Frontline Responders: Jonesti Steele

Updated: Jun. 19, 2022 at 5:40 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Losing one’s vision can put a person in a dark place mentally, but that wasn’t the case for Jonesti Steele as she overcame her disability. At age 22 she is changing lives after her own life was permanently changed.

Steele lost her sight last year after a physical encounter that took a turn for the worse.

“We went to a specialist in Birmingham. He just told us it wouldn’t come back and that was really hard. I went 20 years with seeing and then to have it taken. I don’t think I can ever explain the feeling,” said Jonesti.

She helps her classmates at E. H. Gentry Technical Facility by teaching them how to read Braille, communicate on the phone and adapt to their disabilities.

“What she’s doing there is phenomenal, remarkable. The staff loves her, said Jonesti’s mother, Tonya Steele. “Everybody there pretty much, you know, they’re ready for her to come back. Now you know since her surgery and just not knowing what we were up against, you know, trying to find rehab services for her to teach her this new normal.”

“I feel like I’ve excelled in all my classes, from orientation and mobility, which is mainly just my white cane travel. From Braille to assistive technology which is my phone and computer. Independent living, which is cooking and cleaning, I think I’ve excelled in all of it,” said Jonesti.

Her loss of sight has not stopped her from losing sight of who she is.

“The mindset that people think that she would have Isnot what she has. People expect her to just fold. She didn’t fold. She has by far shown, I mean, just great stamina and potential, and she continues to excel,” said Tonya.

Jonesti said her goal is to continue to help the blind.

“I just hope that if they see me, someone that, you know, that’s constantly in the dark. Somebody that lost a big part of themselves still persevering, still trying to have a normal life, they would feel like ‘I could do it too‘,“ said Jonesti.

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