New Mexico VA Health Care System
VA to Celebrate White Cane Safety Day
October 12, 2017
ALBUQUERQUE – Visitors and patients at the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center in Albuquerque will have an opportunity to learn more about safe travel techniques for the visually impaired on Monday, Oct. 16. An information table will be set up in the medical center’s main lobby (Bldg. 41) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. that day for White Cane Safety Day.
Every year on October 15, White Cane Safety Day is recognized by presidential proclamation. President Lyndon B. Johnson first proclaimed National White Cane Safety Day in 1964 with these words, “A white cane in our society has become one of the symbols of a blind person’s ability to come and go on his own. Its use has promoted courtesy and special consideration for the blind on our streets and highways. To make our people more fully aware of the meaning of the white cane, and of the need for motorists to exercise special care for the blind persons who carry it, the Congress, by joint resolution has authorized the President to proclaim October 15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day.”
The proclamation helps to continually educate Americans about the cane and its usage. For thousands of Americans who are blind or visually impaired, the white cane is a vital tool for safety travel.
“Visually impaired veterans returning home from World War II in greater numbers and seeking reintegration into their communities were the inspiration for the continued development of the long white cane and many travel techniques used today,” said Trudi Valdez, Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST) coordinator for the New Mexico VA Health Care System. “Most Americans know that the white cane is a travel tool for its visually impaired user and a signal to alert the general public to use common courtesies. If you see a blind person using a cane and are not sure what to do, just ask!”
The Department of Veterans Affairs provides a comprehensive array of services for veterans with low vision and blindness. For more information about services available for visually impaired veterans in New Mexico, contact Trudi Valdez in Albuquerque at (505) 256-2774.