Blind Michigan Justice Bernstein Drives for First Time Thanks to Sheriff Swanson
Here's a story that's sure to make you smile and cry at the same time. It's a story of one friend making the dream of another friend come true. The friends just happen to be Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson and Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein, and the dream...life-changing.
As many know, Justice Bernstein has been legally blind since birth as a result of retinitis pigmentosa. The diagnosis has never slowed him down personally and especially professionally. As a member of the well-known Michigan Bernstein law family, Richard became the first blind justice, elected by voters statewide, to the Michigan Supreme Court in November 2014.
At just 47 years old, Justice Bernstein has accomplished quite a bit, except for one thing, in particular, he's dreamed of doing...driving. A big dream for someone who is bling, but thanks to Sheriff Chris Swanson, his dream became a reality.
"I love making people's dreams come true, and I love Richard", Swanson told us. "I have the abilities and resources most don't and I'll never take that for granted".
Putting together the "test drive" was no easy task for Swanson. Finding a location that would allow the Justice behind the wheel, with Swanson riding shotgun, was tricky. That's when Christian Miller. Executive Director at Genesee County Agricultural Society stepped in to help.
Once Swanson secured a demolition derby-type vehicle from Complete Towing, and safety measures were put in place the duo set out for their ride. With spectators looking on, Bernstein and Swanson were ready to go, and the video tells it all.
"To drive a car I was an extraordinary experience. One the most for me", Justice Bernstein told us. "I have dreamed of it. Every blind person has that dream. Without a doubt, the coolest moment for me and it meant so much. It's the kind of thing I could never do. Lots of logistics go into it, and for Chris to do that meant so much."
So what was Justice Bernstein's favorite part of the experience?
"I feel like I'm a race car driver now!", he laughed. "I can tell Secretary of State I field tested!".
As for Sheriff Chris Swanson...after the ride, he asked Justice Bernstein for his license and registration.
Sometimes it's the little things that truly matter the most. Take look at the full ride below...and grab the Kleenex.