FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: 
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Category: 
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

National Federation of the Blind Congratulates Blind Driver Challenge™ VIPs

Baltimore, Maryland (December 21, 2010): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind people in the United States, today congratulated the ten Blind Driver Challenge™ VIPs who have been awarded trips to the public debut of a vehicle equipped with a nonvisual interface allowing a blind person to drive it independently.  The vehicle, a Ford Escape equipped with nonvisual interface technology, will be driven by a blind individual  who will navigate part of the famed Daytona International Speedway course on January 29, 2011, as part of the pre-race activities at the 2011 Rolex 24 At Daytona. 

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “We greatly appreciate the hard work of our VIPs, as well as our other Imagination Fund contributors.  With their help, we are able to create innovative research, training, education, and technology programs that improve the lives of the blind and move us closer to our ultimate goal of full integration into society on a basis of equality.  The Blind Driver Challenge™ is the perfect example of the type of innovative program we are able to bring about with the help of the Imagination Fund.  Our VIPs will truly be witnessing an historic event as we demonstrate the fruits of our efforts before the automobile enthusiasts and racing fans at the Rolex 24 At Daytona.  This demonstration will break down the wall of stereotypes and misconceptions that prevent our full integration into society by showing the public that the blind have the same capacities as everyone else.  Our only challenge is access to the information we need.”

Parnell Diggs, chairman of the Imagination Fund, said: “We congratulate our Blind Driver Challenge™ VIPs, and thank them for a job well done.  It is vital that we raise the funds we need to operate the programs of the National Federation of the Blind.  Those who registered to be Imaginators and raised at least $250 by December 15 have our gratitude.  Because of their efforts, we are off to a good start in the current campaign."

The ten VIPs won the honor of attending the Rolex 24 At Daytona by raising at least $250 for the National Federation of the Blind Imagination Fund, which supports the education, technology, and research projects of the NFB Jernigan Institute, as well as programs conducted by the fifty-two affiliates and over seven-hundred local chapters of the Federation.  Four of the VIPs were chosen at the 2010 NFB National Convention in Dallas, and the other six were chosen last week.

The VIPs will receive roundtrip airfare, accommodations at the Plaza Ocean Club, food allowance, and a $119 pass to the Daytona International Speedway for January 29, to watch the debut of a vehicle equipped with a nonvisual interface allowing a blind person to drive for the first time independently.

The Blind Driver Challenge™ VIPs are listed below:

  1. Dana Ard
  2. Andrew Braun
  3. Patti Chang
  4. Mark Colasurdo
  5. William O. Jacobs
  6. Patricia Maurer
  7. John Paré
  8. Dwight Sayer
  9. Sue Sebranek
  10. Kevan Worley 

For more information about the Blind Driver Challenge™ and the Rolex 24 At Daytona, please visit www.blinddriverchallenge.org.