Veterans Workshop Announces Blind US Veterans to Help Deaf US Veterans Make Phone Calls in New National Relay Service

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Veterans Workshop announces that training of blind veteran relay operators begins March 4th, with six blind Oklahoma veterans training on a Google+ platform to make phone calls for deaf veterans.

Being Blind doesn't mean Being Helpless. Our training will prove that we have more to offer. We will become the preferred relay systems for all veterans.

Imagine for one minute what it is like to be deaf and a veteran of the United States Armed Forces. An IED explosion in Afghanistan has left you with no hearing. To call your mom at home and wish her a "Happy Birthday", is next to impossible. Calling your daughter at college and wishing her well on her exams is too difficult too. But now, with the help of the Veterans Workshop, all of that is about to change. A core group of Blind veterans from the state of Oklahoma are in training starting on March 4th with a mission. They are learning how to be "relay operators", where they can actually make relay phone calls for the veteran who has lost their hearing.

With funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program (VR&E) of Oklahoma City and the State of Oklahoma, Department of Rehabilitation Services, six Blind veterans are embarking on a training that will change the way that deaf veterans communicate.

Ken Coppinger, lead instructor for the training says "These veterans are my brothers, and teaching them how to use Google plus hangout technology to assist deaf veterans in communication is not a job to me, it's a mission".

One Blind Veteran is 90 Year Old, WWII Veteran Emory Finefrock - a Navy veteran who served in the Pacific. When asked why he has requested to join this training, Emory said, "These are fellow veterans, and if I can help just one, then I will have done my job."

The Veterans Workshop, a national veteran's charity that has programs to teach Blind, Deaf and Paralyzed veterans, has developed a unique and challenging work assignment for the tens of thousands of Blind American veterans who have an unemployment in the low 90% range. This initial group of blind veterans is excited about the training and the opportunities it will bring to them.

About the Veterans Workshop: With offices in Rhode Island and Washington, DC, the Veterans Workshop has developed unique training programs for a subset of the disabled veterans community to include blind, deaf and paralyzed veterans. Training for Blind veterans is underway, with training for Deaf and Paralyzed veterans expected in early fall.

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David Darlington
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