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July 10, 2003

Faith helps blind, deaf man navigate in seeing, hearing world

From: Catholic News Service - Jul 10, 2003

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. (CNS) -- Television journalist Barbara Walters has described Robert Smithdas, who lost his sight and most of his hearing when he was 4 years old, as her favorite interview. Smithdas, a Catholic, is the full-time director of community education at the Helen Keller National Center in Sands Point on Long Island. Walters, who has interviewed Smithdas twice, was floored by the way he navigates through a world made for those who can see and hear. He cooks, he fixes plumbing, he reads, he loves, he laughs, he lives. He has undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as an honorary doctorate and is a published writer. His wife of 30 years, Michelle, is legally classified as deaf and blind, but she can see a little and also can hear a little since she received a cochlear implant, an artificial hearing device. But the couple, members of St. Peter of Alcantara Parish in Port Washington, live independently.

Copyright (c) 2003 Catholic News Service /U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.