May 18, 2017 – For retired Lt. Col. Kathy Champion, a recent Wednesday morning provided something she had been missing.
“This little bit of independence I am getting back means more self-respect,” Kathy said. “I don’t have to rely on others to order food at a restaurant, to even look at a menu.”
Kathy survived firefights and improvised explosive devices (IED) while serving two deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. But a virus she contracted while deployed took her sight.
“I can tell you are standing in the room, but I cannot see who you are.”
Now, a device does the seeing for her.
“Gus,” the device clearly stated into an earbud Kathy wore, as U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis walked into the room. The congressman from northern Tampa Bay joined Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) and OrCam to present a MyEye device to Kathy in Tarpon Springs.
MyEye is a small camera mounted to glasses. It identifies people whose images are stored in the device through facial recognition. It also recognizes products at stores and reads words from books, menus, newspapers, and websites. This means Kathy can go places and do things without bringing another person along.
“Creating independence, regardless of our disabilities – is giving the freedom back to you to take care of yourself, is a gift to anyone,” Kathy said.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) covers the expense of MyEye in some instances. OrCam provided the device and training to Kathy to raise awareness about available technology. They reached out to WWP with the help of Rep. Bilirakis to identify a warrior who would benefit from MyEye.
“It is important to work with all organizations like Wounded Warrior Project that assist veterans,” Rep. Bilirakis said. “To see how this device helps Kathy regain a part of her life back is very special.”
“Wounded Warrior Project has given me this opportunity to use MyEye in my everyday life to create self-worth and independence, and I am very grateful,” Kathy said.
To learn and see more about how WWP’s programs and services connect, serve, and empower wounded warriors, visit http://newsroom.woundedwarriorproject.org/, and click on multimedia.