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Bedford veteran works to inspire students

Bedford Rotary Club
January 10. 2018 11:40PM
Bedford resident and former Air Force pilot David Kuhns speaks with first-grade students at Riddle Brook Elementary School in Bedford on Sept. 27 about his late total vision loss and how he manages everyday tasks. (Courtesy)

BEDFORD — David Kuhns of Bedford does not tire of speaking with the students at Riddle Brook Elementary School.

With the blessing from Bedford School District Superintendent Chip McGee, the retired Air Force pilot has been visiting the school to speak with the students about his late total vision loss, the challenges it presents, and the ways he manages everyday tasks, detailing the adaptive living skills needed to mitigate the disability.

In each class, Kuhns begins by telling the students about his prior sighted life in the Air Force, including his experiences in Central America, Belgium, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Kuhns retired from the service after 30 years. He became director of security for BAE Systems in Nashua for more than 5 years, and was then recruited to run two security officer portfolios for Raytheon and Boeing.

February of 2014 was when Kuhns began losing his vision in his right eye. His left eye then became affected, as well.

Despite the great care he received at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Kuhns lost all his vision as the result of a late diagnosis of lymphoma of the central nervous system.

Kuhns is now cancer-free but totally blind.

With the students, he explains his loss and how he copes as he strives toward the goal of living an independent lifestyle through training offered by Veterans Affairs and the help of family and friends.

He tells the students they will all face difficult circumstances over which they will have no control; but, he says, they must find the way to move forward in spite of their situation, instead of dwelling on the problem.

Attitude is more important, he says, than all the technology that helps him manage everyday tasks and his cyber security small business.

Kuhns demonstrates some of the technology he uses and fields questions from the students.

One of his favorite questions is “How do you have fun?”

He replies that being around family and a supportive network of friends allows him to participate in social and educational activities.

Kuhns, a Bedford Rotary member who has also presented his approach in coping with his disability to Rotary Interact high school students, says his “goal is to let the students see that a disability is not a life sentence; it is an opportunity to use other gifts and skills to lead a full and enjoyable life.”

Those seeking help for their vision impaired friends or family members are welcome to contact Kuhns at, or Bedford Rotary President Bob McPherson at or (603) 714-3077.

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