DRS Client Success Stories

Success Story: Alex Pippins

Pippins stands in front of a chiller that is more than 12 feet tall and 8 wide.

McAlester Regional Health Center waits for the right person for the job

MCALESTER, Okla. -- Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines inspiration as something that makes someone want to do something; a force or influence that inspires someone. The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services defines inspiration as Alex Pippins, former client of the visual services division.

Success Story: Ryann Fical

Two women in a gymnasium

Ambition opens doors for Deaf-Blind spokesperson

NORMAN, Okla. – Five a.m. is not too early for Ryann Fical. Not when she’s going after something she really wants.

In this case, she searched online until she found a summer internship needed to complete her degree in recreational management from OSU.

Fical, who has significant vision and hearing loss, contacted the University of Oklahoma’s Fitness and Recreation Department located near her family’s home in Norman

Success Story: Julie Hildebrand

a woman sits on a water fountain edge

Disability does not define super-achieving Tulsa law school graduate

TULSA, Okla. ─ Julie Hildebrand graduated Friday (Dec. 19) with a 3.48 grade point average after only two years at the University of Tulsa law school.

The pretty, 24-year old Jenks resident has already accepted a contingent job offer at Occidental Petroleum in Houston.

Hildebrand is among the brightest graduates – she calls herself a nerd -- but she won’t be the tallest student.

Hildebrand has a rare form of dwarfism called 3M syndrome.

Success Story: Peter Broussard

A man in a factory standing under a sign that reads Cintas Safety Center

Despite Hearing and Vision Loss, Cintas Employee Proves to be a True Asset to the Company

All Peter Broussard really wanted was a chance -- a chance to work hard, fit in at the job and take care of his family, like everybody else.

At Cintas, Broussard, who is deaf and blind, is just one of the guys on a team that rewards productivity and ambition.

Cintas employs 30,000 “partners,” the term they call all employees. The Cincinnati-based corporation, provides products and services that help companies keep their employees and facilities safe.

Success Story: Christie Knipp

A wife and husband with three little girls hold a large empty frame around their family

BIXBY, Okla. -- Christie Knipp loves coffee – especially chocolate peanut lattes. Serving coffee as a professional barista was her first and only job. Knipp dreamed of one day starting her own business in “a coffee house environment where people can connect and meet up with friends.”

Being blind has not held Knipp back.

Her dream came true three weeks ago when she and her husband Phillip opened OMC! Oh My Coffee at 13160 S. Memorial Drive in Bixby.

Success Story: Rob Hill

Hill walking up the street using his white cane

TULSA, Okla. – “I don’t fly a plane. Although I may be driving before long,” Rob Hill said. While somewhat joking, the fact of the matter is Google has been test-driving the driverless car, which is perfect for Hill because he is completely blind.

This attitude of you-never-know is strong in Hill. He has the degenerative eye disease retinitis pigmentosa, which cost him his sight in 1973. However, he didn’t let that stop him from working full time for the last 32 years and doing community service and advocacy work for causes he strongly believes in.

Success Story: Tiffany Thompson

Thompson poses with crown and shash in front of a water feature

EDMOND, Okla. –Delivering a monologue about dyslexia -- the undeserved shame she was almost afraid to talk about -- contributed to Tiffany Thompson’s win in the Miss Black UCO 2012 scholarship pageant. The rewards were a pageant win on her seventh attempt, a $1,600 University of Central Oklahoma tuition waiver and the chance to help others face or understand an invisible learning disability that makes it difficult for intelligent people to read.

Success Story: Benny Meier

Meier holds up one of the digital cartridges that contains the audio book from the library

Oklahomans who can’t use standard print enjoy free audio books from State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

For people who love to read, a disability that blocks access to books is a life-changing event – and not in a good way.

“Reading for myself was the thing I missed the most after I lost my vision,” Benny Meier said.

Always an avid reader, Meier now gets audio versions of his books and magazines free of charge from the Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (OLBPH) in Oklahoma City.

Success Story: Robert "Mitch" Rice

A man using a fork lift to move a large bolder

Cancer survivor Is back at work with a little help from his friends

Robert Rice, known as "Mitch" to friends, was not worried when he went to the hospital in Feb. 2006 for throat surgery to treat a common type of squamous cell cancer.

"Mitch figured he'd be off work a couple of days and get right back to it," said Connie Ketcham, Mitch's sweetheart of 16 years, "but that's when things began to really go wrong."

Success Story: Cassandra Oakes

Cassandra Oaks

Disability leader with vision and hearing loss translates dreams into action with help from state Rehabilitation Services agency

Cassandra Oakes, who was born deaf, faced a double disability as an adult when the eye disease retinitis pigmentosa caused her vision to deteriorate into blindness.

As a result, the wife and mother of four lost her job coding zip codes at the post office, due to safety concerns.

She and her husband Tim, a minister, faced her deaf-blindness with courage and faith.

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