For her, 53 years at Braille Press is long enough

Helen Fahey, with guide dog Fletch at home in Arlington, has been reading books in Braille (inset at left) since the seventh grade.
Helen Fahey, with guide dog Fletch at home in Arlington, has been reading books in Braille (inset at left) since the seventh grade.Credit: Photos by Jessica Rinaldi For The Boston Globe

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In 1949, Helen Fahey had just graduated from the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown when she applied for a job at the National Braille Press in Boston and was told no.

Helen, who is legally blind, had been working summers and school vacations at the publishing operation, but founder Francis B. Ierardi , who was also blind, told her he wouldn’t hire her until she had more experience out in the world.

Forced to look elsewhere, Fahey landed on her feet. She married, had three children, and worked as an inspector of M1 rifles during the Korean War.

In 1960, she went back to the National Braille Press and was hired.

Last month, after 53 years on a job that included assembling and binding books, and required bus rides to and from work with a seeing-eye dog, Fahey retired, just shy of her 84th birthday.

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