Hard Work and Determination Brings Freedom and Independence for Veteran - Syracuse VA Medical Center
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Syracuse VA Medical Center


Hard Work and Determination Brings Freedom and Independence for Veteran

October 4, 2018

Print Version (MS Word)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                      

Contact: Robert McLean, Public Affairs Officer                  

Phone:   (315) 425-2422

Mobile:   (315) 956-1394

E-mail:   Robert.Mclean@va.gov


Hard Work and Determination Brings Freedom and Independence for Veteran
Twenty years since his diagnosis of legal blindness Veteran is reaching for new adventures in his quest for overall health and well-being. A story of inspiration for White Cane Day.

Syracuse, NY- Twenty years ago, October 1998 on board an aircraft carrier, Navy Veteran, David Corbett started losing his vision. By April 1999 he said, “my eyesight was pretty much done”. At that point Corbett didn’t know the reason for the sharp decline in his vision. All he knew was that he was legally blind, 20 years old and about to be discharge from the military.

Suffering from PTSD, depression and anxiety, the Veteran has attempted many forms of rehabilitation over the years with limited success. Then, earlier this year, using the VA system of care, he said he was “ready to turn the page”.

This past summer, with the help of the Vision Rehabilitation Team at the Syracuse VAMC, he connected with the NO BARRIERS Warriors Program. This program, started by Erik Weinenmayer, the first legally blind person to reach the summit of Mt Everest, provided Corbett the opportunity to join other disabled Veterans on a hike up Clark’s Peak in Colorado.

Corbett said he almost gave up twice. But the other disabled Veterans on the hike, along with a supportive staff, bolstered his spirits. He said that being around other Veterans with the sentiment of “no man left behind”, made a difference. Although he was nervous and scared of falling down the hill, he found a way to overcome his fear and reached the top.

Now, he embraces the message of the NO BARRIERS program…“What’s within you is stronger than what’s in your way.” He plans to continue hiking in 2019 and beyond.

For additional questions or, more information regarding services for the visually impaired provided by the Vision Rehabilitation Team at the Syracuse VAMC, call Nancy Chaffee, Visual Impairment Services Team Coordinator at ( 315) 425-4400 ext. 54010 or go to https://www.visn2.va.gov/VISN2/dt/LV_blind.asp .


WHITE CANE DAY, October 15th, was designated in 1964 by President Johnson to celebrate the independence and freedom of the blind and visually impaired.