Gerritt Vanderdussen

Gerritt Vanderdussen smiling

Gerritt Vanderdussen is one volunteer who enjoys lending a hand. 

The retired machinist has been making use of his mechanical talents with the CNIB office in Hamilton and the CNIB Transitional Training Centre for over a decade. He also transformed his garage into a CNIB repair shop, which has come in handy on countless occasions.

For example, one instructor often used Lego blocks with the raised plastic connecting dots, to teach braille. Vanderdussen made a quick trip to his garage and modified the pieces by removing certain dots so that they represented the braille configurations of letters and numbers to help with classes.

He’s also become a wizard with white canes, replacing worn grips and installing new elastics on folding canes.

He also installs rolling tips on the ends of white canes for users who prefer rolling to tapping. “Sometimes people get tired of tapping because their arms get sore,” he says.

Another of Vanderdussen's projects was the reconstruction of a full-size traffic light and crosswalk standard used in the Hamilton office’s Transitional Training Centre. Using this mock crosswalk, clients can be taught to cross intersections safely in a simulated environment before attempting the real thing in the community.

Vanderdussen has been a tremendous asset to the Transitional Training Centre Program not only by generously donating his time but with his innate sensitivity to clients’ needs. 

His reward?

“I get a lot of satisfaction,” he says. “It keeps me busy and my mind on something other than myself.”