Winslow Native Bears Olympic Torch Despite Visual Impairment
For David Talis the 2002 Winter Olympics brought a chance of a lifetime.
No, Talis is not a medal contender, but he used his time in the spotlight as a Olympic Torch Bearer to show that a visual impairment should not keep a person from doing something special.
Talis, who has been visually impaired for his whole life and is classified as legally blind, took the Olympic Torch and ran a quarter of a mile last weekend in Richmond, Calif. Talis was nominated for this honor anonymously.
“I think running with the torch is the ultimate gift, people just don’t do it everyday.” Talis explained.
He explained that his impairment has not stopped him from being an active adult and doing some adventurous things, including climbing a mountain. “I never let my visual impairment get in the way,” he said.
Talis is a 1987 graduated of Winslow High School who currently lives in Mountain View, Calif. He works at the Palo Alto Veteran Association’s Medical Center where he does “a little bit of everything.”
Talis works with blind and visually impaired veterans to help them learn to live with the difficulty. He thinks that by being visually impaired and living a normal life that he is inspiration for the veterans he works with.
Talis said he was not worried about carrying the burning torch since he has done work with fire before. Along with his medical job, he also works with various fire departments teaching safety classes and disaster preparedness courses.
“I do a lot of activities and that inspires people. They are amazed I can do it [with my impairment],” he said. “I don’t think it’s amazing because it has to be done.”
Talis said he dedicated his run to his fellow fire fighters who lost their life in the September 11 attacks. He explained that even though he doesn’t actually fight fires, he has worked with the “fire fighter family” for so long that he really felt a loss. “That is such a tight knit family that helps people and doesn’t want any thanks in return.”
Bernice Talis, David’s mom, sees this as an honor. “He’s always trying to help people and has the idea that just because you’re disabled doesn’t mean you have to give up.”
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