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Jean Dyon Norris and Dr. Jernigan at the Tarzana, California,
office of the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults

Jean Dyon Norris

Director of Operations
American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults

In 1960 Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, President of the American Brotherhood for the Blind, sent Dr. Jernigan to Los Angeles to look into the possibility of taking on my Twin Vision® books as a project. While I was telling him the story of a blind mother, Audrey Hebner, inspiring me to Braille books so she could read to her sighted son, Dr. Jernigan exclaimed: "We went to the Tennessee School For the Blind together!"

A short time ago a blind mother called us wanting to read to her sighted granddaughter. While I was taking the information needed to send her a library application, she gave her name as Audrey Hebner. You can imagine the surprise for both of us.

Because Dr. Jernigan agreed to take on Twin Vision® books, we have grown into a major publishing organization. Thirty thousand popular, small Braille calendars are sent out annually upon request to almost everyone who is blind; a weekly Braille newspaper, Hot Line to Deaf-Blind, is published for the deaf-blind in the United States and in over forty foreign countries.

With the permission of the Board and Dr. Jernigan and with great pride, I named our national library for blind children the Kenneth Jernigan Library for Blind Children. This special library is the largest source of reading material for blind children K-1 through high school reading level, for blind parents with sighted children, and for almost all schools with blind students. The Kenneth Jernigan Library for Blind Children will remain a living memorial to a very great man for generations to come.

My last letter to Dr. Jernigan ended as follows:

"I will never forget hearing you recite one of your long-time favorite poems on an NFB tape. It had been displayed for years in the Kenneth Jernigan Library because it had been my favorite poem since childhood. It is truly the story of your life: "They said it couldn't be done, but you did it."

It Couldn't Be Done

By Edgar A. Guest

Somebody said that it couldn't be done,

But he with a chuckle replied,

That "maybe it couldn't"; but he would be one

Who wouldn't say so till he'd tried.

So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin

On his face. If he worried he hid it.

He started to sing as he tackled the thing

That couldn't be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: "Oh you'll never do that;

At least no one ever has done it";

But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,

And the first thing we knew he'd begun it.

With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,

Without any doubting or quiddit?,

He started to sing as he tackled the thing

That couldn't be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,

There are thousands to prophesy failure;

There are thousands to point out to you one by one,

The dangers that wait to assail you.

But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,

Just take off your coat and go to it;

Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing

That "cannot be done," and you'll do it.