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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

AFB Presents Highest Awards at the Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute  

Migel, Access and Gallagher Awards Recognize Individuals, Non-profits and Corporations

Boston, MA (March 8, 2005)—Honoring organizations and individuals that have enhanced the lives of people with vision loss, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) will present the prestigious Migel Medal and Access and Gallagher Awards during the 2005 Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute in Boston. The awards recognize individuals and companies who have contributed to the blindness field through volunteerism, advancements in technology, advocacy or professional accomplishments.

"This year's recipients have directly impacted the lives of people with vision loss - helping to improve independence and increase access to technology, employment, and education," said Carl R. Augusto, President and CEO of the American Foundation for the Blind. "We are honored to publicly recognize these individuals and organizations for their incredible contributions to the field of blindness and low vision."

Migel Medal
The AFB Migel Medal-the highest honor in the blindness field-was established in 1937 by the late M.C. Migel, the first chairperson of AFB, to honor professionals and volunteers whose dedication and achievements have improved the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired. Louis Vieceli is the recipient of the 2005 Professional Award; Bernard Krebs is the recipient of the 2005 Lay Person Award, which is being presented in memoriam.

Louis Vieceli is well known for the job placement training program he created and taught at Southern Illinois University from 1959 to 1992. Hundreds of rehabilitation practitioners from nearly every state received this in-depth, outcomes oriented training. Thousands of blind and visually impaired people were assisted in obtaining competitive employment as a result of this course.

Bernard Krebs is remembered by blind and sighted people alike for his pioneering work in creating straightforward user-friendly training materials for learning and using braille. The publications he authored include ABC's of Braille, Braille in Brief, Lessons in Braille Transcribing and A Companion to Transcribers' Guide to English Braille. These publications were made available without charge to organizations that could get them into the hands of transcribers, teachers, and blind individuals wanting to learn braille.

The M.C. Migel Awards Luncheon will take place on Saturday, March 12, 2005, at 12:30 pm at the Marriott Long Wharf Hotel, 296 State Street, Boston, Mass., 02109.

Access Awards
The Access Awards honor individuals, corporations, and organizations that provide equal access to products and services for people who are blind or visually impaired. 2005 recipients are: The Lighthouse International and the National Vision Rehabilitation Association, Cingular Wireless, California State University at Northridge Conference on Disability and GE Security.

The Lighthouse International and the National Vision Rehabilitation Association
Thanks in large part to their efforts, Medicare will now provide national coverage for vision rehabilitation services provided by orientation and mobility specialists, rehabilitation teachers, and low vision therapists

Cingular Wireless
Cingular is the first national cell phone service provider to offer phones with audio output at a reasonable price. Through a text-to-speech software, Cingular offers speech output for caller ID, text messages, menus, e-mail and phone directories, as well as battery level and signal strength - giving people who are blind or visually impaired access to the latest wireless technology.

California State University at Northridge (CSUN) Conference on Disability
CSUN, the largest annual international conference on technology and disability, features technologies that help people with disabilities live, work, and travel independently. The event also serves as a major training venue for professionals around the world involved in the field of disability and technology.

GE Interlogix Simon Home Security System
With a combination of speech output and braille keypad overlays, this product allows users to independently control the security of their homes and manage a variety of other household functions. It's also significant to note that the Interlogix Simon Home Security System is a mainstream product, whose talking features can also be used and appreciated by people without visual or dexterity impairments.

The Access Awards presentation and reception will be on Friday, March 11, 2005 at 5:30 pm at the Marriott Long Wharf Hotel.

Gallagher Award
The Gallagher Award was established by AFB to honor those in our community who have served as role models and mentors to people who are blind or visually impaired; the 2005 Gallagher Award recipient is Bonnie O'Day.

Bonnie O'Day is known for her impressive service as an advocate, disability rights activist and champion of rights for women. Her public leadership in efforts to persuade major corporations to improve the accessibility of their cell phones has and will mean a great deal to people with disabilities. Thanks to Bonnie O'Day, customers who are blind or visually impaired can now purchase accessible mobile phones.

The 2005 Gallagher Award will be presented during the M.C. Migel Awards Luncheon on Saturday, March 12, 2005, at 12:30 pm at the Marriott Long Wharf Hotel, 296 State Street, Boston, Mass., 02109.

Click here for information on the Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Conference.

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Contact:
Adrianna Montague-Gray
AFB Communications
212-502-7675
amontaguegray@afb.net

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