SARASOTA, Fla. - At 9 years old, Cooper Vollmer has the strength and courage many lack. He carries a white cane. What his eyes cannot see, the cane helps him navigate through.
"I know it will keep me safe and it will let others know I can’t see that well and they could maybe help me," he said.
His mother, Tina, hopes Cooper can open the eyes of others.
"This white cane is by clinical design. He is blind, and like it or not, he depends on this white cane to keep him safe when he’s out and about," she said.
Among other things, the cane is designed to catch the attention of drivers on our busy roadways. But it only works, if drivers aren't distracted.
"If we don’t do our part to get the world ready for him then we’ve failed him," said Tina Vollmer.
Cooper joined Sarasota police, Alert Today Florida and the National Coalition for Safer Roads for White Cane Awareness Day.
"Our aim is to reduce pedestrian and bicyclist serious injuries and deaths on our roadways," said Melissa Wandall.
Cooper isn't alone.
"The white cane is very important to me because it helps me get down steps and quite a few places," said Millie Sica.
Camden Cotton agreed.
"You need the cane so you don’t people and stuff," he said.
One second distracted could put anyone at risk. For the blind and visually impaired it's an even worse thought.
"I challenge you for seven days to try and drive not distracted. Put the phone down, you go through a drive-through wait till you get home. Tell the kids to sit back, hang tight we’ll get there soon. Do everything you can do to drive not distracted," said Officer Jason Frank.
Cooper hopes the cane, he and others carry will become a reminder to all.
"They need to know how important the white cane is and what it means. So they don’t just ignore it," said Cooper.