Docstoc

NOTICE TO NON MEMBERS

Document Sample
NOTICE TO NON MEMBERS Powered By Docstoc
					Cover Photo
BVA 65th National Convention attendees will take in a bit of history as they walk the halls of the
Association’s National Headquarters in Washington, DC’s Chinatown district. The 123-year-old
structure, shown here in 1920, is one of the city’s nonfederal historic landmarks. See page 14 for more
details. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.



In This Issue
Legislative Update
 by Tom Zampieri

President’s Page
 by Roy Kekahuna

Resilient Foundation
Brings 65 Fruitful Years
  by Raymond T. Frey

House Joint Resolution 80

Two Historic Jewels
In DC’s Chinatown
  by Everett Langworthy

The Most Interesting Sport
We’ve Never Heard Of

Around BVA

Auxiliary’s View
 by Joyce Thornton-Gilbert

Of Note

Letters to the Editor

In Remembrance

Final Thought



Legislative Update
by Tom Zampieri


                                                                                                      1
Quick Correction

        Our most recent Update in the Spring issue reported that the Director of the Vision Center of
Excellence (VCE), Colonel Donald Gagliano, had appointed active duty Army Major Derrick Johnson
as the VCE Chief of Staff. He is actually the VCE Executive Officer. The new VCE Chief of Staff
from VA is Avery Smith, who will manage all administrative issues within the agency.
        We are sorry for any confusion this misunderstanding may have created. We old military
veterans often equate an Executive Officer (XO) with a person in charge of everyone. I should have
differentiated the position from the Chief of Staff. We will provide a full organizational listing of the
VCE staff in the next issue.

HISA and Adaptive Housing

        The Disabled Veterans Home Improvement and Structural Alteration Act of 2009 (HISA) was
introduced by House Committee on Veterans Affairs Ranking Member Steve Buyer (R-IN-4) this
spring and quickly enacted. The legislation has resulted in the first changes to HISA grants since 1992.
        HISA increased the maximum amounts of the grants for service-connected veterans from
$4,100 to $6,800 and for nonservice-connected veterans from $1,200 to $6,800. This is found in the
United States Code, 1717(a)(2) of Title 38.
        VA Central Office (VACO) is working on the new rules for these increased HISA rates.
Hopefully they will be completed before our convention. To avoid delays for our veterans, we are
working to get the VA Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) to provide certificates of eligibility to
them at the time their disabilities are determined to be service connected.
        As a follow-up to our testimony on adaptive housing grants before the House VA
Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity last October, we again provided testimony before the same
Committee on essentially the same subject on June 10. Our focus in the most recent hearing was H.R.
5360, introduced by Subcommittee Chairwoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD-1) and
Representative John Boozman (R-AR-3) on May 22. H.R. 5360 would change the current 5/200 VA
acuity standard of blindness to the nationally recognized standard of 20/200 for eligibility to receive
the $12,560 Special Adaptive Housing Grant.
        The hearing went well. Veterans Service Organization (VSO) and VA witnesses testified in
favor of the bill, which was scheduled for a Subcommittee mark-up and vote in late June. Senator
Bernie Sanders (I-VT) plans to introduce a companion bill in the Senate before time in this session
runs out.

Co-Payments for the
Nonservice-Connected

        One of our top priorities this year has been the elimination of the co-payment of $1,340 for
catastrophically disabled, nonservice-connected blinded veterans admitted to residential VA Blind
Rehabilitation Centers (BRCs) on an inpatient basis. BVA continues to receive inquiries about the
enacted S. 1963 (Section 504).
        Implementation of this legislation is now occurring internally within the VA system. In a recent
meeting at VACO, we were told that it would take approximately 120 days for the policy to be
developed. This includes a directive sent by VACO to each VA Medical Center with instructions to
refrain from billing nonservice-connected veterans receiving BRC training.



                                                                                                        2
         “If a blinded veteran is admitted and charged the co-payment after May 1, 2010 and/or after the
new VA policy is distributed, he/she would be entitled to a refund of the co-payment,” the statement
said. Unfortunately, we have not received any word regarding how long the refund process might take.
         Because of this important legislation affecting our members and other constituents, we strongly
encourage all blinded veterans interested in attending a BRC to get their admissions applications
completed as soon as possible and be ready for the opportunity that may soon come their way. Please
work with your VIST Coordinator in doing so. We believe this new VA policy could be in place this
summer before our national convention.
         A section of S. 1963 explained travel for veterans requiring specialized services that are not
available at their local facility. The Senate Committee inserted this to help disabled veterans obtain
help for air travel when needed.
         The aforementioned section did not change Title 38 U.S. Code Section 111 on beneficiary
travel. Section 305 of S. 1963 “authorizes the Secretary to pay travel expenses for veterans receiving
treatment at VA facilities at the rate of 41.5 cents per mile.” This also allows the Secretary, one year
after the enactment of this law, to adjust the rate to make it equal to the mileage reimbursement rate for
the use of privately owned vehicles by government employees on official business. If the rate
adjustment is a decrease from the previous one, the law requires a justification to Congress.
         Included within this reimbursement is travel by air if it is the only practical way to reach a VA
facility. It requires the Secretary to consider the veteran’s medical condition and any other
impediments to the use of ground transportation in evaluating the practicality of air travel.
         The new section is an important step in our advocacy of VA air transportation for blinded
veterans attending a BRC. If airfare payments are rejected for blinded veterans whose only option to
get to a BRC is by air, we will have our test case.
         In the next session of Congress we plan to work on amending Title 38 to fix this hardship.

Caregiver Legislation

         The Veterans Caregiver and Veterans Health Services Act of 2009 included several major VA
provisions to make payments to service-connected veterans with disabilities. The provisions stipulated
that a family member stay at home and provide care.
         This benefit includes not only the current generation of Iraq and Afghanistan service-connected
veterans but also the war injured of earlier conflicts. The latter will be eligible for these payments in
late FY 2011 once VA establishes a regulatory policy for administering them. Unfortunately, we
expect the rule-making process to be a rather slow one. We have been told that it may take more than
180 days to take effect.

Patiently Persevering with
Pension Protection Act

        The long saga continues in trying to locate funding so that the Veterans Pension Protection Act
of 2009 can move from Subcommittee consideration to the full House VA Committee.
        Those most concerned about this legislation from the state of New York will recall from
previous updates that Representative Brian Higgins (D-NY-27) introduced this bill last year. The
Congressional Budget Office estimated that the change in benefits law associated with these state
annuities, which are considered income and taxable under current VA pension laws, would have a
budget impact of just $100,000 per year.
        Blinded veterans receiving nonservice-connected pensions generally have very limited incomes
and are clearly being penalized by the current laws, which require that all income be considered for

                                                                                                         3
pension purposes. These small annuities in the state of New York will continue to be subtracted, or
“taxed,” and considered income by VA until this legislation is enacted.
        The amazing thing about this delay is that VA itself actually testified in favor of the legislation.
The House VA Committee staff director has pledged to try moving the bill up for full Committee vote
by August 5 and to work with Senate Committee staffers to include the companion bill, S. 3118, in a
late summer VA benefits omnibus bill. S. 3118 was originally introduced on March 16.
        We are very disappointed that neither Senator from New York has co-sponsored this bill in the
Senate. Hopefully members on both sides of Capitol Hill and other key contacts will become more
aware of a relatively small piece of legislation that is nevertheless extremely vital to many blinded
veterans.

