23 Oct ‘I sell hope and empowerment’: East Texas Lighthouse employee wins national award
Craig Ellis, had a 12-year career in management and owned a flooring business but in 2009 he became blind due to macular degeneration. Ellis struggled to find employment but, according to a press release, he impressed leaders at East Texas Lighthouse who created a job for him as an inventory planner.
East Texas Lighthouse is a non-profit whose mission is to empower the blind. They have two divisions, a manufacturing operation and a community rehabilitation facility. According to a press release, they’re the largest employer of the blind across East Texas.
In 2016, Ellis became their employment services specialist and in 2020 he was promoted to the position of community relations administrator, where he’s combating stigmas about blindness.
“Now I sell hope and empowerment. It’s the most gratifying thing I’ve ever sold,” said Ellis.
The East Texas Lighthouse vice president and chief mission officer Alicia Lansford, said that watching Ellis’s progress has been the most rewarding parts of her career.
“Not because he is blind, but because he has found true joy and meaning in helping others overcome the same challenges he faced when he was new to vision loss. Simply put, Craig is our mission,” said Lansford.
The award was announced and presented on Oct. 11 in Washington, D.C. at the NIB training and expo conference. On Oct. 20, East Texas Lighthouse held a celebratory reception at Rick’s on the Square where remarks were given by NIB, Rep. Moran’s office, Sen. Cornyn’s office and the City of Tyler.