NDEAM Employee Blog: Kenneth Joiner
The following employee blog was submitted by Kenneth Joiner, an LCI general assembler in Tupelo, M.S.
What challenges have you faced in a working environment that might surprise people without disabilities?
I ran a State Stand Service store before I went completely blind. Before I went to rehab, I couldn’t imagine that I would be able to work with my hands since I couldn’t see. But, when I came to work here at LCI, I learned to operate equipment for building aluminum stepladders, and I learned to operate a broom stitcher. I’ve been able to accomplish all these things and raise a family with seven children.
What do you wish more people knew about your particular disability?
I wish people understood that just because I’m blind, I’m not useless. All my other senses work, and I function just fine. People without disabilities think you can’t hear just because you can’t see, and that simply isn’t true.
How do you celebrate NDEAM? How can people without disabilities celebrate NDEAM?
As part of the National Federation for the Blind, we have set up exhibits to demonstrate what blind people can do. I wish local governments would recognize people who are blind and set aside time and space for the public to find out about us.
How has your employment positively impacted your disability?
It has kept me alive. It keeps me motivated and helps me form friendships. It’s not good to just sit at home, I need to be out doing something.
Something you’d like others to know about your disability story:
It would be easy to start feeling sorry for yourself, but there’s plenty a blind person can do, you have to set your mind to do it and just keep going.