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AFB Presents Highest Awards at the 2009 Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute in Washington, DC

Migel Medal, Access Awards, the Gallagher Award, and the Corinne Kirchner Research Award Recognize Outstanding Individuals and Corporations

New York, NY (February 25, 2009)—Today the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is pleased to announce the 2009 winners of the prestigious Migel Medal, Access Awards, the Gallagher Award, and the Corinne Kirchner Research Award. These awards recognize individuals and companies who have significantly contributed to the blindness and vision loss field.

"This year's award recipients are highly deserving of these prestigious honors," said Carl R. Augusto, President and CEO of AFB. "AFB is honored to recognize these awardees for their vast contributions to the field of blindness and low vision. We are very proud of the accomplishments each individual has made and the strides each company has taken in paving the way for people with vision loss to live more independent lives."

Migel Medal
AFB's 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 those who are blind or visually impaired.

The 2009 Professional Award recipient is Dr. Susan Jay Spungin.
Dr. Susan Jay Spungin is a highly respected leader and beloved member of the blindness community and recent retiree from the American Foundation for the Blind and the World Blind Union. Her 44-year career included numerous contributions to the blindness field and to people with vision loss and their families, both domestically and internationally. Her leadership and influence on the field are evident in her many publications and the workshops, lectures, and keynote speeches she's presented around the world; in her mentorship of newer leaders in the field; and the awards and honors she has received and the enormous respect and reverence that greet her wherever she goes.

The M.C. Migel Presentation and Luncheon will take place on Saturday, March 7, 2009, at 12:30 pm at the Washington Marriott in Washington, DC.

Access Awards
The Access Awards honor individuals, corporations, and organizations that are eliminating or substantially reducing inequities faced by people who are blind or visually impaired.

The 2009 recipients are:

Apple, Inc., for making significant accessibility improvements to the latest versions of the iPod Nano and the iTunes software, and for installing the VoiceOver screen reading software into all Apple computers.

The National Broadcast Reading Service (NBRS) and its divisions—VoicePrint, AudioVision Canada (AVC), The Accessible Channel (TAC TV), for their work to provide print and video media in an accessible format for people who are blind or visually impaired.

Diagnostic Devices, Inc., for their PRODIGY® Voice, the only blood glucose monitoring system available on the U.S. market with the necessary speech output capabilities to accommodate people with vision loss.

Mike May and The Sendero Group, for pioneering accessible location information and navigation technologies with tools like Sendero GPS, Sense Nav, and Mobile Geo for cell phones.

The Access Awards presentation and reception will be held on Thursday, March 5, 2009, at 5:00 pm at the Senate Hart Office Building in Washington, DC.

The Gallagher Award
The Gallagher Award is given periodically in the memory of William F. Gallagher, AFB's president from 1980 through 1991, and his wife Catherine T. "Kay" Gallagher. The award is intended to honor a blind or visually impaired individual who has demonstrated exemplary participation in the workplace and the community, and has served as an outstanding role model to others who have vision loss.

The 2009 recipient is Judy Dixon
Judy Dixon has long been an outstanding role model for people with vision loss. Her involvement and influence over the years have helped to ensure that technology benefits the lives of people with vision loss: she was instrumental in making sure that the Internet would be accessible; she has been a major advocate for braille technology; and her leadership and persistence have made web-braille a reality. Her outstanding work as a Consumer Relations Officer at the National Library Service serves as an excellent example to others. For these reasons and more, we are pleased to honor Ms. Dixon with the Gallagher Award.

The Gallagher Award will be presented during the Access Awards presentation and reception on Thursday, March 5, 2009, at 5:00 pm at the Senate Hart Office Building in Washington, DC.

Corinne Kirchner Research Award
The Corinne Kirchner Research Award honors individuals whose leadership and dedication illuminate the most pressing needs of people with vision loss through timely, innovative, and authoritative research. Corinne Kirchner was the national leader of demographic, evaluation, and other research in the blindness field during her tenure at AFB. Her work addressed education, employment, health, "livable communities," computer usage, and the area for which she is perhaps best known: the demographics of vision loss.

The 2009 recipient is Dr. Kay Ferrell.
Dr. Kay Ferrell has spent most of her career working toward strengthening the link between sound research and sensible public policy that meets the most critical needs of people who are blind or visually impaired. She has taught children and adults with visual and multiple disabilities in both public and specialized schools, and coordinated teacher training programs in blindness and visual impairment and early childhood special education. Author of numerous articles, publications, and research reports, her work has addressed the education and development of children with visual impairments, distance education, cross-modal abilities, second language learners, and visual development.

The Corinne Kirchner Research Award will be presented during the M.C. Migel Medal Presentation and Luncheon on Saturday, March 7, 2009, at 12:30 pm at the Washington Marriott in Washington, DC.

The American Foundation for the Blind would like to thank the Delta Gamma Foundation, Verizon, Diagnostic Devices, Inc., AT&T Services, Inc., IBM, Wells Fargo, and Lainey Feingold and Linda Dardarian for supporting AFB's 2009 Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute (JLTLI).

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The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. AFB's priorities include broadening access to technology; elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss; and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources. AFB is also proud to house the Helen Keller Archives and honor the more than forty years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB. For more information visit us online at www.afb.org.

For more information, contact:
Caitlin McFeely
American Foundation for the Blind
212-502-7674
cmcfeely@afb.net

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