Operation Peer Support

       I have continued to work on bringing blinded Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation
Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan (OEF) veterans to our national conventions as part of our own
Operation Peer Support initiative. Funding is a challenge and we continue to ask for donations from
corporations and individuals to support this ongoing effort.
       Last year, 12 newly blinded service members came to Portland, Oregon. Each brought a family
member funded by the program. Now in its fifth year, Operation Peer Support will provide an
opportunity for what we believe will be approximately 16 service members to attend the 65th National
Convention in Washington, DC. We also expect some of our past participants to return this year.
       Operation Peer Support has resulted in 41 OIF and OEF veterans having joined BVA. The
program has also resulted in numerous positive newspaper, radio, and television features.

Brian Pearce, Angela
Testify on Hill—photo

        On May 26, Brian Pearce, one of our Operation Peer Support participants who attended the
BVA 62nd National Convention in Albuquerque, provided compelling testimony before the Senate
Committee on Commerce’s Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, chaired
by Senator John Kerry (D-MA). Brian was accompanied at the witness table by his wife, Angela, who
was also with us at the 2007 convention.
        The hearing was entitled “Americans with Disabilities Act at 20.” It was convened to examine
the benefits of proposed legislation, the Equal Access to Twenty-First Century Communications Act
(S. 3304), which would improve accessibility to technology for the blind and deaf communities on the
20-year anniversary of ADA.
        H.R. 3101, the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act sponsored
by Representative Ed Markey (D-MA-7), is the companion bill in the House. It mirrors the Senate bill
in many ways. The House bill enjoys the endorsement of the disability community and major industry
players. Markey himself testified at the Senate hearing and congratulated his Senate counterparts for
their leadership.
        Brian and other hearing witnesses detailed some of their frustrations in trying to use cell
phones, PDA devices, and cable television systems equipped with the latest in technological gadgetry.
The legislation would mandate improvements by telecommunications companies and internet service
providers.
        “While I was not a telecommunications technology expert before my injury, the frustrating
thing about recovery for me as a sensory disabled person has been not being able to access the
opportunities everyone else takes for granted or depends on for everyday life,” Brian said in his

                                                                                                           4
testimony. “As technology affecting daily life advances at a much more rapid pace, the means to
access it for people like me lags way behind, despite my natural curiosity and desire to try things out.”

A Word About
Seamless Transition

        With the close proximity of BVA National Headquarters an advantage, we have continued our
visits with blinded OIF and OEF service members and their family members at Walter Reed Army
Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center.
        I regret to report that we still see Seamless Transition issues with active duty, National Guard,
and reserve members mistakenly being transferred from Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs) to VA
Poly Trauma Centers and then back to MTFs. The long delays in conducting and processing medical
evaluation boards continue to trouble us. Our Field Service Representatives are working particularly
hard with war-injured veterans to assure that they receive in a timely manner all of the specialized
medical services and claims assistance to which they are entitled.



President’s Page
by Roy Kekahuna

        I hope that your summer has thus far been filled with fun, travel, and much family time spent
together.
        Elaborating on the subject of travel, I hope to see many of you at the Washington, DC,
celebration of our 65th anniversary. Remember that this year’s convention can be a daily walk or ride
into our own heritage and the history of our great Republic.
        Please take advantage of the opportunity to visit the famous memorials, museums, and
buildings that symbolize our liberties. Enjoy the convenience of our hotel location with the numerous
dining options and access to the Washington area’s Metrorail system. Absorb the history in our very
own national headquarters building. Enjoy the camaraderie at our social events. Learn in our business
sessions about our organizational accomplishments and the challenges that face us.
        In short, if you are not already packing your bags for this convention, please start doing so
now!
        At this time also, I express my appreciation to the BVA staff members for their hard work and
dedication to our cause. When you meet them at the convention or elsewhere, perhaps even on the
telephone, please thank them for their service to you. Along with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Group,
they have worked tirelessly on making this one of the most unforgettable BVA gatherings ever.
        While at the convention, we can feel a sense of pride in our own identity as veterans. We can
feel good about what we have accomplished in the midst of great adversity in our lives. Our sense of
satisfaction can be complete in having helped fulfill a significant directive in the BVA mission—to
individually assume our rightful place in our community and in society generally.
        Please stay safe and healthy until we meet again, which will hopefully be at the long-awaited
BVA 65th National Convention.



Resilient Foundation Brings
65 Fruitful Years
                                                                                                            5
by Raymond T. Frey, BVA’s First National President

Editor’s Note: As expressed in the Bulletin’s Winter 2010 issue, the intent was to reprint the
following article, originally written for BVA’s 50th anniversary issue, in two parts. Because of
space restrictions in our recent Spring issue, the text is provided here in its entirety.

        The Blinded Veterans Association was established and organized on March 28, 1945 in Avon,
Connecticut, by a group of blinded patients at the Old Farms Convalescent Hospital. Baynard
Kendrick, author of a novel entitled “Lights Out” about a veteran blinded in World War II, was the
motivating force behind this idea. It was Baynard who asked me to attend a meeting scheduled for the
early morning that day.
        The following officers were elected during that meeting: President-Ray Frey, Vice President-
Pinky Hoffman, Secretary-Henry Masse, and Treasurer-Wilbur Washburn. The other five members
elected to the original Board of Directors were Lloyd Greenwood, Joseph Smietanowski, Bill Aziz,
John Millon, and Al Schmidt.
        Attorney Arthur Brothers drew up our constitution and bylaws in accordance with our wishes.
Baynard Kendrick was appointed as Honorary Chairman and also as our official Sighted Advisor.
        BVA’s first national office was a desk in the corner of the Gundy Tea Room in Farmington,
Connecticut. As proud leaders of a new organization, we agreed to accept no help, financial or
otherwise, from any outside source.
        Of course it is now difficult to comprehend how naïve we were to believe that we could
manage the Association on a $20 initiation fee plus $5 of yearly membership dues. When we
discovered that we could not run BVA on that type of revenue, we called a special meeting for January
1946 at which three changes were made. First, the $20 initiation fee was abolished and a $1
membership fee established. Secondly, we decided to accept gifts and donations from nonprofit
organizations. And, third, we set up a trust fund within the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB).
        Since BVA was a national organization, as it is now, we determined to move our headquarters
from Farmington to New York City. As part of the move, Baynard agreed to donate one year from his
writing career to “man” the office as our administrator. He also agreed to raise funds, travel
extensively to aid any blinded veteran in need, and to train two blinded veterans who would eventually
take over as BVA’s administrators.
        As a result of Baynard’s efforts, Lloyd Greenwood would shortly become BVA’s first
Executive Director. H. Pat Adams would take over as Executive Secretary and editor of the BVA
Bulletin.
        BVA was originally incorporated by the State of New York in 1947. A year later, the national
office was moved to Washington, DC so that the Association could work more closely with VA and
the U.S. Congress.
        I would be remiss not to mention in greater detail the tremendous assistance offered by AFB. In
addition to holding the trust fund, the organization ended up paying Baynard a salary and offered
secretarial help. AFB also paid for the printing of the first issues of the Bulletin in 1946. If that were
not enough, AFB provided equipment to foreign blinded veterans on behalf of BVA. Its officers even
allowed us to use the Foundation’s “Helen Keller Room” for our weekend Board meetings that were
scheduled to suit our training and work schedules.
        Two faithful advisors and morale boosters during our formative years were Kathern “Kay”
Gruber, AFB’s Director of Services for the War Blind, and Father Thomas Carroll, Director of
Catholic Guild for the Blind in Boston. Their suggestions and guidance, given only when sought, were
invaluable.


