AFB Honors William Casto with Prestigious Irvin Schloss Advocacy Award
New York, NY—The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) presented William A. Casto with the Irvin Schloss Advocacy Award on April 26, 2006 at the National Council of State Agencies for the Blind's (NCSAB) Spring Conference in Bethesda, MD. The award recognizes excellence in advocacy on behalf of people with vision loss.
William A. Casto, who recently retired as Director of the Ohio Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired, championed a successful effort to substantially increase the funding for a national program of services designed to help older people with vision loss to continue to live independently. Through his efforts, federal funding for the program more than tripled which enabled all states to participate. Along with his efforts to advocate for national funding, Mr. Casto also led successful efforts in Ohio that resulted in more older individuals served than any other state.
He also worked to expand employment services to assist working-age adults obtain jobs. Casto was an ardent advocate who believed that, "The public vocational rehabilitation program is about competitive employment at a gainful wage, in an integrative setting." As a result, Ohio is a leader in placing people with vision loss in employment.
"William Casto is a true supporter and tireless advocate of issues for people with vision loss,"said Paul Schroeder, AFB Vice President, Programs & Policy Group. "People with age-related vision loss greatly benefited from his work and expertise and his advocacy and leadership serve as a model and inspiration for others."
AFB created the award to honor Irvin Schloss, a World War II veteran blinded during combat. Mr. Schloss held a career in the blindness field that spanned 40 years and for much of that time he worked in the AFB Governmental Relations office, first as a legislative analyst and Washington Representative and finally as director of the office. He lobbied for human services, education, and rehabilitation programs and effectively influenced legislation on behalf of people with vision loss. Mr. Schloss, who lives in Pittsburgh, was greatly respected and admired by individuals in the political arena and his colleagues in the blindness field.