Local nonprofit provides employment opportunities to people who are blind while delivering high-quality products to federal, military and commercial customers
KINSTON, N.C., April 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Lions Industries for the Blind, Inc. (LIB) celebrated its 40th anniversary with a ribbon cutting, open house and community event at its manufacturing facility. Since 1971, LIB has been providing viable employment and training opportunities to blind and visually impaired citizens of eastern North Carolina. LIB has helped more than 500 people who are blind increase their economic and personal independence over the past 40 years.
"Over 40 years ago, Lions Industries for the Blind recognized the need for viable employment opportunities for the blind and visually impaired citizens of eastern North Carolina," said Senator Burr (R-North Carolina). "Today we honor them for being a valuable local leader and a national example to businesses across the country."
"I want to congratulate Lions Industries for the Blind for providing 40 years of high-quality service to its customers and employees alike," said Senator Kay Hagan (D-North Carolina). "I greatly appreciate LIB's commitment to helping people who are blind secure meaningful employment opportunities, and to the loyal LIB employees who have made this organization such a success."
"As a member of the Armed Services committee, I know how important organizations like Lions Industries for the Blind are to delivering great products and services to our men and woman in uniform," said Rep. Walter Jones (R-North Carolina). "The Kinston community is extremely proud of the success LIB has achieved over the past 40 years, and I applaud them on this impressive milestone."
Originally established as "Eastern Carolina Industries for the Blind, Inc." by the North Carolina Division of Services for the Blind and the Kinston Host Lions Club, LIB started as a humble operation of just five employees; today it has expanded to more than 60.
"Today is a great day for Lions Industries for the Blind employees, customers and the entire Kinston community," said Marc Camnitz, General Manager of LIB. "We were founded on the belief that people who are blind are more than capable of being active and productive members of the workforce, and exceeding our customers' expectations. Today is fantastic proof that we were right."
In 1976, LIB became an associated agency of National Industries for the Blind. As an associated agency, LIB manufactures and distributes high-quality products and services to federal and military customers through the AbilityOne Program. More recently, LIB also expanded its business to include custom embroidery and direct garment printing to commercial customers.
"The national unemployment rate for people who are blind hovers around 70%, so LIB's 40 years of success is extremely significant," said Kevin A. Lynch, President and CEO of NIB. "In partnership with associated nonprofit agencies like LIB, we're able to help create and sustain employment opportunities for more than 6,000 people who are blind."
Attendees had the opportunity to tour the manufacturing facility, meet the employees and get a firsthand look at why LIB has enjoyed 40 years of success. The tour showcased the unique and diverse products and services that federal, military and commercial customers purchase from LIB, ranging from custom sewing to "skid boards," which are used to air drop supplies in Afghanistan. Just last year, LIB manufactured more than 70,000 skid boards for the U.S. military.
About National Industries for the Blind
At National Industries for the Blind (NIB), it is our mission to enhance the opportunities for economic and personal independence of persons who are blind, primarily through creating, sustaining and improving employment. NIB and 90 associated agencies serve as the largest employer for people who are blind by the sale of SKILCRAFT® products and services through the AbilityOne Program, established by the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act. www.nib.org
SOURCE National Industries for the Blind