Helping Hoosiers overcome adversity

Bosma Navigating Blindness logo
This weekend we celebrate Labor Day, which pays tribute to the contributions and acheivements of American workers. But there is a group of people who may experience this day a little differently and see an opportunity to bring awareness to their successes and opportunites for change. Facing a national unemployment rate of 70 percent, people who are blind or visually impaired must overcome significant challenges to become and remain part of the American workforce.

Bosma Enterprises is Indiana's largest employer and leading provider of rehabilitation and training services for people with blindness or visual impairment. With a history dating back more than 100 years, we help Hoosiers who are blind or visually impaired gain the life skills they need to remain independent and the job skills they need to stay self-sufficient. 

Ray Montgomery knows all about battling adversity. 

Ray on the steps of Capitol Hill.In 1997, Ray lost his sight after being shot while stopped in a car at a railroad crossing. In an instant, his life was changed. Like many people who experience vision loss, Ray began wondering if he would ever be able to live independently again. 

Rehabilitation services helped Ray learn to do things like walk with a cane and use a computer. However, it was difficult for him to find a job, and Ray soon found himself battling depression. After learning about Bosma Enterprises and the organization’s employment opportunities for people with vision loss, Ray applied and was offered a job working on our glove packaging line. 

Ray quickly established himself as a model employee and was eventually hired as an associate in Bosma Enterprises’ marketing department. He has since been promoted and is now a spokesperson for the organization, going out into the community to talk about the organization and his personal experiences.

One of Ray’s mentors at Bosma Enterprises is Vice President of External Affairs Lise Pace, and like Ray, Lise’s story is truly exceptional.

Lise Pace (R) and Jeff Mittman (L) with Congresswoman Victoria SpartzLise began her career in banking and anticipated a career focused on corporate advancement; however, everything changed in 2000 when she lost most of her usable vision due to retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disorder. Due to her vision loss, she stopped working for what she thought would be forever.

After initial feelings of misfortune and defeat, Lise decided her blindness would not be a hindrance to achieving professional success. She went back to school, earned associate’s, bachelor’s and MBA and rebuilt her skill set to navigate a new career path.

In 2008, Lise started volunteering with Bosma Enterprises and was soon hired to lead all of our organization’s volunteer programs. Since her first day, Lise has been on an upward trajectory, serving in various roles with increasing responsibility. Now a 10-year veteran of the organization, she oversees the customer service department and all communications, advertising, public policy and public relations efforts for the organization. 

Bosma Enterprises has been fortunate to assist Ray and Lise and thousands of other Hoosiers. Through our rehabilitation services and employment programs, we teach people experiencing vision loss how to successfully navigate their lives and jobs. We help them achieve true self-sufficiency, challenge misperceptions and break barriers.

You can make a difference as well. Volunteer your time and talents. Work with your company to identify job opportunities for people with vision loss, or help organizations like ours create jobs. Bosma Enterprises offers contract packaging, warehousing, logistics, product assembly and other scalable business solutions. 

We can all contribute to this important mission.

[Image captions: Top: Ray Montgomery standing on the steps of Capitol Hill. Bottom: Lise Pace (R) and Jeff Mittman (L) with Congresswoman Victoria Spartz.