"The BISM Grapevine � September-October 2008"
The BISM Grapevine – September-October 2008 BISM Teams Up With Shorebirds by Gayle Carey As part of BISM’s 100th anniversary celebration, the Salisbury branches held a fundraiser in coordination with the Delmarva Shorebirds minor league baseball team. We sold 225 tickets for the Shorebirds vs. LakeWood game on June 13, and netted over $2,000 for BISM programs! The ceremonial first pitch was thrown out by longtime BISM associate Hank Truitt, and the National Anthem was sung by BISM associates Alona Collins, Debbie Collins and Carolyn Spense. Fred Puente presented the Centennial Award to The Weaver family in memory of former BISM associate Dave Weaver. There were tables set up with a lot of silent auction and raffle items. Office Eagle had an information table and Amy Crouse had a table for the VIP senior group. Thanks to all of the associates, friends and family who made this night a success! It Is Our Business! A Message from BISM President Frederick J. Puente I recently had a very bad experience with a customer service representative from a major retailer. Needless to say, it was NOT a pleasant conversation! The rep essentially said to me ―it’s not my problem‖ and ―it’s not my business.‖ The person clearly did not think my business was important. After taking a number of deep breaths and reflecting about Blind Industries and Services of Maryland, I felt much better! I realized one thing - It is OUR business! The way each and everyone of you performs your job everyday, no matter what your job is, shouts ―It’s our business.‖ Each of us should feel that we are responsible for the success of this company, and we are the people who make it work! I am confident that our customers could talk to any of us and they would get the same feeling - ―It’s our business!‖ All of us have the capacity, ability and, most importantly, the responsibility to exceed our customer and Associate expectations. When we do that, everyone clearly understands that ―It’s our business!‖ Thanks for your continued commitment to our Vision, Mission and each other! BISM Water Company Gets Name by Rob Harris BISM has been operating a water company for about two years, but in the past several months it has become a full-fledged division. One problem—the division didn’t have an official name, which made it hard to do business. So we recently held a contest to name the company. There were over 75 names submitted by more than 25 associates and other interested parties. In the process we not only came up with a business name but also a name for our in-house bottled spring water. With thanks to our name contest winner Anita Adkins of Cumberland, the water company now does business as BISM Beverage. The name permits us to think beyond typical bottled water and into other products that use water as its base. The new name also creates the opportunity for the water division to expand into a future marketing company, which should create jobs for blind associates. The name selected for our bottled spring water is BISM NOW (No Ordinary Water). Garry Powers of Dover Office Eagle submitted the winning entry. The name lends itself to a lot of creative marketing ideas and fits our product perfectly since it is 100% spring water. BISM Beverage is located in the former BVS area of the Baltimore plant. The Baltimore facility will house the art department, printing press, customer service, and warehousing. The bottling facility is located on a farm just outside of Ellicott City, Maryland. It is fed by an aquifer and the water literally bubbles up from the ground. Our process allows us to direct the water to the plant located there to fill bottles. Currently we fill half-liter, 20 ounce, one gallon and five gallon bottles. There is an open invitation to stop by and experience what we do. The staff will be happy to show you around. Cumberland Feast a Success by Joy Brode The Spaghetti Dinner and Open House fundraiser was held at the Cumberland plant on July 19 as part of BISM’s 100th anniversary, and it was a big success! We served over 300 people with five roasters of sauce and seven roasters of spaghetti! Since the event was held on a working Saturday afternoon, our associates were able to attend and eat lunch with their relatives and friends. The plant was decorated with blue and white balloons at the door and