Grant Weathers is a remarkable man who is the low vision technician at IFB Solutions Community Low Vision Center (CLVC) in Asheville. It’s his job and his passion as he helps people with low vision find the right low vision aids and solutions for them. He knows exactly what he’s doing with this group because Grant has low vision too.
In his late 20s Grant was a PGA golf pro, an excellent golfer, and looking forward to a long golf career. Within a few months he went from 20/20 vision to being legally blind due to Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON). He lost all his central vision but still has peripheral vision.
Unable to continue his golf career, he didn’t work at all for two years. For the next four years he worked part time, during this time a friend told him about IFB Solutions. He connected with them and was hired.
Initially he commuted from Greenville, SC each day, Depending on public transportation (like many people who have low vision) to leave at 5:30 am each morning, not returning home until 6:30 pm each night. Then he was able to move to Asheville and his hours began to resemble a normal working day. Initially Grant worked in the nonprofit’s Impulse Merchandising Program, then he moved to the stapler line assembling staplers. Now 40, for the past two years he’s managed the Community Low Vision Center in Asheville, and it’s changed his life.
The people he serves inspire him every day. One young girl with low vision visited the retail store and learned to use a video magnifier. She was able to copy and read sentences from a white board, something quite useful for her in school. After she wrote the sentences, she added two more. I am smart. I can learn. Grant says she only needed the right tool.
On another occasion, a couple came in to investigate the low vision aids. The husband with low vision began to read, something he had not been able to do for a long time. His wife wept tears of joy, so did he and Grant. The man now works at IFB Solutions, a happy resolution.
“I’ve never worked for a company that is so empowering, I’m not a liability; I’m an asset. I’m proud to work here,” Grant says.
Although his visual impairment kept him from pursuing the career he wanted as a golf pro, it’s given him a most satisfying career and he is grateful. It also gave him the confidence to step back into the world of golf. Last fall he competed in the American Blind Golf National Championship tournament; he won low net score in this national tournament! Grant continues to take back some of what blindness took from him.
The CLVC connects people who are low vision and blind with assistive devices and computer technology that helps them live more independently. Located within the IFB Solutions facility, there is no cost to be seen at the center. They offer an affordable range of prices for our devices. Through a Recycle for Sight program, the CLVC collects low vision devices from those who no longer need them and recycles them to people who cannot afford new items.
Senior adults can try out assistive devices that help them continue hobbies they love such as cooking, reading, sewing, and woodworking. Children can find new and better ways to keep up with schoolwork. Some of these aids include magnifiers, video magnifiers (CCTV) and talking devices such as watches and clocks.
The Asheville CLVC also includes access to low vision physicians who hold clinics three days a month at the CLVC. During this time patients receive low vision evaluations and recommendations for tools and technology to help them maintain their independence.
Asheville’s Community Low Vision Center is located at 240 Sardis Road, Asheville; the center is open Monday-Friday from 8-4. Call 828-761-2468 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.