George Mendoza is a legally blind award-winning artist, author, former para-Olympic athlete, and motivational speaker who has touched the lives of Americans across the nation. Mendoza was born and raised in New York City. At the tender age of fifteen, Mendoza was a promising high-school athlete when macular degeneration, a retinal disorder that leaves blind spots and distortions in the central vision, left him legally blind. Effects of the disease caused him to loose all of his central vision and keep only a gray foggy fringe of peripheral vision. In the center of his view, he sees what he calls "kaleidoscope eyes" - intense and changing visual images of fiery suns, brightly burning eyes and colorful pinwheels.
Mendoza has been the subject of two PBS documentaries, "The George Mendoza Story," narrated by Robert Duvall (1989), and "Vision of the Soul - The George Mendoza Story," (2006). Mendoza has written three books: A Vision of Courage, The Spirit Man Trilogy, and Cup of all Good Things.
On August 4, 2004, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson issued a proclamation for the "George Mendoza Day," and stated that Mendoza was being recognized "first and foremost for his art which touches our hearts and reaches deep into the souls of all New Mexicans." On October 1, 1989, New Mexico Governor Garry Carruthers also proclaimed a "George Mendoza Day," and Mendoza has earned awards from the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Friends Foundation, the Hispanic Heritage Award, and the U.S. Department of Education, National Trio Achievers Award.
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