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SWEPCO Employees Help Raise Money for Special Eyeglasses for Co-Worker’s Son

by on March 14, 2017
Christian Cardenas is overjoyed with his new special eyeglasses.

(Story by Scott McCloud)

Christian’s story as told by his mother, Sylvia Cardenas, Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) administrative associate, storeroom and fleet in Longview, Texas:

When Christian was 11 weeks old, the doctors told us he would see little to nothing due to a condition called Septo Optic Dysplasia. Nothing was wrong with his actual eyes but his optic nerves were just too small to send messages to his brain. Christian gets around really well with his condition, but I did not realize how impaired his eyesight was until I picked him up on the first day of school and he ran in the opposite direction toward a group of girls and got very close to them. I thought he was going to kiss this girl he was so close to her! I saw Christian every day, yet I didn’t realize he couldn’t see us that well at all.

We were so excited when our family found out about eSight Corporation last year through a support group on Facebook. We made an appointment for a consultation and traveled to Dallas on November 26, 2016, to try on the glasses. To our amazement, THEY WORKED! Christian was so amazed with the details of the ceiling that he could not stop laughing. My personal goal was for him to have the glasses by the time he entered kindergarten in August 2018.

After coming home from Dallas, I told my SWEPCO co-workers how awesome it was to see my son see things clearly for the first time. They thought it was great and were excited for us. I had no idea what would happen next. Lisa Whitten, Longview stores attendant, came back in less than a month and put a package on my desk. I opened it and found $3,487 that her friends raised at their annual fundraising Christmas gathering. I just couldn’t believe it! Another co-worker, Josie Henderson, senior administrative assistant, AEP Transmission, Longview, started a fundraising page for employees and the community that featured a hamburger benefit and a raffle, bringing in $4,252 – exceeding the funds needed to purchase the $15,000 eSight glasses!

To our complete surprise, money was raised for Christian’s glasses in less than three months. And eSight unveiled their latest version of the glasses the very day the fundraising finished. The glasses feature a high-definition camera on the front that can zoom up to 24 times and instantly process images to display on two super high-definition screens inside the glasses for the wearer. The glasses can only help those who are considered legally blind but have some vision.

SWEPCO customer service reps (from left) Jason Howeth, Sue Haynes, Carolyn and Scott Hampton passed out Louie safety visors to all the kids at the school.

Jeff Fenton, marketing director for eSight, made a special trip from Canada to Sabine Elementary School in Liberty City, Texas, March 3 to present the new glasses to Christian. At the assembly, Jimmy Skeen, SWEPCO fleet supervisor, presented an electrical safety powerTown demo and gave Christian his own AEP hard hat. In attendance were his family, Sylvia and husband, Gerardo, sister Victoria, age three, and brother George, who just turned one, along with other family members, his classmates, teachers, SWEPCO employees, Louie the Lighting Bug mascot, three area TV stations and a newspaper, and other glasses sponsors, including Holt Caterpillar in Longview, which brought out a back hoe since Christian loves construction equipment.

Sylvia concluded: My goal for Christian is for him to have everything he needs to learn as much as he can. Christian is curious by nature and loves to know how things work. With these glasses, the possibilities are endless! I will forever be thankful for my co-workers and this community. When I fill out our AEP culture surveys, it’s just not possible to explain how wonderful the people are that make SWEPCO such a great place to work. These people I work with are my family; and they are Christian’s family, too.

View a video of Christian receiving his new special glasses.

Story by Scott McCloud. Photos and video by Karen Wissing.

From → News From AEP

One Comment
  1. Way to go SWEPCO employees and Good Luck Christian!

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