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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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
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
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.
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
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.
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