Rep. Bob Etheridge Celebrates 15th Anniversary of AbilityOne Base Supply Centers at Ft. Bragg Event

Oct 14, 2010, 16:18 ET from National Industries for the Blind

Fort Bragg is flagship location of successful 140 store program

FORT BRAGG, N.C., Oct. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, blind and sighted employees, and officials including U.S. Representative Bob Etheridge (D-NC-02) and executives from National Industries for the Blind (NIB) and the Committee for Purchase from People who are Blind or Severely Disabled (the Committee), reached out to thank the community at Fort Bragg for its support and to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the AbilityOne Base Supply Center program.

The highly successful AbilityOne BSC program began 15 years ago, with the first location opening its doors at Fort Bragg on October 11, 1995.  

Rep. Etheridge, who introduced a Congressional Resolution commemorating the 15th Anniversary of the AbilityOne BSC Program, attended the celebration where he shared words of praise and admiration for the support the BSC Program provides the U.S. military at Ft. Bragg and throughout the nation.

"The men and women who work at the LC Industries AbilityOne Base Supply Center are supporting the 82nd Airborne by providing the products and services necessary to allow America's military to complete its mission," Rep. Etheridge said.  "As a U.S. Army veteran who was once stationed at Fort Bragg, I am proud that AbilityOne's flagship Base Supply Center can trace its beginnings back to North Carolina – the most military friendly state in America.  For 15 years, the AbilityOne BSC Program has provided excellent on-base mission support to our men and women in uniform, while also offering employment opportunities to individuals who are blind or severely disabled. In recognition of this excellence, it was an honor to sponsor a resolution recognizing Fort Bragg's AbilityOne Base Supply Center as a national leader – the first of 140 Base Supply Centers across the country."

NIB President & CEO Kevin Lynch, who helped establish the AbilityOne BSC program in 1995, praised the Fort Bragg base command for its insight and assistance in creating the foundation for a successful program that provides jobs for people who are blind.

"This program has grown from one store 15 years ago to 140 facilities located at federal and military installations throughout the United States," Lynch said.  "300 Americans who are blind or severely disabled are directly employed in the BSC Program, along with thousands more who make SKILCRAFT products or provide services."

U.S. Senators Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Richard Burr (R-NC) also had words of praise for the employees of the LCI BSC at Fort Bragg and the AbilityOne Program.

"The AbilityOne Base Supply Center Program is working to provide employment opportunities to individuals who are blind or severely disabled in North Carolina and across the country," Hagan noted in a statement released to NIB. "This program has roots in North Carolina -- the first center was located at Fort Bragg.  AbilityOne employees are serving our country by working to support our men and women in the military."

"I congratulate the AbilityOne Base Supply Centers on their 15th anniversary of operation. I am proud that the first AbilityOne Base Supply Center opened in my home state of North Carolina," Burr said in a statement to NIB. "The AbilityOne Program and the AbilityOne Base Supply Centers are to be commended for their dedication, commitment and success in eliminating barriers to employment and independence for individuals who are blind or severely disabled."

Also attending today's event were Robert Franks, Director of Logistics at Fort Bragg, Barry Lineback from the Committee, and Bill Hudson, President of LC Industries.

"Fifteen years ago, we saw an opportunity to create jobs for people who are blind, but I don't think we imagined it would be as successful as it has been," said Hudson.  "I am honored and humbled by the support shown here today for our employees and for the AbilityOne Base Supply Center program. I know everyone at LC Industries is proud to serve over 31 BSC locations, offering quality, value and convenience to our servicemen and women."

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 89 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. For more information regarding how NIB and NIB associated agencies continue to provide opportunities to Americans who are blind, please visit:

SOURCE National Industries for the Blind