The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

January 14, 2013

Man wants to revive National Federation of the Blind chapter

By Justin Jones, Staff Writer

Monday, January, 14, 2013 — A chapter for the National Federation of the Blind in Stanly County is trying to make a come back, but only if it has enough interest from the community.

Brad Parker, who is visually impaired, made a stop by the Stanly County Senior Center in Albemarle recently, trying to gauge the interest of those associated with the Senior Center.

Parker said that the timing of visiting shortly after New Year’s Day only allowed him to reach a handful of people, but Parker will have a second meeting in February to see if others might be interested.

“It’s important to educate the sighted about blindness and to give the visually impaired or totally blind some education on blindness,” Parker said.

Becky Weemhoff, Senior Center director, welcomed Parker as she noted the importance a support group might have.

“There’s a lot of resources that they should know about, but they don’t because there’s no group for presentations to be made for them,” Weemhoff said.

“There’s a lot of bonding and comradery with people that have the same type of limitations.”

If Parker is able to start the group which he is referring to as National Federation of the Blind Stanly County Chapter-New Generation, then it will be because at least eight people were willing to join, as required by the national federation.

Weemhoff said that Parker’s visit was helpful in not only gauging interest but also in helping Parker discover what ways the group may be able to be helpful to its members.

Weemhoff was not certain of the date for when the former group disbanded but said it may have ended more than a year ago. Parker recalled that the group was started in 1986 by Hazel Staley, who also served as president of the North Carolina Chapter for the National Federation of the Blind years before coming to Stanly County.

If the meetings continue, Parker already has ideas in place for ways that the group might be able to grow stronger.

“We may have speakers come into the group, like healthcare providers or people in the community that may be supportive and give more support to the blind,” he said.

The next meeting is planned for Feb. 13 at the Senior Center in the kitchen and dining area.

For more information on the group, Parker invites anyone to contact him at (704) 781-0097 or at