Approximately 100 people spent Monday night in the dark for a good cause, taking part in the third annual Freeman Foundation Lights Out Dinner in the Dark.
The guests came to the Corbin Center where they were blindfolded and then led to their tables much the same as host Travis Freeman leads his daily life.
Freeman, a Corbin native, lost his eyesight at age 12, due to complications from surgery.
Despite that, Freeman went on to play football for the Corbin Redhounds, the story of which is the basis for the film, “23 Blast.”
“Each year it continues to grow and gets bigger and bigger,” Freeman said of the event, thanking those in attendance.
Freeman explained to the audience that one of the
challenges he faces on a daily basis is that the plate may move, or the food may not be located as it was described.
“If you are blind for any amount of time, you realize that sometimes you just have to dig in and guess at what you are eating,” Freeman said.
Freeman said while food doesn’t taste different, he can definitely tell a difference in how it smells after losing his sight.
“A cheeseburger still smells like a cheeseburger,” Freeman said explaining that while it doesn’t smell different, he is more aware of the different smells of food as his other senses adjust for his loss of sight.
The guest of honor at Monday’s event was former University of Kentucky standout quarterback Jared Lorenzen, who threw for more than 10,000 yards between 2000 and 2003 with the Wildcats.
“It is definitely unique,” Lorenzen said of eating the meal without being able to see it.
“As long as I don’t move my plate, and I won’t let the people move the plate on me, I know where stuff is now,” he said minutes into the meal. “I know where stuff is now, but I haven’t tried to cut any meat yet. So that may be an issue.”
While State Representative Regina Bunch Huff, R-Williamsburg, was unable to attend because of the ongoing legislative session, her husband, Dave, did take part.
“This is just absolutely fantastic,” Dave Huff said. “I am really catching on.”
“I’ve got a few fingers in potatoes and having to pick up a little bit of corn that I made a mess on. But its coming along,” he added.
Shane Razmus discovered one of the biggest challenges was how easy it was to misidentify food, as he used his fork to try to cut through his dinner roll.
“I thought that was my beef,” Razmus said with a laugh.
“There is no way to describe it,” said Parker Norville when asked about the experience.
While Monday’s dinner featured roast beef and mashed potatoes, the original Dinner in the Dark challenged diners to eat spaghetti and meatballs.
The Freeman Foundation works to raise awareness of the needs and potential of people with disabilities through the blindfolded events, which also includes the annual Lights Out Blindfolded 5K.
The foundation is continually seeking for individuals, businesses and organizations across the region and the state to host either a dinner or 5K.
Anyone interested in doing so, may email the Freeman Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org.