No Boundaries Photo Project: Master Sgt. Jeffrey Mittman (Ret.), National Account Manager
No Boundaries Photo Project: Master Sgt. Jeffrey Mittman (Ret.), National Account Manager

Categories: Employment, No Boundaries, Veterans & Military

Photograph of Master Sgt. Jeffrey Mittman (Ret.),
Determination is one word Master Sgt. Jeffrey Mittman epitomizes. As an account manager for National Industries for the Blind (NIB), he not only dedicates his time to increasing employment opportunities for others, but also refuses to let people’s misconceptions about individuals with disabilities get in the way of his own success.

Born and raised in Indiana, Jeffrey spent 21 years in the U.S. Army. After multiple tours overseas, including a deployment during the first Gulf War, he was stationed in Iraq as an advisor to an Iraqi battalion. On July 7, 2005, Jeffrey was severely injured by a roadside bomb. He lost his left eye, central vision in his right eye, his nose, most of his teeth and badly damaged his right arm.

Throughout the next few years, Jeffrey underwent multiple reconstructive surgeries and rehabilitation, first at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and then in Indiana. Realizing that he had to carve out a new career path, Jeffrey started to participate in the Blinded Veterans Association’s (BVA) Operation Peer Support program, where he met other Veterans who had been blinded in active duty.

His involvement with BVA also connected him to other professionals, including NIB’s Chief Executive Officer Kevin A. Lynch. Initially, NIB offered Jeffrey a professional internship. He was later hired as a full-time, remote employee. “It’s common for people with disabilities to withdraw into our own communities, but it’s really important to reach out,” shares Jeffrey. “People are willing to give you an opportunity once they see your performance.”

Today, Jeffrey spends more than 50 percent of his time travelling in order to develop strong customer relationships and business opportunities for NIB across the nation – in the last 18 months alone, he has taken more than 44 trips. “Sometimes people don’t understand how someone who is blind can do the project,” says Jeffrey. “I always reply, ‘You didn’t know I was blind until I showed up.’ It turns on a light bulb for them.” Most potential customers are receptive if he can prove the value of NIB’s products and services, something he does by researching their needs and taking them to NIB’s local facilities to demonstrate firsthand what employees can do.

Technology has changed a lot of work environments, enabling employees to be more productive. Since Jeffrey has limited use of his right arm, he taught himself to type one-handed and uses assistive devices, such as digital magnifiers and speech recognition software, to assist with everyday tasks. When he travels, Jeffrey uses a white cane to help him navigate public places. “There’s a solution to almost everything. You just have to find it,” he explains.

Jeffrey says the great motivator in his life is family. When he is not working, Jeffrey enjoys spending time with his wife, Christy, and their two daughters – but he jokingly admits he can tell when they are ready for him to take another trip.

This fall, Jeffrey will pursue his second Master’s degree in Business Administration at Ball State University. He firmly believes that his experience is meant to serve as an example, demonstrating that traumatic events may shape – but do not have to determine – an individual’s life course. “You have to start somewhere, and you may not like your first job. But once you prove yourself, people realize you are capable of anything.”

11 Responses to No Boundaries Photo Project: Master Sgt. Jeffrey Mittman (Ret.), National Account Manager

  1. Michael B. says:

    Hello, great and inspirational story. I am a combat wounded vet, (USMC) that has a 501c non-profit SDVOSB that is a Microsoft refurbisher donating computers, software, education, and certification to veterans and their family members. We are interested in online certification and educational programs. We recently set up a computer network for a woman’s veteran homeless shelter, which is possibly the 1st shelter of it’s kind in the country and we are in need of training/education software for these female veterans. We are in looking for certification programs that can be completed online and that will be of substantial help for veterans and or their family members in finding employment. Have tried contacting WWarrior but no response. Help is appreciated.

  2. Maye says:

    Super page. We are checking back again persistently to watch out for fresh news.

  3. Alim says:

    As a veteran, I admire your determination and hard work. I just want to say thank you for your service and for sharing your inspirational story. Wish you and your family the best.

  4. Scott A. Lee says:

    I served with MSG Mittman in Germany and was deployed in GW1. In garrison and out on the town, Mittman, Herdman and I were inseparable. I would like to get in contact with him, my name is Scott Lee.

  5. Kassie says:

    Thank you for your service and inspiration. I have been blind for about 5 years now and my fiance was diagnosed with a terminal form of cancer 1 year ago. We created a disability blog to talk about our experiences and empower other disabled people.
    People are often amazed at the fact that, as disabled people, we are more productive than most non-disabled people we know. We try to teach that society should raise its expectations of the disabled. thank you for being a wonderful example of this principle.

  6. says:

    A very inspirational personality was introduced today through this encouraging article. Disability is only the body. Helen Keller did wonders. Jeffery is showing how to do wonders. Stephen Hawkings, the great scientist, has dictated his own terms. I saw a boy who has no arms and legs, but can dance, last year. Determination can make you special, can make you a winner. People who have all their parts properly are in fact inferior to these special people with rock hard determination to achieve something by defeating disability. Hip, Hip, Hurray to these mighty human beings.

  7. Frank C. says:

    I not only commend Master Sgt. Jeffrey Mittman but also will share his demonstration and belief of how dramatic events may shape a person’s life but does not have to that individuals life course with my three children. I too will use his motivation as a guiding instrument as I tackle going back to school. It’s time for the excuses to stop and the changes to begin. Thank You, Master Sgt. and my prayers are with you and your family.
    Frank C.

  8. Advocate, MPH says:

    God Bless you Master Sgt. Mittman for your service not only to our country but for advocating, educating and inspiring people with disabilities. Your service does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

  9. Maria says:

    Thank you for your service, thank you for your work

  10. Arindam S. says:

    My post please.

  11. Marcia S. says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am a retired Veteran with stage four cancer and just recently paralyzed from the hip down. As I am always the strong, positive, go to person for all, I am finding myself having a pity party.
    Thanks for the reality check! I’m picking myself up!