Table of Contents


Personnel Actions

Success Stories

Around the State

End Zone


Meet Michelle Sampson

Michelle Sampson is our new government operations consultant I, with the Bureau of Client Services in the state office.

Michelle Sampson

Personnel Actions

We welcome our newest employees to the DBS family.

Congratulations to employees who received a promotion.

Farewell to those employees who are retiring.

Success Stories

Bureau of Business Enterprise Southern-Most Vendor

By Janet Chernoff

Ed HaleEd Hale fulfilled a lifelong dream when he was awarded the military dining facility at Trumbo Point in Key West October 2013. Ed works with a teaming partner, Blackstone Consulting, to operate a cafeteria that provides foodservice for the U.S. Army Special Operations Underwater Training School. Ed’s journey to Key West was a long and circuitous one, with many stops along the way.

Before entering the Florida program in 2008, Ed operated a convenience store in the Business Enterprise program in Colorado. Ed’s mother and stepfathers had also participated in the Colorado program. He spent several years in Alaska, worked with a Business Enterprise operator in Baltimore for five years, and lived in Virginia before deciding to make the move to Tallahassee. Once in Tallahassee, Ed managed the facility at the Collins Building before being awarded the vending at the Federal Correction Institution (FCI) in November 2008. He operated the FCI facility for five years when the opportunity to apply for the Key West facility became available. Ed does an excellent job at this facility and is proud to represent the Florida Bureau of Business Enterprise program as its southern-most vendor.

Two Florida Residents Win Awards from the Hadley School for the Blind

By Kate Streit

Two Florida residents received awards from The Hadley School for the Blind on October 9. Patricia Kingwell of Ocala received the 2014 Braille Student of the Year Award and Kimberly Common of Inverness received the 2014 Robert J. Winn Family Education Award. The awards were presented at Hadley’s annual meeting. Kingwell and Common were selected for their passion and dedication to their studies. Hadley has formally presented awards for more than 50 years.

Patricia Kingwell Kimberly Common

Around the State

District 1 Breast Cancer Awareness Outreach Event

By Bryan McKernan

District 1 outreach display

The District 1 office in Pensacola held a breast cancer awareness event in October. This allowed us the opportunity to raise awareness of breast cancer and spread the word about the help provided by the Division of Blind Services (DBS). DBS staff sold baked goods throughout the day with all proceeds donated to the American Cancer Society. The Pensacola office used pink outreach items to discuss the services provided by DBS with an entirely new audience. Each person who visited the office received an outreach package that included a pink DBS cup, a pink DBS coin purse, a pink DBS chip clip and DBS literature. Overall, the event was a resounding success for both breast cancer awareness and spreading the word about the Division of Blind Services (DBS).

White Cane Walk in Alachua

By Gina White

White cane walk participants

The annual White Cane Walk was held in the city of Alachua on October 11. The event began at the old city building with attendants walking in a path similar to the letter “U,” to the Lions Club and Boy Scout grounds. Participants were offered a blindfold to experience the aspects of being visually-impaired or blind. They wore the blindfold during the full-length of the walk while those who were sighted offered their arm to individuals who were in need of a sighted-guide. The event was quite touching to see the care, concern and interaction from those who attended.

White cane walk participants

Several of Alachua’s police officers were on motorcycles, in cruisers or on foot to insure the walkers’ safety. While detectives, city dignitaries, heads of the two organizations, along with many volunteers, clients and their friends and families, were present to show their support for the event. There was food, so the camaraderie was even more enjoyable with the bonding element of dining together. The two hosting agencies - Boy Scouts and Lions Club - provided excellent service, while preparing and offering hot dogs, drinks and snacks. This was my first attendance at a White Cane Walk and I can say it was truly a pleasant moment in time.

White cane walk participants

White Cane Awareness Days at Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind

By: Sylvia Stinson-Perez, Executive Director

White cane event attendees with signsThe Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind held its 2014 White Cane Safety Day events in Brooksville and Port Richey. The Lighthouse was thrilled that the Board of Directors’ President and New Port Richey Police Chief Kim Bogart, State Senator Wilton Simpson and State Rep. Amanda Murphy participated. They crossed the street blindfolded and with my guide dog, Carmel, and me.

Rep. Murphy said, “Everyone needs to have the experience of walking across a busy road blindfolded. The experience of having no sight is overwhelming. I knew that Sylvia would not let me cross alone, but I could feel her getting farther and farther ahead of me. I felt alone and that feeling terrified me!  White cane event attendees with signsIf I did not have people with me, I would not have known that I was heading in the right direction. This was an eye-opening experience and we need to make sure that we have the resources needed for training our blind and sight impaired citizens.”

In addition, representatives of DBS District 7, United Way, Publix Supermarket, clients and many more came out to support white cane awareness and learn about visual impairment. They also had the opportunity to learn how people who are blind and visually impaired safely and independently cross streets using orientation and mobility tools (long cane or guide dog) and training. The events were fantastic, fun and provided public awareness.

Teaching Accessibility

By Tiffany Baylor, Division of Blind Services

Tiffany Baylor with students Tiffany Baylor with students

I had a wonderful time providing instruction regarding service delivery modifications for clients with visual impairments and blindness to students in the occupational therapy assistant program at Keiser University. Students interacted with low-vision and assistive devices; learned about low- and no-cost modifications to techniques that would make their services accessible, and methods such as sighted guide that promote respect and positive interactions with clients. They were wonderfully open-minded and it was a joy to visit them.

Tiffany Baylor with students

World Sight Day

Chantel Shafer Buck, President and Chief Executive Officer

DBS Director Doyle, New Vision Sharisse Roberts, and Jenna PruettIn honor of World Sight Day on October 9, New Vision for Independence (New Vision) held the inaugural Shadiest Photo Contest. DBS Director Robert L. Doyle, III attended the event. The objective of World Sight Day this year was to raise awareness about avoidable blindness. Wearing sunglasses is one of the easiest ways to preserve your vision. Health authorities, like the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Ophthalmology, recommend you wear sunglasses that block 99-100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation.



End Zone

Publication and Submission Information

We hope you found this month’s newsletter interesting. Remember, we need your submissions each month. Let us know what’s going on in your district or facility. The publication date for the Visionary newsletter is the first week of each month. The deadline for submissions is the 15th of each month. Comments, suggestions, and submissions should be directed to:

DBS Communications:

Additional useful links and telephone numbers:

To request a Braille version of this edition of the Visionary contact the Braille and Talking Book Library: or call 800-226-6075.

MIS Help Desk:
Phone: 850-245-0360

AWARE Help Desk:
Phone: 850-245-0395 or 866-841-0912

Division of Blind Services website (external):

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