                                                                                                         6
         Funds did not materialize as expected in early 1946. It was not until July of that year that the
Women’s International Bowling Congress provided BVA with its first real sense of security, a
contribution of $25,000 a year for the next three years. Later, the men of the Bowlers Victory League
added their support with the same yearly amount as the women had given. These contributions
ultimately totaled more than $750,000.
         At BVA’s first national convention, held in September 1946 at New York City’s Hotel Lincoln,
our new membership elected the following individuals to serve on the Board of Directors: John Brady
(National President), Russell Williams, and Ed Hoyczyk. In addition, Frank Kelly was chosen to
replace Al Schmidt.
         During the following six years I served on the Board, we were fortunate to enjoy the services of
dedicated men who worked conscientiously for BVA. They represented all parts of the country and all
branches of the military. Included were Lennie Shellhammer, Tom Hasbrook (third National
President), Tom Broderick, Buck Gillespie (fourth and eleventh National President), Bill Miller,
Claude Garland, Charles DeLong, Peter McKenna (fifth National President), Bill Thompson (sixth
National President), Tom Richards, Philip Harrison (World War I blinded vet), and Vasco Hale (first
African American elected to the Board).
         BVA took another major step forward in 1946 when General Omar Bradley, then the VA
Administrator, appointed BVA as the official representative for blinded veterans filing claims and
appeals to VA. BVA became only the eighth VSO to receive such authorization.
         Strong regional groups across the country added impetus to our early years. The first regional
group was formed in Baltimore with Irv Schloss acting as Chairman.
         Years later, Irv, along with Major General Melvin J. Maas, greatly enhanced BVA’s prestige
when they successfully secured BVA’s Congressional charter in 1958. Because the 85th Congress
chartered BVA as its official representative of blinded veterans, we are now honored to present oral
testimony and submit a larger written version each year regarding the special needs and status of
blinded veterans.
         When our Old Farms birthplace closed as a hospital, BVA urged VA to open a rehabilitation
center for the adjustment and training of blinded veterans. The Hines BRC, now known as the Central
Blind Rehabilitation Center, opened in 1948 with blinded veteran Russell Williams as the first
Director. Russ would serve 27 years as VA Chief of Blind Rehabilitation. I do not think it is bragging
to note that if not for BVA’s influence, VA blind rehabilitation as we know it today would simply not
exist.
         In 1953, BVA established the Field Service Program thanks to financial support from local
Community Chests. The purpose of the program was, and remains today, assistance to blinded veterans
and their families in adjusting to blindness and in obtaining the benefits they had rightly earned. A year
later, Irv Schloss became BVA’s second Executive Director following the resignation of Lloyd
Greenwood. Also in 1954, the BVA bylaws were amended to provide membership for nonservice-
connected blinded veterans.
         As of mid-1995, BVA’s membership had grown to more than 8,000. We proudly boast of
members in every state and territory and in many foreign countries. As the Association has grown, it
has made many needed changes. It is interesting to note nonetheless that the BVA emblem, the motto,
and our basic goals and objectives have remained essentially the same. Many of our challenges remain
unchanged as well. May this wonderful organization continue to grow, prosper, and serve America’s
worthy blinded veterans!

About the Author



                                                                                                        7
        Ray Frey served as BVA’s first National President. A native of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, he was
blinded by a booby trap in February 1943 and became the first service member to enter Valley Forge
General Hospital as a blind patient. After his discharge, he was employed at the Valley Forge Hospital
as a consultant to the blind.
        At the close of the war, Ray enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate Hospital to
acquire certification for physical therapy. He went on to work for 28 years as a physical therapist at
VA Medical Centers in Wilmington, Delaware, and his hometown of Lebanon.
        Ray’s list of professional and personal accomplishments is an extremely long one. It includes
work on behalf of the handicapped. Most noteworthy perhaps is a meritorious citation from the
President’s Committee on Employment of the Handicapped. He was a basketball and football star,
having been inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1972. He was also selected as a
member of Sports Illustrated’s Silver Anniversary All-American Football Team in 1968.
        Following more than 50 years of blindness, Ray received a corneal transplant soon after the
BVA 50th National Convention and the writing of this article. The surgery enabled him to regain
considerable vision in one eye and to become known perhaps as much in BVA circles for this
occurrence as for his pioneering efforts in getting the organization started.
        At the time of his passing on March 8, 2008, Ray and his wife, Dorothy, had two children, four
grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.



House Resolution 80

Two Historic Jewels
in DC’s Chinatown
by Everett Langworthy

Editor’s Note: On June 25, BVA National Headquarters commemorated 22 years in its present
location at 477 H Street NW in the Nation’s Capital. The following is an adaptation of Everett’s
May-June 2003 Bulletin article and an earlier piece in the 50th anniversary issue in 1995.

