A group of around 40 young people, parents and Lighthouse staff recently participated in a unique, daylong outing at Discovery Cove® in Orlando, FL—an all-inclusive day resort where guests enjoy a one-of-a-kind opportunity to swim with dolphins, rays and tropical fish, and hand-feed exotic birds.
Richard Wertsching, a 57 year-old Connecticut native who goes by, ‘Rick’, is a volunteer leader who sits on the board at Lighthouse Works. Wertsching has contributed not just his time to the Lighthouse mission, but also his talent and treasure. He is currently the Vice President of Strategic Sourcing for the Theme Parks and Resorts segment of the Disney Company and has called Florida home for the past 10 years.
Friends, this issue of our newsletter holds particular significance to me because our lead article features the late Donna J. Esbensen, former vice president and CFO at Lighthouse Central Florida and a woman I considered a very close friend.
On January 24, 2016, our beloved community stalwart and Lighthouse family member, Donna J. Esbensen, departed this world after her battle with cancer. Donna was devoted to the mission of Lighthouse Central Florida and served as the organization’s vice president and chief financial officer (CFO) for over 17 years.
Did you know that the number of Florida residents with impaired vision, including blindness, could more than double over the next three decades? The direct and indirect costs of vision problems among all age groups statewide total an amount just shy of $10 billion! If appropriate preventive and rehabilitative steps are not taken, costs will burgeon as the population of Florida ages and the life expectancy increases.
Eighteen year old Kari Ross possesses a level of maturity and community-mindedness well beyond her youthful age. The Florida native and high school senior has been connected to the mission of Lighthouse Central Florida for several years, dating back to when her father, a local attorney, first lost his vision.
Happy New Year to you all! This year marks 40 years that we have been in this community delivering vision specific, rehabilitation services to Central Florida’s blind and visually impaired. With your help, we will continue to expand our life changing, cutting edge services to Central Floridians of all ages who live with vision loss, while also offering support to their families, friends, colleagues and employers. Let’s make it a banner year!