Listener Spotlight: John Glisson
By: Joel Scott
Radio Eye listener John Glisson is the subject of this Listener Spotlight. John lives in Lexington, but is originally from Fulton County in Western Kentucky and grew up in nearby Graves County. He has been blind since an accident he suffered while serving in the Army during the Vietnam Era. He was a member of the Army Security Agency, the branch of the Army responsible for intercepting and decoding enemy messages from 1945 to 1976.
A little while after being discharged from the Army, John went to college to study psychology and sociology. He went on from there to earn a masterâ€™s degree in Human Services and Counseling from Murray State University. That led to involvement with accessibility issues and assistive technology. â€œMy passion was to increase accessibility for people who were blind or visually impaired, â€œ John said, especially children in rural areas.
He became involved with KATS (Kentucky Assistive Technology Service). Johnâ€™s work with KATS eventually brought him to Frankfort to advocate for accessibility legislation. There he met an accessibility advocate from Lexington named Pamela Roark, whom he wed in 2001.
Pamela Roark Glisson is now the director of Independence Place in Lexington, an organization that connects people with community services to help them live more independently. Independence Place was established in 1992 by the Governorâ€™s Council on Statewide Independent Living, on which John served. Today, John is an independent living services consultant at the organization. He also manages NFB Newsline, a touchtone telephone audio information service provided by Independence Place that enables people with print disabilities to access over 300 state, national, and international newspapers (as well as Radio Eye) and over 40 magazines. It also provides zip code specific TV listings. The around-the-clock service is accessible from anywhere in the nation by toll free or local telephone numbers.
In his free time, John likes to be outdoors as much as possible, including fishing and walking his guide dog.