inside, two 100 year anniversary cakes, tablecloths, and blue and white fresh flowers. Nellie and George Emerick provided the great background music and announced the door prizes. We were fortunate to have giveaways from Chick-fil-A, Roy Rogers, Sheetz, The Creamery, and Fox’s Pizza Den, Precious Moments statues donated by Doris Baker’s church, Avon gift bags donated by associate Karan Jones, and a candle gift bag donated by associate Nancy Carder. We had quite a few people from the community take the tour of the plant and they were educated about who BISM is and what we do. BISM associates from other locations also attended and participated in the festivities, including Fred Puente, Jack Grizzell, Kirke Messick and Kathy Lukenic from Salisbury. A lot of our associates volunteered to help with set-up, serving, and clean-up, and Lee and Rob were of tremendous help and support. Several of our associates donated cakes and desserts for the event so that we were able to forego that expense. They also volunteered their roasters and various kitchen items, and Shirley Riffle supplied a wonderful colander from the Baltimore plant. The Spaghetti Dinner netted $154 after expenses, but the most important thing was that the event created a spirit of teamwork and cooperation among all of us and helped to make Cumberland’s Blind Industries and Services of Maryland a visible and vital part of our community. Office Eagle Update by Rene Alonso Fiscal Year 08 Closes on Good Note The end of FY 2008 has finally passed and what a year it has been for Office Eagle! We started the fiscal year with budget sales goals that appeared unreachable in today’s challenging economic times, though we knew that we would do our best to reach the numbers. There were times throughout the year when it seemed as if those goals were unimaginable, but the integrity of our beliefs in achieving a realistic goal came to fruition in the last days of the fiscal year! A huge congratulations is in store for the Dover Office Eagle team for surpassing their budgeted goal of over $4.6 million by $14,392 on the final day of the fiscal year! The hard work and determination by all of the Dover Office Eagle associates is to be commended. The Edgewood Office Eagle team also has much to celebrate in reaching record sales for their location. Despite the small store and the limited staff to manage its operations, the Edgewood team was able to surpass a record breaking $2 million in sales. We are proud to have such a fine team to deliver what others may deem as impossible. In addition to these two milestones, the Fort Knox, Bolling, and Aberdeen Office Eagle stores, along with Super Eagle Supply and Hazmat, should all be commended as well. Each location accomplished their goals well before the FY 08 ended, thus surpassing their budgets. It goes without saying that the drive and determination that it takes to build a team of dedicated professionals can be achieved with a vision. The accomplishments of every Office Eagle associate is what makes the team a success. A special thanks to each and every one on the team for your incredible enthusiasm and persistence. It is because of this that we are able to achieve our mission, and I am proud to be on the team. Here’s to a successful FY 09 for Office Eagle and all that it has in store! Glory Days Brand Debuts at Wal-Mart The Glory Days brand was created to provide employment opportunities for blind and disabled workers. On August 5, the Glory Days Pup-A-Pedic® dog beds and Plush Pet Rugs debuted at the Arbutus Wal-Mart Supercenter store. BISM associates will be responsible for packaging and distributing the Glory Days pet products that will be sold in the store. Glory Days CEO Daniel Reich, Wal-Mart Manager Bill Adler, and Fred Puente were on hand to officially launch the Glory Days product line. Wishing These Associates Happy Birthday! September Johnny Tolliver—Salisbury 1 Ken Barnett—Bolling OE 2 Dan Woytowitz—Baltimore 2 Kenneth Christian—Baltimore 3 Steven Reese—Baltimore 3 Philip Cheek—Cumberland 3 Anita Adkins—Cumberland 3 Philip Barber—Baltimore 4 Charlese Anderson—Baltimore 5 Joseph Grzelik—Edgewood OE 5 Levin Layton—Salisbury 6 Krissy Jerman—Baltimore 7 David Minnick—Cumberland 7 Ed Lozzi—Dover OE 7 Brian Blevins—Aberdeen OE 7 Joan Meyer—Aberdeen OE 9 Angela Meredith—Baltimore 10 Becky Keller—Baltimore 11 Judy