Release Date: 
Friday, June 24, 2011
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 Experience Participants

Baltimore, Maryland (June 24, 2011): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind people, today congratulated the thirty people who won the honor of participating in the Blind Driver Experience.  On Tuesday, July 5, from 1–6:00 p.m., as part of the NFB National Convention in Orlando, the winners will get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ride in the Blind Driver Challenge™ car equipped with nonvisual technology (the same car that was driven on the famed Daytona International Speedway on January 29, 2011). 

The participants of the Blind Driver Experience will be driven in the official Blind Driver Challenge™ vehicle by Mark Riccobono, executive director of the NFB Jernigan Institute, and the first blind person to drive a street vehicle in public. 

The Blind Driver Experience is an initiative of the NFB 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. 

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “We greatly appreciate the hard work of our Blind Driver Experience participants, 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.”

Parnell Diggs, chairman of the Imagination Fund, said: “We congratulate our Blind Driver Experience participants, 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 $1,000 by June 15 have our gratitude."

The top ten individuals in overall dollars raised as of June 15 were automatically selected to participate in the Blind Driver Experience.  The remaining twenty spots were drawn at random from the pool of individuals who raised at least $1,000 for the Imagination Fund by June 15, and who plan to be in attendance at the convention.  Each individual winner is invited to bring three guests, and if for some reason a winner cannot participate, the ride is transferable.

The Blind Driver Experience winners are listed below:

Top Ten

1. John Paré (MD)
2. Mary Ellen Jernigan (MD)
3. Parnell Diggs (SC)
4. Jack & Pat Munson (CA)
5. Patti Gregory-Chang (IL)
6. Ann-Marie Laney (MD)
7. Joe Ruffalo (NJ)
8. Dwight Sayer (FL)
9. Lindsay Adair (TX)
10. Scott LaBarre (CO)

Eleven through thirty were drawn and announced Wednesday evening on ThruOurEyes with Joe Ruffalo.

11. Ever Lee Hairston (CA)
12. C. Edwin Vaughan (CA)
13. Denise Avant (IL)
14. Gary & Debbie Wunder (MO)
15. Kim Diggs (SC)
16. William Jacobs (MD)
17. Debra Canty (SC)
18. Dan Burke (MT)
19. Carl & Mindy Jacobsen (NY)
20. Patricia Maurer (MD)
21. Barbara Pierce (OH)
22. Kathleen Byrd (NM)
23. Anthony Cobb (MD)
24. Garrick Scott (GA)
25. Dr. & Mrs. Capps (SC)
26. Mark Riccobono (MD)
27. Ed Morman (MD)
28. Julaine Arient-Rollman (SD)
29. Kayleigh Joiner (TX)
30. Kimberly Flores (TX)

For more information about the Blind Driver Experience, please visit