DVIDS – News – Vision Loss Doesn’t Stop DLA Partner From Achieving Dreams



The past five years have been kind to Gregory Ramsey. The contract specialist met and married his wife, embarked on a new career at the Land and Maritime Defense Logistics Agency and became a father.

In an interview for National Disability Employment Awareness Month, he described this period of his life as a whirlwind and how he is able to “see” better than ever despite his legal blindness.

Ramsey is the stepfather of Maddison, 13, Seth, 12, and Emma, ​​9, with his wife Jessica, and welcomed daughter Ariella to the family in 2018. On Tuesday he was promoted to Contract Specialist for the Land and Maritime Strategic Acquisition Programs Department. As the responsibilities mount, Ramsey is content.

“I couldn’t be more grateful for what has happened over the past few years and DLA has played a huge role in that,” he said.

To understand the importance of this moment, you have to understand Ramsey’s journey to get there.

The proud East Ohio native Buckeye grew up in the small town of Richmond, Ohio, outside of Steubenville. The youngest of Jim and Jan Ramsey’s three children, Ramsey described his upbringing as “extremely normal” with all the experiences of a typical teenager. He played sports, spent time with friends and was planning a future career in law. Ramsey was enrolled in sophomore at Ohio State University when his conventional life came to an abrupt end.

The 19-year-old woke up one morning in December 2006, unable to see clearly with his left eye. As a healthy young athlete, Ramsey initially believed his symptoms were temporary. He went to the doctor, and while his family was worried, Ramsey remained optimistic that he would get his vision back.

But as her central vision deteriorated and began to spread to the other eye, her ophthalmologist recommended genetic testing after other tests failed to provide answers. Weeks after the onset of his symptoms, Ramsey finally learned the devastating news that not only was his vision loss permanent, but it was the result of a previously undetected inherited trait. She was diagnosed with hereditary Lebers optic neuropathy. Ramsey is the first and only person in his immediate family to be diagnosed with the disease.

LHON has an impact on the central vision needed to read, drive and recognize faces, among others. In most cases, symptoms start in one eye, followed by vision failure in the other eye. This was the case with Ramsey.

No one knows what triggers the gene. It is carried by mitochondrial DNA, which means that mothers carry the gene to their offspring. A father who carries the genetic mutation cannot pass the gene on to any of his children. The disease does not affect peripheral vision, so although legally blind, Ramsey said he can sometimes use his peripheral vision to identify objects, and he can move very well despite his vision. He described it as the opposite of tunnel vision – he cannot look directly at an object but if it is large enough or close enough he can use his peripheral vision to see it.

It was a little consolation for Ramsey. He calls the years immediately after his diagnosis a “dark period.”

“Things were tough for many years – we were all in shock. My mother especially. There is really no right answer sometimes. Time just has to pass. Eventually I got over it and adjusted, ”he said.

The student took a semester off before returning and completing his bachelor’s degree in June 2010 with support from the campus disability services office. No longer able to drive, he depended on various friends, family and support services for transportation. Prior to his diagnosis, Ramsey initially intended to go to law school, but put that dream on hold as he grappled with his change in his circumstances.

Several years have passed as Ramsey struggled with depression.

Ramsey said his turning point was about five years ago.

“I made a decision to put my mind back together – to be positive, to be resilient, to believe in myself and to refuse to quit,” he said. “I am in the best shape of my life, I have regained my spirituality and I couldn’t be more grateful for what has happened in the past few years.”

Ramsey accepted a customer service position at the Cleveland Sight Center and then an opportunity presented itself through the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired to work as a contract closing specialist at Defense Supply. Center Columbus. After the contract ended, he and two teammates were recruited as federal workers with the Defense Logistics Agency. For the past two years, he worked as a purchasing agent with the Maritime Supplier Operations post-award team prior to his recent promotion.

As his professional life blossomed, so did Ramsey’s personal life. He married Jessica, a former classmate with whom he reconnected, and together they raise four children. Jessica started her DLA career this month as a purchasing agent in Land Supplier Operations’ new industrial equipment mission.

Ramsey has also undertaken various volunteer opportunities. He is President of DLA Land and Maritime’s Disability Employment Program and recently took on a new role with his local AGOISSI Toastmasters club at DLA Land and Maritime as Vice President of Education. In April, Ramsey placed second in the Toastmasters International speech competition for her division, using her life story as inspiration in the hope that she can motivate others to take on life’s challenges and to see the good.

In the worst moments after his diagnosis, Ramsey said it was hard to imagine living a normal life. But fast forward to today, and he’s achieved so many goals it’s time to set some new ones.

Ramsey sums up his last 14 years with one last simple post:
“Bad things are going to happen. Life can change in a second. It’s really your perspective and your attitude that will get you through this.

Date taken: 15.10.2020
Date posted: 12/31/2020 14:59
Story ID: 386285
Site: COLOMB, Ohio, United States

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