Blind World Magazine

Building blocks of sight for the visually impaired.

December 21, 2005., Florida.

CLERMONT, Fla. -- This week's Jefferson Awards Hometown Hero helps the visually impaired learn to read again.

His little woodshop in Clermont isn't exactly Santa's workshop, but it might as well be for all of the good that takes place there.

Jim Orr makes building blocks of sight for the visually impaired. It's an idea so simple and so helpful, but it took a retired engineer from Lockheed Martin to create it.

"My wife's busy with golf and bridge, and I'm going nuts sitting around at home," Orr said.

So, he called in some friends and used his woodshop to begin creating complete sets of Braille blocks. Now, the guys get together twice a month to build the blocks.

The sets go to Chicago to the Hadley School for the Blind, and they have helped thousands of children and adults learn to read Braille.

Orr said he believes one person can make a big difference.

"One person's all it takes until you get to making them. Then you need these guys," he said, pointing to his helpers. "It's very important to do something like that for so many people that go all over the world in so many languages. It gives you a good feeling of well being."

Donations for the Braille Blocks can be sent to:

Jim Orr, Clermont Minneola Lions Club, P.O. Box 120843 Clermont, FL 34712.

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