Daily Point of Light # 2609 Feb 4, 2004

Volunteers are the backbone of Associated Services for the Blind (ASB). Without them, ASB would be unable to provide programs and services that give people who are blind and visually impaired greater independence.

Seventy-nine year old Dr. Joseph Gebhardt has been an ASB volunteer for 34 years. A retired chemist, Dr. Gebhardt has used his professional expertise to enrich the lives of people with visual and other disabilities. Each month, he spends 20 to 25 hours reading and recording Scientific American and Smithsonian magazines, for people who are unable to read for themselves. This service is part of ASB’s Recorded Periodicals Division. This service offers a wide variety of magazine subscriptions on cassette tape, and helps bring the world a little closer for people who are blind or visually impaired.

Dr. Gebhardt’s recordings are also broadcast over ASB’s Radio Information Center for the Blind (RICB). RICB is a 24-hour radio reading service that broadcasts local and national newspapers, advertisements, magazines, television listings, movies and programming of special interest, to those who are unable to read print.

Recorded periodicals and radio reading services play an important role in the independence of people who are blind or visually impaired. They give people access to news and other information that otherwise would not be readily available. Without the dedication and commitment of volunteers, Associated Services for the Blind would not be able to provide these services, which are almost entirely run by volunteers.

In addition to recording, Dr. Gebhardt repairs the playback equipment that is issued free to listeners. He spends a half a day a week fixing these machines that enable listeners to hear the recordings.

Dr. Joseph Gebhardt has made a difference in the lives of so many people throughout the course of his life. During his career he was dedicated to the advancement of science. As a retiree, he is dedicated to the promotion of independence for people who are blind and visually impaired. His commitment to helping others has made him a role model for all volunteers of ASB.