[for the Blind, Inc.] is a place of great opportunity,” says Larry Irvin, Help Desk Technician and Front Office Support Specialist at Seattle Lighthouse. “There are many different positions that a person can have here despite a disability. If you can meet the capabilities of a job, you can do it here.”
Larry grew up in Saginaw, MI, and began losing his sight in 1999 due to complications from retinopathy (detached retinas). After high school, he went to ITT Technical Institute in Grand Rapids, MI, and received a certificate in electronic engineering. “I learned a lot about components, and my mom still has a transistor radio I built from scratch for a class project,” he reminisces.
He relocated to Tacoma and began working with a music production group from 1992 to 1999. As his eyesight began to wane he learned how to use screen magnifying software called ZoomText, and was able to continue working on producing music. During this time Larry was on Social Security Income, and in search of work he was referred to the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind (DSB), and enrolled in the Orientation and Training Center (OTC) program. He was granted a supervised internship at The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc., where he began doing HelpDesk work. “I didn’t think I would ever work again,” he notes. “I always had a job since I was 15 years old, and it was a relief to find work at the Lighthouse.”
Larry continues, “I truly like the Lighthouse and what it stands for. I really like the different training programs under Employee and Community Services (ECS). It’s incredible that accessibility is a mandate here and built into every aspect of the work environment.” When asked about winning the Employee of the Year award, he is certainly grateful. “I really like helping people; whether it’s at home or at work. To me the award is a sign of appreciation, and I’m just happy that I’m appreciated for the work that I do.”
When Larry isn’t busy troubleshooting computer issues or working the front desk area, he spends his time recording music, DJing, doing pre-production, making beats, and spending time with his wife Charthy, his daughters Donnelle (10) and Charecca (20), and his newly born grandson Jerell.