Sight Savers America Tribute Wall at UAB Callahan Eye HospitalOn July 13, 2023, Sight Savers America proudly revealed this year’s Hero For Sight Tribute Wall, along with the 2023 Hero For Sight Artwork and 2023 Hall W. Thompson Hero For Sight Award recipient plaque, at the renowned UAB Callahan Eye Hospital in Birmingham.

The UAB Callahan Eye Hospital has generously provided space for the Sight Savers America Hero For Sight Tribute Wall since 2014. Each year, during a special award ceremony, a new honoree and artist are chosen to be featured on the wall. Located on the hospital's first floor, the Tribute Wall serves as a meaningful recognition of individuals who have made exceptional contributions to promoting eye health and vision care.

Sight Savers America has been dedicated to supporting children's vision care through various programs since 1997. These initiatives provide comprehensive eye care services, facilitate access to eye clinics and low vision clinics, and deliver vision aids directly to families in need. All these services are offered free of charge to qualifying families, ensuring that financial constraints do not hinder children from receiving essential eye care.

As a partner in Sight Savers America's mission, UAB Callahan Eye takes immense pride in contributing to the cause of enhancing vision health access for children. Together, we strive to make a positive impact on the lives of young individuals by improving their eye health and promoting a brighter future through better vision care.

John Mascia2023 Hall W. Thompson Hero For Sight Award Recipient

John Mascia, AuD
President, Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind

On January 1, 2013, Dr. John Mascia became the 17th President of the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, the nation’s most comprehensive education and service program for children, adults, and seniors with hearing and vision loss.

Dr. Mascia received his B.A. degree from Hofstra University in Speech Pathology/Audiology in 1983 and also holds a Masters Degree in Audiology. He began his professional career in 1985 as an Audiologist. He received his doctorate in Audiology in 2004 from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry.

Dr. Mascia began his tenure with the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind as Executive Director, Gentry Facility and Regional Centers in 2005. In 2009, he was named Vice President, Adult Services at the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, and served in that position until January 2013 when he was appointed President.

The partnership between Dr. Mascia, AIDB, and Sight Savers America spans many years. It includes referring clients to each other’s programs, co-hosting low vision clinics, and seeking joint funding. It has been, and continues to be, a close working relationship.

Dr. Mascia has received numerous awards for his work with deaf and blind individuals. He is married and the father of two daughters, a son, and a granddaughter.

John Bramblitt2023 Hero For Sight Artist

John Bramblitt

John Bramblitt is an artist living in Denton Texas. His art has been sold in over 120 countries and he has appeared internationally in print, TV and radio. And John is blind.

Prior to his blindness, John studied at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, where he graduated with honors. When he lost the last of his vision in 2001 due to complications with epilepsy and Lyme disease, his hopes of becoming a creative writing teacher were shattered and he sunk into a deep depression. He felt disconnected from family and friends, alienated and alone. But then something amazing happened — he discovered painting. He learned to distinguish between different colored paints by feeling their textures with his fingers. He taught himself how to paint using raised lines to help him find his way around the canvas, and through something called haptic visualization, which enables him to “see” his subjects through touch. He now paints amazingly lifelike portraits of people he’s never seen–including his wife and son.

He currently works as a consultant for museums in developing programs that are designed to include everyone – no matter their ability or disability. While art was always a major part of John’s life, it was not until he lost his sight that he began to paint. According to John, “Everyone has an artist somewhere in them; sometimes they just need a little help letting it out.”