In Remembrance

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					In This Issue

Legislative Update
 by Tom Zampieri

President’s Page
 by Norman Jones

Honoring and Remembering
America’s Veterans

Looking Back at
BVA’s 62nd

Around BVA

Auxiliary’s View
 by Peter Davis

Of Note

In Remembrance

Final Thought

Legislative Update
by Tom Zampieri

Autumn Rush

         We returned from our August national convention facing an extremely busy legislative
agenda that included several bills that we had been working on since last February.
         A variety of unique activities were added to what would have otherwise been a normal fall
routine. BVA was one of five Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) invited to speak on a panel at
the annual convention of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs back on
September 17 in Annapolis, Maryland. The very next day I spoke on Traumatic Brain Injury as it
relates to vision at a town hall meeting sponsored by the Brain Injury Association.
         The House Committee on Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health requested that I testify
on the subject of VA research programs in a scheduled hearing on October 4. I submitted a written
statement and was given five minutes to express our positions orally as part of a panel that also
included Paralyzed Veterans of America National Legislative Director Carl Blake and Disabled
American Veterans Assistant National Legislative Director Joy Ilem.
         During this busy time in September and October, I requested and had opportunities to meet
with several key Members of Congress about pending legislation. I met with Members and staff of
the House and Senate VA Committees, Committees on Appropriations, and Armed Services

Committees. I coordinated these visits with those of other VSOs, professional organizations, and
Military Service Organizations.
        Another autumn highlight was the final testimony and report to Congress of the Veterans
Disability Benefits Commission after more than two years of extensive research and studies
regarding potential changes to the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). The final report
consisted of 560 pages, recommending that the Department of Defense (DoD) and VBA overhaul a
system that has been in place since the famous Bradley Commission report was completed in 1950.

Center of Excellence and
Eye Trauma Registry

         On October 29, a special briefing at the Capitol provided critical information to
Congressional staffs and the media regarding H.R. 3558, the Military Eye Trauma Treatment Act of
2007, which was introduced with strong bipartisan sponsorship by Representative John Boozman
(R-AR-3) on September 18.
         The Congressional briefing featured presentations by Major Eric Weichel, Chief of Retinal
Surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center; Major Cameron Van Roekel, Chief of Low-Vision
Optometry at Walter Reed; and Dr. James Orcutt, National VA Program Director for
Ophthalmology at VA Central Office. It was sponsored by the American Academy of
Ophthalmology, the American Optometric Association, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision
Research, Prevent Blindness America, and BVA.
         H.R. 3558 would create a Center of Excellence within DoD. The Center would focus on the
prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, and rehabilitation of military eye injuries. It would also
create a military eye injury registry that would track and coordinate with VA the “Seamless
Transition” of those who have experienced such injuries.
         The House bill was a response to Senate Amendment 2969 introduced on August 3 by
Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Pete Domenici (R-NM), and Barack Obama
(D-IL) in the National Defense Authorization Act. The Senate amendment was attached to the
Dignified Treatment of Wounded Warriors Act, which has provisions to improve the care of those
experiencing Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
         A Military Eye Trauma Center of Excellence and Eye Trauma Registry would be an historic
first, requiring that all DoD branches report serious eye injuries. The injuries would be entered into
a registry, which would then report them to the VA Secretary and to VA Blind Rehabilitation
Service (BRS).
         The need for a center and registry to treat and track eye injuries is clear to BVA. Between
March 2003 and September 2007, 1,126 individuals—Active Duty, National Guard, or Reservists—
were transferred from field surgical hospitals to stateside Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs).
Some of these wounded have moved back and forth to VA Poly Trauma Centers, then to VA Blind
Rehabilitation Centers (BRCs), and in some cases back to MTFs for further surgery and
rehabilitation before being sent to medical evaluation boards. Under present circumstances,
wounded personnel are not, in many cases, experiencing “Seamless Transitions.”


