We are very pleased to share that this year’s recipient of the Award of Excellence for Direct Service to Adults with Visual Impairment is our own Jewett O’Connor. Jewett was presented with this honor at the NEAER (Northeast chapter of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired) Conference in Conway, NH earlier this month.
Jewett began his career in the vision field in 1982, 37 years ago. First as an O&M instructor, later on getting his VRT (Vision Rehabilitation Therapy) degree. Jewett worked in Mississippi and New Jersey before we were lucky enough to have him come to work with us in NH at Future In Sight, back in 1995.
It has been amazing to watch Jewett work over the 20 years he has been with us. His compassion and dedication to both the field and the clients with whom he works is evident in all that he does. The style of work Jewett employs is one of compassion, gentleness, great skill and much humility. His main goal is always in trying to find just the right device and teaching style that meets the needs of each person he works with. He uses a creative approach to work towards the client’s goals of independence. He makes himself available to his clients above and beyond the call of duty. Not only do I hear clients talking about how Jewett stopped by on a Saturday or after work, he also frequently works on reports on nights and weekends as well. If you know Jewett, he’d likely never speak of this however as he’d prefer to quietly go about his work of helping others. As Future In Sight President & CEO David Morgan puts it so well, “Jewett is the consummate professional. He is a hard worker, passionate about rehabilitation and training, and cares deeply about the needs of his clients.”
There were several people who supported Jewett’s nomination and shared their experiences:
One coworker stated: Jewett’s dedication to his clients and the mission of the agency is beyond admirable. He is a brilliant, humble, kind, compassionate man with an enormous heart and a wonderful sense of humor. He is a true gentleman that strives to do his very best every day to improve the quality of life for the clients he serves. The combination of Jewett’s skills, experience, and ingenuity has helped to enhance the lives of so many.
Another person shared: Throughout the years, I have known him to be a patient, knowledgeable, and steadfast professional in the field of vision rehabilitation. It is easy to see his passion for his work, and compassion for those he works with.
A client of Jewett’s commented: After going blind last November, Jewett assisted me with patience, understanding and grace. He has exceptional kindness and his ability to listen was needed and appreciated. He taught me the necessary skills to regain my independence.
A colleague working in another organization shared: He has worked with individuals from all walks of life, abilities and struggles. He has demonstrated the capacity to interact with each and every one with compassion, kindness, understanding and flexibility in his approach to their rehabilitation. Each and every one has benefited from his knowledge and expertise.
From the time he began working at Future In Sight in 1995, 24 years ago, Jewett has made a lasting impact on the quality of life of so many individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Check out these numbers:
- Number of individual clients served – 5,012
- Number of hours of direct service to clients – 15,647
- Number of hours spent driving to serve clients in the community – 12,996
- Number of miles driven to serve clients in the community – 568,536
- Jewett recently announced his retirement, effective at the end of next month. We will miss him immensely. We like to say that Jewett has traveled to the moon and back on behalf of the people he serves. And, since the number of miles to the moon is 238,855, we know he’s traveled that distance and more for his life’s work. Safe travels, Jewett!