BVA member, U.S. Coast Guard veteran, and law enforcement veteran Dave Barrett of Haymarket, Virginia (Mid-Atlantic Regional Group) was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) in 2015. His grandfather had RP, so the diagnosis was not a total surprise to him. Even so, Dave has faced all of the same challenges as he adjusts to vision loss.
Dave continues to work at his federal government civilian day job with U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the field of veteran support. He spends what is left of his available hours raising money for BVA as he “busks” (plays music in the street or another public place for voluntary donations) in specially selected public locations in the Washington, DC metropolitan area with his bagpipes and Irish whistles.
Dave also participates in the weekly sessions of the current BVA Ambassador Training Program. If all that were not enough, Dave also gives private bagpipe and whistle lessons to gifted young student musicians in his local area, one of whom is a high school phenom who accompanied him and played at the recent Virginia Scottish games during Labor Day weekend.
“My sight gets darker as every day passes,” Dave muses on his YouTube channel Vision Piping, “but the trick, really, is to make sure your life doesn’t get darker.”
Dave invites YouTube viewers to share in his basking experiences on behalf of BVA as he gradually experiences additional sight loss. More than ten of his performances can currently be viewed on the channel.
On July 4 of this year, Dave released an album of music entitled “Starting To See—Tunes to Support our Blinded Veterans” to give away with a request for a donation. All proceeds, he has determined, go to BVA. The album includes bagpipes (solo and band), whistles, and song. It is available in CD and also via digital download.
To order a CD with a minimum donation of $15, use Venmo @VISIONPIPING or Paypal.me/visionpiping and Dave will send you a CD once he also receives your name and address in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via Facebook Messenger (HERE). To donate by downloading the album, (CLICK HERE).