Submitted photo CONSUMER OF THE YEAR: David Cox, at his vending stand inside the Arkansas Career Training Institute, was recently named a DHS Division of Services for the Blind Hot Springs area Consumer of the Year.

Submitted photo CONSUMER OF THE YEAR: David Cox, at his vending stand inside the Arkansas Career Training Institute, was recently named a DHS Division of Services for the Blind Hot Springs area Consumer of the Year.

Man honored for overcoming adversity

By staff reports
This article was published November 10, 2017 at 4:00 a.m.

A Hot Springs man was recognized Thursday as the area's outstanding Consumer of the Year by the Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Services for the Blind.

David Cox, who is legally blind, is a vending facility manager at Arkansas Career Training Institute, formerly known as Hot Springs Rehabilitation Center. He previously owned an auto repair shop for 30 years, DHS said in a news release.

The achievement award was presented during Thursday's Hot Springs Lions Club meeting at Colorado Grill. Cox was selected for the award from an area that includes Saline, Garland, Hot Spring, Grant, Clark, and part of Pulaski counties.

DSB Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Henry Washington nominated Cunningham for the achievement award because of his determination to overcome adversity, serve others, and succeed at work.

"Mr. Cox has developed a business enterprise, which is flourishing, and his sales productivity continues to increase," Washington said in the release.

Cox said in the release that he started having vision problems in 2014 and was diagnosed with severe open angle glaucoma in both eyes and retinal detachment in his right eye. He has no light perception in his right eye and a limited field of vision in his left eye. He has had multiple eye surgeries over the years that were covered by insurance. Recently, his hearing declined and DSB provided him with hearing aids.

Along with counseling and guidance, the agency provided a white cane and a carrying holster; various types of magnifiers; a talking watch; and a talking calculator. Cox said he is "especially thankful for the opportunity to manage a vending facility." DSB paid his hotel room and board while he was in training in Little Rock for four weeks shadowing other vendors at vending facilities in state and federal buildings.

DSB operates the Vending Facility Program through the Randolph-Sheppard Act, originally passed in 1936, and Arkansas Act 201 of 1969, to create entrepreneurial opportunities for people who are blind through the operation of food and vending service businesses located on any federal property. DSB locates the sales site; initially equips and stocks the facility; maintains the equipment; trains the vendor; and provides oversight and record keeping. Congress expanded the act in 1974, to include the operation of cafeterias. Cox sells prepackaged foods and drinks at his facility, the release said.

Cox enjoys helping care for his 5-year-old granddaughter and, in his spare time, enjoys listening to audio books. He collected stamps until his vision changed.

This is the 10th year that DSB has given Consumer of the Year awards to recognize individuals who have managed their vocational rehabilitation plans, gained marketable skills, secured good jobs, and become role models for others. An overall state winner will be selected at the end of the year.

DSB provides vocational rehabilitation services to adults who are blind or severely visually impaired and whose goal is successful employment. The division also serves youth and older blind individuals.

Local on 11/10/2017
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