A picture of Representative Patrick T. McHenry
Patrick M.
Republican NC 10

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  • To Commemorate the 75Th Anniversary of the National Industries for the Blind

    by Representative Patrick T. McHenry

    Posted on 2013-12-12

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    McHENRY of north carolina in the house of representatives Thursday, December 12, 2013 Mr. McHENRY. Mr. Speaker, I speak today to recognize and celebrate the 75th anniversary of the National Industries for the Blind (NIB). It was seventy-five years ago when the Wagner-O'Day Act originally helped spur the creation of NIB, whose mission is to enhance economic and personal independence for the blind and visually impaired. Each day NIB upholds its mission by relentlessly creating, sustaining, and improving employment opportunities for those who it serves.



    To best meet its objectives, the NIB collaborates with over ninety- one associated nonprofit agencies--based in thirty-five states and home to more than two hundred and fifty locations--which includes the Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind, IFB, located in North Carolina.

    In August of this year, I had the pleasure of being invited to visit the Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind in Asheville, NC. During my tour, I was fortunate to learn that the facility's state-of-the-art cutting and ultra-sonic welding capabilities enable workers to compete for new, complex commercial and government opportunities. More impressive was the confidence and independence that Asheville's first- rate facility brought to its workforce--comprised of more than fifty individuals who are either blind or visually impaired--that has earned competitive contracts with our U.S. military and internationally- recognized achievements in quality control.

    In the last few years, IFB has employed over three hundred blind and visually impaired workers at manufacturing facilities located in Asheville and Winston Salem. Both facilities manufacture a significant number of quality products that are utilized to protect everyday Americans such as you and me. Altogether, IFB positively impacts our visually impaired community in seventy-seven counties throughout North Carolina, and it will continue to enhance its economic presence in our region through the introduction of a new mobile eye clinic.

    Through the endeavors of IFB, many members of our community who are visually impaired or blind are afforded the opportunity to gain the confidence and financial independence--which many of us take for granted--by achieving their goal of a commendable career. As an advocate of IFB, I appreciate its proactive efforts to improve the livelihoods of our blind and visually impaired community, and I will continue to support IFB's efforts as it continually extends valuable opportunities and services in my home state of North Carolina.

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