For the Silent Advocates Tour East Texas Lighthouse and Horizon Industries After Generous Donation

For the Silent Advocates Tour East Texas Lighthouse and Horizon Industries After Generous Donation

When one nonprofit organization has a mission for a better community, it is inspiring. When two nonprofit organizations come together to help each other, it is a force to be reckoned with.

“It is amazing how nonprofits can have this common thread in giving back and can help each other as well,” said Becky Cunio, executive director of For the Silent.

For The Silent is a nonprofit organization based in Tyler that works to protect children and teens from sexual exploitation and sex trafficking through prevention, crisis intervention, and community transformation.

The group received a donation of $6,897 from East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind in December 2022.

“Our team were all excited about the opportunity to give back to such a worthy cause,” said Alicia Lansford, vice president and chief mission officer for The Lighthouse.

Traditionally, The Lighthouse donates to Toys for Tots for the holidays each year but 2022 was the first year to have employees be part of the process, letting them nominate local nonprofits.

“I am tremendously grateful to Lighthouse and Horizon Industries,” Cunio said. “For their employees to select For The Silent as the recipient nonprofit to steward their financial gift is the greatest honor.”

Lansford said, “It is important for us to allow engagement opportunities for our people to be exposed to other needs of the community besides our own. Giving back has been a priority for us for 10 to 12 years.”

For the Silent came to The Lighthouse and gave a presentation, introducing the employees to statistics and information about the organization.

“Trafficking is something many people think happens in bigger cities than Tyler, so hearing that it is a problem in our backyard was powerful,” Lansford said.

The Lighthouse provides rehabilitation, education, training and even employment of people who are blind or visually impaired.

“Despite having very different missions, there is a core belief that all people, regardless of circumstances or background, have intrinsic worth and value,” Cunio said. “Our organizations provide hope.”

The Lighthouse offers a wide range of programs and services, including adaptive equipment and independent living skills training.

They partner with Horizon Industries, one of the largest converters of industrial wiping towels and paracord for the United States government, a division that employs those who are blind or visually impaired

“I came here thinking my blindness was a hindrance,” said Roderick Johnson, a Lighthouse employee who lost his vision late in life. “But as it turns out, it is an asset.”

Inspired by the Lighthouse mission, and wishing to thank those involved with the donation toward For the Silent, Cunio and advocate Skye Odem, toured both The Lighthouse and Horizon Industries on Wednesday morning.

Lansford gave a tour of The Lighthouse, demonstrating the products in the store, with such low-tech items like bump dots and higher tech like screen readers.

The tour through Horizon Industries was led by Heath Honzell, vice president of operations for Horizon Industries, as well as board vice president at For The Silent.

Cunio and Odem walked the facility, listening to Honzell as he described how the employees perform the tasks in the 92,000-square-foot warehouse.

“My favorite part of the tour this morning was being able to connect with the employees and hearing individual stories about the positive impact Horizon Industries has had in their lives,” Odem said.

Some of the employees took a minute to speak with the advocates about their work in the warehouse.

“It was such an inspiration to hear from their leadership and employees about the mission and the important work they are doing,” Cunio said.

Tyler Morning Telegraph
March 2, 2023


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