Archives - June, 2012

30 Jun 12

By Randy Pierce

Gorgeous sunset on Mt. Washington

Gorgeous sunset on Mt. Washington.

Independence day 2010 marked the first official 2020 Vision Quest hike. We experienced an amazing sunset beside Lake of the Clouds on Mt. Washington and proudly stood upon the summit pin as part of the incredible experience. The journey and results were captured fantastically in a short and long version you can appreciate below:

Blind to Failure (the long version)

Blind Ambition (the short version)

Ultimately though we reached the summits of both Monroe and Washington, neither count as success in our pursuit of the 48 because as a group we decided we could not reasonably hike down the mountain in the time we had remaining. It was a bittersweet start to our project. Since then we’ve put 23 of the 48 into the success column and are now poised to leap over the halfway mark with an early July return to both Monroe and Washington once again.

We have learned a few lessons and skills along the journey and feel very confident we have a much better likelihood of reaching our goal on this expedition. Certainly some might suggest our winter accomplishment makes this a near certainty, but our recent hike on Mt. Jackson reminded us how much more challenging the experience is without snow smoothing the trails for us.

Our July 2010 scramble up the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail on Mt. Washington took us over 8 hours from start to the Lake of the Clouds hut. In the winter that journey was an astounding 2 hours into incredibly majestic views and an unrivalled feeling of accomplishment.

I understand the time-sensitive work required to the gem pool, up the steep steps of the Ammo to the “Avocado Falls” overlook. There it will be a hands-to-the-ground scramble to reach the hut and ideally before noon to ensure we can reduce our packs and prepare for the 3-mile round trip to the summit on that same day.

All aspects of the weather will impact our chances and as always with the crown jewel of the white mountains, we must be prepared to change/adjust/cancel any aspect of this journey. Still, I know what I know of every experience–I succeed already when I make the choice to undertake and properly plan such an endeavor. I cannot tell you anything other than my fervent hope and intent to celebrate success, independence and a tremendous feeling of freedom!

Mt. Washington Summit 2010

Mt. Washington Summit 2010


23 Jun 12

By Randy Pierce

Watching television or a movie is often a frustrating experience when you can’t see what’s on the screen. There is a solution which has existed for many years, but its use has been very limited. Until now, that is!

A new policy will require mainstream TV networks to include DVS (Descriptive Video Service) as of July 1, 2012. DVS, much like closed captioned programming for the hearing impaired, is a means to enhance the experience of blind users “watching” television or movies. A narrator describes key visual points while working around speech and key sound effects of the program. The script carefully integrates the narration to ensure the experience can be fully appreciated by the sight impaired.

If you want to more fully understand the process I recommend a tour of the Wikipedia entry. Many movies and recent DVD/Blue Ray releases already include this feature, but very few television programs have done so.

The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act is what is pushing this changeover in the TV arena. On July 1, the results of a 12-year effort will finally be realized when a steadily increasing number of networks and cable channels will be required to include more and more programming that includes this service.

While legislation has forced this decision, ensuring programming is ready for the service in another matter. The schedule impact and cost are not insignificant. CBS has already led the way with several options that demonstrate its feasibility, while other networks are finding the cost of $2,000-4,000 cost per hour an impairment to their integration.

The battle is over for now and the service will become steadily more utilized, but the question remains: is it the right decision?

Unfortunately, the television menu systems are not yet accessible to readily enable a blind person to turn on the feature without assistance. There is also no standard yet to alert a blind person when such a feature is available. Ideally, a tone will give such an alert but this only helps if someone is present at the right moment.

So to make this solution effective, it will require more planning, as well as accessible and informative program schedules going forward. I’m not sure I can entirely justify the present system, but I am sure I can and will very much appreciate when it is available.


17 Jun 12

By Randy Pierce

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, French writer (1900 – 1944 Detailed Biography)

Have you ever wished for a change, some difference you would want for your life? Perhaps an even better question is, did you mean it?

Whether your wish is small or great, the best way to get there is to make a plan to achieve it and begin the work. In most instances, the greater the reward, the more the work involved to reach the goal and the easier it is to let that hope slip away again. Reminding yourself of how you felt at the moment of the wish for change is an essential part of motivating yourself through the real work required.

