FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: 
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Category: 
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger to Serve
as National Ambassador for Braille Literacy

Baltimore, Maryland (February 18, 2009): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation’s leading advocate for Braille literacy, announced today that Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, a motivational speaker and former collegiate football player best known as the inspiration for the motion picture Rudy, will serve as a National Ambassador for Braille literacy. As an ambassador, Ruettiger will help advance the NFB’s Braille Readers are Leaders campaign, a national initiative to promote the importance of reading and writing Braille for blind children and adults. The Braille Readers are Leaders campaign kicked off in July of 2008 with the unveiling of the design of a commemorative coin to be released on March 26, 2009, in recognition of the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille (1809-1852), the inventor of the reading and writing code for the blind that bears his name.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “The National Federation of the Blind is pleased to have Mr. Ruettiger as part of this historic initiative to bring Braille literacy to all of the blind children and adults in America who need it. As an extremely well-known American personality and powerful motivational speaker, Mr. Ruettiger’s impact as a national spokesperson for Braille literacy will surely be huge. There can be no doubt that the ability to read and write Braille competently and efficiently is the key to education, employment, and success for the blind. Despite the undisputed value of Braille, however, only about 10 percent of blind children in the United States are currently learning it. Society would never accept a 10 percent literacy rate among sighted children; it should not accept such an outrageously low literacy rate among the blind. The Braille Readers are Leaders campaign, with the support of influential Americans like Mr. Ruettiger, will reverse the downward trend in Braille literacy and ensure that equal opportunities in education and employment are available to all of the nation’s blind.”

Mr. Ruettiger said: “I am honored and pleased to serve as a National Ambassador for the Braille Readers are Leaders campaign. I strongly believe that one person can make a difference, and I am excited to help the National Federation of the Blind in its mission to improve the lives of blind children and adults throughout the country through the power of Braille literacy.”

For more information about the Braille Readers Are Leaders campaign and the Louis Braille commemorative coin, please visit www.braille.org.