Eye on Central Minnesota

Eye on Central Minnesota

By Lori Peglow

From the CMC's President's Desk

Relationships are a vital part of our emotional well-being as a person.  Interaction with others is essential to all of us, for we are social beings.  The first two chapters of Genesis in the Bible reveal that to us, and the behavioral sciences verify it.  You and I thrive when we have good relationships with others and with ourselves.

Often, those of us who are blind can struggle in our relationships.  We can think of ourselves as different, and feel like we don't fit in.  Thus, if we are not careful, we can isolate ourselves, and become subject to loneliness.  Depression then can easily become part of our existence; we have angry feelings, and wonder about our worth as a human being.

Coming out of that negative thinking venue is not easy.  I've been there, and I know that many of you have been there also.  Moving into a positive view of self and others, I have found starts with a vital relationship to God.  It is in God's truth that we lay claim to our worth as a person. 

The next step, of course, for us, is not to walk this journey alone.  We need the support of others.  For me, that has been my faith community and my loved ones who care about me.  Reach out — we don't need to travel this road alone. 

Thirdly, get involved.  I suggest here getting involved with the National Federation of the Blind.  The NFB is an organization that advocates for the rights of the blind.  Our emotional energy needs focus and direction.  Otherwise, that emotional energy gets locked inside of us, and nobody wins in that scenario.  The NFB gets your emotional energy moving positively for constructive change in the lives of people, including our own. 

I have just shared with you a triad, namely, stand upon God's truths and love as to who you are as a person.  Secondly, don't try to go it alone — the support of others is essential.  Thirdly, channel your emotional energy constructively.  The NFB exists to help you in that process. 

In conclusion, I share with you a statement I recently heard.  That statement was, “What's in the well comes up in the bucket.”  May your well and mine be full of living water.  May God bless!


Reverend Ronald Mahnke,  CMC/NFB President

Meet Members of the CMCNFB

Kevin Horodenski

Born with Retinal Pigmentosa, Kevin Horodenski, now 35 years old, has been a member of the Central MN NFB since December 2012.  Kevin has slowly been losing his eyesight because of the disease, and had to stop driving between 2006 and 2007.  He can distinguish light and dark and has some light perception.  Kevin uses the JAWS program on his computer to read text.

Kevin was originally from Macungie, Pennsylvania.  He moved to the St. Cloud area to be with his fiancée and stepson and to attend the St. Cloud Technical College where he is majoring in Automotive.

Kevin’s hobbies are hunting, fishing, woodworking and restoring classic cars.  His father owned his own construction company.  That is where Kevin learned to work with wood.  He is building a smoking cabinet and restoring a wooden rocking chair.  Kevin used to build model cars, but because of his disease, he can no longer see to build them.  He is currently restoring a classic pickup truck.

Kevin’s advice for blind or low-vision people is this — don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because you are blind.  Tell them they are wrong and then prove them wrong because blind people can do anything they put their mind to.

Day at the Capitol

Kevin Horodenski represented the CMNFB at the NFB of Minnesota’s Day at the Capitol.  He met with Senator John Pedersen from District 14.  Kevin relies on public transportation so he was able to speak to Senator Pedersen about making sure there is money for public transportation, not only in Central MN, but also in the Twin Cities.  That includes money for such services as Metro Mobility and Dial-a-ride.

Kevin also has had accessibility issues at school and has been unable to obtain special accommodations for a blind person.  Senator Pedersen is going to look into the issues and see what he can do to help.

Through his experiences at Day at the Capitol, Kevin learned a lot.  If more people go to Day at the Capitol, the more legislators hear our voice.  And the more who hear us, the more we will accomplish.  We will learn, as Kevin did, to self-advocate and to advocate for others who are blind.  We just need to speak up.  If we learn to say what we are having problems with, we go in the right direction.

Virden Scholarship

Andy’s family created the “Andy Virden Memorial Scholarship” at St. Cloud State University in late 2011 in recognition of his activism and service to his community.  The original endowment is $5,000; anyone can make additional contributions at any time.  An annual grant of $1,000 will be made for as long as funds remain.  To be eligible, students must be in good academic standing, have a visual impairment, and be active in community service.  If no applicant meets the criteria, children of parents who are visually impaired will be considered.  The university’s Office of Student Disability Services will choose winners.  The director of that office is Owen Zimpel, tel. 320-308-3117.

In setting up this fund, we worked with the university Director of Development, Bob Beumer.  He can be reached at telephone 320-308-3716.