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Family of decorated veteran donates vision enhancing machine to local library

By: Rebecca Herman
Freelance Writer

Recently the family of the Richard I. Bennett donated a Merlin Enhanced Vision machine to the Johnson County Public Library. This device is valued at $2500 and useful to persons who have a visual impairment.
Bennett, who passed away in November 2014, was a United States Army Veteran who served during World War II and the Normandy Invasion and was a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient.
While serving in the Army, Bennett lost one eye, and then years later lost most sight in the other. Due to this injury, Bennett used a machine that magnified items that he wanted to read, such as newspapers and magazines. Bennett was known to be a generous, kind, and giving man, so his family wanted to continue his legacy of generosity by donating this machine to the people of Johnson County.
The Merlin Enhanced Vision machine features magnification up to 85x, the ability to adjust contrast and brightness, custom color options, and a large LCD monitor. The machine is easy to use with its built in controls, fast response, and the screen’s ability to swivel, tilt, and pivot for ease of use. The machine can also be connected to a larger screen for viewing by multiple people.
Devices for the visually impaired can be quite expensive, so for the Johnson County Public Library to obtain one of these by donation benefits those who will use it and will allow saved money to be used in the other services provided by the library. Besides the use of the Merlin Enhanced Vision machine, the Johnson County Public Library is able to help patrons contact the Tennessee Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH) in order to acquire materials free of charge. Books recordings, Braille in book form and musical book and scores, large print books, various subject magazines in Braille, and various other materials can be borrowed from the LBPH.

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