Despite the fact that Ron Ream has been blind for over 40 years, he has become one of the most celebrated furniture makers in all of Pennsylvania. Although it took awhile, this master builder is finally getting the attention he deserves for his inspirational life's work.
The Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services just hosted a special event celebrating Ream's life and accomplishments. Members of the bureau said they were amazed at Ream's ability to thrive as an independent furniture maker for all these years.
Ream never used his sightlessness as an excuse not to work hard. As Ream put it, "People that have a disability like that, there are things you can do." He quickly learned how to cook and use a cane with the help of the bureau. Soon afterwards, he taught himself how to pick up tools and design furniture all by himself.
People who visit Ream at his house or workstation are often shocked at how little he relies on a cane. Although he knows how to operate a cane with great precision, Ream knows his workstation so well that he often doesn't have to use it.
The reason Ream knows his house so well is because he built it from scratch with his brother. Even though Ream admits to bumping into things on occasion, it's quite remarkable just how few accidents he has had over the years.
Perhaps even more astonishing is how Ream uses tools that many people with perfect eyesight would be afraid to touch. A few of the powerhouse tools Ream uses on numerous occasions include the edger and band saw.
Ream says that he always loved working with his hands and that he feels very lucky to earn a living doing what he loves. Before losing his sight, Ream was a member of the U.S. Navy and also worked as auto mechanic in the city of Aaronsburg.
The reason Ream lost his sight was due to a tragic hunting accident. Never deterred, Ream instantly started to work on a picnic table for his daughters after leaving the hospital.
Shortly after he completed his picnic table, Ream started to get calls from locals looking to hire him for various projects. Ream has been making quality furniture pieces for people all around Pennsylvania ever since.
And while woodworking may be Ream's greatest passion, it's not his only job. Ream currently serves as the president of the Millheim Fire Company board.
In his spare time, Ream loves playing cards with friends. He learned just enough Braille to be able to tell his cards apart. Ream also travels to Canada frequently with his brother to fish. He even harvests his own potatoes in his Aaronsburg garden.
One project dear to Ream's heart right now is a chest of drawers for his future granddaughter. Ream expects to be finished with these drawers in the ensuing weeks.
Ream has also been teaching a local blind boy how to safely operate woodworking tools. If all goes well, Aaronsburg might have a second miracle woodworker to supply locals with immaculately designed hardwood furniture.