This is my favorite piece that friend and onetime roommate W. James “Jim” Antle III ever wrote for the American Spectator. It’s a remembrance of his friend Mike Kosior, who died unexpectedly last week at 38.
Mike was blind from birth. The two met while they both worked at a Boston-based marketing company. There, Jim learned a little about Mike’s story.
Mike’s parents had “insisted that he attend public schools with everyone else rather than be sent somewhere that specialized in teaching disabled children. He is believed to be the first blind student to attend his Tiverton, Rhode Island high school.” He also became the first blind graduate of Bryant College “in its 133-year history.”
It was a tough slog every inch of the way. It took Kosior a year to find a job out of college at a time when sighted people with degrees in computer information systems could pretty much write their own tickets. And his blindness was not his only infirmity. The genetic defect that made Mike blind also made him “profoundly hard of hearing.”
Mike would navigate the streets of Boston armed with nothing but his
trusty red-and-white cane. Jim once asked him why he didn’t get a seeing-eye dog. Mike replied, “It’s hard enough to get a job when you’re blind. Try bringing a [expletive] dog to the interview.”
Kosior eventually moved to Virginia, married, and adopted a child. He worked in the Pentagon, Quantico, and the Veteran’s Administration. He explained his career path to columnist Mark Patinkin. If the military would admit blind people, Mike said, “I’d have thrown on that uniform in a second. I love my country. A lot of people don’t realize what military folks do to sacrifice so we can be free.”
I saw Mike once, several years ago. He was with Jim in a Virginia Metro station. I’d never met Mike but I’d heard some of the stories and I thought, maybe I should go up and introduce myself. Just now, I wish I had. RIP.