Greene County playwright overcomes challenges

By Colleen Donovan - bio | email

HATTIESBURG, MS. (WDAM)- A blind theater director and writer from Greene County is working to spread the message that the human spirit can help people overcome any obstacle.

Mackenzie Westmoreland is a Neely native, who has spent the last seven months re-learning life skills at the Reach Center for the Blind in Tupelo.

Westmoreland lost his vision in August 2009 after waking up one morning and not being able to see. He said diabetes was a contributing factor.

Currently, Westmoreland is working on a new play that draws upon some of the experiences he's had since losing his eyesight. He advises folks to treat people with disabilities the same as anyone else.

"See us for our abilities first. The fact is just because we are challenged in some way doesn't mean that we are not capable of doing many things. I mean we make great employees, we make great community leaders, we make great friends. And if you see us for our abilities first, our disabilities become an afterthought," said Westmoreland.

Westmoreland spent many years working in the theater industry in New York City. Hattiesburg is his current home base, but in the spring he plans to return to his theater career in New York.

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