We are deeply honored to shine a spotlight on Nancy Flearl, the recipient of the Lifetime Service Award. Nancy’s impact on our mission and the visually impaired community has been nothing short of remarkable. For decades, she has selflessly served the community, empowering individuals who are blind to help themselves and contribute to society. Join us as we pay tribute to an extraordinary individual who embodies the spirit of compassion and dedication, and whose legacy will continue to inspire us for years to come.
It gives me great pleasure to honor Nancy Flearl as we inaugurate this Lifetime Service Award. Nancy’s impact to our mission to the people we serve has been tremendous. And for decades, she has served the community by helping people who are blind help themselves and empower the community.
A lot of people out there don’t believe in blind people. And they think that because of this limitation called blindness that we can’t do anything but Nancy says in spite of our limitations anything is possible if you put your mind to it and you can fulfill your dreams and be the person you want to be.
I play the violin and she helped me what was once St. Richard’s parish at their fundraising development dinners. To me, playing the violin means that I’m able to contribute to society and bring joy and happiness to others and it also means that I can accomplish something while being visually impaired. Instead of just sitting at home feeling sorry for yourself, I’m out there trying my best and I thank Nancy for that opportunity.
I would say she’s compassionate. She cares, and you can tell by her voice. You know, she just doesn’t say “oh, well okay. I’ll help you” just because she can, it’s because she wants to.
I met Nancy probably over 17 years ago through working in human resources or with the NCBVI, and she had introduced herself and talked about potentially having some of her clients or consumers looking for employment so that was the beginning of a wonderful relationship with Nancy.
I’ve known her probably since I was about 12 years old and that was just getting a case started with the Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Nancy was always a kind and generous person from day one, even when I didn’t deserve it.
Nancy had requested if I would be willing to come down and be an employer for mock interviews. Of course. I said, yes. When meeting with her team. Aaron was one of those who was in a mock interview. Here we are X amount of years later and Aaron is now a full-time employee with us.
I went through all of the summer programs they had, which included, probably the biggest one for me was wages, which is the acronym for work and gain experience in the summer. So that’s sponsored by the commission so Nancy had a big hand in making that possible. You take your summer two or three months as a high schooler and you go and work full time at a position that the commission sets up for you. You know, a lot of kids, they might mow lawns or shovel snow or something like that. So I think for a lot of blind folks, that’s not probably in the cards for me. So this gives them a little bit of a structure to set themselves up for a career.
I was living in Lincoln with a degree in psychology, unable to find employment because of my blindness and my rehabilitation counselor introduced me to Nancy in Omaha and Nancy Flearl helped us get connected with Outlook Nebraska and I have been at Outlook Nebraska ever since then.
To be employed is an amazing feeling because I feel free. I feel like, you know, I can afford to do things that I never could afford to do in the past.
I remember even after my case was done with the commission, sometimes she would stop by Outlook just to check up on some of the people that she knew from the past, myself included. She gave me a ride home a couple of times and chatted with me about how it was going. I appreciate how she never gave up on me.
She is deserving of even more than this award. I mean, they don’t make words that good to describe the awards that she is deserving of.
I think she’s one of those peoples whose name belongs on the side of the building at the state office really. So she’s certainly left a legacy. I’m waiting for them to name a street after her or something like that.
Thank you, Nancy for your lifetime of service. Your heart, your leadership, it inspires us to do more every day.