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 Tim Gracey - Treasurer

I am retired and except for attending the University of Northern Iowa to earn a BA in Psychology and an MA in Counseling, I have always lived in Des Moines.  I contracted polio at the age of three weeks and have faced mobility barriers all of my life.

I am married to Marcia, a farm girl I met at UNI and have 3 children and 7 grandchildren.  I worked for Goodwill Industries for 4 years and Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation for over 30 years as a rehabilitation counselor and manager of their Independent Living, where I became familiar with the Iowa Department for the Blind.

When I retired, my friends urged me to spend my "free" time reading for IRIS radio and narrating books for the blind at the Dept.  I read the DSM Register on the first and third Wednesdays and have already narrated over 40 books. Both activities are great fun and allow me to keep in touch with my friends at IDB.

 

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Jim Rechkemmer

I grew up in Oakville, Iowa. I am a graduate of Wapello Community High School (1966), Southeastern Iowa Area Community College (1968), and The University of Iowa (1971) with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Degree.

 

At the age of thirteen, I couldn’t see the baseball coming off the bat and I was having difficulty seeing in dark places such as movie theaters or restaurants. My eye doctor checked my visual acuity which was at or near 20/20. Finally, during my senior year of high school the eye doctor tested my field vision. As a result of this test, I was referred to the University of Iowa Hospital and the doctors discovered I had Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). Three to four years after my diagnosis, my older brother Kenny was also diagnosed with RP.

 

I attended the Iowa Department for the Blind Orientation Center in 1973. On April 1, 1974, I began my career at Interstate Assurance Company in the Actuarial Department. This was the beginning of a 28+ year career in the insurance industry. My job in the Actuarial Department allowed me to utilize my math and accounting skills. Later in my career, I was Manager of the Reinsurance Department and finally Manager of the Commission Accounting Department. In Commission Accounting, we were responsible for getting the commission rates loaded to the system, paying our agents, providing them with tax reporting information, and collecting bad debts. It was during this phase of my career that Mike Barber helped install the JAWS screen reading program on my computer. I am a recipient of the tutorials Mike helped develop. I still pull them out to see if the key strokes work with the current versions of Word and Excel.

 

I am an avid fan of the New York Yankees and the Iowa Hawkeyes, a member of The 600 Club in bowling, and rode on 4 RAGBRI’s including the century loop in 2003.

 

Don Shepherd

 I was born in Clarksburg, West Virginia.  I graduated with a BA from West Virginia University and a PhD from the University of Notre Dame.  I taught for six years at St. Ambrose University in Davenport.  After that I worked at the Iowa Department of Public Health.  I retired at the end of 2017 and since have been becoming more active in volunteer activities.

As soon as I arrived in Iowa in 1979 I contacted the Library at the Department for the Blind to get established.  Reading is my favorite activity as I have a love of learning.  I am also fond of music.

I was married but am now divorced.  I have a daughter who lives in Kansas City and three grandsons who are all smart as whips