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    Warrior Diplomat Soldiers join Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired during Parent Weekend

    Warrior Diplomats with the LEO Club

    Photo By Sgt. Mark Brejcha | The 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Soldiers pose with students from the Texas School for...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Mark Brejcha 

    85th Civil Affairs Brigade

    AUSTIN, Texas - A small group of Soldiers from the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade joined in the festivities at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired's Parent Weekend in Austin, Nov. 8. During the event, students, parents and faculty of the school got the chance to see and feel some of the equipment Soldiers use on a daily basis.

    “If you are blind or visually impaired you don’t get the very many opportunities to explore what things mean.” Patti Robinson, the school's staff development coordinator said. “Sometimes that exploration is a physical exploration.”

    The military display included being able to get in and start a military vehicle, putting on an Improved Outer Tactical Vest and helmet and speaking with Warrior Diplomat Soldiers.

    “We talk about the military and what they do but actually meeting someone who is a Soldier, putting on those vests, feeling the weight, putting on those helmets,” Robinson said, “that gives them more information in a sensory way to put together what's happening in their world.”

    Before the Soldiers set up the display, the faculty and several students gave them a tour of the campus.

    During the tour, the group stopped in the school library where they had the chance to see and feel books written in Braille. The faculty also included them in an exercise where the Soldiers placed a blindfold over their eyes covered with darkened goggles and were given a walking stick. Soldiers then had to navigate the school's hallways, maneuvering from one room to another.

    “I went through the blindfold exercise earlier and it was very difficult, very nerve-wracking.” said Master Sgt. Terangelo Davis, the current operations noncommissioned officer with the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade.

    Having the Soldiers and the military display set up at the event gave some of the students their first experience with the military and its Soldiers.

    “They love it because they hear about Soldiers but that's about how close they get to Soldiers,” said Will Williams, a retired first sergeant and volunteer at the school. “Today they get to interact with Soldiers, they get to put the gear on, they get to say 'Hooah.' They have been practicing it for a week and so this means a lot to them. It means more than anyone could ever imagine.”

    The school's Leadership, Experience and Opportunities, or LEO Club, led by a 15-year-old student, coordinated the unit's participation during the event.

    During Parent Weekend, students, parents and faculty had the chance to participate in many different things including a rock wall, balloon animals, free vision and hearing tests and more.

    The students typically stay at the school during the week so this gave their parents a chance to come to the school and see the facility, speak with their teachers and other parents.

    According to Robinson, this was the first time Soldiers from Fort Hood had visited the school.

    “As long as you keep pushing and pushing, you can overcome any obstacle that life puts in front of you.” Davis said, speaking on the most important thing he learned from visiting the students. “Just being out here and seeing how hard these kids are working every single day to overcome being visually impaired, keeping a positive outlook on things, that's what I admire most about these students.”

    “My hat is off to any one of these kids.”



    Date Taken: 11.08.2014
    Date Posted: 11.10.2014 16:52
    Story ID: 147510
    Location: AUSTIN, TX, US 

    Web Views: 146
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    Warrior Diplomat Soldiers join Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired during Parent Weekend