The plan is the series of steps you must take on the journey. The destination is the motivation to keep yourself along the path. Since I believe achieving a goal is always more about the journey than the destination, I believe in a plan which appreciates all the steps along the way, no matter how difficult each step may seem.

A friend of mine, Ed Fackler, has been on an inspiring and incredible journey of his own: he wanted to drastically reduce his weight. A recent post of his encouraged me to ask his permission to share it. The message and the question applies to each of us for any and all of the wishes or goals we choose to pursue on our journey.

I encourage you to read his words below and watch his story unfold on his Youtube channel.

“I Would Give Anything” –by Ed Fackler

Once upon a time a man said,
” I would give anything to be thin.”
” I would do anything to be healthy and slim.”
” I would pay anything to not feel like I do now.”

And he meant every word with every fiber of his being. Or so he thought.

Many months later he had the same painful thoughts.

” I would give anything to be thin.”
” I would do anything to be healthy and slim.”
” I would pay anything to not feel like I do now.”

This time after some minutes of reflection he realized that while he had been looking for an instant cure, one that would surely carry an impossible price, there might be another way. It might come in another form. There seemed, in fact, a way to pay that immense price.

So everyday, He paid what part of the price that he could. Sometimes he paid with some lost sleep. Sometimes with some sweat. Sometimes with some hunger.

So everyday, he did the things that he didn’t do before. He did go to the gym. He did build his core with a personal trainer. He did count calories, fat, carbs and protein. He did run, jump and lift until he was tired, sore and hurt.

So everyday, he gave up some of the foods that he loved but were higher in calories. He gave up TV to get time to be at the gym. He gave away anything that stood in the way of his dream.

He paid by means of consistency. Even though the paying cost him the most valuable thing in the world. He paid and invested his TIME.

And slowly, day by day, by his giving, his doing and his paying… he began to change.

The change was very subtle at first. Almost imperceptible. Yet slowly the daily changes added up. Over days, weeks and months, even though he didn’t notice at first, he began to get what he wanted. This happened because he gave, did and paid, every day. He stopped complaining about how he didn’t have the money for an all-at-once operation or special procedure to make him thin. He focused on the paying, the giving and the doing for that day, and it alone. Instead of waiting until he HAD all the money or the means to pay the whole bill, all at once, ( purchasing the magic change that would make his transformation fast and easy), he invested a little bit everyday. He gave, paid and did what he had to, despite his time being beyond value. Every day he scrounged and clawed to get gather all the loose little bits of free time so that he could invest the maximum for that day.

And after investing, some amount every day for a year, he looks in the mirror and sees the reflection of his physical self, half the mass, half the person that he had been.

At that time I am be able to say in all honesty to myself:

I gave anything I needed to to be thin.
I did anything I needed to be healthy and slim.
I paid anything to be feel great.

I just held myself to my offer and my words to give/do/pay anything. I did it with consistency. By paying something everyday, I was able to create what seemed to be an impossible payment. The value of each day had its price, but together the results were priceless.

I know you said it. Somewhere in your life. And now I ask you…
When you said,
” I would give anything…”
” I would do anything….
” I would pay anything…”

Did you mean it?

I did.


9 Jun 12

By Randy Pierce

On May 31, I had walked roughly 54 miles in 22 effectively consecutive hours (less meals and bathrooms) with the final stretch including a bit of running needed to keep to an arrival time at our Applebees fundraiser. My feet and ankles had begun to swell significantly from the cellulitis infection I didn’t know existed. I had been awake for 36 hours and knew I’d repeat much of it the next day. In short, I was not at my enthusiastic and inspirational best.

I was, however, standing beside the “hardcore four” who had been with me every step of the way and would repeat it with me. They were pretty inspirational but similarly drained, until the throng of 50 folks at Applebee’s congratulated us with a mighty cheer! The people, their kindness, and encouragement continued throughout the evening. I was inspired, perhaps most of all by a little metal pin that said “Believe” in English on one side and Braille on the other, though my hands were too swollen to feel and read the letters. It was in my hand when I went to sleep for a few hours that night.