       In concert with the other major VSOs, BVA worked diligently to ensure that Congress pass
the MILCON/VA FY 2008 appropriations bills. The House and Senate MILCON/VA
Appropriations Subcommittees and Conference Committees voted and approved the largest increase

in discretionary funding for VA health care in 77 years. However, the legislation became caught up
in a larger battle between Congress and the White House over proposed spending for FY 2008.
        BVA was successful in securing an additional $12.5 million for BRS within the
aforementioned bill. This extra directed funding is a response, in the form of a down payment, to
former Secretary Nicholson‟s press release last January. The release promised $40 million for the
full continuum of care for blind and low vision services between 2008 and 2012.
        Under this plan, as explained by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), in the next
three years 54 medical centers would receive approval and centralized funding for implementation
of new services, intermediate or advanced, to the blind and visually impaired. A total of 35 full-time
Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Specialists (BROS) would be added, 11 of which would become
available next year. We understand that 11 new VIST Coordinator positions will be added next year
as well. We hope to know the exact medical centers that will receive these new positions by the
time our next Bulletin is printed and distributed.
        As has been the case for the past 12 years, the funding for all of this progress at press time
was stuck in a Continuing Resolution through December 16. We had hoped that Congress would
pass the MILCON/VA appropriations bill immediately upon its return from Thanksgiving recess.

More National Attention
on Combat Eye Injuries

        BVA continues to see increased public awareness of the needs of combat eye-injured service
members and their families. We have been fortunate in being able to conduct interviews ourselves
and to help arrange others, resulting in national articles in USA Today in both October and
November (see Around BVA). A story published in the Military Times newspapers of October 15
credited BVA‟s advocacy efforts with uncovering the large numbers of combat eye injuries that
have occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most helpful in our pursuit of this information has been our
continued visits with wounded Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom
(OEF) service personnel at Walter Reed.

Unexpected Turns in
Legislative Process

        What happens when a bill is passed by both the House and Senate? The answer may not be
quite as simple as one would think.
        Our readers might remember from the last Bulletin that BVA secured passage of H.R. 797,
the Dr. James Allen Blinded Veterans Equity Act of 2007. The bill was voted on and passed in the
House VA Committee one week after our annual testimony last March. Known to BVA members as
the “Paired Organ” bill, the legislation would define legal blindness for a veteran who was service-
connected for blindness in one eye and who later developed blindness in the other nonservice-
connected eye. The standard would become 20/200 or less compared to the present VBA standard
of 5/200.
        Following passage in the Committee, H.R. 797 was sent to the House Floor as a standalone
piece of legislation. Committee Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA-51) helped speed up the process
considerably. On March 21, the bill passed by a vote of 414-0.
        On the Senate side, Chairman Daniel Akaka (D-HI) introduced the Paired Organ legislation
as S. 1163 in late April. The bill passed in Committee on June 28. Under a suspension rule, the bill
passed in the full Senate on November 3.
        BVA celebrated for 48 hours, believing that this long legislative battle of more than four
years was now history and about to be sent to the White House for a most certain Presidential
signature. Unbeknownst to us, however, the Senate had made a change in two sections of the bill
before voting on it, requiring a Conference Committee of both the House and Senate to work out the
differences. A subsequent vote in both chambers will be necessary all over again before the bill can
be sent to the White House.
        Two additional bills of interest to BVA are also experiencing some of the same difficulties.
The VISTA Bill, H.R. 1240, introduced by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18), would
authorize scholarship funds for BRS Instructors and Orientation and Mobility Specialists. The
legislation would provide a critical recruitment tool to attract new students from accredited
programs to enter into VA employment in exchange for a commitment to work in the VA system.
        VISTA passed in Committee on June 28 and passed the full House in July as part of H.R.
1315. Unfortunately, a Senate equivalent has never been voted on in Committee.
        The Blind Veterans Equity Act, H.R. 649, sponsored by Thomas Reynolds (R-NY-26),
would make a state annuity paid to blinded veterans in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and
Pennsylvania immune from Social Security offset.
        Because the legislation ended up being a tax issue, it was referred to the House Ways and
Means Committee. The bill remained in the Committee without any action until late October, when
BVA was suddenly notified that it had been voted on in a Subcommittee and added as an
amendment by Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA-7) to a larger Ways and Means bill dealing
with veterans tax benefits. We also learned that it had been approved in the full Committee of the
        Because the original Blind Veterans Equity Act is now wrapped into a bill with bipartisan
support, the good news is that it was expected to be voted on in the Senate in December.
There is an aspect of the legislation as currently written that is still not complete, however. Many
believe that the annuity should also not be considered as income for VA pension purposes. Since the
House VA Committee has legal jurisdiction over pension issues, a separate bill must be drafted and
introduced there once again.
        According to records I located in BVA files going back to 1992, this has been an ongoing
battle for the last 15 years. It appears that at one point the Senate tried to straighten this out but was
not successful. Any changes to VA pension laws will not come easily with the “Pay Go Rules” that
now govern Congress. Such changes must be accompanied by offsets that will pay for the changes.
We expect a real challenge with this legislation and anticipate especially strong objections from
Ranking Member Steve Buyer (R-IN-4) unless offsets can be found.

