Brandon Carpenter of Conway has been named an area winner of the Consumer of the Year award presented annually by Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Services for the Blind (DSB). 

Carpenter was recognized for the achievement Dec. 10 at Ryan’s Restaurant during a dinner in his honor. The event was a collaboration of members of Conway Noon and Evening Lions Clubs and the Little Rock Founders Lions Club. Carpenter earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business from the University of Central Arkansas (UCA). 

DSB paid for his education and continued to provide counseling and guidance until he obtained employment and his service case was closed. Mr. Carpenter, who provides report development and customer service for Rock-Pond Solutions, said he was pleased to accept the award. 

Rock-Pond Solutions is an information management firm, centered in Conway, and serving the nation’s health care industry. Company president, Pete Tanguay, said he was impressed with Mr. Carpenter’s ability to use technology to compensate for his limited vision and maintain a commendable level of productivity. 

Carpenter has Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy, also known as Juvenile Onset Macular Degeneration, in both eyes. It is a rare, progressive disease. Children first notice difficulty in reading, complaining of gray, black or hazy spots in the center of their vision. Their eyes require more time to adjust between light and dark environments. The condition is named for German ophthalmologist Dr. Karl Stargardt, who first identified it in 1901. 

More recently, the genetic cause of this disease has been found, perhaps paving the way towards a future cure. DSB provides rehabilitation and referral services to blind or severely visually impaired persons of all ages throughout the state. Persons interested in learning more about services available to individuals with vision problems can call the division at 1-800-960-9270 or (501) 682-5463, or visit the DSB website at http://www.arkansas.gov/dhs/dsb/NEWDSB/index.htm.