Cool temperatures did not stop nearly 600 guests from attending Outlook Nebraska’s Vision Beyond Sight Banquet on Nov. 18 at the Embassy Suites Omaha-La Vista Hotel & Conference Center. The annual program and dinner is Outlook Nebraska’s largest fundraising event of the year. The event celebrates the capabilities of the 35,000 individuals in Nebraska experiencing vision loss and builds awareness of Outlook Nebraska’s growing Employment and Enrichment Programs.
Outlook Nebraska’s mission is to positively impact everyone who is visually impaired. CEO Eric Stueckrath shared how Outlook is planning to bridge gaps through community services available to the visually impaired. Attendees learned that Outlook needs their support of an expansion to accommodate additional programs for our blind neighbors such as adaptive technology training, arts and cultural programs, recreation activities and employment.
Following dinner, event guests experienced “Dessert in the Dark.” Wearing Outlook Nebraska-branded blindfolds, guests enjoyed their dessert without their gift of sight. This allowed sighted guests to get a glimpse into how our blind neighbors experience life every day.
Craig MacFarlane was the keynote speaker for the evening. He amplified the Vision Beyond Sight message of being able to accomplish goals by working together and bridging gaps. Often referred to as the World’s Most Celebrated Totally Blind Athlete, MacFarlane has led an incredible life. He has won more than 100 gold medals, the majority against sighted competition.
During the reception, guests were entertained by the musical talents of Outlook Nebraska associate James Harvey and his violin.
The tables were appropriately decorated with centerpiece bouquets crafted with Outlook Nebraska toilet paper products.
The evening meal began with a Beet Salad with Mixed Greens with Grilled Asparagus, Sliced Beets and Goat Cheese Crumbles. The entrée was an Omaha Steak filet with a cabernet shallot butter and a grilled chicken breast stuffed with spinach, artichoke hearts and asiago cheese, topped with a Parmesan Cream Sauce. The meal also included herb roasted new potatoes and a vegetable medley of zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers and onions.
The banquet raised over $65,000. Event proceeds will support Outlook Nebraska’s Enrichment Programs and their “Bridge the Gap” building expansion campaign.
Outlook Nebraska’s award winners and nominees were recognized during the program.
2016 Peter J. Salmon Award Nominee and Outlook Nebraska Associate of the Year Award: Melissa Saltzman
Melissa Saltzman is one of nearly 80 nominees for the National Industries for the Blind’s Peter J. Salmon Award, which honors visually impaired employees throughout the country who excel in their positions at NIB-associated agencies. Melissa has been employed with ONI since April 2007 and operates the wrapper machine. According to her peers, she is a great team player who loves to come to work and encourages them with her contagious joy. Melissa is the social events coordinator for the Omaha Association of the Blind.
2016 Outlook Nebraska Associate of the Year Award: Kevin Tingley
Kevin Tingley’s managers and peers thank him for going above and beyond his job responsibilities while demonstrating our core values of trust, collaboration, respect and growth consistently. Kevin joined the ONI team in 2014 and is a material handler. According to his peers, he is a pleasure to work with, always willing to jump in wherever needed with a smile, and gives of his personal time helping others with rides and attending social events with those that might not be able to go otherwise.
Milton J. Samuelson Career Achievement Award Nominee: John Wick
This national award recognizes a blind individual who has shown remarkable levels of leadership. John’s accomplished business career has spanned five decades and was not hindered when he lost his vision in 1989. John has impacted the Omaha medical community-leading Bergan Mercy business teams for 24 years and consulting with many area medical facilities. Serving on ONI’s Board of Directors from 2005-2007 before joining the ONI team as the Director of Fund Development, John spearheaded ONI’s first capital campaign supporting the building renovation. John is a member of the Creighton Federal Credit Union Board of Directors, enjoys running and spending time with his grandchildren.
At Outlook Nebraska, we reward our associates who go above and beyond every single day to help achieve our mission. Melissa, Kevin and John demonstrate our core values of growth, collaboration, respect and trust consistently,” ONI CEO Eric Stueckrath said.
About Outlook Nebraska, Inc.
Outlook Nebraska, Inc. (ONI) is a nonprofit organization that empowers anyone in the community facing vision loss to gain confidence in their capabilities and achieve their life goals. Through employment, adaptive technology training, recreational and cultural opportunities designed specifically for the visually impaired, Outlook Nebraska strives to enhance the lives of our blind neighbors. Outlook Nebraska produces and sells janitorial paper products, and nearly 70% of our workforce is legally blind.