Braille Flag Bill

        Representative Todd Tiahrt (R-KS-4) has introduced a bill, H.R. 4169, that would place a
tactile Braille American flag at Arlington National Cemetery, a national place of remembrance and
honor for our Nation‟s veterans and which is visited by an estimated 4 million people annually.
        The flag to be used would be donated by the Kansas Braille Transcription Institute, the same
organization that has generously donated the flags to our Operation Peer Support convention
attendees the past two years.
        Tiahrt‟s office staff actually reached out to us for our support on this bill. While no promises
have been made, both the Cemetery and the Pentagon have responded positively. Preliminary
thoughts are that the large bronze flag in Braille could be placed near the Cemetery‟s visitors center
where it could be easily located.
        Both surprisingly and unfortunately, there are only about 14 co-sponsors of this bill, of
which Chairman Filner is one. The low number of co-sponsors is surprising given the nonpolitical
nature of the bill and the fact that there are virtually no costs associated with it.

        The legislation is now on the House Committee agenda but will most likely remain sitting
until January. Our hope is that H.R. 4169 could be passed well before Memorial Day so that a
Braille flag could be delivered prior to that important holiday.

BVA Testimony
Set for March 6

        National President Jones will deliver this year‟s annual oral testimony before a joint session
of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees on Thursday morning, March 6. The session
will occur in the Cannon House Office Building and will also include Paralyzed Veterans of
America, the Jewish War Veterans, American Ex-POWs, and perhaps two other VSOs. All BVA
members are welcome and encouraged to attend whenever feasible.
        Prior to the event, we will submit a more lengthy written testimony that will be available
online on the House Veterans Affairs Committee website. The purpose of the annual testimony is to
give organizations such as BVA the opportunity to outline their legislative priorities for the
upcoming year.

President’s Page
by Norman Jones

         This is without a doubt the most exciting time of the year for me. With a mixture of
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, could we ask for anything more?
         Well, there is still one additional holiday that comes before all three of the aforementioned,
at least chronologically. It is a day that was originally known as Armistice Day, after which it
became a holiday in 1926 and then a national holiday in 1938. On June 1, 1954, the name of the
holiday was officially changed to Veterans Day to honor all American veterans.
         In 1968, this holiday was changed to the fourth Monday in October to bring still another
three-day weekend to the American worker. Because this change never resonated well with veterans
and just didn‟t feel right to the American public, Congress in 1978 restored tradition and returned
Veterans Day to its rightful November 11.
         Did you fly your stars and stripes on Veterans Day and throughout the week leading up to it?
In the event that the answer is no, please make a change next year. Let the stars and stripes fly
proudly, at the same time demonstrating to your community how you feel about your country.
         There are still other ways in which we can demonstrate our loyalty to our country and those
who have defended it. When was the last time that we went to a VA Medical Center just for the
sake of visiting our fellow veterans? Have we visited a veterans nursing home or a homebound
veteran? Or, if we cannot get out much ourselves, did we call a few veterans to wish them a Happy
Veterans Day?
         These may not seem like grandiose gestures but they can make huge differences in others‟
lives. After all, it is not the preacher but the veteran who has secured our freedom of religion. It is
not the reporter but the veteran who has given us freedom of the press. It is not the poet but the
veteran who has secured our freedom to speak and write. It is not the college campus organizer but
the veteran who has provided us the freedom to assemble. It is not the lawyer but the veteran who
has given us the right to a fair trial. It is not the politician but the veteran who has given us the right
to vote. It is not the teacher either but the veteran also who has secured for us the right to attend any
school of higher learning and pursue our desirable goals.

