Oklahomans With Vision Impairment Manufacturing Fire Hoses For California Wildfires

Thursday, September 16th 2021, 7:47 pm
By: Mike Glover


NewView is a local nonprofit helping those with vision challenges, but they’re also impacting lives all over the country. 

We have all seen the destruction to land and property by the California wildfires. Those fires are being fought with the help of people with vision problems from right here in Oklahoma. 

“NewView Oklahoma is the sole supplier for fire hoses to the U.S. Forest Service,” said Lauren Branch, president and CEO of NewView Oklahoma. 

A contract they have had for over 20 years, manufacturing over two million hoses. 

As a result of the recent wildfires and the work being done at NewView, President Biden gave a special thank you to the Oklahoma nonprofit for supplying the hoses to fight those fires and is also providing legislation to make more hoses. 

“He actually invoked the Defense Production Act for us, so we can increase our production of hoses,” said Branch.

Hoses manufactured right here in Oklahoma, by the workers at NewView.

“This gives them again an opportunity to feel like they are giving back, something rewarding, something that is meaningful,” said Matt Harris, with NewView. 

A little over 75% of the workforce at NewView is blind or have low vision, and they take pride in the work they are doing. 

“To any blind person out there in this world, do not let anyone tell you that you can’t,” said Jessie Lester, a worker with NewView. 

Oklahomans putting aside their limitations to care for others. 

“By the time this contract is done we will have manufactured over 4,000 miles of hoses this year,” said Branch.

The staff at NewView are obviously excited about the contracts but are more excited about the opportunities those contracts bring for those workers with vision challenges.