Fox 21 News, KRDO News and KKTV News report Drive Blind Day May 2013
Fox 21 News 05-16-2013 (1min40sec)
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. -- Teens from the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind got to experience the thrill of driving in a controlled environment. MasterDrive donated their time and allowed students, who cannot safely or legally operate a vehicle in the street, to take a spin around their course.
"It's just the opportunity they've been waiting for," said driving instructor Spencer Pace. "They couldn't wait to jump into these cars."
The students and instructor took laps around the slalom course with a vehicle with dual brake controls.
"Just because these guys aren't gonna get that opportunity to get a drivers license, doesn't mean that it's any less of a life experience for them," said Pace. "It's the experience of them getting to do this is really what we're out here for."
Philo Grommon is a 17 year old student at the school. He lost his vision at age 14.
"One of the worst things about being blind is that I don't get to drive," he said. "I love cars, I love trucks, I love everything about them. And then this happens, and you know, it's kinda sad. All my friends are getting their permits and drivers license and I'm stuck at home. Can't drive."
16 year old Chandler Williams echoed Grommon's feelings.
"I've had a lot of friends with vision, who I'll see on Facebook that they're learning how to drive or getting their driver's license, and I've always wanted that experience," said Williams. "And so now I can say I've done it."
It's a day these teens say won't soon forget.
Chandler Williams "It'll be a great thing to reflect back on," gushed Williams.
"I'm gonna try to remember this for as long as I can," said Grommon. "It's really nice. It's like being normal for a little bit."
KRDO TV News 05-16-2013 (1min 29sec)
Blind drivers take on the obstacle course
Blind drivers get behind the wheel – ready, set, slide
A moment in the sun on Thursday that 13 students from the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind will never forget. MasterDrive instructors put them behind the wheel on a special obstacle course. It's a moment these teens will cherish because they'll never be able to do this on their own.
Philo Grommon is one of the students who got this opportunity to shine on the course, "Before this happened I was very big into cars and trucks. Being blind is kind of a damper. A lot of my friends are getting their license. I don't get to have that enjoyment so this is really nice." Philo lost his sight after being jumped and severely beaten at school. He may have lost his sight, but not his hope.
Justin Sutton is a MasterDrive Instructor who was Philo's co-pilot and navigator. He told me, "Philo's been awesome. It's been a pleasure teaching blind students. The amazing thing is we do a skid recovery. These students are almost better than able bodied students."
MasterDrive instructors are psyched to do this driving course again for other blind students next year. These students who had big smiles on their faces during the drive emphatically agree and as Philo put it, "Today is a good day."