TEACHING SELF-DEFENSE TO THE BLIND: Blind Justice has found his niche.
Brockton resident Scott Fedor, who is legally blind, picked up that nickname years ago when was coaching baseball and still could bat out baseballs he had a hard time seeing.
In addition to being a longtime coach of basketball and baseball, Fedor is a black belt in karate and spent part of this summer teaching self-defense techniques to the students of the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton.
Although he’s taught martial arts before, it’s his first time teaching students with a disability. He’s being helped by his 19-year-old daughter, Kelly, a UMass-Boston student who also works at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy.
Fedor has been teaching at the Carroll Center twice a week since July 25, and said he hopes to continue teaching for sight-impaired after the program ends Aug. 18.
“I love it,” Fedor said of working with blind students, some who can’t see at all, and some who can see slightly better than he can. “It’s not easy to show someone how to make a fist when they can’t see you and you have to describe every movement, but some are progressing pretty well.”
The program at the school for the blind is the latest in a series of athletic endeavors in a life undeterred by mounting blindness that got much worse by 2002, he said, when he was declared legally blind.
“I have macular degeneration and technically it started when I was born, I guess,” said the 49-year-old Fedor, who also plays guitar and said he wrote a song for the dedication of the Rocky Marciano statue in Brockton. “When I was a kid, I had those Coke-bottle glasses.”
But he played sports, including at Weymouth North High School and later at Massasoit Community College, and for 29 years worked as a correctional program officer for the state Department of Corrections before retiring two years ago.
He has directed mixed martial arts programs in Rockland, Hingham, and Scituate, and coached basketball at Sacred Heart High School in Kingston, at youth summer camps and Massasoit Community College. He was also a certified basketball referee for many years.
“When I was coaching baseball, I’d show them how to hit by hitting a few balls and the kids called me ‘Blind Justice,’” he said with a laugh. “I liked it, and it stuck.”
He credits the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind with helping him once his vision took a turn for the worse.
“You can say what you want about a lot of state agencies, but this one changed my life, it’s one of the good state agencies,” he said. “They were unbelievable, they make an instant impact on your life.”
The agency helped by getting him communications gear he could work with and referring him to the Carroll Center, where he worked with a mobility instructor who, he said, “opened my world. I always took the train and stuff, but the way they work with you, show you how to get around, gives you the confidence and assuredness you need to go out there.”
Once the Carroll Center program ends, Fedor will seek out other places to teach self defense, perhaps The Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, he said. But wherever he teaches, he stresses the same thing to all his students.
“Be safe,” he said. “And have fun.”
HANOVER FIRM HELPS ELLIE FUND: The Ellie Fund, a Needham-based group that fights breast cancer, was named the winner in “Twive & Receive,” a one-day Twitter-based fund-raising contest. The Hanover law firm Epstein, Lipsey & Clifford spearheaded the effort, and with volunteers, companies, and “Twitterati,” raised more than $53,000 in the 24 hours that earned the Ellie Fund the first-place prize of $15,000 from Razoo.com, contest host. The law firm hosted a free party at its office to raise the money, an evening that included raffles and prizes, with laptops set up for partygoers to donate directly to the Ellie Fund.
Scott Clifford, a partner in the firm, founded the “Real Men Wear Pink” team three years ago to compete in the Sharon Spring Triathlon, which last year raised more than $12,000 for the Ellie Fund. The team’s goal for this year’s triathlon, which runs Aug. 12, is $25,000.
FLAG FOOTBALL COMES TO MARSHFIELD: Three Marshfield residents have created the Marshfield Flag Football Program, which is designed to give children ages 5 through 14 the chance to play football while minimizing the risk of injury from full-contact football.
The program was created by Mark Forrester, owner of Marcus Myles Media; Mark Stiles, principal in the Marshfield law office of Stiles & Associates; and Dante Dimassa, of Martha’s Vineyard Bank. They have sons ages 8 to 10, which was part of the reason behind forming the program.
“I played some high school and college football and loved the sport, but am a bit reluctant to have my son play, particularly at this young age because of the risk of injury,” Forrester said. “Flag football is a great alternative for the kids.”
Games begin after Labor Day and end with a jamboree the weekend after Veterans Day. Marshfield boys and girls are eligible to play. For information on the program and registration, visit www.marshfieldflag.com, or call Stiles at 781-319-1900.
MATTHEWS FOUNDATION GIVES GRANTS: The Paul R. Matthews Foundation, created in memory of the longtime Canton school board member and advocate for the town’s children, gave grants to Canton High School’s TV production classes; the Canton Historical Society; the Canton Garden and Food Project; and the Canton High School Robotics Program. In addition, the foundation awarded scholarships to graduating Canton High School seniors Michelle McNeil and Christopher Murray, who exemplified a “significant commitment to sportsmanship, scholastics, and the community,” according to foundation officials.