October is White Cane & Dog Guide Safety Awareness Month

To the editor:
Each year the month of October is proclaimed by the governor of New Hampshire to be White Cane and Guide Dog Safety Awareness month.
Did you know that recent statistics reveal that there are roughly 30,000 people living in New Hampshire, who self-identify that they are blind or visually impaired? Many visit your places of business throughout the community on a regular basis. If that many people have difficulty seeing, then how are they making their way to these businesses? Just as there are levels of vision loss, there are several methods in which people travel safely and independently throughout their communities. Some people have enough remaining vision to navigate without any specific mobility tools. Others rely on family or friends to lead them through what is known as sighted guide technique. Many travel with a white cane, which is the leading symbol of blindness. And who can’t resist an extra glance when someone walks in with their wonderfully trained dog guide.
It is our hope community residents throughout N.H. will strengthen this effort in raising awareness to safe travel for white cane and dog guide users during this month of October.
Linda Vaillancourt
Berlin