At West Allis-based ibMilwaukee (Industries for the Blind), senior network technician Tony Creapeau keeps the Internet up and running. But outside of work, when he’s not setting up network systems, he’s knocking down bowling pins.
Creapeau has been legally blind for 19 years. He lost his vision as a result of diabetes when he was 20 years old. He eventually found work with Industries for the Blind, a company dedicated to employing people with severe vision problems. More than 80 percent of the company’s direct workforce is visually impaired or legally blind.
[caption id="attachment_139382" align="alignnone" width="770"] Tony Creapeau (second from the right) stands with his teammates on the Brew City Blind Bowlers.[/caption]
“Working all day, all week, I wanted to get out and hang out with co-workers and people outside of work,” Creapeau said. “I found out through a co-worker that there was a bowling league (for the blind) in the area.”
Before he lost his vision, Creapeau was a hockey fanatic and also played football and baseball. He missed competitive sports.
“When you lose your sight, you really can’t get out there and skate and smash into people,” he said.
He thought he’d give bowling a shot. In bowling leagues for the blind, a long metal rail guides competitors toward the lane, but the bowling itself is unassisted.
“When I started off, I was not a great bowler,” Creapeau laughed. “Over time, I got progressively better.”
For the past three years, he’s been competing in tournaments.
“Initially, it was for stress relief,” Creapeau said. “If you have a stressful day at work, you can go out and release that frustration at the bowling alley. But it actually leads into bowling with your co-workers and other sighted people in the community. It leads to competitiveness. It’s just all-around fun hanging out with good people.”