Volunteer Tour Guide Overcomes Obstacles

Pat Blum
Pat Blum

PEARL HARBOR (KHNL) - People who volunteer, serve as an inspiration.

They donate their time to help the community.

But there's something about Pat Blum, that makes her truly special.

When you visit Pearl Harbor and step aboard the U.S.S. Missouri, Pat Blum is one of the first people you'll see.

You'll notice her smile and enthusiasm.

But there's something about her, you'd probably overlook.

"I have almost perfect vision, center vision, but no side vision," says Blum.

Blum is legally blind. She was born with an eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa.

"When I started running around like little kids do, around 5, I kept running into walls," she says.

But she doesn't let the disease prevent her from doing what she loves.

Twice a week, the 62-year-old volunteers at the Mighty Mo, serving as a tour guide.

She receives help from her seeing-eye dog, Dot. Even though her four-legged friend likes to take a lot of breaks, Dot has an official title. She's the ship's "K-9 Senior Chief".

Blum started volunteering here 8 years ago. But her love for the Missouri began when she was just a little girl.

"My stepfather built the radar stations," says Blum.

Blum wanted to help restore it.

And now, she's helping to teach people about a historic ship; and one of our most popular attractions.

"Friendly, smiling. She doesn't have any dull moments. she's very happy about almost everything she does," says Les Lancaster, operations director.

But it hasn't been easy. Blum says, being blind, means, giving up her independence.

"Plus I couldn't just decide what i was going to have for dinner and run down to the grocery store. you don't run down to the grocery store on a bus, even if it's in your neighborhood, you don't do it," Blum says.

Still, she finds a way to donate her time and energy to the community. She credits her mom for teaching her what it means to give back, and she says that's what life is all about.