My Own Personal Hero
By Betty

My husband, Wesley Britton, has RP and is the most impressive man that I know. Wesley's life has never been easy. I have known him since second grade and throughout our school years he was picked on horribly because he wore thick glasses and could not participate in sports. Thinking back on it now, I wonder if those years of being an outcast in school didn't somehow prepare him for what he would go through years later.

After graduation, Wes went off to college. Not sure of what path he wanted to follow he went first to a local college and then to the university in our home state. During this time Wes was diagnosed with RP. Coping with his disease at first was not easy for him. Mobility Training was far from easy. The thought of using a white cane did not appeal to him but he learned what he could. The friends at college that he had at the time had a hard time accepting and coping with his disease also. Wes stuck it out at college and got his bachelor's degree in English. His family moved to Texas and he soon followed. In some ways, life was easier there. People there did not know the sighted Wesley, so he seemed to be accepted better. As Wes tells it for a while after that he carried around alot of anger and the sound of breaking glass became very soothing to him.

After several failed attempts to find employment, a councilor at the Texas Commission for the Blind suggested that Wes go back to college. By this time he was loosing what seemed like big "chunks" of his vision at a time. Wes was using a Visual Teck by this time but decided that he was going to try to finish his education.

Getting an education under the best conditions is not easy but for a person with a disability it can sometimes seem like an insurmountable feat. Wes was persistant however. He graduated and got his Master degree in English. However, he still wasn't finished. He continued his education and got his PhD in American Literature. He did his thesis on Mark Twain and wrote for the Mark Twain encyclopedia. He soon became known as the world's expert in Mark Twain in the media. He is a member of the Mark Twain forum and will be a featured speaker at their upcoming convention in August 2001.

These are not my husband's only accomplishments. He writes encyclopedia articles and book reviews for Salem Publishing in California. He is an accomplished poet and president of a local poetry society. He teaches English at the local community college. He has been listed in Marquis Who's Who for the last several years and is in their Who's Who in the World publication for the year 2000. He is active in the local Citizen's with Disabilities group and has given some practical English seminars at their last two conventions.

He came back to his hometown in Pennsylvania two years ago. We reunited and have been married for just over a year now. Wesley lost what little he had left of his sight just before he came home and is now totally blind but he never seems to let this get in his way.

My husband is living proof that no dream is unattainable if your desire is strong enough. He is an ispiration to his students and I am proud to be his wife. Since I have never had any previous experiance with blindness before reuniting with him, he has taught me much. He never seems to loose patience with me and sometimes I have to wonder which one of us truly has a disability.

I am hoping that this very shortened version of his story is of interest to you and any who may read it. As I tell anyone who will listen when I tell Wes's story--if ever you feel like you can't go on and want to give up. Think of my husband and all he went through to make his dreams come true and know that no goal is outside of your reach if you want it bad enough.

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Page Created 7/22/2000