        In short, the freedoms we enjoy would be few and far between if not for our beloved
comrades of the American Armed Forces.
        On Veterans Day 2007, just a little past the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, I
experienced something that will remain with me for the rest of my life. I found myself standing on a
hillside overlooking Washington, DC and the Potomac River with my beautiful and trusted wife,
Dianne, preparing to represent all 10,831 of you, the BVA membership, in the presentation of our
wreath at Arlington National Cemetery‟s Tomb of the Unknowns.
        Flanked on my left was Dale Stamper and to my right John Crabtree. As we walked down
the ramp and delivered the wreath, my mind raced in an instant to the many fallen comrades whom I
have known personally. Although I could not see the Honor Guard, I could discern by the sounds of
their boots that they were impeccably attired, that their steps were perfectly in sync, and that their
minds were single to the sacred task they were performing. Thanks go to the BVA membership for
allowing us to personally witness this wonderful display of respect toward veterans everywhere.
        With Veterans Day now behind us once again, and not forgetting the reason for the season, I
wish all blinded veterans, their families, and all of our organization‟s friends a Merry Christmas, a
Happy Hanukkah, a wonderful Kwanzaa, and a prosperous and joyous New Year.
         I am currently making travel plans to participate in a Christmas dinner with the newly
formed Columbus Chapter of the Georgia Regional Group. Guided by Joe McNeil and Clifford
Jones, this chapter is making great progress. I am also preparing a membership drive letter to reach
all regional group presidents and secretaries by the first of the year. Please do not forget our goal,
which is for each BVA member to find one new member. There is no question that we can do this
because of who we are as an organization and our great potential to be of service to those who need
us most.

Honoring, Remembering
America’s Veterans
         Depending on where they live, their health, and what their commitments were that day,
BVA members and their families undoubtedly spent Veterans Day 2007 in a myriad of diverse
activities and ceremonies of remembrance in venues throughout the country.
         Just five miles from BVA National Headquarters, National President Jones, Director of
District 4 Dale Stamper, and blinded serviceman John Crabtree placed a wreath at the Tomb of the
Unknowns. Marshell Crabtree, Dianne Jones, Executive Director Tom Miller, Convention
Coordinator Christina Hitchcock, and Communications Coordinator Stuart Nelson observed the
         The wreath laying followed the traditional national ceremony in Arlington National
Cemetery‟s Memorial Amphitheater featuring music by the U.S. Army Band, introduction of guests
by Brigadier General Pete Dawkins (Ret.), and welcoming remarks by both National Commandant
of the Marine Corps League John V. Ryan and Acting VA Secretary Gordon H. Mansfield.
         Vice President Dick Cheney, who also presented a wreath at the Tomb prior to the
ceremony, delivered the main address, extolling past and present members of the Armed Forces and
their families for their sacrifices.
         “Gathered as we are today in time of war, we‟re only more sharply aware of the nation‟s
debt to them,” he said.

        “They are constantly in our thoughts. Our gratitude extends to their loved ones, because
military service is often a family commitment, and they, too, are giving up much for the good of our
whole nation.”
        Present for the ceremony was 106-year-old Frank W. Buckles, one of three known surviving
U.S. World War I veterans. Earlier in the day, Buckles was presented the Patrick Henry Medallion
during an annual ceremony organized by the Military Order of the World Wars to remember World
War I General John J. Pershing. That ceremony was held at Pershing‟s Arlington gravesite. Buckles
enlisted in the Army on August 14, 1917 at age 16 after falsely claiming that the state of Missouri
did not print birth certificates at the time he was born.
        Following the ceremony and wreath laying, BVA‟s eight-member contingency attended a
Marine Corps League-hosted reception for VSOs at the nearby Marriott Crystal Gateway Hotel.

                                         A Day of Memory
                                           By Paul Cook

Softly and gently the dawn comes
Pushing aside the darkness of night
Announcing the coming of the new day.
The first light of the rising sun
Reflects its rays of golden light
On a field of white crosses, where beneath them lay

The perished hopes and dreams
Of dedicated men and women who died
To keep alive man‟s struggle to be free.
Now in this setting, peaceful and serene,
Come those who shared these dreams, some cry
As a grateful nation sets aside this day in their memory.

