We raise the expectations of blind people and educate others on visual impairment. You can live the life you want, blindness is not what holds you back. The National Federation of the Blind Vermont knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future.

From the President:

Good Day from Brattleboro!

My name is Micah Ranquist. On October 29, 2016 I was elected President of the National Federation of the Blind Vermont Affiliate. I was considered unaffiliated until October 2014 when I attended my first NFB state convention here in Vermont. I spent the following two years considering my own life as a blind person and researching the various state and national organizations and agencies associated with blindness.

During this time of research and self-reflection I realized that there is a specific set of needs right here in Vermont that I can help meet. The culminations of my life experiences and personal hopes for the blind have groomed me to be ready to serve as the NFB Vermont Affiliate President.

I’m a Vermont woodworker who crafts unique works of art, transforming natural woods and other products into one-of-a-kind gifts. Though I was born with a genetic condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa, which has caused my vision to steadily deteriorate since I was a young boy, I’ve never let that stop me from following my dreams. Some of my lifetime achievements have been graduating as Valedictorian of my high school class, teaching myself to play several instruments, and advanced study in everything from computer sciences to culinary arts. But I’ve always loved working with my hands, and my mastery of wood turning has led me down a path of creating commissioned artwork.

My primary goals as President are:

  • To establish an organizational structure and networking style that promotes outreach to blind and blind allies even in a state with such a geographically widespread population.
  • To advocate for the blind through all levels of state government and to encourage an understanding of and willingness for self-advocacy amongst Vermonts’ blind.

I am very pleased to have the support of the newly elected board of our Affiliate. I can not speak highly enough of each of them. Franklin Shiner, former Affiliate President is serving as Board Member, advisor and personal mentor. Brett Hess, forer Affiliate President is serving as our secretary. Paul Sumner and Moe Cook, two bright and energetic upcoming leaders in the blind community are serving as Vice President and Board Member respectively.

We are all excited for the chance to build the National Federation of the Blind and look forward to working with all of you as part of that!

Micah Ranquist