Winner—Cumberland 12 William Lynch—Cumberland 14 Gwendolyn Thomas—Baltimore 15 Nancy Carder—Cumberland 16 Crystal Watson—Salisbury Cut. 16 Annette Gordon—Baltimore 17 Albert Turner—Bolling OE 18 Nicole DiSeta—Aberdeen OE 22 Johnny Crenshaw—Dover OE 23 Jennifer Hagenbuch—Cumberland 25 Kirk Proctor—Baltimore 26 Anne Zumbo—Salisbury 26 Berlinda Hernandez—Salisbury 27 Elizabeth Wennington—Dover OE 27 Bruce Higgs—Cumberland 28 Stephen Brafford—Cumberland 29 Aaron Spence—Salisbury 29 Rita Parsons—Salisbury Cut. 29 Randy Holmes—Salisbury Cut. 29 Marlene Keane—Salisbury Cut. 30 Belinda McCrea—Ft. Knox OE 30 October Roger Collick—Salisbury Cut. 1 Kevin Mason—Baltimore 2 Paul Messick—Salisbury Cut. 2 Frances Carey—Salisbury Cut. 3 Deborah Collins—Salisbury 4 Simon Hay—Baltimore 5 Brenda Haggerty—Cumberland 6 Betina Freeman—Salisbury 6 Marion Garrison—Cumberland 7 Louis Reed—Salisbury 7 Marco Carranza—Baltimore 8 Delores Hay-Barber—Baltimore 9 Marcia Palmer—Salisbury 10 Yvonne Pinkney—Baltimore 12 Donna Miller—Cumberland 12 Willie Upshur—Salisbury 12 Dean Waters—Baltimore 14 Connie Wallace—Salisbury 14 Vicki Beach—Salisbury 14 Alfred Gordon—Baltimore 15 Shirley Riffle—Baltimore 15 Russell Hopkins—Baltimore 15 Keith Clements—Dover OE 16 Erika Benavides—Salisbury 19 Marvin Hill—Dover OE 19 Rene Alonso—Bolling OE 19 Robert Lambert—Baltimore 20 Vaughn Parker—Salisbury Cut. 21 Pauline Huster—Baltimore 22 Rebecca Marsch—Baltimore 22 Craig Layton—Cumberland 23 Autumn Buckley—Cumberland 23 Angelo Moore—Baltimore 25 Joseph Milito—Baltimore 30 Thomas Pruitt—Salisbury 30 Barbara Parker—Salisbury 31 KIDS Camp Explores the Shore by Jenn Fagan Six energetic KIDS Campers began exploring Maryland’s beautiful Eastern Shore on June 13 at Camp Pecometh in Centreville. This year’s schedule included a lot of fun activities and skills training in the areas of Independent Living (IL), Travel, Braille and Computer Technology. Campers enjoyed a hayride at Godfrey’s farm in Sudlersville, where we explored the peach orchard, blueberry bushes, strawberry patch, and tart cherry trees. Each camper learned about the different fruits and picked some to take home - although most of the delicious fruit ended up in our stomachs before the ride was over! Campers also used their newly acquired cane travel technique for a nature hike, and their non-visual cooking skills to prepare all meals. We had a BBQ on the last night of camp, complete with Maryland corn that the campers shucked during IL. Fran and Eddie Garfinkle from the Ratner Museum in Bethesda helped the kids design and color ―shore-themed‖ sculptures, and Deborah Margolis delivered Braille books from LBPH for the kids. Our staff of blind instructors did an amazing job of keeping the campers excited about learning! Each camper received a certificate at the graduation ceremony held in Baltimore and left with new skills and renewed confidence in their abilities. Salisbury Senior Center Fundraising Underway by Amy Crouse The Rehabilitation Department has kicked off a fundraising campaign for a new senior training center to be located next to BISM’s Northwood Drive facility in Salisbury. The proposed building will have a kitchen, dining room, pantry, laundry room, living room/meeting room and classrooms for computers and Braille instruction. The objective is to help seniors remain independent in their homes and to learn non-visual skills that will improve their quality of life. We need to raise $250,000 to complete the project! If you have connections with influential people, foundations or companies who may be interested in helping blind and visually impaired senior adults on the Eastern Shore, please tell them about the opportunity to make donations to our fund by calling 410-749-1366. We have been working hard to secure grants and donations. We have received $6,000 from the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, $5,000 from the John Ben Snow Foundation, $5,000 from Bruce Hall’s company, and $30,000 from Bank of America. BISM’s Salisbury associates donated $250, the STARS senior support group in Cumberland donated $120, the CRAB advocacy senior group from Chestertown donated $500, and the VIP senior group has raised over $500 to date. Our total fund raising efforts now equal $48,141. Wellness Nurse Joins BISM Staff by Donna Clark, RN In May, I came on board at BISM as the Wellness Nurse