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Hometown Heroic Effort
If I Can, You Can
The word “can’t” isn’t in Erodio Diaz’s vocabulary. That’s why most of the countless people he’s helped to realize the American dream of homeownership never recognized that Diaz, owner of E. Diaz Real Estate Associates in Hialeah, was blind until they met him in person.

“He doesn’t have sight, but he has vision,” says his assistant Juan Perez. “He’s always energetic and hustling to get new business. And he looks out for his employees.”

With the help of a Braille machine, Diaz handles his own paperwork. And now, thanks to a special screen reader and a tool made available to Florida Realtors® members, Diaz can log in to the floridarealtors.org Web site and easily prepare contracts from his laptop computer.

Perez may drive Diaz around town, but he says that it’s Diaz who tells him which way to go. “It’s incredible. I can ask him any address in Miami, and he knows how to get there. “[He’ll say], ‘Keep going straight and at the light make a right. You’re going to see a Walgreens, and at the Walgreens make a left.’”

Diaz went from sighted to blind after a bicycle fall when he was 13 years old. His family was preparing to travel to Boston—where doctors would repair his detached retina—when he contracted glaucoma and permanently lost his vision. But in recounting his story, Diaz doesn’t have a trace of bitterness. He even sees his blindness as a blessing. “A lot of people would think it’s a tragedy,” says Diaz. “I thought it was [at first] because I didn’t think my life was useful until I went to a school for the blind and met people who were born blind. From that minute, things started turning around for me.

“I’ve really enjoyed the 42 years I’ve been in the business,” adds Diaz. “It’s kept me busy. I’ve learned a lot about people, and the best thing any human being can do in life is be grateful.”