I joined the National Federation of the Blind 50 years ago, when a number of organizations of the blind came to Salem, Oregon to protest a piece of legislation to essentially destroy rehabilitation services for the blind. As a college student legislative intern for an Oregon State Senator, I volunteered to help the blind get to the appropriate hearing rooms and important legislators in the state capitol. I met the leaders of the National Federation of the Blind of Oregon and quickly discovered that they had a lot more to teach me than I could teach them. I joined the NFB as a student because of outstanding gatherings but quickly learned that the NFB was the organization that had a contagious positive attitude about being blind.
I went to my first national convention for a vacation, but caught the excitement of the organized blind. I saw first-hand the attitude of being able to do whatever we dreamed. Our fellow federationists are there to help us raise our expectations for ourselves, all blind people and achieve our goals in life. The leaders and members of the organization had so much to teach me and other blind individuals, I stayed to work on the vital programs of the organization. I have gotten much more from this organization than I could ever pay back, I’m a life-long federationist, through and through!!