for all associates. Now known as Nurse Donna, I have been busy trying to find out what you want to know about your health. I also hope to bring wellness programs that will impact our health care costs and bring a reduction in premiums. So far I have been able to survey the Salisbury sites and, finding a great response to the return of the surveys, I am able to establish a list of priorities identified by the associates. One of the interesting things so far is the realization that each site has different needs and interests. Some of you may already have received the questionnaire and I ask that you return it to me, your Human Resources person, or email it back to me at dclark@BISM.org. Do not sign your name and I assure you that all questionnaires will be kept totally confidential. The data collected will give me an idea of what health related topics need attention at your site. I hope to also provide an article with current health related information for each newsletter publication. If you have any health related questions, problems or issues, please feel free to contact me by email, telephone (410-749-1366), or approach me when I visit your site. Catching Up BISM Instructor Earns Certification Congratulations to James Konechne, CORE Braille Instructor, for passing the National Literary Braille Competency Test (NLBCT). In order to receive the certification, James had to pass a test with rigorous standards to demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing, and knowledge of literary Braille. CORE Student Graduates from Program Congratulations to Sherry Gaskins, who successfully completed the challenging CORE program in July. The entire BISM organization wishes Sherry the best of luck in future endeavors. New Manager of Baltimore Operations Named On July 18, John Grizzel was selected as Manager of Baltimore Operations. John has been the Manager of the Office Eagle store at Edgewood Arsenal for the last nine years. Congratulations to SAIL graduate Dorothy DuBois graduated from the SAIL senior program on June 24. She received a miniature lighthouse, which symbolizes the light, knowledge, and positive attitude about blindness that the recipient will pass on. SAIL Member Receives Anna Cable Award SAIL member Doris Bailey recently received the prestigious Anna Cable Award from the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland. The award is presented annually to a person who became blind later in life and pursued the study of Braille. Nominees exemplify a willingness to learn and use alternative, non-visual techniques in their daily life. Doris has completed Grade 1 Braille and is working diligently on the Braille 2 code. Upcoming Events BISM Pro-Invitational Golf Classic in Baltimore The annual BISM Pro-Invitational Golf Classic moves from the Eastern Shore to Baltimore on September 18-19! The sold-out event takes place at the Rolling Road Golf Club and kicks off with a reception for players and sponsors on Thursday, September 18. The golf action tees off on September 19 at 12:30. Proceeds benefit BISM Rehabilitation programs. Call Christina Davis at 410-737-2638 for more information. Rehabilitation Training Open Houses at Three Locations As part of BISM’s 100th anniversary celebration, the Rehabilitation Training departments in Baltimore, Cumberland, and Salisbury will each hold an Open House during the month of October. The purpose of the Open Houses is to educate the local communities on the training programs and services offered at BISM. Visitors will be able to tour the locations, inquire about certain programs, and participate in hands-on demonstrations. Below are the BISM Open House dates and contact information: October 1—Cumberland—Roger Williamson or Anita Adkins 301-724-4111 October 15—Baltimore—Jenn Fagan 410-737-2676 October 29—Salisbury—Amy Crouse 410-749-1366 Get Your Tickets for BISM’s Night of the Senses Gala at the National Aquarium! The most anticipated event of BISM’s 100th anniversary celebration occurs with the Night of the Senses Gala at the National Aquarium in Baltimore on November 22 from 6:30-11:00 pm. The memorable night will include excellent dining, live entertainment, dancing, a silent auction, and access to the incredible National Aquarium. Tickets are $150 per person. Please call Christina Davis at 410-737-2638 to purchase tickets or for more information.