Kimberly Hackett-Schmidt, Nominator
“Given the proper training and opportunity, blind people can do anything sighted people can do. If I can be an example of that and lend encouragement it is really a gift to me.”
Marcus Schmidt refuses to consider his blindness an obstacle and since childhood, his goal has been to help other blind people feel the same way…leading them to learn how to become self-sufficient. His dedication to volunteerism started as a child, teaching blind school peers how to use public transportation to get around. Over the years he has affected the lives of hundreds of people across the country.
A 15-year-volunteer for the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), Schmidt is second Vice President for the Arizona affiliate that coordinates a variety of programs that empower the blind to live productive, independent lives. A few years ago, he founded a west Valley chapter of the NFB to help people acquire healthy outlooks, training and alternative techniques to deal with their blindness. As a member of the Phoenix Mayor’s Commission on Disability Issues, Schmidt heads the transportation committee and is dedicated to improving public transportation for the disabled. To encourage blind children, Schmidt is state coordinator and a mentor for the Youth Slam, a national science, technology, engineering and math leadership academy. The four-day event’s mission is to inspire blind youth to consider careers falsely believed to be impossible for them to enter.