I received this from a member of the blindness community, and since I've seen no announcement from the Lighthouse, nor did they seem to get it included in the article in today's Democrat covering the Dining in the Dark event, I thought we should use this to congratulate Owen: Congratulations to Owen McCaul - winner of the Paula Bailey "Inspirational Community Member" Award! OWEN McCAUL Wins the 2011 Paula Bailey "Inspirational Community Member" Award! This award is presented by the Lighthouse at the Paula Bailey Dining in the Dark event (10/2/11) to an inspirational member of the community. ... Honoree's Name: Owen McCaul Owen was born with High Myopia, more commonly referred to as "nearsightedness". In simple terms, myopia is a condition of the eye where the light that comes in does not directly focus on the retina which is in the back of the eye. Because of this, the image that one sees is out of focus when looking at a distant object but comes into focus when looking at a close object. Additionally, Owen suffered an eye injury when he was very young and developed Glaucoma, a group of eye conditions that lead to damage to the optic nerve. In many cases, this damage is due to increased pressure in the eye, also known as intraocular pressure (IOP). I first met Owen while we were attending Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine in the early 80s. He was an honor student and wrote for our student newspaper. His family lived in Melbourne but Owen did not return home to be coddled or taken care of. Following his high school graduation, he enrolled at Flagler College in St. Augustine, where he maintained very good grades. Back then, Owen had fairly good vision and only used glasses for reading and a monocular for accessing information on the black board, street signs, and such. He had great mobility skills, and would walk all over St. Augustine, visiting friends and taking care of his business affairs. We'd have long intellectual conversations which were quite beneficial for me in learning about a wide array of subjects from the law to music to human relationships. Owen then came to Tallahassee where he attended Florida State Law School. After graduating, he obtained a position with the State Attorney's office where he has worked for approximately 22 years as an Assistant State Attorney. You'll frequently see Owen using StarMetro buses as he continues to travel independently throughout Tallahassee. Owen is married and he and his wife, Erica have 2 beautiful children, Tricia and Ian who are fast becoming informed and responsible junior citizens. These days, as Owen's visual condition has worsened, he uses adaptive software on his computer to make reading easier as well as a portable CCTV for reading hard copy material. Though Owen has never had perfect vision or been able to drive, it hasn't stopped him from more than adequately providing for his family and striving for excellence in serving in our judicial system and community. He is an avid reader, keeping up with current affairs through the newspaper and internet, involved and concerned with his children's school environment, his community, church, and actively serves the less fortunate. Owen tirelessly advocates for safe and reliable public transportation and works hard to get honest answers and bring out the sometimes unpopular truth. Mr. McCaul's straight forward, no nonsense attitude and quest for justice continues itself through his career with the State Attorney's Office for the Second Judicial Circuit. Justice, fairness and protecting his community are priorities for Owen. He has moved up the professional ladder and currently holds a position as the Division Chief of the Intake Division (equivalent to a Bureau Chief's position with the State). Owen is also a member of the Mason's, a fraternal organization well known for their civic outreach projects. However, it wasn't just your run-of-the-mill membership for Owen. He rose in the ranks and currently holds a leadership role, again showing that vision is no barrier to his ability to grow as a leader in the mostly sighted world. In late 2005, Mr. McCaul was appointed by the then Governor to the Board of Trustees of the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. In 2007, he was reappointed and continues to serve as a Board member. By serving in this capacity, Owen has not only shown his willingness to lead and advise, but has shown that he is willing to give back to the organizations that have helped him learn and grow. Owen is a family man, patron and friend of local business owners, involved and informed citizen and caring human, truly an inspiration to me! It is indeed an honor to submit Owen B. McCaul's name for this prestigious award, named after the late, inspirational Ms. Bailey.