        For BVA members and their families who have never had the opportunity to visit the national
headquarters, a stop at the quaint old structure will no doubt reveal the previously unheralded wisdom
associated with its purchase some 23 years ago.
        Located in the Chinatown section of downtown Washington, DC, at the corner of 5th and H
Streets Northwest, the building is 13 blocks from the U.S. Capitol in one direction and another 13 from
the White House moving in the other direction.
        At first glance the area might appear a little run-down in some respects. A closer look reveals
an exciting history of tolerance, diversity, and, most recently, vibrant economic growth and
revitalization.
        There is charisma in the surroundings. Across H Street is a beautiful Catholic church
constructed in 1890. In the steeple is a clock that chimes at the quarter hour and bongs out the hour on
the hour, keeping the entire neighborhood informed of the correct time.
        Chinatown has undergone many changes over the years. Amazingly, one change that the area
was not forced to endure was reconstruction after the rioting and looting resulting from the


                                                                                                       8
assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Surprisingly, Chinatown went essentially untouched by the
rioters.
         The most dramatic changes affecting the area around BVA Headquarters have occurred within
the past 10-15 years. The completion and inauguration of what is now the Verizon Center, home of the
Washington Wizards basketball team and Washington Capitals hockey franchise, began a major
revitalization and redevelopment effort in Chinatown.
         A handful of high-rise luxury apartment structures now surround our building, one of which
replaced a parking lot previously used by BVA staffers and located directly behind the building. A
$200 million project two blocks west on H Street developed 926,250 square feet into a retail,
entertainment, and residential area, including a multiplex cinema, restaurants, stores, a health club, a
medical clinic, a bowling alley, and a five-floor underground parking garage.
         The three-story BVA Headquarters building itself is stone-faced and was constructed in the
classic revivalist style. The front of the structure features four stone columns and an impressive cornice
over the front entrance. The interior measures 11,575 square feet.
         BVA National Headquarters was originally built as a church. In 1923, major reparations were
made to accommodate the International Exchange Bank. The bank’s logo is still visible on the floor in
the main foyer. Reliable sources contain information that the bank’s president committed suicide in
one of the vaults in the basement sometime during the Great Depression.
         The Gospel Rescue Mission, still located across the road on 5th Street, acquired the building in
the 1940s and used it as a distributing facility for the underprivileged. First Lady Mamie Eisenhower
reportedly participated in that activity. In 1985, the building was purchased by a firm specializing in
renovating older properties. The company upgraded the building in keeping with the Chinatown motif,
which brought a soft, subdued style to the interior.
         BVA bought the structure in October 1987 after a rather extensive search. Before moving in on
Saturday, June 25, 1988, the BVA Board voted to install an elevator, a reception area, and a restroom
on the third floor.
         In many ways the purchase was a dream come true. For a number of years there had been
interest in buying a building, but the funds had not been available. Of particular significance in the
fundraising area was a successful direct mail campaign, which became a springboard to a building fund
in the early 1980s.
         The purchase price was $2.5 million. The Association made a down payment of $1 million and
mortgaged the remaining sum. Needless to say, the value of the building increased markedly from
2003 to 2007 and has remained relatively constant the past three years.
         An exciting and unexpected event occurred in 1990. A letter was received from a lawyer in
Southern California. BVA had been mentioned in the estate of Dolly Green, who had recently passed
away. Because no one seemed to know who Dolly was, the notice was not given much attention. A few
months later, another letter was received, stating that BVA’s share of the inheritance was 2.2 percent.
Because the percentage was small, no one was very interested. A few months later still another letter
arrived. It indicated that BVA’s share of the estate would be $4.5 million. That letter got everyone’s
attention! The story behind the amount is that Dolly’s father had bought a tract of land in Southern
California years before. The tract of land later became part of Beverly Hills. Dolly was the lone family
survivor and inherited her father’s estate, which was estimated at $300 million before taxes. The Board
voted to pay off the mortgage and place the remainder of the Dolly Green bequest in conservative
investments.
         Like all old structures, the maintenance and upkeep of BVA National Headquarters is an
ongoing, never-ending task. Just ask John Williams and Brigitte Jones, into whose capable hands the
task has fallen the past 20 years. The building is the crown jewel of the BVA inventory and will


                                                                                                        9
continue as our headquarters for years to come. It is a wonderful treasure that has been left to us, and it
is our responsibility to protect and preserve it for the future of blinded veterans yet to come.
        Two historic jewels reside at 477 H Street NW: first, the Blinded Veterans Association and its
now 65 years of service to blinded veterans and second, the wonderful structure that will allow that
service to endure for as long as it is needed.

Everett Langworthy, North Carolina Regional Group, is a former BVA Director of District 3.



The Most Interesting Sport
We’ve Never Heard Of
By Kay Starr

         Bulletin readers may be familiar with the Paralympics, an international athletic competition for
athletes with disabilities. The Paralympics are held immediately after the Olympic Games. The
Summer Games consist of 20 sports for disabled athletes. Ten of these sports are open to visually
impaired athletes. One of those sports, Goalball, is also one of the oldest.
         Goalball was developed in 1946 by Hanz Lorenzen of Austria and Sepp Reindle of Germany to
aid in the rehabilitation of World War II veterans blinded in combat. It is the first sport specifically
developed for the blind and visually impaired although other sports such as bowling and golf have also
been adapted.
         The rules of Goalball are simple: Two teams of three compete to throw a ball equipped with
bells into the goal of the opposing team. The play area is marked with tactile tape so that players can
feel the lines as they cross them. The goal itself is nine meters wide and sits at the back of each team’s
area. When playing Goalball, all players must wear eyeshades to ensure that they are operating on the
same level since the game is open to both blind and visually impaired athletes.
         Unlike crowds at other sports competitions, Goalball spectators must remain silent so that
players can focus on the jingle-bell sound of the ball. When players hear the ball coming, they dive at
it in an attempt to block it from rolling across the goal line. Players try to roll the ball as quietly as
possible, with minimal bouncing, in order to keep the opposing team from being able to hear and block
it. Games consist of two ten-minute halves. Players are aggressive to the point of injuring themselves,
an example of which is the commonly broken fingers that occur.
         The game grew in popularity from a rehabilitation activity to a sport in its own right. Goalball
is most popular in the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, and Australia but is
growing in popularity around the world. Currently, Goalball is played in 100 countries, making it one
of the most popular of all Paralympic sports. Correspondingly, it is one of the most contested sports at
the Paralympics with more than 70 countries competing in the tournament.
         Goalball first debuted as a demonstration event at the 1976 Summer Paralympics and the first
world championship of Goalball was held in its native Austria in 1978. In 1980, it became an official
event at the Paralympics in Arnhem, Netherlands, and has been a Summer Paralympics event ever
since. International competition of Goalball is governed by the International Blind Sports Federation,
which was established in 1981 in response to the growing interest worldwide in sports for the visually
impaired.
         At the most recent Summer Paralympic games in Beijing, China earned the Gold medal in the
Men’s event. The United States lost to Sweden in the Bronze medal match. On the women’s side, the
United States went all the way in winning the Gold medal.


