The Waco VA Hospital is home to one of the nation's most state of the art blind rehabilitation centers.
It's one of only 13 in the country, drawing in patients from all over Texas and neighboring states.
Doctors there say their number one complaint is that folks wish they knew about it sooner.
"This one I'm making for my son," Army Veteran Albert Perks explains, as he carefully crafts a wooden flag case in the manual skills learning center.
"It lets me work with my hands a lot, which I like to do," says Albert.
But when his exposure to a harmful chemical substance, called Agent Orange, during Vietnam cost him his vision, he never dreamed anything like this would be possible.
"It's letting me know that I'll be able to learn things again, that I won't have to just sit in a corner and just wait my time out," Albert said.
Blind or partially blind vets spend about seven weeks at the hospital, learning to live more independently.
They practice using canes to navigate buildings and streets.
They attending living skills classes, where they learn to cook and take care of paperwork.
In computer class, a special program, called JAWS, uses zoom and audio features to bring them into the cyber world.
Marine Corps Veteran Charles Smith's personal favorite, manual skills training, or "shop," helps with dexterity and strength.
"I am working on a guitar strap for my daughter," he explains, as he uses a machine to press her name into the beautifully stained strap of leather.
This type of dexterity training begins small with things like locks and inactive light sockets.
It helps them to practice doing some common household skills, and with the right "shop" experience, they can even advance to using power tools.
"We can do anything any body else can do, it just takes us a little bit longer," says Charles.
"It's good. It removes the burden from the family, and it also creates a sense of self-worth among the veterans that it's important not to take away from them," said Richard Wacker, Chief of the Blind Rehab Center.
It's opening up a whole new world of possibilities for veterans like Albert and Charles, and building their belief in the power of their own two hands.
"They're giving me confidence back that I can do it," said Albert.
Volunteers are always needed for the program.
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