Virginia Jacko was a senior financial executive reporting directly to the President and Provost of Purdue University in the mid 1990s when she slowly but surely went blind from a condition called retinitis pigmentosa. She continued working for some time at Purdue, where her husband Bob is a full professor, but by fall 2000 she realized she could not continue without special training. So in January 2001, in her mid-fifties, Virginia started all over at the bottom as a vocational rehabilitation student at the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. When she graduated in June and got her guide dog, Virginia began to speak on behalf of the Lighthouse in the Miami, Florida metropolitan area. Only four years after finishing her training she was invited to join the Board of Directors of the Miami Lighthouse, and shortly thereafter, Virginia became the first blind President & CEO of the Miami Lighthouse in its near 80-year history. Virginia has been extraordinarily successful as President of the Lighthouse, more than doubling its income and launching a number of innovative new programs, such as music production. Now completely blind, she lives alone most of the year in a condo on Biscayne Bay, and she and her husband Bob commute back and forth between Miami and West Lafayette, where Bob continues his career as an engineering professor. Virginia travels frequently with her guide dog, speaking on behalf of the Miami Lighthouse around Florida and nationally. Her new book, "The Blind Visionary," which she wrote with Doug Eadie, tells her amazing true story and provides the reader with 4 lessons for building a fuller, more satisfying life based on her experience: #1 Reach Out Aggressively. #2 Act on Opportunities. #3 Don't Let Fear Win. #4 Keep Things In Perspective.
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We've all had people in our lives who have made a positive impact on us. A parent or grandparent, a sibling who was there for us, or maybe even just a guy who shines shoes for a living? Whoever they are, tell us their story so they can inspire us even more.Tell Us Your Story All Everyday Hero Stories