at the Kukui Grove Center. “It took about five years before I completed my program at Hoopono rehabilitation center for blind and visually impaired persons, but I became a vendor at the Kaneohe Marine Corps base.”

Young said there are 43 blind vendors, including two on Kauai — one at the Lihue Airport, and another at the Piikoi Building in the Lihue Civic Center.

“This just goes to show that blind people can do anything they set their mind to,” said Gordon Fuller, a blind person who recently moved to Kauai.

The Kauai chapter of the National Federation of the Blind holds meetings on Fridays at the state building at the intersection of Hardy and Eiwa streets. It has about 30 members.

Betty Bell, chapter vice president, said the group meets for social events as well as to work on issues pertaining to the blind and visually impaired people, such as using The Kauai Bus.

Previous projects tackled by the group included the installation of audio traffic signals at key high-traffic intersections as well as having a disabled-friendly pay phone installed at the Kukui Grove.

Oct. 15 has been designated White Cane Safety Day throughout the country since 1964.

The white cane serves as a symbol of dignity, freedom, and independence for individuals who are blind or visually impaired

• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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