For Immediate Release
October 30, 2018
Media Contact: Marci Manley
DHS Deputy Chief of Communications and Community Engagement
|Lancaster earns DSB award: James Lancaster of Royal, on the left, accepts an achievement award from Brian Sanders, DSB area manager, at the Department of Human Services Division of Services for the Blind. His employer, Tenenbaum Recycling Group, was recognized by DSB as an outstanding business partner for its commitment to promoting the employment of persons with vision impairment.|
Royal Resident Overcomes Struggles, Regains His Vision, Earns Achievement Award
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – James Lancaster of Royal, near Hot Springs, has been named the area’s outstanding Consumer of the Year by the Department of Human Services Division of Services for the Blind (DSB). He faced numerous struggles in his attempts to enter the workforce, and at one point even lost his house.
Brian Sanders, DSB Area Field Manager, nominated Lancaster for the achievement award because of his determination to overcome adversity and succeed at work.
Lancaster had been employed as a metal fabricator. However, due to his vision loss, he was terminated from this job and was unable to secure employment with another company. No job meant no insurance to pay for much needed eye surgeries.
Lancaster said he was diagnosed with chronic angle-closure glaucoma, combined forms of age-related cataracts, congenital nystagmus (condition of involuntary eye movement), and coloboma (a prenatal hole in one of the structures of the eye, in Lancaster’s case, the optic disc). Lancaster's eye condition was progressive, and he was in imminent danger of permanent vision loss if corrective surgery wasn’t done.
His eye doctor referred him to DSB. After two subsequent surgical procedures were performed on his eyes, Lancaster was eager to go to work. “He pursued job placement activities without hesitation,” said Sanders. Lancaster landed a job as a material handler with Lowe's.
Later following a successful second surgery, Lancaster was able to secure his CDL license and acquired his current job as a truck driver with Tenenbaum Recycling Group in Hot Springs.
“This was a new employment endeavor pursued by Mr. Lancaster. He had attempted other job pursuits without success in his local area. When he was approached about the possibility of driving a truck, he embraced the opportunity and excelled in performance standards,” said Sanders. “After a successful transition to full-time gainful employment once again, Mr. Lancaster has been able to finance a new residence and continues to flourish in his job responsibilities.”
Lancaster was selected for the achievement award from an area that includes Saline, Garland, Hot Spring, Grant, Clark, and part of Pulaski Counties.
The award presentation was made at the noon meeting of the Little Rock Founders Lions Club on October 24, at World Services for the Blind.
His employer, Tenenbaum Recycling Group, was recognized by DSB as an outstanding business partner for its commitment to promoting the employment of persons with vision impairment.
Lancaster said he appreciated the services he received from DSB. DSB services: he received are vocational rehabilitation counseling and guidance, surgeries and medical treatment, maintenance, training and job placement services. He was also provided with low vision aids and special prescription optical lens recommended by his eye doctor.
This is the 11th year that DSB has given Consumer of the Year awards to recognize individuals who have managed their rehabilitation plans, gained marketable skills, secured good jobs, and become role models for others. An overall state winner will be selected at the end of the year.
DSB provides vocational rehabilitation services to adults who are blind or severely visually impaired and whose goal is successful employment. The division also serves youth and older blind individuals. For information about DSB’s programs and services, visit the DSB website at https://humanservices.arkansas.gov/about-dhs/dsb, or call 1-800-960-9270, 501-682-5463, or deaf relay 711.