Eye On Central Minnesota
By Lori Peglow
Meet the Members
Central MN Chapter of the NFB
On February 20, 2005, Jim Cecil was driving home from work. Jim was a distribution manager for the Star Tribune. He was working in Minneapolis the last year of his career there. He made it as far as Clear Lake when the cruise control malfunctioned in his car. Jim veered off into the ditch in order to avoid hitting other cars. He hit a tree head on at a high speed. It took emergency crews almost two hours to get him out of the vehicle and to get help for him. Jim had lost too much blood. He was kept medically sedated for about 50 days. When he was taken off sedation, he realized he was blind. Because of the volume of blood loss, his retinas were dead; the optic nerves in the left eye were dead, and greatly damaged in the right eye.
Jim was in the army for six years. While serving in Vietnam, he received multiple service ribbons, including Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge and Army Commendation Medal. He got out of the army in 1967. Jim returned from Vietnam to the US in July 1967. That is when he met Sharon and they were married in July 1968. They spent two years at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. Jim was discharged from the Army in May 1969, and they moved to the St. Cloud area. They have two sons and a daughter, six grandchildren and a great grandson.
Jim has been a member of the CMNFB for more than 5 years and is the chapter treasurer. He is a member of the Disabled American Veteran (DAV) and Military Order of Purple Hearts (MOPH). Jim is one of the founding members of Blind Veterans Support Group at the VA Hospital in St. Cloud and belongs to the BVA (Blind Veterans of America). Most of his blindness skills training he received at the Hines VA Blind Center in Chicago.
Jim is very knowledgeable in the technology available to blind people. Some of his aids are a label reader by Envision that reads the labels on his prescriptions (available through CVS Pharmacy), Victor Reader Stream for reading books and HumanWare Breeze GPS system that works both in vehicle and walking. He uses a personal recorder, which also contains his address book and message center. Jim has a product by Envision that reads the bar code on packages and cans and contains preparation instructions. He uses speech-to-text software on his computer, a color reader that tells him the color of his clothing and a digital talking scale and thermometer.
Jim’s hobbies are woodworking, camping and fishing. He misses being able to hook up his boat to his truck though. He also was an avid bowler, but had to stop bowling because of balance issues.
His advice for a blind person is don’t give up. Be as independent as you can, but when you need assistance, ask for it.
Annual Events in the Area
We held our annual brat sale this summer at Cashwise Foods in Waite Park. The sale was held on a Wednesday and Thursday rather than the usual Friday and Saturday. The sales were as expected.
Our annual fund-raising spaghetti dinner will be held at the Eagles Club in Waite Park on Friday, January 16, 2015 from 4:00 pm to 7:30 pm.