The Winston Gordon Award

September 14 was a beautiful late summer day in Washington, D.C. At 11:45 a.m. a stretch limousine pulled up in front of the strikingly modern Canadian Embassy. Dr. and Mrs. Jernigan, Dr. and Mrs. Maurer, and Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Jernigan, and Dr. Jernigan's daughter Marie Cobb climbed out of the car and entered the building.

They and a number of other guests were then ushered to an upstairs dining room. Following cocktails, Timothy Sheeres, Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Directors of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), Chairman of the Winston Gordon Award Selection Committee, and master of ceremonies for the day, welcomed everyone and introduced the head table. His Excellency, Raymond Chretien, Canadian Ambassador to the United States, was seated beside Dr. Jernigan. After Ambassador Chretien had also welcomed the group, the rest of the guests introduced

Photo of Terri Colli and Helen Thomas; Lloyd and Mary Jernigan can be seen in the background
Terri Colli, Embassy Director of Public Relations, chats with Helen Thomas, UPI White House Bureau Chief.  Lloyd and Mary Jernigan can be seen in the Background.

Image of Ron Foster and Dr. Jernigan
Ron Foster, a UPS Vice President, talks with Dr. Jernigan

themselves. Among the distinguished guests present were United States Senator Paul Sarbanes of Maryland; Helen Thomas, White House Bureau Chief, United Press International; Deane Blazie, the first recipient of the Winston Gordon Award; Dr. Fred Schroeder, Commissioner of the U.S. Rehabilitation Services Administration;

Frank Kurt Cylke, Director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and one of those who nominated Dr. Jernigan for the award; Dr. Susan Spungin, Vice President for National Programs and Initiatives, American Foundation for the Blind; Dr. Tuck Tinsley, President, American Printing House for the Blind; and Ron Foster, Vice President for Public Affairs, United Parcel Service.

Mr. Sheeres presented the Winston Gordon Award to Dr. Jernigan. Winston Gordon was a blind Canadian industrialist and philanthropist with strong ties to the CNIB. His generous bequest provided the means to establish the Winston Gordon Award, which is presented annually to a person or organization that has made a significant technological contribution to improve the lives of blind people.

Photo of Deane Blazie seated next to Dr. Jernigan
Deane Blazie spends a few minutes with Dr. Jernigan

Dr. Jernigan received the 1998 award for his tireless work to establish NEWSLINE for the Blind®.

Dr. Jernigan made a brief but moving acceptance speech. The Winston Gordon Award consists of a

Picture of the guests at the luncheon
His Excellency Ambassador Raymond Chrétien addresses the luncheon guests.

two-troy-ounce gold medallion and $15,000. The medallion is one and a half inches in diameter and reposes in a velvet-lined walnut slipcase. The text on the obverse reads, "Winston Gordon Award"; on the reverse appear the letters "CNIB" and the words "Canadian National Institute for the Blind."

Mr. Sheeres then presented Mrs. Jernigan with a beautiful spray of autumn flowers, and Dr. Fred Schroeder read a congratulatory letter from President Bill Clinton, which read:

group picture of Dr. and Mrs. Maurer, Dr. and Mrs. Jernigan, Raymond Chretien and Euclid Herie
Left to Right, Marc Maurer, Patricia Maurer, Kenneth Jernigan, Raymond Chrétien, and Euclid Herie.

The White House Washington, D.C.

September 11, 1998

Dear Dr. Jernigan:

Congratulations on your selection by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind as the 1998 recipient of the Winston Gordon Award.

Picture of Dr. and Mrs. Marc Maurer and Dr. and Mrs. Jernigan with Senator Sarbanes.
Paul Sarbanes, U.S. Senator from Maryland; Kenneth Jernigan and Mary Ellen Jernigan.

I am proud to join your many friends and admirers in celebrating this recognition of your unprecedented accomplishments on behalf of blind people.

e Mary Ellen Jernigan Receives Flowers from Tim Sheeres.

Your life and work, which have become synonymous with the National Federation of the Blind, have contributed enormously to the efforts of blind people to achieve full inclusion in our society. Because of your dedication, countless men and women are better able to avoid the trap of isolation and dependence. And opportunities for employment and social integration are greater for the blind today than at any time in history.

Image of Euclid Herie, Tim Sheeres, Kenneth Jernigan and Raymond Chretien.
Euclid Herie, CNIB President and CEO; Tim Sheeres, Chairman of the Winston Gordon Award Selection Committee; Kenneth Jernigan, President Emeritus of the National Federation of the Blind; and Raymond Chrétien, Canadian Ambassador to the United States.

I am especially pleased that the Canadian National Institute for the Blind has chosen to honor your exceptional achievements in technology for the blind. The International Braille and Technology Center you created has stimulated the development of remarkable new technologies for blind people, and, as the founder of an innovative news service and job search service, you have empowered blind people with information and employment access that could not have been imagined just a short time ago.

Kenneth Jernigan is pictured responding to the award presentation. (5822 bytes)
Kenneth Jernigan responds to the award presentation from the podium.

Your work has been motivated by an unshakable commitment to the idea that blind people deserve full access to all of our society—from the schoolhouse to the workplace—and that they have extraordinary contributions to make to our national life. Many Americans have dreamed of equality, but those, like you, who have helped turn those dreams into reality are true heroes worthy of our deepest gratitude.

Best wishes for a wonderful award ceremony.


Bill Clinton

Euclid Herie is shown presenting a plaque to Ambassador Chtetien)
Euclid Herie presents a plaque to Ambassador Chrétien in thanks for his hosting of the awards luncheon.  The Ambassador and Mr. Sheeres examine the Plaque as they listen to Dr. Herie speak.

As the final order of business on this happy day, Dr. Herie presented a large tactile plaque to Ambassador Chretien. It was the silhouette of a man walking and using a white cane. The design is the logo of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. As a souvenir of the occasion, each guest was given a lapel pin with the same design.