Blind Wichita woman breaks impairment barrier, becomes laundry extraordinaire

Positive Connections

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita woman is using her positivity to spread joy one clean blanket at a time.

Linda Valentino, 58, is the laundry extraordinaire at the HumanKind Ministries emergency winter shelter.

“It’s good to have a clean blanket while you’re sleeping and I am just glad that I am able to provide that service for the homeless,” Valentino said.

Valentino’s job consists of sorting, washing, drying and folding hundreds of blankets.

“I just fold and roll and that’s about it, kinda short and sweet. It’s not that difficult,” she explained.

Valentino makes the job look easy despite her inability to see.

“I am totally blind,” she said.

The Canada native said she was born with bad eyesight.

“When I was four and five, I kept falling downstairs or walking into things and stuff like that, so my parents kept taking me to eye doctors and stuff,” Valentino said.

At the age of 20, Valentino said a doctor told her she would never see again.

“He said, ‘well, you’re blind you will never have the sight that you once had.’ I said ‘ok, fine,'” she said.

Valentino spent no time feeling sorry for herself. She married and found long-time employment as a receptionist.

However, when her receptionist job ended she had a hard time finding a new job fit for her. At one point, she said she was out of work for about 10 years.

Thanks to HumanKind Ministries she has found a new career.

“I am a Christian and I do thank God for everything that I am given and I have a lot of positive people around me. My husband is very positive and my friends are very positive. Those are the people who were praying that I could get a job,” Valentino explained.

Valentino said her faith and her surroundings help her remain positive.

“If you are around people all the time who say, ‘oh, you can’t do anything because you are blind or you are crippled or you are deaf or whatever’ that’s going to bring a person down too, but if you are around positive people that is really going to help,” she said.

Valentino has worked at HumanKind since November 2019. The worker before her sets up her station for the day.

HumanKind has also put raised dots on the machines so Valentino knows which buttons to push to start and stop a load.

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