The morning sky, now a familiar blue
Dotted here and there with white clouds that hang high
Above this field as the warm sun shines.
Here where wild daisies and goldenrods grew
Now grow white crosses one-foot high
That stand side-by-side in countless lines.

The tears that fall nurture the ground
Making the grass a perennial green
Going unnoticed by those who see
Only white crosses, as the bugles sound,
Putting to rest the hopes and dreams
That seem to come alive on this day of memory.

       Paul Cook is a visually impaired World War II veteran from Littleton, Colorado. He
served in the Combat Corps of Engineers in the Pacific Theater and began painting and
writing poetry several years ago when bedridden with a cardiac condition and hampered by
macular degeneration. “A Day of Memory” was submitted by Pamela Newton, Paul’s VIST
Coordinator within the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System.

Looking Back
at BVA’s 62nd
       The lengthy account and numerous photos detailing the proceedings of the BVA 62nd
National Convention in the Summer 2007 BVA Bulletin may not have captured all of the
memorable moments. Here are a few additional memories of the convention week.

Around BVA
“USA Today” Highlights
Combat Eye Injuries

         Combat eye injuries experienced by service personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan was the
subject of two separate feature stories appearing in USA Today’s October 4 and November 14
editions, the latter of which constituted the day‟s Section A “Cover Story.”
         Both articles were researched and composed by USA Today Correspondent Gregg Zoroya,
who examined how the injuries occurred, the unique challenges to the recently blinded and their
families, rehabilitation experiences and the learning of orientation and mobility skills, and the
connection between vision loss and Traumatic Brain Injury.
         Zoroya received much of his documentation, leads, and sources for the stories from Tom
Zampieri, who referred him to recent Operation Peer Support convention attendees such as Ivan
Castro, Glenn Minney, and Jesse Acosta, all of whom were quoted extensively in the November 14

Gruber Scholarships to
Again Assist Students

        BVA will award six Kathern F. Gruber scholarships for the 2008-09 academic year,
according to Brigitte Jones, Administrative Director at the Association‟s National Headquarters.
The six scholarships are valued at $2,000 each.
        The BVA Scholarship Committee will also select three alternates in case any of the awards
cannot be subsequently accepted.
        Gruber scholarships are limited to spouses and dependent children of blinded veterans, but
the blinded veteran in question does not have to be a BVA member. Scholarships are awarded on
the basis of merit by the Committee.
        The awards are for a single academic year of study but recipients can re-apply to receive
them a second, third, or fourth time.
        Requests for scholarship applications can be addressed to BVA National Headquarters, Attn:
Kathern F. Gruber Scholarship Program, 477 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20001. They can also
be addressed to Keleeba Scott at 202-371-8880 or Information and applications
are also located at
        Completed applications must arrive at BVA National Headquarters no later than Monday,
April 14, 2008.

Feldman Scholarships
Available for 2008-09

         The Blinded Veterans Association Auxiliary (BVAA) will award three $2,000 and two
$1,000 Renee Feldman scholarships for the 2008-09 academic year. The scholarships are open to
the spouses and children of blinded veterans and membership in BVA is not required.
         To be eligible for a Feldman scholarship, the applicant must have been accepted at the
school of his/her choice. The institution in question may be a vocational school, community college,
four-year college, or university.
         The fees in all cases are paid directly to the school and are intended to defray the cost of
tuition, books, and general fees.
         The application process for the scholarships includes supplying information about previous
academic achievement, a statement of present goals and plans, a 300-word essay, and letters of
reference. Completed application packets must be received no later than Thursday, May 1, 2008.
         For further information and an application, write to Barbara Stocking, BVAA Scholarship
Chair, 3801 Coco Grove Avenue, Miami, FL 33133. Potential applicants may also telephone
Barbara at 305-446-8008.

