Several local individuals and organizations were recognized last week for their contribution to the blind community.
Kay McGill and J. Alphonso Dandy were presented with Black Tie Awards by the National Federation of the Blind of Georgia. James Williams received a White Cane Award. Laurel J. Hudson was recognized as the educator of the year, Thelma Godwin was honored as the volunteer of the year and Isaiah Wilcox received the Keith Tonge Leadership Award.
The awards were presented at the Eighth Annual Black Tie-White Cane Appreciation Banquet on Oct. 31 at the Holiday Inn Select in Decatur. The theme of the evening was “Becoming the Change We Want the World to See.”
Pastries A Go Go and The Champion Newspaper were also presented with White Cane Awards for their corporate support. Three individuals were acknowledged as Lifetime Members for their financial contributions to the organization: Michael Armstrong, Robbie Huff and Early Hollis.
McGill, a Stone Mountain resident, has been actively involved with the blind community for many years. She serves as the secretary of the Statewide Coalition on Blindness. Dandy is a retired optometrist who serves as administrator of Chatham Eye Associates, Savannah Family Vision Center and chairman of the Board of Savannah Association for the Blind. Williams, who is known by many as Mr. Transportation, provides individual and group transportation for those attending school, work, therapy appointments and social activities.
Anil Lewis, NFBGA president, commented on the organization’s accomplishments of the past year, citing the introduction of Braille literary programs. “We have a lot of work to do,” said Lewis.
In accepting her award as the volunteer of the year, Godwin said, “The federation taught me it’s OK to be blind. I carry a cane now. I am not in denial.”
Khia Stone provided a spoken word performance. Vocalist and actress Bernardine Mitchell brought a musical interlude to the evening through song.