Gladstone Man Honored for Work With Visually Impaired

Gerry Niedermaier, of Gladstone, will receive a Community Partner award today from the Michigan Commission for the Blind. He provides training in orientation and mobility (white cane and related skills) to MCB clients. He says he enjoys seeing children and adults gain confidence and go where they want.

The Michigan Commission for the Blind presented its annual Achievement Honor Roll Awards in Lansing on Friday, October 21. The awards are presented annually to MCB clients who are exemplary in achieving their goals for employment and/or independent living after vision loss, employers who have shown leadership in hiring people who are blind or visually impaired based on their abilities, and community partners recognized for their collaboration with MCB in increasing opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired to achieve independence and/or employment.

MCB Clients receiving awards (individuals who are blind or visually impaired):

Scott Davert (29), of Lake Orion, is both deaf and blind. He is employed as a senior instructor at Helen Keller National Center in the state of New York, teaching adaptive technology and Braille.

Dr. Gena Harrison (33), of Detroit, is employed and completing her residency at Detroit Medical Center in internal medicine (emergency medicine), with a goal of becoming an anesthesiologist.

Lisa Powells (42), of Lansing, has completed the MCB Business Enterprise Program food service training, and is now running her own business with a snack stand and vending machines.

Quiana Willis (28), of Detroit, is employed as the assistant manager of a children’s day care center.

Norm Wolff (71), of Jackson, has completed training in the MCB Independent Living Program to learn skills of blindness, and is currently pursuing employment through MCB’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program.

Employers receiving awards:

Disability Connection West Michigan (DCWM), of Muskegon; Susan Cloutier-Myers, Director. They have hired three MCB clients in various jobs.

Walmart, of Petoskey; Krystal St. John, Store Manager. After hiring an MCB consumer, Walmart has worked collaboratively to ensure the success of the employee.

Doug Williams, (60), of Grand Blanc, is Oakland County Director, Michigan Dept. of Human Services (MDHS). After hiring several MCB client interns, he later hired five of them in new jobs in the department.

In addition to Gerry Niedermaier, a Community Partners award was presented to Sara Lajavic of Lake Orion. She provides training in assistive computer technology for MCB clients, always “going the extra mile” to help clients achieve the skills they need to reach their goals.