Brian Oglesbee of Thomaston, Georgia spoke at the June 3 Hoover Rotary Club Meeting.
Hoover Rotary Club welcomed Brian Oglesbee to share his message of “vision without sight” at its Wednesday meeting.
Oglesbee had vision issues for most of his life, starting when he was diagnosed with retinoblastoma in both eyes at the age of two. Even after his right eye was removed and he developed a cataract on his left eye, his parents would not let these difficulties stop him.
“My parents did a great job of playing up the fact that I could ride a bike to school or ride a bike to work,” Oglesbee said. “Anytime we saw someone riding a bike uptown somewhere, they’d make sure to point that person out to me.”
Although he continued to play sports and ride his bike like an average young boy, Oglesbee struggled in school. The cataract on his left eye made reading textbooks difficult and frustrating, and he grew to hate reading. His parents continued to encourage perseverance.
In sixth grade, Oglesbee had to take on a research paper on the American Revolution. Without large-print encyclopedias or any modern technology, this meant using a magnifying glass to try to extract information. As he struggled with his paper, Oglesbee said, his mother didn’t choose to do the work for him or yell at the teacher for making him write it. Instead, she hand-copied the 10-page encyclopedia entry in large print so that he could do his own research and write his own paper.
He got an A on the paper.
“That was my first introduction to the philosophy of my mom’s that I like to call the Philippians 4:13 philosophy,” Oglesbee said. “All things are truly possible, if you just believe.”
Oglesbee has since carried on that philosophy, even though his mother had to remind him a few times. At 16, Oglesbee underwent cataract surgery with the hope that it would improve his vision and he would be able to drive. Instead, he lost vision in that eye. He thought his life and dreams were over, he said.
“Fortunate for me, my mom had other thoughts,” Oglesbee said. “Remember, she was the one that had always said ‘all things are truly possible.’ She started almost immediately saying that to me again – ‘You’ve never let it stop you before, why should you let it stop you now?’”
Instead of allow him to make excuses, his mom pushed him to start golfing again. After picking up a golf club for the first time in six months, he hit the ball straight and realized blindness wouldn’t keep him from a sport he loved. When he returned to school, teachers helped him learn linear equations with blocks.
“I had no idea that those blocks were not only going to be a tool to teach me math, but those blocks were going to be the building blocks for the cornerstone of my mantra as an educator today, and that is it does not matter how you do something – it’s that you do something. All you need is a vision,” he said.
Oglesbee, a teacher and golf coach in Thomaston, Georgia, now uses his experiences to encourage others to work hard despite hardships and not allow obstacles to get in the way. More information can be found at his website, visionwithoutsightgroup.com.
Brian Oglesbee speaks about 'vision without sight'
Brian Oglesbee addressed the Hoover Rotary Club with a message of "vision without sight" on June 3.