                                                                                                         10
        In the Goalball World Championships held in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, in late
June, China avenged its defeat in the Paralympics by upending the U.S. women 3-1 to take the Gold
medal. The U.S. men faced off against Iran in the Bronze medal game, losing 5-3.
        Goalball has also been featured as an event at several sports clinics attended by BVA members,
including a session put on by the United States Association of Blind Athletes for our Operation Peer
Support participants at the BVA Phoenix convention two years ago. Currently, there are well-
established Goalball programs across the country, from New Jersey to Florida and from San Francisco
to New York. New teams are being formed all the time.
        To learn more about Goalball in the United States, visit the U.S. National Goalball team’s
website, www.goalball.us.



Around BVA
Mississippians Unite to Help
Fellow Blinded Veteran

         When VA Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Specialist Trey Stelma visited the home of blinded
veteran Neal Woods in rural Louin, Mississippi, he immediately thought of a way he could go the extra
mile to help Neal, his wife, and his 91-year-old mother-in-law.
         Trey noted a few large holes in the wooden porch and recognized that a potentially dangerous
condition existed and that prompt action was needed. He returned to the medical center and informed
his co-workers and Mississippi Regional Group President Maury Lunn.
         “I got Robby Bush, a retired Jackson District Fire Chief, to spearhead the project and utilized
volunteers from Life Church of Flowood, from my own family, and VA to help with the work,” said
Maury. “In little time we replaced Neal’s porch so that all three members of the family can now enjoy
sitting in the cool of the day on their new porch.”
         According to Maury, a substantial donation from Sam’s Club in the City of Pearl and The
Home Depot in Brandon helped with the cost of materials.

Vets Compete in Horseshoes
at Florida State Convention

       For the fourth year in a row, members of the Florida Regional Group attending their state
convention at the Plaza Ocean Club Hotel in Daytona Beach, Florida, competed against one another in
horseshoes. The tournament took place April 30 on a sandy beach near the hotel.
       David Dixon of Daytona Beach took top honors in the totally blind division, defending his title
from the previous year. David is a former staff sergeant who flew secret 24-hour missions around the
former Soviet Union during the Cold War.
       Players earned points when the horseshoe landed within the PVC frame, extra points when the
shoe touched the target pipe, and even a few additional points for a ringer.
       This year’s beach horseshoe pitching tournament was covered as a local news item in the
Daytona Beach News-Journal on May 1 by staff writer Audrey Parente.

BVA of PA Presents
Stipends at Overbrook


                                                                                                     11
        BVA National Vice President Sam Huhn represented the BVA of Pennsylvania Regional
Group as he presented stipends to two graduating seniors at Overbrook School for the Blind in
Philadelphia. The awards for academic achievement occurred May 28 as part of Memorial Day and
Achievement Day ceremonies for the school’s seniors.
        Overbrook Director Gerald Kitzhoffer noted that Pennsylvania members had been presenting
the stipends to the school as a tradition since 1970 and that Sam himself had been involved for the past
18 years.
        “This year they also presented me with a history book of the school,” said Sam. “One of the
articles was about blinded veterans from World War I who came to Overbrook to learn Braille and
other skills such as piano tuning and chair caning which of course, aside from Orientation and
Mobility, were two of the most important job-training skills of the pre-computer era.”
        Sam said the book further noted that the same programs were afforded to blinded veterans from
World War II. It included names and photos of many of the early members of the regional group.
        Overbrook School for the Blind, founded in 1832, offers programs from early childhood
through high school. The school’s mission is to develop and deliver education that enhances the
options available for persons with visual impairment so that they have the greatest opportunity to
experience active and fulfilling lives. Its building and grounds are modeled after an old Spanish
mission.

Brummells Appear at
Riverfront Revolution

         George Brummell, Mid-Atlantic Regional Group, was an honored guest at a May 14-15
physical health, fitness, and wellness extravaganza just outside Washington, DC.
         The second annual Riverfront Revolution, held at the new National Harbor that borders
Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, featured guest speakers and seminars the first day
and outdoor festivities and races the second day.
         George and his wife, Mary, were invited personally to the conference by organizer Greg Taylor
through mutual friend Peter Hartsock for their inspiring examples of health and wellness amid setback
and adversity.
         During the first day, George addressed attendees on the topic “Shades of Darkness,” the same
title as his recent book. He attended the outdoor 5K, 10K, and mile run the second day and took a short
tandem bike ride with Taylor to demonstrate that biking is both possible and potentially enjoyable for a
blind person. George was also introduced to the crowd several times with special references to his
tandem bike journey throughout Vietnam back in 1999.

Arlington Wreath-Laying
Highlights Memorial Day

        BVA Executive Director Tom Miller and National Field Service Program Director Steve
Matthews braved the sweltering Memorial Day heat at high noon to present a BVA wreath at Arlington
National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknowns May 31.
        “This turned out to be one of the more difficult weather days we have experienced out at
Arlington, especially as we waited in the sun for our turn in line to present our wreath,” said Tom.
        The wreath laying at Arlington by participating VSOs on both Memorial Day and Veterans Day
is a long-standing tradition. Intertwined with the walking and changing of the guards at the Tomb of
the Unknowns, the wreath presentations occurred following the annual ceremony in the Cemetery’s
amphitheater directly behind the Tomb.

                                                                                                     12
      Remarks at this year’s ceremony were by Vice President Joseph Biden, Deputy Secretary of
Defense William J. Lynn, III, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael G. Mullen.
The U.S. Navy Band played a musical interlude while the Navy Sea Chanters performed “American
Anthem.”

Texas Veteran Finally
Receives Bronze Star

         BVA Rio Grande Regional Group member Jacinto Romo, 86, received a Bronze Star for
meritorious service in World War II on June 16. The award should have been bestowed in the 1940s.
         Jacinto’s Army unit landed at Anzio, Italy, where he ran supplies back and forth from a ship to
land-based comrades. According to his service record, he also participated in the capture of a German
unit near Montepiano, Italy, leading to a break in the German defense line.
         An “administrative oversight” caused Jacinto to be bypassed for the medal for 66 years. It was
at last secured with the help of Historian William Stegall. The two met while Jacinto was doing
volunteer work for the Military Order of the Purple Heart. It took Stegall five years to dig up the
records necessary to prove that the award was deserved.
         Jacinto had already been the recipient of a Silver Star, America’s third-highest honor for
combat valor, and two Purple Hearts for wounds received in war. Common war experiences included
digging foxholes in which to sleep while mortar shrapnel spattered across the ground. On one occasion
in a foxhole, his legs became so cold and immoveable that he had to be taken out on a stretcher. For a
time, amputation seemed to be the only answer before full circulation resumed.
         Jacinto was discharged from the Army’s 53rd Quartermaster Battalion in November 1945.

