Executing a mission for our nation’s heroes

By Tatiana Peralta 03/17/2021
Executing a mission for our nation’s heroes

Members of the United States military need to see clearly to execute their mission to keep America safe. People with disabilities employed through VersAbility in Yorktown, Virginia are focused on a mission of their own – ensuring our nation’s heroes have the correct eyewear.

For over 20 years, these talented individuals have supported the production of prescription lenses for our U.S. service members around the world. Individuals employed through this contract work at the Naval Ophthalmic Support and Training Activity (NOSTRA) center. Their priority is to ensure every active-duty service member has access to quality eyewear to aid them in their every-day duties. Additionally, they produce lenses for some retirees, federal employees, and contractors.

Having the correct eyewear is essential to our military’s safety. Their ability to see clearly is a requirement for any mission they embark on.

“VersAbility is assisting the military in employing people with disabilities to help execute this vital operation,” said Keltie Bransford VersAbility’s Marketing and Development Manager. “Our employees are often recognized for their work ethic, dedication, and dependability in providing eyewear to members of the military.”

People with disabilities are achieving high outputs that meet the nation’s demands. They work side-by-side with 200 sailors, soldiers, civilians, and contractors to produce over 1,000 lenses a day. Team members are tasked with receiving ticket items, confirming prescriptions, verifying the material pulled for production, assisting in quality control, manufacturing, and packaging the lenses for shipping. People with disabilities feel a sense of pride for their effort to support our nation’s military.

“VersAbility has impacted my life in many ways,” said John Garrison Gray, a VersAbility employee working at NOSTRA. “This job lets me be totally independent. I cannot tell you how amazing that feels. Those of us with disabilities want to be shown independence, or we want to be independent, and rely on ourselves to get the work done.”

Talented individuals like Gray are employed at VersAbility through the AbilityOne® Program, one of the largest sources of employment for people who are blind or have significant disabilities in the United States. VersAbility is one of approximately 700 nonprofit agencies within the SourceAmerica® network committed to advancing employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

The military recognizes the skills of this group, which is one of the reasons VersAbility has been able to grow this contract for more than 20 years. VersAbility has made great strides in integrating its workforce with that of NOSTRA’s, making its employees an integral part of the NOSTRA team.

“At the end of the day, this job allows these individual to feel as if they are part of something bigger than themselves,” said Bransford. “The fact that they are able to contribute to society just like everyone else is something they are proud of.”

To learn more about how to employ these talented individuals your organization, email customerservice@sourceamerica.org.