Wichita company, employee to donate white canes to Mexico

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

At a factory in Wichita, Paco Padilla is walking the floor and checking the equipment just like he does every day but what might surprise you is he does the job in near darkness.

"My vision is kind of okay. I see almost everything but everything is blurry for me," Padilla said.

He came to the U.S. less than eight years ago with his family looking for work but quickly his life took a turn. Within just a few months his eyesight disappeared.

Eventually, Padilla found his way to Wichita and a job working at Envision, a company that employs the visually impaired.

"What I've got now and I love it. I like it. I love what I do every day and coming to my work happy, I try to be happy every day. I try to help with whatever needs help over here,” Padilla said.

This holiday season Padilla has a lot to be thankful for. In his Mexican hometown of Tepatitlán de Morelos, he saw many of his people suffering from vision loss but without the opportunity he had.

He is now choosing to pay it forward. 

In a few weeks Padilla will return to home and hand out white canes to people who suffer from vision loss. In the past he'd buy these with his own money.

"I started buying with my check at least one every check or every two months and I keep it at home and when I got down there I take it,” Padilla said.

With Envision's help, Paco is now able to help even more people.

"We've got a little plan to try to help more people from other cities, not only my city,” Padilla said.

When Padilla returns to Mexico this time he'll be joined by Envision’s President and CEO Michael Monteferrante. They'll leave Wichita for Mexico to deliver $10,000 worth of white canes, devices and other equipment to help the blind, all purchased through a personal donation.

"We brought our planning committee together in conjunction with the individuals who ran our visual impairment store and did a brainstorming session on the things that we felt the folks will need," Monteferrante said.

It may seem like a small gesture, but for many in Mexico who suffer from blindness, they often are forced to use PVC pipes or sticks to find their way around. Envison's CEO says this could be just the start.

"With Paco taking the lead, we hope to expand this idea to other agencies in terms of their engagement of other places in North America that need help," Monteferrante said.

Now with his family taken care of, Padilla has a different dream. One that involves continuing to help the people of the country he hasn't left behind. 

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have a photo to share with us? Email it to news@kake.com.

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