Harry Troop Featured
on Daily’s Front Page

        Harry Troop, North Carolina Regional Group and a BVA member for nearly 40 years, was
generous in his praise of BVA and what the organization does for blinded veterans in a front-page
Sunday story in his local daily newspaper, the Salisbury Post. The article by Shelley Smith, which
included two photos, ran on April 11.
        A World War II veteran, Harry described the struggle he experienced in finding a job upon
returning from the war.
        “There was considerable prejudice against blind people in the 1950s,” he is quoted as saying,
emphasizing the fact that he was not injured during the war but, as a result of his service, developed
optic atrophy, which causes fibers of the optic nerve to become smaller. Harry began losing his vision
in the fall of 1946 before his discharge.
        Harry credited BVA, both the national organization and his local chapter, for providing him
with the support he needed to face daily challenges and adversity. He also outlined his past service as
vice president of the North Carolina Regional Group and as president and vice president of the
Southern Piedmont Chapter. He is currently the chapter’s sergeant-at-arms.
        “The article turned out to be much more than I expected, and it was certainly a great way to get
our organization’s name out to the public,” said Harry. “The reporter included a surprising number of
details about me and about BVA.”
        Harry is a native of Kansas but moved to Rowan County, North Carolina, with his wife, Oleta,
in 1954. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, and a Master’s
degree from Kansas State University. He worked for the North Carolina Division of Services for the
Blind for 30 years.

                                                                                                      13
Ceremony Recognizes BVA
Regional Group Officer

        Michigan Regional Group Treasurer Richard Krasnodemski was among the guests and VSO
leaders invited to a ceremony honoring veterans June 21 in the Tuskegee Airman Hangar Bay at the
Coleman A. Young International Airport (formerly Detroit City Airport).
        Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI-13) hosted the event in cooperation with
Under Secretary of the Army Dr. Joseph W. Westphal.
        “It is a great occasion when veterans are thanked for their service,” said Richard. “The
Congresswoman and Dr. Westphal also expressed appreciation for our organizations and what they do
locally and nationally.”
        Also present at the approximately 90-minute ceremony were Michigan representatives of the
American GI Forum, the American Legion, AMVETS, Catholic War Veterans, Disabled American
Veterans, Jewish War Veterans, Marine Corps League, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Paralyzed
Veterans of America, Polish Legion of American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Vietnam
Veterans of America.
        Kilpatrick and Westphal presented all of the attending representatives with a U.S. flag flown
over the Capitol Building in honor of their organizations’ compassionate, competent, and committed
service in ensuring that Michigan veterans and their families receive the benefits they need and
deserve.

Nice Dividends for
Gumbo Cook-Off

       For the third consecutive year, three members of the Greater Houston Regional Group and their
spouses once again competed in a Houston-area gumbo cook-off, this time seizing the People’s Choice
Award.
       The cook-off was part of the 15th annual Crawfish Festival held April 9-10 at Clear Lake
Park’s Landolt Pavilion in Harris County, Texas. Other festival activities included crawfish eating
contests, live entertainment, a silent auction, arts and crafts booths, and games for the children.
       The contestants were Ronnie and Sharon Anderson, George and Martina Boe, and Herb and
Rae Robchaux.
       “We use these opportunities first and foremost to distribute information about BVA and
blinded veterans,” said regional group president Ronnie Anderson.
       Ronnie reported finding three veterans during the cook-off who knew nothing about BVA or
services provided by VA.
       “We gave to all three information on what is available to them, as well as our own contact
information,” said Ronnie. “I have already seen one of them come through the VISOR office!”
       Other upcoming regional group activities with an outreach opportunity include several Houston
Astro baseball games, the Galveston fishing trip, a three-day hot-air ballooning event at NASA, a
Veterans Day barbecue, and the Christmas party.

FSP Director
Lauds Volunteers

       BVA Field Service Program Director Steve Matthews has issued a special statement to
recognize the dedicated service of the Association’s numerous volunteers nationwide.

                                                                                                   14
        “During this landmark 65th anniversary year, we take this opportunity to offer a special thank
you to the many Volunteer National Service Officers. Our VNSOs do an exceptional job of assisting
our regular service officers, who in turn assist our blinded veterans on a one-to-one basis. All of the
dedicated sacrifice of time and effort makes things a little easier for our blinded veterans who are
navigating the very difficult VA bureaucracy.”

Book Published by Yet
Another BVA Member

        Regular Bulletin readers are undoubtedly aware of a number of books written and published by
BVA members over the past five years.
        The latest, entitled A Warrior Remembers: The Viet Cong Hunt Club, was authored by
C.W. Reno Miles of the New York Regional Group. The book chronicles the activity of an elite unit of
combat specialists in Vietnam who were not subject to the military policy “No fire unless fired upon.”
The unit was appropriately nicknamed “The Shadow Walkers.”
        C.W. served in Vietnam during 1965-66. He is 100 percent service connected for blindness as a
result of exposure to Agent Orange. He first noticed his vision loss in 1993 and at present has about 8
percent of his sight remaining.
        C.W. started writing a short story in late 2005 as a means of self-therapy. The motivation to
convert the story into a book eventually worthy of publication came from his wife, Julie Troii.
                                                  et Nam.
Florida Veteran Creates
Last Supper Engravings

       Willie Menendez, Florida Regional Group, has found a way to give back to others less
fortunate through a significant skill he learned at the West Palm Beach BRC.
       Willie has donated 20-25 handmade copper engravings of his rendition of “The Last Supper” to
both churches as well as several homes built by Habitat for Humanity volunteers in Citrus County,
Florida. The dimensions of the etchings are 15” by 24”.
       “I feel compelled to share this talent and ability for the benefit of others because of what others
have taught and given to me,” said Willie.

Guzman Spreads BVA Word
at AAM Annual Meeting

        If ever there were doubt that BVA Southern California Regional Group President and World
War II veteran Paul Guzman has unlimited energy, such doubt has forever dissipated.
        Paul spent most of three full days speaking with visitors and displaying BVA literature at an
exhibit booth at the annual meeting of the American Association of Museums May 24-26 at the Los
Angeles Convention Center. He shared the booth, hosted by Art Education for the Blind, with
organizations such as the Braille Institute, Eye Care Center of Southern California, American Council
of the Blind, and Arts and Services for the Disabled.
        The 20’ by 20’ booth was dedicated to issues and organizations representing people with
disabilities. Art Education for the Blind invited disability groups (such as BVA’s regional group) and
arts and disability advocates from the Los Angeles area to be at the booth and converse with museum
staff members from facilities throughout the country.
        BVA National Headquarters has been an official partner of Art Education for the Blind for
approximately six years.

                                                                                                       15
                                         Sunshine Girls
            By Betty Wennstrom and Submitted by VIST Coordinator Valerie Duffy
                                 Composed in June 2004

What’s a Sunshine Girl?
Is your life in a continual whirl?
Driving to and fro,
You name it, we need to go.
Reading menus and papers too,
Or anything else that comes out of the blue.
We sympathize the best we know how,
By living in the here and now.
Sunshine Girls have a sixth sense I know,
See their hearts, see them grow.
They would do it for us, that’s for sure.
Please dear Lord, help us endure.

