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Date Posted: 10/30/2018

Counselor Who’s Blind Earns Achievement Award

For Immediate Release

October 29, 2018    

 

Media Contact: Marci Manley

DHS Deputy Chief of Communications and Community Engagement

(501) 350-5380

marci.manley@dhs.arkansas.gov

 

Coopwood is honored by the Department of Human Services (DHS): Johnny Moore, vocational rehabilitation counselor, presents a DHS Division of Services for the Blind achievement award to Macie Coopwood of West Memphis.
Coopwood is honored by the Department of Human Services (DHS): Johnny Moore, vocational rehabilitation counselor, presents a DHS Division of Services for the Blind achievement award to Macie Coopwood of West Memphis. 

Counselor Who’s Blind Earns Achievement Award  

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -   Macie Coopwood of West Memphis, who is blind, has been named the area’s outstanding Consumer of the Year by the Department of Human Services Division of Services for the Blind (DSB).

When Coopwood was selected for the honor, she was working for the DHS Division of County Operations (DCO) as a Program Eligibility Specialist. Recently, she was hired to work with youth as a Pre-Employment Transition Services Counselor with DSB.

Coopwood’s service extends beyond her job. She volunteers to mentor at risk youth through her church and oversees a church committee that feeds the homeless. As a member of the local chapter of the Arkansas State Employees Association, she assists in toy, food and clothes drives for the West Memphis area.

Johnny Moore, DSB Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, nominated her for the achievement award because of her determination to overcome adversity, serve others, and succeed at work. She was selected from Mississippi, Cross, Crittenden, and St. Francis Counties.

The award presentation was made at Coopwood’s workplace on October 26. Her employer, DHS Division of County Operations, was recognized by DSB as an outstanding business partner for its commitment to promoting the employment of persons with vision impairment.

“I am totally blind in my right eye and legally blind in my left eye,” said Coopwood.

She began having vision problems in college in 2001. A doctor volunteering to see students pro bono found that she had Keratoconus, a condition where the cornea, the white ball-shaped lens of the eye, thins and bulges outward into a cone shape.  He talked to his colleagues and arranged for her to have much-needed laser surgery at no charge. The doctor later referred her to the Lions Club for eyeglasses, and a club member told her about DSB.

She said she was thankful that DSB paid for a cornea transplant and tuition for her last two semesters of college.

Coopwood graduated from Philander Smith College in Little Rock in 2001 with a Bachelor’s degree in social work. She did an internship at DHS Division of Children and Family Services and was hired immediately after its completion. She worked there until 2014, when her eyesight declined, and she could no longer see to drive at night and be on call.

She was able to get a job at DCO, but in 2016, she had a rupture in her eye that detached her retina. She was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy. DSB paid for the eye surgery necessary to preserve her vision and maintain her job. DSB also provided the desktop video magnifier (CCTV) and Magic Speech Software technology to enable her to do her job at DCO.

About a month ago, Coopwood began working at DSB. She thinks her experiences will help other people with vision problems.

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 http://humanservices.arkansas.gov/dsb/Pages/default.aspx or call 1-800-960-9270 , 501-682-5463, or deaf relay 711.

-30-

Arkansas Department
of Human Services
(501) 682-1001

TTY: 1-800-285-1131 or dial 711 for Arkansas Relay Service

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