During the morning of June 1, I gave a few presentations, and by 1:00 p.m. I was back on the road. Somewhere around mile 80, I started dedicating each mile in my mind to a person who was part of this tribute to 100 years of service by the New Hampshire Association for the Blind. Whether it was Mary Chase the NHAB walk coordinator and incredibly kind and caring friend who coordinated my send-off and arrival; fellow client Dick Clark and his wife Linda who arrived at the send-off with some inspirational words; Glenn Gunn who taught me mobility skills with a blind cane; Karen who gave me the “Believe” pin in my pocket; Sarah and Robbie coordinating the team and growing it while I was walking; Bob Werner for donating the chase car; Tracy for jogging with me; Deb for the top Facebook support; Jennifer for the most Facebook posts; Robert for walking through his birthday; Chris for pushing all his limits beside me; Tracy for her half marathon beside me; Quinn and more people than there were miles…

On June 2, it was cold and rainy at 6 a.m. as I trotted the final miles of our quest. A few blisters had split badly and another 20 hours of consecutive miles had drained me incredibly, despite the many miles I spent in gratitude. The swelling in my feet and ankles had turned ugly colors and crept up my shins. The rain turned driving and my feet no longer even fit into shoes so I crammed them into crocks and hobbled with my wife into the lot at NHAB.

Hundreds of people were there laughing, shouting, and ignoring anything the weather was throwing at us. They cheered, they congratulated, and they absolutely buoyed my spirits. I stepped up to the microphone after some very kind words by George and I thanked those “fabulous, well-meaning lunatics” (to borrow a quote from the Silly Wizards). I told them how proud I was of them all for being there and how moved I was by their presence and by their support of an organization who, in giving 100 years of service, had far surpassed my 100-mile tribute. I told them sadly that the miles had been hard and that I couldn’t now walk the 3K with them but that I’d stay and support them through it… and …that I was sorry.

As I walked over to my team, a team of incredibly more than our 100-person goal, I could not believe the claps on the back, the words of encouragement, the laughs, the hugs, and the numbers, the incredible numbers there to support me and NHAB in this driving rain. I was asked to help get them started. As I led the way to the start, the adrenalin and inspiration of so many amazing people flowed into me. Ten steps and I walked a little easier, 20 steps and I thought about maybe I could walk a bit with them, 30 steps and I asked Tracy before I turned and told them all I couldn’t help myself, I was going to walk it with them… and I did.

I talked with many of them but not nearly enough as we strolled the final miles of my long journey. Yes, my legs hurt, yes, I was exhausted, but most of all–yes, I was inspired. I was so full of pride at such wonderful and inspiring people giving me the strength and courage to take a few more steps and celebrate all that experience brought to us all.

part of the team walking in the rain

I do a lot of things to help support the so many worthwhile causes that I believe deserve my best efforts. I hear heartwarmingly often that my efforts matter and are appreciated. I hope to express as clearly as possible how very many people inspired me on the 100-mile journey and most especially on the final steps. Most of the names in my mile dedication appeared during those final moments and they were surrounded by oh so many more. I had a lot of time to reflect on the folks at the walk and along the way to and from it actual and metaphorical.

When people need inspiration the most they may reach deep into their reserves of help and hope. Thank you to all of you who are part of those deep reserves of help and hope from which get so very much inspiration. Please remember you are my inspiration and I am very, very grateful! – and please “Believe.” I sure do!


2 Jun 12

By Tracy Pierce

Randy’s preparations for his ambitious 100-mile walk afforded me the opportunity to write a guest blog this week.

As I write this, Randy is just about halfway through his 100-mile walk. Our team for NHAB’s 3k walk on Saturday is fast approaching our 100-person goal. I suppose it is not very suspenseful but I have no doubt that Randy will accomplish the 100 miles. His vision and force of will are a part of our everyday life and I have unerring faith in his ability to finish.

Yet, there is more to his success than that. There is, obviously, the fantastic partnership with an amazing guide dog, The Mighty Quinn. There is the support of Randy’s amazing walk team of Robert, Jennifer and Chris (Thank you for letting me feel he is safe through your support!). To our friends Sarah and Robbie who took over some key coordination tasks, thank you! There are those who choose to join NHAB’s walk-a-thon, donate, or share our story. The community support has been overwhelming and I know I can speak for Randy when I offer a resounding thank you from both of us.

Ultimately, Randy will have completed a great feat through his own strength, yet buoyed by the love, support and strength of those around him. It is my wish that you can take some strength back from that and look for some peaks of your own to go after. Let us know how we can support YOU in your own quest!

Werner and Randy


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