By: Laura Kuhen
Posted: October 1, 2010 10:00 am
John Dissendanner has been reading the morning paper for 30 years. He doesn't do it for himself, though, but for 5,000 South Carolinians who are visually impaired, and rely on him for their morning news.
But, Thursday, Dissendanner read the paper over the airwaves for the last time.
The South Carolina Commission for the Blind decided to discontinue the long-running free radio reading program after a 24 percent budget cut. Ending the radio service will save the commission a little more than $130,000.
While a lot of money will be saved, a lot of other things will be lost.
"You read about all those people and the things that they are going to miss... you know... the obituaries, the comics, the editorials. There's no place to get these things so... I think about them more than myself. Even though I enjoy doing it, I think about what they're going to miss," said Dissendanner.
He's thinking about people like Margaret Gutman, who lost her eyesight four years ago, and is one of Dissendanner's loyal listeners. Gutman considers the radio service her lifeline.
"Basically, I would lose my outside world. It fills a great big need, so I will really, really miss it," she says.
Gutman, and other visually impaired South Carolinians, are hopeful that the service will one day be restored.
But starting Friday, it's back to the dark ages.
For more information concerning resources for the visually impaired, check out the National Federation of the Blind's website.