The Sunshine Girls of the Gem State Regional Group make up a group of blinded veteran
spouses who spread cheer and otherwise stand by Idaho BVA members by sending birthday and
get well cards. They also provide rides, spot pins at bowling alleys, and offer encouragement on
down days. Betty Wennstrom is the wife of 41 years of BVA member Bill Wennstrom. She has
enjoyed writing poetry all of her life. According to Val, Betty writes about what inspires her, and
the members of the Sunshine Girls group certainly provide such inspiration!



Auxiliary’s View
by Joyce Thornton

        Welcome to convention season. The landmark 65th BVA gathering has fast descended upon us.
For those of us traveling to Washington, DC, I wish you happy and safe travels. For those who are
unable to make it this year, please know that you will most definitely be with us in spirit as we
celebrate BVA’s success and longevity.
        Our main present concern for the Auxiliary is increasing our membership. Many of us are aging
a bit and need a respite from some loyal, hard work over the years. In order for BVAA to continue
supporting BVA members and the organization as a whole, it is vital that Auxiliary supporters
nationwide join forces in this effort.
        The greater the membership, both in ability to serve as well as numbers, the greater the amount
of support that is available to both newly blinded veterans and older veterans. Both populations can be
assisted. While we must acknowledge the sacrifices of our service members now returning from Iraq
and Afghanistan, let us not forget our older veterans whose needs and challenges increase as the
months and years pass.
        The challenge to each Auxiliary member this year is to get the organization’s message out
there. Please try, in particular, to create interest among the friends and families of blinded veterans.
Without new members, BVAA cannot sustain the work to which so many of our members have
dedicated themselves. Let us keep our Auxiliary strong and a vital network of support to BVA and our
beloved blinded veterans.

                                                                                                     16
                        Blinded Veterans Association Auxiliary
                        National Convention Meeting Schedule
Date/Time                     Event                                  Location

Monday, August 23
1:00 pm- 5:00 pm              BVAA Silent Auction Set-Up             Salon D

Tuesday, August 24
8:30 am- 5:00 pm              Silent Auction Open                    Salon D
10:00 am- Noon                BVAA Board Meeting                     Salon E

Wednesday, August 25
8:00 am- 9:30 am              BVA Opening Business Session           Salon C
9:30 am- Noon                 BVAA Meeting                           Salon E
Noon- 2:30 pm                 Auxiliary Lunch                        TBA
2:30 pm- 7:30 pm              Silent Auction Open                    Salon D

Thursday, August 26
8:30 am- 6:00 pm              Silent Auction Open                    Salon D
6:00 pm                       Silent Auction Ends                    Salon D

Friday, August 27
8:30 am- 11:00 am             Silent Auction                         Salon D
                                Merchandise Pick-up
3:00 pm- 5:00 pm              Workshop:                              Salon E
                                “How to Make
                                 Squash Book Albums”

Saturday, August 28
9:00 am- Noon                 BVAA Auxiliary Meeting                 Salon E
2:00 pm- 4:00 pm              Auxiliary Board Meeting                Salon E




Of Note
YouTube VA Site Shows
Prism Therapy Video

        VA has made available a video on its YouTube site to demonstrate the use of prism therapy
with an OIF veteran at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas.
        The breakthrough in the therapy is the use of specialized prism eyeglasses that retrain the eye to
treat two different conditions known as Hemispatial neglect and Hemianopsia.

                                                                                                       17
        Patients with hemispatial neglect unintentionally ignore part of their vision because of a lesion
in the visual processing of the brain.
        Patients suffering from TBI may lose half of their vision in each eye. This type of vision loss is
called Hemianopsia. Patients who have Hemianopsia are often aware of their vision loss and can be
taught to scan their environment to compensate for the visual field loss.
        Prism glasses are intended to shift the image to the right in order to retrain the visual and motor
systems to become aware of objects on the left side, according to Kia B. Eldred, O.D., F.A.A.O., a
low-vision expert and member of the Visual Impairment Services Outpatient Rehabilitation program in
Houston.
        To view the YouTube video, which provides additional details and explanation, go to
www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-89qYu9Ov8.

Survey Seeks to
Support Caregivers

         The National Alliance for Caregiving is undertaking a study to determine how caregivers of
veterans are faring and what community and VA services, resources, and programs would support and
assist them with their caregiving activities.
         The project, funded by the United Health Foundation, will utilize telephone interviews, focus
groups, and an online survey of caregivers of veterans from World War II through the current conflicts
in Iraq and Afghanistan.
         Caregivers are defined by the assistance they provide in activities of daily living such as
bathing, dress, and feeding. Also included are assistance with taking medications, transportation to
doctors’ appointments, housekeeping, and helping veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and
Traumatic Brain Injury.
         Cash incentives will be available for study participants and veterans who refer them.
Information obtained from the focus groups, telephone interviews, and Internet survey will be
confidential.
         Family caregivers or veterans who know of someone who may wish to take part in this study
may sign up at www.gwsurvey.com/caregiversofveterans.html. Those interested may also contact
Kathy Cameron at kathleen56@caregiving.org or at 703-585-6607.

GI Bill Info
Available

        Veterans and their families who are directly affected by the GI Bill, especially the provisions of
last year’s “New GI Bill,” have new resources at their disposal, according to Alle Bezdikian, content
editor of gibill.com, located at www.gibill.com.
        “We offer an intensive ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section and a downloadable new GI Bill
cheat sheet,” he said.
        Gibill.com also features an “Ask the Expert” blog where users can ask personal questions and
interact with expert bloggers directly. Gibill.com’s sister site, www.armystudyguide.com, provides
tools such as “Military to Civilian Job Translator.”

Claims Filing
Simplified



                                                                                                        18
        An initiative by VA Secretary Eric Shinseki is aimed at reducing the paperwork and expediting
the process for veterans seeking compensation for disabilities related to their military service.
        The change involves shortened application forms, including a new VA Form 21-526 for
veterans applying for the first time for disability compensation or benefits. A second one, Form 21-
526b, is used by veterans seeking increased benefits for conditions already determined by VA to be
service connected.
        “These reductions in paperwork, along with other improvements to simplify and speed the
claims process, symbolize changes underway to make VA more responsible to veterans and their
families,” said Shinseki.
        For additional information, go to the VA Homepage, www.va.gov, or call the toll free benefits
number at 800-827-1000.

California Ruling
Increases Accessibility

        A federal court in Northern California has granted judgment for two plaintiff classes of blind
and visually impaired individuals in American Council of the Blind v. Astrue, a case against the Social
Security Administration (SSA).
        The ruling requires SSA to provide class members with the right, under federal law (Section
504 of the Rehabilitation Act), to ask for notices and other information about their benefits in formats
other than standard print, including Braille, Microsoft Word large print on CD, and audio CD. SSA
must phase in the new options under certain time frames.

