It is a cool fall morning. Outlook Nebraska Associate James Harvey smiles to himself as he waits with his running partner. Today is his first 5K run, and he has been practicing for this for awhile now. James is one of three totally blind Outlook Nebraska associates participating in this portion of the Nebraska Marathon.
The race begins, and even the rain can’t stop James from feeling completely exhilarated as his feet move him down the sidewalk.
Since this 2016 race, James has participated in several triathlons and races, including the Mayor’s Triathlon, the Omaha Triathlon, the Great Ames Adventure Race and the Christian Records Annual Eye Run. For James, these physical activities are about more than just being active. “I get to support good causes and show other blind people that they can accomplish anything they set their mind to,” he said. “I also love being with other runners and taking in the fresh air.”
James was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa as a child, but this never slowed him down. He has a Bachelor’s degree in music and general studies with an emphasis in mathematics from UNO, and he has been with Outlook Nebraska for more than 10 years. His life has taken him in many directions, but he always takes the time to give back to the community in some way.
On Sunday mornings, James plays his violin during services at Christ the King Church. He also plays for Immanuel Pathways in Omaha, at Outlook Nebraska events, and at weddings and funerals. “I started playing violin when I was six, and I enjoy sharing my love of music with others,” James said.
James rings bells for the Salvation Army and is a member of the Omaha Westside Lions Club. He creates art for the Please Touch the Art workshops put on by Why Arts and UNO. He is always willing to lend a hand to a co-worker or community member. He can be found at most Outlook Nebraska events with a pleasant greeting and a smile.
James loves being active in the community, and his involvement increased with his career at Outlook Nebraska. “Outlook gave me the opportunity to be a part of the Nebraska Marathon, and this made me realize that I could turn running into a hobby. I have met so many great people here and been connected with organizations like Immanuel Pathways where I was able to increase my volunteer activities. I am honored to be part of this great organization.”
James is a member of Outlook’s bowling and goalball leagues and tandem bike club. He is a graduate of Outlook’s technology training program.
For these reasons and many others, James was named the Outlook Nebraska 2018 Associate of the Year. He job shadows and serves on organization committees. According to his peers, James has a positive attitude and constantly looks for ways to do more than just his primary role as a finisher. In 2013, James was Outlook’s nominee for National Industries for the Blind’s national Peter J. Salmon Direct Labor Employee of the Year.