Episode 16 – Two Unstoppable People are Much Better than One with John and Larry Gassman
Meet John and Larry Gassman who each and together are as unstoppable as it gets. John and Larry Gassman, blind and identical twins live life to the fullest. They both have worked in the travel industry, one for Disney Travel company and the other for Marriott, for more than 19 years. You will get to hear their stories about their work as well as their many and varied hobbies. I rarely have met two individuals who have been and continue to be so enthusiastic about life even in the face of Covid and the many challenges faced by all of us. You won’t soon forget these twins and how they help forge a better for blind people and for everyone around them.
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About Our Guests:
John and Larry Gassman are identical twins born on January 2, 1955. Both are blind due to being given too much oxygen after being born more than two and a half months premature. At birth Larry weighed 1 pound ten ounces and John weighed 1 pound eight ounces. Larry’s late wife Melinda referred to them when describing how little they were to her nieces as “About the size of a Macho Burrito.
The Gassman twins were fortunate that their parents did not totally buy into the myth that blind children could not grow up and thrive in the world. Thus both boys were given the opportunity to explore and grow just like other kids.
After completing their scholastic educations both twins secured employment. After a stint teaching Braille at the Braille Institute of America in Los Angeles John joined the Walt Disney Travel Company working in reservations as well as testing updates and changes in the reservations systems to insure that the software remains accessible.
Larry Joined Marriott in 2,000 also becoming involved in reservations. Larry trained many other blind persons to use the Marriott programs. He also tested new applications to insure accessibility for blind employees.
The Gassmans have been collectors of “old time radio shows” since the early 1970s. The began hosting their own program in 1973. Today you can hear them regularly on the internet radio station, Yesterday USA, www.Yesterdayusa.com. In addition to hosting programs they are both part of the behind the scenes directors of Yesterday USA.
Talking about being busy and active, they both are very active, as Larry says, “Barbershoppers”. They have sung in various quartets as well as participating in various conventions and helping to run barbershop chapters in Orange County.
About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.
Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.
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