Visually impaired veterans tour the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies
Veterans at the Gulf Coast Blind Rehab Center visited the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies today.
Although these veterans may be visually impaired, that didn’t stop them from enjoying their first big outing since the pandemic at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport. IMMS President Dr. Moby Solangi said, “They have done a lot for our country. We are safe because of them and we feel like they deserve the best that is possible. They have had some disabilities and this is a time for them to really enjoy life.”
The Gulf Coast Blind Rehab Center is a part of the VA. Each month they take the veterans out on an activity to help them with the skills that they have learned inside the rehab center. Gulf Coast Blind Rehab Center Chief Debra Gilley said, “They bring their long white canes. They bring their iPhones, their iPads, the different devices that they have been working on in the center.”
The veterans enjoyed feeding the birds, parrot entertainment, and a dolphin show. Gilley says that although they have a deficit in one area, it does not stop them. “We still have all of our other senses. We need to engage them and we have given them tools and techniques to be using out in the community.”
Shannon Armant, a veteran at the center, says his favorite part was feeding the birds. “The bird landing on the stick that was a great thing.”
Armant has only been a patient at the facility for ten days, but has gained so much independence. “Having more confidence knowing I can do what I thought I couldn’t do.”