10/26/2016 White Cane Awareness: Walk this Way

Story re-posted with permission, courtesy of The Suncoast News.
By CARL ORTH | The Suncoast News
Published online: October 26, 2016
Retrieved October 29, 2016

4 people crossing a busy street
Photo: CARL ORTH/STAFF.

NEW PORT RICHEY — Crossing Little Road is a challenge for most walkers, even with a crosswalk at a traffic signal in front of West Pasco Government Center in New Port Richey.

Some brave souls, however, donned blindfolds to try crossing the street.

The blindfold challenge came during the 2016 White Cane Day observance by the Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind.

Dozens of supporters of services for the visually impaired gathered for the white cane awareness event at the corner of Little Road and Citizens Drive. By law, drivers must yield to a pedestrian with a white cane.

“Honk if you know what the white cane means,” one sign read. Lighthouse boosters were thrilled when passing drivers tooted their horns in a show of support.

State Rep. Amanda Murphy, D-New Port Richey, Publix employees and county judges were among people who put on blindfolds to navigate the Little Road crosswalk by hearing only.

Lighthouse staffers and volunteers Kenny Ratzlaff and Doug Schalk were among those who ushered the participants along the crosswalk.

“It certainly is a different perspective going across not being able to see,” Publix employee Amanda Shanks commented after her blindfold challenge.

In the photo, participants took the blindfold challenge crossing Little Road during White Cane Day by Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind. Lighthouse staffer Doug Schalk leads participant Amanda Shanks onto the sidewalk, followed by Lighthouse staffer Kenny Ratzlaff ushering Chelsea Auld.