Alexander Griswold Viets was born in Digby, Nova Scotia in 1878. In 1914, he enlisted in the army in Calgary. Blinded by a mortar explosion in France early in the First World War, Viets was sent to St. Dunstan's for rehabilitation where he shared a room with Edwin Baker and Clutha MacKenzie, both of whom went on to become well-known for their work with people with vision loss in New Zealand and Asia.
Viets was the first soldier blinded in the war to return to Canada from St. Dunstan’s. He went home to Nova Scotia, but was encouraged by Edwin Baker to move to Toronto in 1916, where he was employed by the Imperial Life Assurance Company of Canada. Viets also joined the Board of the Canadian National Library for the Blind later that same year. Alexander Viets served as Vice President of CNIB and was awarded the King’s Medal in 1937. Viets was described by others as a quiet and thoughtful contributor to the new organization, with a good head for business. He died at age 71.