John Handley of Pine Bluff recently earned the area’s outstanding Consumer of the Year Award from the Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Services for the Blind (DSB.)


The award was presented at the Pine Bluff Downtown Lions Club meeting Sept. 7 at the Pine Bluff Country Club.


Handley has worked more than 40 years as a machine operator and training coordinator at Evergreen Packaging at Pine Bluff, according to a news release.


Shayla Nelson, DSB vocational rehabilitation counselor, nominated Handley for the achievement award because of his determination to overcome adversity and succeed at work. He was selected from an area that includes Jefferson, Arkansas, Desha, Dallas, Lincoln, Cleveland, and Drew counties.


His employer, Evergreen Packaging, was recognized by DSB as an outstanding business partner for its commitment to promoting the employment of persons with vision impairment.


Handley said he had been diagnosed with cataracts and glaucoma and required treatment due to his blurred vision. His eye care provider referred him to DSB, which paid the remaining costs after his insurance for surgery and related medical treatment.


“I am very pleased with the services I received from DSB. I recommend them to anyone who needs help with their eye treatments so they can work,” Handley said.


DSB also provided counseling and guidance and low vision aids to help Handley increase his level of independence at home and work, according to the release.


Handley is a deacon and Sunday School superintendent at Mt. Harmony Missionary Baptist Church at Pine Bluff. He and his wife, Brenda, have been married 41 years and have three daughters and two granddaughters.


“This is the 11th year that DSB has given Consumer of the Year awards to recognize individuals who have managed their rehabilitation plans, gained marketable skills, secured good jobs, and become role models for others. An overall state winner will be selected at the end of the year,” according to the release.


“DSB provides vocational rehabilitation services to adults who are blind or severely visually impaired and whose goal is successful employment. The division also serves youth and older blind individuals,” according to the release.


Details: DSB, https://humanservices.arkansas.gov/about-dhs/dsb, or call 1-800-960-9270, 501-682-5463, or deaf relay 711.