Rotary Club of Southside Corpus Christi Visits South Texas Lighthouse for the Blind

Southside Rotary met at the South Texas Lighthouse for the Blind on Wednesday August 1 for lunch and a fascinating tour of their manufacturing facilities and warehouses.  The place is massive and we were so impressed at the amount and variety of products they produce.  It was so impressive to meet the folks behind the scenes and see what great work they do.  At times in the warehouses it was like a scene out of the end of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" there are so many boxes with production materials and/or items ready to be shipped out! 
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Nicky Ooi, President and CEO (and fellow Rotarian in the downtown Corpus Christi Club), hopes more groups will come and tour the facility to see the place and wanted us to know, that they never have produced light bulbs, even though that is what most people think.  Below please find information from their website that sums up their history and production.  But you have to see the machinery and their staff in action for yourself to truly appreciate the work they do.  Contact them today at:
South Texas Lighthouse for the Blind has been changing the lives of individuals who are blind or visually impaired since 1964.  Since its humble beginning at a small warehouse on North Mesquite Street in Corpus Christi, the Lighthouse has grown from only three to nearly 200 employees, from a small building to a 70,000 square foot facility on over seven acres, and from providing brooms and mops to providing a series of office products, military supplies, services to government agencies and training opportunities to members of the community who are blind.  Although our locations and list of manufactured products has changed over the years, the purpose and heart of the Lighthouse has remained the same:  to provide the opportunity for people throughout South Texas who live with vision loss to be productive and improve their quality of life. Our mission is to EMPLOY, EDUCATE, and EMPOWER our neighbors who are blind or visually impaired. We strive everyday to fulfill our mission and make a positive difference for those we serve and the community as a whole.
History of South Texas Lighthouse for the Blind
In the beginning, Lighthouse employees produced mops and brooms and packaged other items for sale – all of which were then sold door-to-door to citizens in the community.  In 1965, the Lighthouse increased its number of employees from three to ten and new services and products offered new employment opportunities for employees with vision loss.  Employees repaired pallets and cases for Coca-Cola, produced rubber doormats for scraping shoes, and also took on several small projects for Memorial Hospital.  To accommodate the growth in business and number of employees, the Lighthouse moved just down the street to a larger facility that was later destroyed by Hurricane Celia in 1970.  Their new home on Leopard Street allowed them to expand their business even more by taking on new products and services, and as a result, provide more employment opportunities for blind citizens of Corpus Christi.  New products included sea-dye markers, helmet pads, portfolio cases, postal trays, three-ring binders, mouse pads and candles.
In September 1999, the Lighthouse opened their second manufacturing facility about 100 miles north of Corpus Christi in Victoria, Texas.  In 2002, with over 100 employees at its Corpus Christi location, the Lighthouse again found itself in need of an even larger facility and moved to its current location on Agnes Street.  Their current home is over 70,000 square feet and sits on more than seven acres of land.  This spacious facility allows them to continue to grow, adding more products and services, which in turn allows them to hire more individuals who are visually impaired and expand the training services they provide for their employees and other visually impaired citizens in the community.
The products they manufacture today are created primarily for the U.S. Government and include a variety of sizes and colors of three-ring binders, computer mouse pads and wrist pads, index tabs, candles, mail trays for the U.S. Postal Service and flyers gloves for the military. 
In addition to manufacturing, they also operate base service stores at military bases in Texas, Mississippi and California. These include Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Naval Air Station Kingsville, Naval Station Ingleside, Naval Air Station Meridian, Columbus Air Force Base, and Travis Air Force Base. They also operate the Safety Store at Corpus Christi Army Depot and HAZMAT facilities on three military bases.  South Texas Lighthouse for the Blind looks forward to continued growth and expansion.  As always, your continued support and encouragement are greatly appreciated as they strive to provide more services for their neighbors who are blind or visually impaired.
You can find more photos from our tour on our Southside Rotary website in the left-hand margin -
Lighthouse History Source: