Blind veteran donates Braille flag, first in Florida

Many veterans have been blinded by their service to our country - and one man is making it his mission so these men can see the flag again.

In honor of the more than a thousand blind veterans who live in Northeast Florida and South Georgia, a special Braille flag was donated to the VA clinic on the Northside of Jacksonville Wednesday morning.
       
It's the first bronze Braille flag in the state.
       
The Vietnam veteran who donated the flag, Walt Peters, says it's not only a symbol of patriotism but of hope for other veterans who may have lost their way.
       
Peters lost his sight fighting for the flag.

After serving three tours in Vietnam, veteran Walt Peters is now legally blind.

Peters says he was diagnosed with chemical diabetes after exposure to Agent Orange while deployed which caused his failing eyesight.
        
"A lot of vets, when they go blind they start feeling sorry for themselves," Peters says.

Peters took it upon himself to help blind veterans feel hope instead, he says.
  
Peters has donated 17 bronze Braille flags all over the country.
          
"It gives you a feeling of worth when you feel that flag to a blind veteran," Peters says. "He has to see with his heart and not his eye. Because he doesn't have any. But he feels this flag and he can instill upon himself to do other things."

The bronze flag, situated by the elevators inside of the clinic, also includes the Pledge of Allegiance in Braille.
       
Ashley Ross with the Department of Veterans Affairs says Peters is a mainstay at the clinic, who often volunteers. Ross says touching the flag, even for a person with sight, is special.

"Something like this that they are actually able to touch and connect with the flag that they are no longer able to see and bring back that sense of pride from serving their country. We are so happy to bring that back to them," Ross says.
       
Peters says he has one remain prayer for his life: "I'm 73-years-old and I pray the Lord might give me a little more time to get more of these done."

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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