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After joining winning Envision Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind team, Charles Saville discovered ‘I still matter!’

Blake Lindsay - Sep 30, 2018

Tags: Dallas    Employment    Manufacturing   
In April 2018, Envision welcomed Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind into its family. The following profile highlights the amazing story of former NFL player and current Dallas Lighthouse employee Charles Saville.

Charles Saville is an optimistic and influential team player on the manufacturing crew as a Thermatron machine operator, an apparatus that makes the corners on approximately one million government award binders produced annually at Envision Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind. Margie Harris, his senior supervisor, describes him as “an honorable employee who is polite and helpful and does his best at whatever task I ask him to do.”

Being a member of a team is familiar territory for Charles.

Before losing most of his sight, Charles was a nickel linebacker playing pro football. During his exhilarating career, he played for the San Diego Chargers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Denver Broncos. Charles was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) during his pro football career in 1993.

“I hoped I would be able to use corrective lenses, but that ended up causing even more eye strain,” Charles recollects. His vision gradually worsened over the next six years, until he could no longer pass his required team physical.

After football, Charles’ desire to keep working led him to become a street police officer. When his eyesight made it impossible for him to continue in law enforcement, he became a lab tech at a plasma center. By the time he was in his early 30s, the progressive deterioration of his vision left him no other choice but to leave the workforce entirely.

Taking a page from his football career, Charles chose to get up and refuse defeat. He took advantage of the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center (CCRC) program in Austin and completed the eight-month independent living course in only six months. He discovered Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind in the process.

”For about three years, I’ve experienced what a great place the Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind is for people with visual impairments. I still have a sense of purpose,” he said. “The Lighthouse team lets me know that I belong in the workforce – and in the world. I still matter!”

Charles is a member of Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind's Safety Committee as well as the Advisory Committee. And, yes, he still loves football and is a huge fan of the reining Super Bowl champs, the Philadelphia Eagles.