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Living Blind in Eastern Carolina, Some People Don't Know What The Cane Means

By: Natalie Kaplan Email
By: Natalie Kaplan Email

Beulaville resident Larry Herring can make out certain things like the color of hair and someone’s height but he can't see to the right or left of him and everything he can see right in front of him is foggy. After three years of denying he needed help, Herring decided independence was more important then pride.

"You'll sit in your house and you may venture on the front porch but walk down those steps and there's a whole world out there, for even people that can't see."

In walked, Patty Johnson, an orientation and mobility specialist with North Carolina's Services for the Blind.

"The most difficult part is actually getting the courage up to do these things, it's fearful to cross a street, it's fearful for you and I, imagine if you didn't have any vision.”

Johnson works with the vision impaired in our area, teaching them how to use their ears to make up for their eyes. What can be a frightening situation sometimes since Herring claims not everyone in Eastern Carolina knows or cares about what the cane means.

Herring says, "We've had instances at this intersection where we'll be waiting and she'll say show them the stick and then they'll turn into you."

What many residents don't realize is that if someone is using a cane to cross a street, drivers have to stop, Herring legally has the right of way.

There are hundreds of visually impaired residents living in our area right now:

226 in Edgecombe County
242 in Onlsow County
247 in Nash County
388 in Pitt County

These numbers are only those who have reported their vision problems with the state. Those with local services for the blind say so many more are walking around in a haze.

For more information on where you can go to for help contact local services for the blind at: (252) 355-9016


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