‘Cen­tury of Change’

Cor­ner Brook men rec­og­nized by the CNIB

The Western Star - - FRONT PAGE - BY DIANE CROCKER

In 1972 Dar­rell Pike was pur­su­ing em­ploy­ment in another busi­ness area, but it just wasn’t work­ing out for him.

Then an op­por­tu­nity be­came avail­able to work with the CNIB and the Cor­ner Brook man jumped at it.

“It was my life’s work,” he said on Wed­nes­day morn­ing af­ter be­ing pre­sented with a CNIB Cen­tury of Change Medal dur­ing an event at Cor­ner Brook City Hall.

Pike was one of two peo­ple hon­oured with the medal, mark­ing the CNIB’s 100th an­niver­sary. The other was Terry Gard­ner.

“I just hit my niche right away,” said Pike of his work with the or­ga­ni­za­tion help­ing peo­ple who are blind or par­tially sighted and their fam­i­lies and peo­ple in the com­mu­nity.

Pike lost his own sight at the age of nine.

“I think by be­ing blind it showed peo­ple that blind­ness wasn’t the end of the world for a lot of peo­ple.”

He worked with the CNIB for 36 years, re­tir­ing in 2008. “I en­joyed ev­ery minute of it.” But his in­volve­ment with the or­ga­ni­za­tion hasn’t stopped. He now vol­un­teers and con­tin­ues to ad­vo­cate for peo­ple with vi­sion loss. He’s par­tic­u­larly look­ing for­ward to get­ting out to the CNIB fam­ily camp and an adult camp that will take place in Au­gust.

“I’m hon­oured,” he said when asked how it felt to re­ceive the medal.

“It’s not some­thing that I ex­pected. I just go about my work as quiet as pos­si­ble and if I can help any­one dur­ing a day, well my day has been well spent.

“This old blind­ness. I’m in charge, not the blind.”

Gard­ner’s vi­sion loss oc­curred mid­way through his work­ing life. When he first got in­volved with the CNIB as a client one of the first things he did is learn Braille. Pike was his teacher.

“We used to fight over it,” he said with a laugh as Pike would tell him to slow down, that there was lots of time to learn, but Gard­ner wanted to con­quer it as fast as he could.

It wasn’t long be­fore Gard­ner got more in­volved with the or­ga­ni­za­tion, serv­ing on the board and help­ing in the of­fice.

“Wher­ever I can help out I al­ways like to do what­ever I can,” said the man who has be­come an ad­vo­cate for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties.

The thing he takes the most plea­sure in is help­ing with peer sup­port.

When the of­fice gets a new client, who is hav­ing strug­gles or a hard time deal­ing with their vi­sion loss, they of­ten call on him. “Ob­vi­ously, be­cause I’ve walked in their shoes. I know what they’ve ex­pe­ri­enced and I know what they’re in for.”

Help­ing them, he said, has given him the most grat­i­fi­ca­tion.

For him it’s about giv­ing back to an or­ga­ni­za­tion that has helped him so much.

“If it wasn’t for the staff at the CNIB, to be quite hon­est with you be­cause I had strug­gles for four years, I prob­a­bly wouldn’t be here.”

Gard­ner was also hon­oured to re­ceive the award.

“It’s nice to know that there’s some­body pay­ing at­ten­tion. That you get the recog­ni­tion for the time that you put into it af­ter a lot of years of putting time into it.”

The event at city hall also in­cluded a flag rais­ing and procla­ma­tion sign­ing.

DIANE CROCKER/THE WESTERN STAR

Cor­ner Brook Mayor Jim Par­sons, left, presents Dar­rell Pike with a CNIB Cen­tury of Change Medal dur­ing a cer­e­mony at city hall on Wed­nes­day.

DIANE CROCKER/THE WESTERN STAR

Terry Gard­ner, left, and Dar­rell Pike were pre­sented with CNIB Cen­tury of Change Medals dur­ing a cer­e­mony at city hall on Wed­nes­day.

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