APH Press Release

American Printing House for the Blind Presents its Highest Honor – the Wings of Freedom Award – to Mr. Ralph Brewer

Louisville, KY – Mr. Ralph Brewer, Superintendent Emeritus of the Tennessee School for the Blind, has been selected as this year’s recipient of the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) Wings of Freedom Award. The Wings of Freedom, APH’s highest award, was established to honor individuals who have demonstrated exemplary leadership in the field of blindness. The APH Wings of Freedom Award is given on an as-deserved basis, to a person who has done something outstanding or provided exemplary leadership in service to education or rehabilitation in the field of blindness and has made an impact on the field over a long period of time. It has been given only nine times previously, most recently to Dr. Phil Hatlen in 2010.

Mr. Brewer will be honored at a ceremony that will be held on Thursday evening, October 13, 2011 during the annual meeting of APH Ex Officio Trustees and Special Guests in Louisville. Nearly 400 Ex Officio Trustees* and special guests* will attend this year’s meeting.

Ralph Brewer is a graduate of the Tennessee School for the Blind, Middle Tennessee State University, and George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University.

He began his professional career at the Tennessee School in 1964. After holding several positions there, he became Principal of the West Virginia School for the Blind. In 1988, Brewer returned to Tennessee as Superintendent of the school, a position he held until retirement in 2002.

Mr. Brewer is a man of many professional and personal accomplishments, including 1962 State High School Wrestling Champion, twice the Nashville Interscholastic League Wrestling Coach of the Year, and a 2006 inductee in to the National Amateur Wrestling Hall of Fame.

His service to APH includes 14 years as an Ex Officio Trustee and membership on the Ex Officio Trustee Publications Advisory Committee, serving as the chair of that committee in 1998. Among his many accomplishments, he cites being elected to the National Amateur Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2006. He served on the Board of Directors of AER, founded Friends of Tennessee School for the Blind, Inc., and was a member of both the Nashville Mayor’s Advisory Committee for the Disabled (1999- 2001) and the Advisory Committee to George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University Vision Program (1988 – 2002). He was recognized by the West Virginia State Board of Education for Outstanding Leadership In Education in 1988, and named the Tennessee Lion of the Decade in 2008. In 2003, Joint Resolution 61 of the Tennessee State Legislature named the Educational Building at the Tennessee School for the Blind the "Ralph A. Brewer Administrative Building." The "Ralph A. Brewer Leadership Award" was established by Alumni Association of TSB in recognition of outstanding leadership in 1999, and the Middle Tennessee Wrestling Coach of the Year is recognized each year by receiving "The Ralph A. Brewer Coach of the Year Award," which was established in 2002. For these, and many other accomplishments, the American Printing House for the Blind is proud to honor Mr. Brewer with the 2011 Wings of Freedom Award.

For more information, call (502) 895-2405 or log on to www.aph.org.

*Ex Officio Trustees, Special Guests, and the Annual Meeting

In 1879, the U. S. Congress passed the Act to Promote the Education of the Blind. This act set up a system to provide free schoolbooks and other materials for blind students and named the American Printing House for the Blind as the national central source of these educational materials. The system through which these specialized materials are distributed is known as the Federal Quota Program. American Printing House for the Blind Ex Officio Trustees are responsible for overseeing the implementation of this program in the various states and regions they represent. The Ex Officio Trustees come to Louisville each year for the Annual Meeting during which they provide insight to APH staff and exchange information about developments in the field of blindness. "Special guests" such as parents, teachers, administrators and other educators involved with the field of blindness may also attend this meeting.

About APH

The American Printing House for the Blind, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, is the world’s largest company devoted solely to researching, developing, and manufacturing products for people who are blind or visually impaired. Founded in 1858, it is the oldest organization of its kind in the United States. Under the 1879 federal Act to Promote the Education of the Blind, APH is the official supplier of educational materials for visually impaired students in the U.S. who are working at less than college level.

APH manufactures textbooks and magazines in braille, large print, recorded, and computer disc formats. APH also manufactures hundreds of educational, recreational, and daily living products. APH’s fully accessible web site (www.aph.org) features information about APH products and services, online ordering of products, and free information on a wide variety of blindness-related topics.

The American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. is located at 1839 Frankfort Avenue in Louisville, Kentucky. For more information, call (502) 895-2405 or log on to www.aph.org.

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