On Veterans Day 2020, we thank veterans for their service and highlight resources such as Bookshare that help veterans with visual impairments achieve their goals
On this Veterans Day, we thank and celebrate all of America’s veterans for their service, sacrifice, and love for their country. The theme for this year’s day is: “Vision: Veterans in Focus,” which is appropriate because of the 20 million living U.S. veterans, approximately 130,428 are legally blind, and more than one million veterans have low vision that causes a loss of ability to perform daily activities.
Blind Veteran Goes from Combat to Courtroom
One of the veterans we thank is David Szumowski, a US Army veteran who lost his sight during combat in the Vietnam War. David lived the army’s mantra of “adapt and overcome” by graduating from law school and becoming a deputy district attorney and later one of seven blind judges in the country. In this moving video, David shares his story and appreciation for the tools and technologies that have helped him, as well as his wife, Janice, for her love and support.
The Wheels Keep Turning for Army Veteran Tom Perez
Tom Perez started losing his sight after getting “thumbed” during boxing matches while at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Declared legally blind in 2010, Tom received technology training at the VA Western Blind Rehabilitation Center in Palo Alto, CA. There he learned how to use his iPad to read ebooks in the vast Bookshare library. In addition to reading, Tom’s other passion is being a blind stoker on a tandem cycling team. We are thankful for the way Tom leads by example through his commitment to organizations such as the Challenged Athletes Foundation and Blind Stokers Club.
The “Tims” Earn Post-Secondary Degrees after Military Service
Tim Fallon, former First Lieutenant in the U.S. Marines, lost his sight in an IED explosion in Afghanistan. Now a senior economic and strategic analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense, he earned a Master of Arts degree in Security Studies from Georgetown University. For many of his courses, Tim downloaded textbooks and journals from Bookshare to read on his smartphone using the Voice Dream Reader app. We are grateful that Tim’s skills and talents are contributing to the success of the U.S. government.
Another Tim, Tim Hornik, a retired U.S. Army Captain, was shot in the head by a sniper in Iraq, causing severe visual impairments. A board member at the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA), he is a licensed Masters Social Worker and Certified Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist. “Technology training, leadership empowerment, and accessible books make all the difference for veterans with visual impairments,” says Tim. We salute Tim’s efforts to empower blind independence through the BVA.
Bookshare Helps Blind Veterans + Special Complimentary Membership
All four of these veterans had their lives transformed when they found books for education and pleasure reading in Bookshare, an ebook library that makes reading easier. Veterans with reading barriers like blindness, dyslexia, and physical disabilities can read in ways that work for them with a huge collection of titles in audio, audio + highlighted text, braille, and other formats. Enjoy over 925,000 titles and read on a device of your choice.
If you are a veteran who is enrolled (or plans to enroll) in an educational program, Bookshare is FREE for students of any age thanks to funding from the Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education.
Qualifying veterans who are not students are eligible for a special promotion of three complimentary months of Bookshare membership. Use promo code VET2020 during the signup process. Our membership team will contact you for proof of veteran status and apply the complimentary membership. At the end of three months, you can continue with Bookshare at the low cost of $50 a year for an unlimited number of books.
Digital Resources to Assist Returning Veterans
The Bookshare team has curated a special collection of 41 books to assist veterans transitioning to various aspects of civilian life – job search, career guides, mental health services, and so on. Let Bookshare be your pathway to learning, a new career, and increased independence.
The stories are amazing and the people are so inspiring. I thank them all for their service to our country.