Another Note on
NLS Materials

        National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) patrons are now
eligible to receive both digital players and digital books with the emergence of the new Digital Talking
Book Player.
        With an audio guide built in, the player is easy to use. Any button on the player can be pressed
to learn about its associated function. The sound quality is much improved over anything that could be
produced on cassette and most books fit on one cartridge. Insertion of the cartridge begins the playing
of the book.
        To receive a new digital player on loan and free of charge, contact your local NLS library at
888-NLS-READ. Contact information for your local NLS library is also available in “Find a Library”
at www.loc.gov/nls/find.html.

“Wreaths Across America”
Quickly Expands

       Wreaths Across America, known originally as the Arlington Wreath Project begun in 1992,
placed 164,000 wreaths on veterans’ graves in more than 450 cemeteries across the country and
overseas in 2009.
       The organization expects more than 500 cemeteries to participate and wreaths to be placed on
more than 300,000 graves in 2010.
       For additional information, visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.



                                                                                                      19
Letters to the Editor
Role Model
in Maine

         Charlie Swem of the Maine Regional Group recently passed away. He was a devoted and
tireless activist. I don't mean that he was out championing a cause. I mean he was just out— period.
Charlie did everything!
         It didn't matter to Charlie if he didn't see things well. That just added to the challenge. If you
asked him if he had done something, he not only said, "Of course I have and I'm still doing it,” but also
“I'm ready to do it again.”
         Charlie loved to fish and ski. He collected coins, stamps, and many things one would not think
of. He was in a bowling league, played golf, and was a scuba diver. He was an archer, watched the
Patriots and the Red Sox, traveled, took great photos, played cards, and took part in every contest
imaginable. If there was a trip someplace, Charlie went.
         Charlie loved BVA. He served as president of the Maine Regional Group for several years. He
constantly made telephone calls to members and prospective members. He always had a membership
application ready for newly diagnosed veterans and discussed with them the benefits of comprehensive
blind rehabilitation at West Haven.
         A very loyal volunteer in the VIST office, Charlie assisted me in maintaining contact with
BVA members. He met blinded veterans in the eye clinic, primary care clinics, the cafeteria, the VIST
office, or wherever they happened to be. Charlie helped organize the VIST/BVA summer picnics and
Christmas parties. He also worked tirelessly with the annual "Eye Opener Golf Challenge for the Blind
and Visually Impaired" and ensured that all of the aforementioned events continued even when there
was a change in VIST personnel.
         Charlie Swem was always full of energy and looking for the next adventure. He was an
advocate, an example, and a patriot.
         Of all things Charlie is remembered for, he was a great and true friend above all else. BVA has
lost a very valuable resource and member. I have lost a very valuable friend.

                                                                      Dan Bence
                                                                      VIST Coordinator, 1995-2008
                                                                      Togus, Maine



In Remembrance
The Blinded Veterans Association deeply regrets the deaths of the following blinded veterans.

Alabama R.G.
Rupert L. Mills

Florida R.G.
Vernon Clark
Wilmer Cribbs
Lawrence Epstein
Joseph Giuffre

                                                                                                        20
Sam Goldberg
Harold Heller
Glendon S. Henry
A. Colon Santiago
Mortimer J. Sklarin
Paul S. Thomas
Sidney A. White
John J. Woelfling

Greater Houston R.G.
Harry S. Jeunesse
Chess Laird
Alexander W. Osmond
John Zaleski

Illinois R.G.
Enos D. Dickey
Shannon L. VanPatten

Iowa R.G.
Eldon D. Indvik

Kansas R.G.
James T. Vap
Michael W. Wood

Kentuckiana R.G.
James A. Vopni

Louisiana R.G.
Robert L. Reed

Maine R.G.
Fred A. Malone

Massachusetts R.G.
James F. Bowse
Alfred Dyott
Rodney A. Madison
John F. Narkiewicz
Richard A. Southwick

Michigan R.G.
Anthony J. Juliano
John G. McCracken

Mid-Atlantic R.G.
Clarence W. Edmonds

                       21
Lee H. Hall

Minnesota R.G.
Samuel L. Breck
James Cave
Harold J. DuFour

Mountain States R.G.
Glenn C. Davis
Richard Jones
Mary V. Wyatt

Nebraska R.G.
James L. Colhouer

New Hampshire R.G.
Albert A. Moreau

New York R.G.
Edward Ferris
Terry Greenberg
Gerald C. Kinkade
John J. Meade

North Carolina R.G.
Jesse David Watson

North Texas R.G.
Felix Johnson
Carter Mitchell

Northern Arizona R.G.
Charles E. Smock

Northern California R.G.
Robert M. Beltz
Valborg Jorstad
Myrl L. Manes
Raymond H. Marine
John D. Partridge
Andrew A. Schiappacasse
Albert Sullenger

Ohio R.G.
Jean B. Lange

O-K-I R.G.
Walter Jason

                           22
William H. Sheline

Oregon Columbia R.G.
Ernest E. Hunt

Pennsylvania R.G.
Samuel C. Gundy
John Kappa
John H. Landis
F. Bruce Travis

Puerto Rico R.G.
Felix Maestre

Rio Grande R.G.
James E. Bennett
Armand M. Kolesar
Fred Meliniotis

R.I./SE Mass. R.G.
Dwight D. Bailey
John Fagan
Eli Heimberg
Francis A. Quirini
Pedro Saurin Seisa

St. Louis R.G.
Arthur Gibson
Barry J. Mehn

San Diego R.G.
Dwight D. Perry

South Carolina R.G.
Carl E. Johnson

South Texas R.G.
Jesse F. Portilla

Southern Arizona R.G.
Richard L. Drow
Jack D. Peterson

Southern California R.G.
Robert Baird
Benjamin Silva
Georgina M. Walker
Willie Lee Wallis

                           23
Southern Nevada R.G.
Harold E. Shaw
Louie D. Widmar

Tennessee R.G.
Winston Herington
Henry L. Stinemetz

Western Mountaineer R.G.
William R. Provins

White River Junction R.G.
Henry Boisselle

Wisconsin R.G.
Glenn King



Final Thought
         Residents of the Nation’s Capital and surrounding areas can easily live and work there for
decades without even a glimpse of the President. The same is even more the case for the hundreds of
thousands of visiting tourists who pass by the White House with just such a hope in mind.
         Such an opportunity nonetheless presented itself last Veterans Day as President Barack Obama
and First Lady Michelle shared a few moments, and a little breakfast, with Dr. Roy Kekahuna (top row
right), his wife Laurel (bottom right), Tom Miller (second from right, bottom), and other national VSO
leaders. Photo courtesy of the White House.




                                                                                                    24

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:8
posted:6/26/2012
language:English
pages:24
jolinmilioncherie jolinmilioncherie http://
About