Rio Rancho students receive donated color-correcting glasses

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RIO RANCHO, N.M. – A man donated color-correcting glasses to Rio Rancho Public Schools this week, introducing them to a version of the world they thought they would never see. 

It was a countdown the children didn’t see coming, but both the surprise, and the world around them became clear in seconds when the Rio Rancho middle, and high schoolers put on their new EnChroma glasses for the first time.

“I had a lot of trouble seeing colors like maroon and brown and blue,” said Tristan Culpepper. “I have a dream of going pro or at least playing triple a baseball, so hopefully this will help me see the ball a lot better.”

“It feels like a whole new experience, something not a lot of people can experience, once in a lifetime,” said Emmanuel Armijo. 

“I do art in my spare time. Now I want to become an animator, so the ability to see color as other people do is really useful for that kind of work,” said Kalen Peterman. 

“The majority of colorblind people are males. So I was thrilled when we saw Kalen’s name come up to give her some glasses too,” said Ronald Neldon.  

Ronald Neldon is the man behind the generous surprise.

“The reason I’m doing this is back June 25, 1996, my whole life was redefined. I survived a terrorist attack over in Saudi Arabia,” said Neldon. 

Through that experience, Neldon says he witnessed the miraculous ability cochlear implants have to restore sound for the deaf.

So, with the settlement he received from the attack, he wanted to restore color for the color-blind. He said this is something that he wants to do every year. 

“Because the need for the kids is never ending,” Nelson said. “With the help of donations, family, friends, fellow survivors from the attack, we were able to bump it up to 10 per this year. Next year, I’m hoping for 15 to 20 pair.”

Each pair costing up to $300.

“The smiles, the laughter just seeing their reactions compared to what they used to see versus now. It’s worth every penny to me, and it’s- I say it all the time, it’s all about the kids,” said Nelson. 

Neldon says this year’s donation cost just under $2,000 and there were still about 12 to 15 children who they were unable to give glasses to this year. That’s why he is already raising money for next year’s donation, and hopes it will be his biggest yet.

If you want to help, visit this GoFundMe page.