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Labor and Economic Opportunity

Bureau of Services for Blind Persons presents Excellence Awards

Friday, Oct. 15, 2021
Media Contact: Elyse Walter, 517- 449-9731

LANSING, Mich.-Fifteen individuals and organizations were recognized during yesterday's Excellence Awards ceremony, presented by the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP). These awards recognize individuals who have achieved their goals for employment or independent living after vision loss, as well as organizations who represent the values of National Disability Employment Awareness Month and BSBP's core value of inclusion and diversity.

BSBP, within the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity's Office of Employment and Training, recognized customers of vocational rehabilitation and independent living services, students receiving Pre-Employment Transition Services, and business and community partners during the virtual event.

BSBP staff nominated Excellence Award candidates from around the state. Recipients benefitted from the many quality services provided by BSBP staff and opportunities offered by business and community partners.

This year's recipients included:

  • Vocational Rehabilitation Customers
    • Mary Beth Ritter - Newaygo
    • Makenna Charvat - Clio
    • Hanna Boussi - Dearborn
  • Pre-Employment Transition Services Customers
    • Hamza Kaakarli - Rochester Hills
  • BSBP Training Center
    • Barbara Doyal - Lansing
    • Seema Sharma - Canton
  • Independent Living Customers
    • Faith Eggerding - Holland
    • Robin Stanchina-Reese - Farmington
    • Dave Tarne - Kalamazoo
    • Angela Umeojiego - Canton
  • Business Partners
    • Bagger Dave's - Birch Run
    • MESSA Insurance - East Lansing
  • Community Partners 
    • Warren Galloway & Associates, LLC - Grosse Pointe Woods
    • Jenna Holmes from Community Mental Health - Lansing
    • Diana Maddox and Carol Barrett from Disability Network Capital Area - Lansing

"I am very proud of the achievements of this year's award recipients," said BSBP Director William Robinson. "Both the award recipients and BSBP team members deserve a special thanks for producing another great virtual event. We continue to provide virtual trainings and third-party services for individuals who are blind or visually impaired that facilitate the achievement of employment and/or independence."

For more information on the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons, visit

Vocational Rehabilitation, Pre-Employment Transition and Independent Living Older Blind Services are funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education. For federal Fiscal Year 2021, the total grant funds used for these services was expected to approximate $19 million for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), including $2.8 million of the VR grant reserved for Pre-Employment Transition Services and $988,000 for Independent Living for Older Blind Services.