The Ingredients for a Full Life: An Interview with Jason Wengert
Tags: Employee Stories
Jason Wengert, 47, enjoys a full life with the support of family, friends, faith, and VisionCorps. He first connected with VisionCorps in 1999, when it was still the Susquehanna Association for the Blind and Vision Impaired.
“I was 27 at the time,” Jason recalled. “My vision rehabilitation counselor suggested I take a tour. I was interested in getting a job there.” VisionCorps’ Enterprise Group provides contract manufacturing services to government agencies, defense contractors, and commercial enterprises. Through the years, Jason has done a variety of tasks, including: folding, sanding, and assembly.
Even before Jason started working at VisionCorps, he was a patient and friend of renowned ophthalmologist and former VisionCorps Board Member Dr. Albert Alley. “He is the one who diagnosed my blindness as a baby,” Jason said. “We moved away, but whenever I came back here to visit, Dr. Alley would examine my eyes for things like glaucoma. We became friends. Sometimes he would take me out to eat, or we’d go to Hershey Park, or to church. He’s one of the people I look up to and feel accountable to. We have a special bond. He calls me his brother.”
Growing up, Jason attended schools for the blind in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Tennessee, and California. He also went to public schools in Colorado and California. Today, Jason and his mother once again call Lebanon home.
“My mother is a good influence on me,” Jason said. “She helps me with living skills and makes sure that I study the Bible.” Faith plays a strong role in their lives. He attends Bible study group meetings and reads a braille version of Christian Record Magazine.
Although he does some things differently, Jason’s life is typical. Several evenings, after work, he swims or goes to the YMCA to work out. He uses a white cane to get to the gym. Inside, he sometimes asks for assistance in getting to a specific weight machine. He rides with friends when they go out to restaurants, or church, and he uses screen-reading software to communicate with them through email.
Jason is grateful to VisionCorps for being there to help people of all ages who are blind or visually impaired. “Whether someone is losing their vision later in life, or they are born blind, they must realize they will need to learn different ways to do things,” he said. “VisionCorps can teach them how to get around safely using a white cane. They teach safe cooking techniques and other independent living skills. And they help people get jobs. And most important,” he said, “VisionCorps can help them cope.” He has found the ingredients for a full life, and hopes others will too.