Blind Army civilian earns achievement award
November 20, 2012
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. -- An employee here was one of three award recipients at the recent Association for the Blind's annual dinner.
Caitlin Best, an equal employment opportunity assistant, received the Arline Philips Achievement Award, named for the founder of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Association for the Blind. The annual award is presented to a blind or visually impaired person whose lifestyle and independence sets an example for others.
Best was born with Retinopathy of Prematurity, a potentially blinding eye disorder that affects premature infants. After a series of operations for the removal of cataracts, retinal detachments and glaucoma, she lost most of her sight. Even though there are moments she wonders how things could be different, Best hasn't let anything slow her down.
"There are times when I obviously get depressed, but I try not to get upset," she said. "I always try to be optimistic."
Best received a guide dog from the Association for the Blind in 2011 after her vision worsened. Teka, a black Labrador, has allowed Best to remain independent and perform her duties at the depot. Best is thankful for the support she's received throughout her life and has begun trying to return the favor.
"I started to really get into advocating for the blind and speaking about guide dogs," she said. Best also said she is grateful her job at the depot gives her the opportunity to help disabled workers the same way she was helped.
Tobyhanna Army Depot is the Defense Department's largest center for the repair, overhaul and fabrication of a wide variety of electronics systems and components, from tactical field radios to the ground terminals for the defense satellite communications network. Tobyhanna's missions support all branches of the Armed Forces.
About 5,400 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army CECOM. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., the command's mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.