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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Extraordinary Contributions to Blindness Field Recognized at National Event

AFB Announced 2006 M.C. Migel Medal and Access Award Recipients

NEW YORK (December 12, 2005)—Today the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) announced the winners of the 2006 Migel Medals and Access Awards, which recognize individuals and companies who have contributed significantly to the vision loss field.

The 2006 Migel Medal recipients are Kevin Lessard, Rachel Rosenbaum and Carol McCarl; and the Access Award recipients are Blind Justice, Ski for Light, and the Dallas/ Fort Worth Airport and architect Rick Lee. The awards will be presented during the Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute in Atlanta in March.

"This year's recipients have helped to improve independence and increase access to education, recreational activities, airports, literature, and the arts," 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.

The 2006 Professional Award recipients are Kevin Lessard and Rachel Rosenbaum.

Kevin Lessard is the former director of the Perkins School for the Blind. During his tenure, the school expanded services and advocacy for people who are blind, deaf-blind and multi-handicapped blind. In 1989, with support from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Lessard established the Hilton/Perkins Program to reach out to deaf-blind and multi-handicapped blind children in underserved areas of the United States and internationally. The Hilton/Perkins program has helped more than 15,000 children in the U.S. and over 50 developing countries.

Rachel Rosenbaum has served as President of the Carroll Center for the Blind from 1976 to present. Under her leadership, the Center has greatly expanded its training facility and programs to better serve blind and visually impaired persons in New England and throughout the United States. Through Rachel's leadership, the Carroll Center has pioneered adaptive technology training and has recently formed a national consortium of agencies that will provide technology training through distance learning for blind adults and children nationwide. The Carroll Center now serves over 2,000 blind adults and children annually.

The 2006 Migel Lay Volunteer Award recipient is Carol McCarl.

Carol McCarl is the founder and Executive Director of Blindskills, Inc., an Oregon-based nonprofit that distributes information to visually impaired people and their families. She was the founder and editor of LIFEPRINTS, a magazine for youth and young adults with vision loss and in 1990, she became the editor of DIALOGUE magazine. She has 35 years of experience teaching visually impaired students in Connecticut and Oregon and serves on the boards of several blindness organizations. The Migel Lay Volunteer Award will be presented at the 2006 Annual Conference of the American Council of the Blind.

The M.C. Migel Awards Luncheon will take place on Saturday, March 4, 2006, at 12:00 pm at the Renaissance Atlanta Downtown, Atlanta, GA.

Access Awards
The Access Awards honor individuals, corporations, and organizations that provide equal access to products and services for people with vision loss.

The 2006 recipients are:

Blind Justice
Blind Justice, which ran on ABC in 2005, is one of the few prime time shows to introduce a main character with vision loss. The police drama, produced by Steven Bochco Productions in association with Paramount Network Television for ABC, featured a New York detective who was blinded in a shootout. Instead of retiring with a full pension after his injury, the detective fights to remain on the job, determined to prove he still has what it takes to be an asset to the police department. By featuring an independent character with vision loss, ABC helped demystify people who are blind, and gave the public a chance to see that losing your sight doesn't mean losing your independence. Blind Justice was broadcast with video description, making it accessible to everyone.

Ski for Light
Ski for Light, Inc.® (SFL), which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, promotes healthy, active lifestyles for visually and mobility impaired adults. Each year, the international organization conducts a week-long, cross-country recreational skiing opportunity for blind, visually and mobility impaired, and sighted adults working in partnership with their guides. Over the years, the international event has hosted as many as 350 participants and has been held in locations from Vermont to Alaska. Ski for Light continues to inspire all who participate with the motto, "If I can do this, I can do anything."

Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and Rick Lee
The Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) Airport and architect Rick Lee are leaders in accessible design. Working closely with DFW staff, architect Rick Lee incorporated several accessibility features into the airport's new international terminal. These accessibility features have made it easier for people with vision loss to navigate the airport independently, as well as making it a more pleasant experience. For example, the main entrance doors are sliding rather than revolving, and in front of each gate, there is a change in flooring to allow people with vision loss to navigate the concourse area with ease. In addition, the terminal includes indoor guide dog relief areas and the art displayed throughout the terminal has both audio and visual characteristics.

The Access Awards presentation and reception will be on Friday, March 3, 2006, at 5:30 pm at the Renaissance Atlanta Downtown, Atlanta, GA.

Visit for information on the 2006 Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute.

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Adrianna Montague-Gray
AFB Communications

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