Antonio Arbelo was just a toddler when his desktop closed-circuit television (CCTV) was made. That was more than 50 years ago.
A U.S. Navy veteran, Arbelo served from 1985 until he was medically discharged in 1992 after he lost sight in one eye during a mission. After a lengthy career managing a crew of 15 men who maintained the city of Kansas City’s water system infrastructure, Arbelo retired after losing vision in his other eye due to a complication of renal failure.
He wasn’t ready to retire, so Arbelo joined Alphapointe in 2016 as a packer and machinist in the plastics department where he helps make prescription bottles used by the Department of Veterans Affairs and his fellow veterans around the country.
But, until receiving a donated CCTV a year ago, Arbelo couldn’t read his mail. While the public may think of CCTVs as being primarily used for surveillance video, people with vision loss use them as a magnifying device to assist with reading and writing.
“It was tough because I always had family members who needed to read my mail to me,” Arbelo said. “Sometimes you have sensitive information in your mail, so I always wished I could read it myself.”
Last year, Arbelo received a CCTV donated to Alphapointe that had been constructed in the 1960s. It worked and was helpful. But, technology has evolved just a bit in the last five decades.
Following another recent donation, Arbelo is now the proud owner of a CCTV built only a few years ago. And, it’s making a major impact.
“It makes a 100-percent difference,” Arbelo said. “I use it every single day. I can read my own mail, I can read magazines, I can read newspapers. It helps me pay my bills on time.”
With new CCTVs costing anywhere from a few thousand dollars to more than $10,000, the unfortunate reality is that many people with vision loss simply cannot afford to acquire one.
“I wish that everyone could have one,” Arbelo said. “I can’t describe how much I appreciate the donation and how it makes a difference in my life.”
Alphapointe accepts donations of assistive technology devices such as CCTVs, magnifiers and other devices. To inquire about a donation, contact us at 816-421-5848.