Blind machinist works wonders in Saskatchewan

Curtis Heinin spends his days in the shop repairing and rebuilding farm equipment in small town Saskatchewan.

It’s a difficult job that requires skill and precision under any circumstance.

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"It's such a specialized field,” Heinin says. “There's hardly anyone who does this work."

And there’s definitely nobody who does it like Heinin – because he does it without seeing a thing.

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Heinin was born without sight, but that hasn’t stopped him from achieving a long, successful career as a machinist.

“It’s incredible to watch what he can do and what he is capable of doing. I catch myself shaking my head lots,” says Rob Ehman, one of Heinin’s coworkers. “A lot of times I forget that he's even blind. He's just that good at what he does.”

Ask Heinin, though, and he’ll tell you it’s nothing special.

"I just know that drill bits are in the second drawer down,” he says. “You just get to know where things are, just like a sighted person. No different.”

Heinin began his career repairing grain vacuums nearly 20 years ago, honing his talents along the way. And if he runs into any obstacles, he improvises, making adjustments to his equipment or creating his own contraptions.

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"I've got labels on here so I can read what kind of fittings are in here," he says, touring the shop.

Heinin now works on everything from engines to combines, but still specializes in grain vacuums. According to his customers, he’s one of the best.

"He tuned that up and it probably worked as well or better than new,” says Les White, one of his patrons. “Amazing how he does that stuff."

But Heinin won’t take all of the credit. He says those around him have been there for him from the beginning.

Like his parents, he says, who’ve made sure nothing has ever held him back.

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"When you have good support around you, that makes it lot easier."

With a report from CTV Regina's Angelina Irinici



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