SAN ANGELO, Texas – Finding a job in the workplace can be discouraging especially if you have a disability, but at West Texas Lighthouse for the Blind, many have found jobs and even go as far as to say that they’ve found purpose in their life again.

“I’ve worked all my life and when I was told I could not work it was devastating to me,” said Marilyn Parsons, an employee at Lighthouse for the Blind.

She wasn’t always visually impaired but now that she is the lighthouse has given her something she never thought she would have again.

“I came here and they hired me. Having a purpose, self worth, your independence, its more than I can tell you. It has changed my life, the lighthouse has truly changed my life,” Parsons added.

U.S. Representative August Pfluger (TX-11)  stopped by the lighthouse to award two individuals with employee of the year. He acknowledged the great work the lighthouse is doing and spoke to each employee individually.

“Hearing the stories about how each of these people got here and how they came to work here is really neat. We go through different circumstances in life and you can’t plan for it but to see the opportunities that are presented here is amazing,” said Representative Pfluger.

Manuel Zavala, one of the recipients of employee of the year, lost his vision after a battle with diabetes but has found meaningful work at the lighthouse and has even moved up through the corporate ladder.

“When you start working here you start building pens for a living, we do a lot of pen assembly and fortunately I was able to work my way up a little bit in the company but there’s endless opportunities for us here,” Zavala says.

The employees use special tools that enable them to make products such as writing instruments, safety gear, and office supplies while promoting independence and self reliance.