Christian Record Shares Audiobook Gift with Blinded Veterans
How prevalent is blindness among veterans? According to VisionAware, vision loss resulting from injuries sustained while in military service can occur from traumatic eye injury, penetrating wounds, and traumatic brain injury (TBI).1A recent news report included information about the rate of choroidal melanoma, a type of eye cancer, among those who served during the Vietnam War.2 Additionally, as with many Americans, veterans are living longer and are susceptible to age-related eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, as well as diabetic retinopathy.
In response to this information and additional research, Christian Record Services, Inc., a ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America, collaborated with chaplains, educators, and other veterans to create a unique “thank you” gift — the inSight4Vets audiobook player. This resource contains encouraging and inspirational books with content of interest to blinded veterans, and portions of the Bible. Funding for the inSight4Vets players has been provided by generous donors and a grant from VersaCare, Inc.
Three Christian Record staff members took a half-dozen inSight4Vets samples to the Blinded Veterans Association Convention in August 2017, in Jacksonville, Florida, and made plans to demonstrate, take orders, and ship requested players to blinded veterans’ homes and Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals after the convention. The goal was to give 250 inSight4Vets players to veterans and Veterans Administration rehabilitation coordinators.
Coordinators from several VA hospitals visited the Christian Record booth and welcomed the idea of placing inSight4Vets players in hospital and resource rooms, and incorporating them in therapy programs. These coordinators helped Christian Record staff see bigger opportunities, not only for distribution, but also for offering other free Christian Record materials and programs to veterans, such as the audio lending library, Bibles, and summer and winter camps.
Between the blinded veterans and the VA coordinators, all 250 players were claimed by the second event day.
The majority of vendors at the convention were commercial businesses which hoped to entice VA coordinators to purchase resources for individual distribution or use at VA facilities. The attendees were surprised to encounter Christian Record’s booth that offered free services and programs.
“How is it you have something for nothing?” asked one WWII veteran. When staff explained that donors and grants cover the cost of the inSight4Vets players, he pressed a bit. “What about that other stuff? The camps? The library books? They’re free, too?”
It was evident to the Christian Record staff that these men and women, who had sacrificed for their country, were hungry to receive God’s Word, and eager to tell their friends. Jack, a veteran, brought four friends to the booth. “You gotta see this!” he exclaimed. “I’m getting this player, and you’re gonna want it, too!”
Christian Record hopes the spiritual content and encouraging messages provided through the inSight4Vets player will introduce blinded veterans and their families to Jesus.
For opportunities to partner with Christian Record to provide inSight4Vets audiobook players to more blinded veterans, visit www.inSight4Vets.org.
Statistics on Vision Loss and the Military and Policy Implications. VisionAware online. http://www.visionaware.org/info/everyday-living/essential-skills/information-for-veterans-coping-with-vision-loss/statistics-on-vision-loss-and-the-military/1235
VA records: Veterans 17 times more likely to develop rare eye cancer. Steve Andrews, News Channel 8 online, September 4, 2017. http://wfla.com/2017/09/04/va-records-veterans-17-times-more-likely-to-develop-rare-eye-cancer/
is the communication director for Christian Record Services, Inc., in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Southern Union | November 2017