Eye On Central Minnesota

Eye On Central Minnesota

By Lori Peglow

CMC-NFB President’s Message


In the March 2015 presidential release, by Mark Riccobono, president of the National Federation of the Blind, there was a statement that caught my attention.  The statement was, "We have a right to participate and live in this world.”  For 75 years now, the NFB has fought hard to teach the world that those of us who are visually impaired are persons who have rights, and that we are individuals who can make a contribution and difference in society.  The NFB has labored continuously to enact laws, provide educational opportunities, and to promote awareness as to who we are as blind individuals with our unique gifts, talents, and abilities like any other person.  It is not he or she that has lost vision, but rather a person who doesn’t see another individual’s potential that is truly blind.  The NFB has been dedicated to helping the visually impaired and disabled reach their potential. 

In the Gospel of Mark, chapter 10 verses 46-52, there is an account of a blind man by the name of Bartimaeus, and his encounter with Jesus.  Jesus healed blind Bartimaeus with the gift of sight.  This gift from Jesus gave Bartimaeus a fresh participation in society and in the life of the culture of that day.  The NFB, through the enactment of laws, providing educational opportunities, and training, has given thousands of us the same in our world today. 

In just a short time now, we will be celebrating Easter.  The Christmas message was that God in the person of Jesus Christ came down from heaven, and became one of us, fully participating in our humanity.  Easter is a time that we are presented with the fact that Jesus died for our sins on the cross.  He paid for our sins in full.  Easter Sunday is when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, and that Christ has given us spiritual life that is ours for all eternity as a gift of faith.  Easter demonstrates to us God’s love for each one of us as individuals.  God is for all of us, and we are to be for others in our mission and witness here on earth.  The message is clear in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him may not perish but have everlasting life.”

May you participate and live — it is your right to do so in this world, remembering by faith, God has also given us eternal life.  God bless!

CMC-NFB President Reverend Ronald Mahnke

Meet the Members

Todd McKee is a 49-year-old member of the CMCNFB.  He was elected as treasurer in the fall of 2014.  Todd was diagnosed with macular degeneration in 2012.  In January of 2014, a current member, Marv Heck, invited Todd to the annual spaghetti dinner of the CMCNFB.  Todd attended the monthly meeting the next month and joined the CMCNFB.

Though he was raised in southeastern Minnesota on a dairy farm, Todd started working for the 401(k) and profit sharing program.  This job brought him to the St. Cloud area.  He worked in that field for 20 years.  For a while, he worked at different jobs and businesses.  He wanted to move out of the area, but he had four children and later two stepchildren and they didn’t want to leave the area.  So, in 2010 Todd started his own business, Rise N Shine Blinds.  It’s been a good fit for Todd.

Todd has been receiving the lucentis injections in his right eye since being diagnosed with macular degeneration.  The injections have helped improve his vision in the right eye.  One of the technologies he is excited about is the use of the Google car coming in the future.  This car drives itself using GPS technology.  Todd still has vision and can drive, but this technology will give vision-impaired people independence.  They won’t have to wait for buses or depend on others to take them to appointments, shopping, etc.  The Google car has been used recently in California with great success with fewer accidents than other drivers have.

Todd has enjoyed being part of the CMCNFB.  He has learned so much from the members.  He has so much respect for the abilities of visually impaired people to overcome their disability.  For example, Ron Mahnke, the president of CMCNFB, doesn’t have his vision but he has strengthened his memory.  He knows where each person at the meeting is sitting and remembers it.  He has a tremendous capacity to remember numbers, details and phone numbers.  And Todd appreciates the way members use their brain power more and exercise their memory more to compensate for their vision loss, like when Ron or Marv can run the meeting without their agenda because they remember what was on it even if they can’t see it or don’t have it.  He even appreciates the humor brought to the meeting, like Ron’s joke about which Tator takes the longest to prepare?  The Hesitator.

Going along with the theme of Todd’s business, Rise N Shine Blinds, his advice for visually impaired people is to rise and shine.  Don’t let your disability get the best of you.  This is who you are.  Embrace it, and make the best of it.  Don’t sit around and feel sorry for yourself.  Stay positive.

Annual Events in the Area

On Saturday, April 11, 2015, the Minnesota State Board of the NFB will hold their meeting in Waite Park, MN.  The meeting will be held at 10:00 at the American Legion in Waite Park. 

This summer the CMCNFB will hold their annual brat sale.  The date, time and place will be announced in a later newsletter.