Leaders and Legends: Donald Wedewer
Don Wedewer was born on July 5, 1925. He received his B.S. in education in 1950 and his M.A. in history with a special emphasis in public administration in 1952, both from the University of Missouri. He and his wife Marabeth had four sons and one daughter.
During World War II, Don Wedewer served in the U.S. Army, for three and one-half years. He was wounded twice, losing both legs and his vision. After the Battle of the Bulge in 1944 he was the recipient of the Purple Heart.
Don Wedewer began his career in rehabilitation in 1968 as a vocational rehabilitation counselor. He served as a statewide Placement Specialist in Florida before being promoted to District Supervisor and then District Director in a large metropolitan area extending from Miami to Key West. In 1974 he was named Director of Florida's Division of Blind Services, where he provided outstanding leadership until his retirement in 1989. Throughout his career, he was always seeking to upgrade his skills by taking seminars and workshops in the areas of job placement, rehabilitation management and counseling. He was always a strong and persistent advocate for separate agency status for adult blind state services.
Don Wedewer was very active in a number of different organizations. He served as president of the Florida Rehabilitation Association; president of the National Council of State Agencies for the Blind; a member of the Commission on Standards, National Accreditation Council; Vice Chairman of Florida's Governor's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped; President of the American Association of Workers for the Blind (AAWB); President, Blinded Veterans Association of Florida; Vice President and Board Member of the National Blinded Veterans Association; a member, Board of Trustees, American Foundation for the Blind; a member of the Advisory Committee to Hadley School for the Blind.
Don Wedewer has received more than a dozen honors and awards. They include the Outstanding Blinded Veteran (Achievement Award) for 1970, from the Blinded Veterans Association; Outstanding Florida Blind Person, 1972 and 1975, AAWB Florida Chapter; President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped, Florida's Outstanding Handicapped Person (and national finalist), 1969; Robert M. Grabel Memorial Award, 1975, in recognition of meritorious services to the blind of Florida presented by Governor Reuben Askew; National Rehabilitation Association, Bell Greve Memorial Award, 1980; Meritorious Service Award, Florida Association of Agencies Serving the Blind, 1985.
About the Hall of Fame
The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is dedicated to preserving, honoring, and promoting the tradition of excellence manifested by the specific individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame and through the history of outstanding services provided to people who are blind or visually impaired.
These significant professional colleagues of the recent and distant past are a fascinating cross-section of heroes and pioneers who not only shaped our rich history, philosophy, knowledge and skills, but also give us insights into current and future challenges. These giants shared their personal lives and showed us strategies to ensure that services for blind persons remain unique and specialized. Enjoy their lives and contributions and reflect upon your own list of heroes.
Hall of Fame: Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is a project of the entire field of blindness. It is curated by the American Printing House for the Blind, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.
Visit the virtual Hall of Fame for the inspiring stories of many more heroes of the field of blindness.