White Cane Awareness
Thrives in Virgin Islands

        Three years of hard work finally paid off for an enthusiastic and ambitious BVA member in
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.
        Joe Cooler, Jr., Vice President of the Puerto Rico Regional Group and one of just five
known BVA members in the Virgin Islands, first tried a White Cane Safety Day activity at the VA
Clinic in St. Croix in 2005. It wasn‟t until October 18 of this year that his efforts really began to
bear fruit.
        “Relatively speaking, we had a great crowd this year and much better than I would have ever
anticipated,” said Joe. “We enjoyed educating the community on the significance of the White Cane
and the technology that is available to the visually impaired.”
        On hand for the event, which was also coordinated by the Disability Rights Center of the
Virgin Islands, were Puerto Rico BRC Director María Nevarez and San Juan VA Medical Center
VIST Coordinator Evelyn Cancel. It was the first visit to the Virgin Islands for both of them. Also
assisting at the event were Virgin Islands BVA members Ulyssie Fletcher and Robert Johnson.
        “The event, besides creating public awareness about the White Cane, is also a great tool to
locate the blinded veterans who may be here in the Virgin Islands who may not yet know about us,”
he said.
        Joe started preparing for the event in June. Because Thursday is “Lab Day” at the VA clinic
and attracts more visitors, the decision was made to hold it three days after the official White Cane
Safety Day.
        In addition to inviting his visitors from Puerto Rico, Joe also prepared for the day by
obtaining public relations help with the writing and distribution of pre-event press releases from VA
Social Worker Marangeli Hendricks, who had also assisted him the previous year. He also found
other means to contact local media, attracting interest by promising to display technology such as
Scrip-Talk, Magic Software, and Pocket Viewer.
        Joe went even further by making posters and obtaining pamphlets on a variety of eye
conditions and diseases that lead to blindness in the aging veteran population. He found information
on support services available to the blind and visually impaired in his community. Lastly, he
requested that BVA send promotional materials to him.
        This year marked the 43rd anniversary of National White Cane Safety Day. The first special
White Cane ordinance was passed in Peoria, Illinois, in December 1930. It gave blind pedestrians
protections and the right-of-way while carrying a white cane. In the early 1960s, organizations and
rehabilitation agencies serving the blind and visually impaired urged Congress to proclaim October
15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day in all 50 states. In 1964, a joint resolution of Congress
authorized the President of the United States to proclaim October 15 of each year as National White
Cane Safety Day. Lyndon B. Johnson was the first President to release such a proclamation.
        A record number of BVA regional groups and VA BRS personnel nationwide joined Joe in
promoting White Cane awareness in 2007. Thousands of BVA membership brochures, fact sheets,
2008 educational calendars, decals, and pens were shipped to participants from BVA National
Headquarters in late summer and early fall.
        Regional Groups and VIST Coordinators interested in distributing BVA promotional items
at such events should contact Stuart Nelson at National Headquarters, 800-669-7079 or 202-371-

Bloomberg Pushes for
Pennsylvania Proclamation

        Pennsylvania Regional Group President Hank Bloomberg was influential in a
Mayor/Council signing of a proclamation designating October 7-13 as “White Cane Awareness
Week” in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. Hank‟s efforts came in his capacity as President of the
Clearfield-Jefferson County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind.
        Hank appears in a photo in The Progress newspaper with Mayor Patty Gilliland, Clearfield
Borough Council President James Leitzinger, and two other officers of the county chapter. In the
photo, Hank looks on as Gilliland designates October 13 as White Cane Education Day in the
        Hank and his associates asked for the proclamation in order to raise awareness on issues
concerning the blind. Several representatives from the chapter were stationed at a Wal-Mart Super
Center on October 30 to distribute information about blindness and white cane safety.

NY Vet Earns President’s
Volunteer Service Awards

        BVA Life Member Ralph Chinelly, New York Regional Group, recently received both the
Gold Volunteer Service Award and the Lifetime Call to Service Award from the President‟s
Council on Service and Civic Participation.
        The two awards, which represent, respectively, hundreds of hours of dedicated voluntary
service during the past year and thousands of hours over the past 15 years, were presented to Ralph
on August 15 by his State Senator, Jim Alesi, at the East Rochester American Legion Post 1917 to
which he belongs.
        A collection of pins, certificates, and letters, including two of the latter from President
George W. Bush, were part of the award presentation. Commending Ralph for earning the awards
were letters from his Congresswoman, Louise Slaughter (D-NY-28), and Senator Hillary Rodham
Clinton (D-NY).
        “Receiving both The President‟s Gold Volunteer Service Award and The President‟s
Lifetime Call to Service Award is a monumental achievement,” Slaughter‟s letter stated. “Dedicated
people like you truly make our communities better places in which to live, and the commitment you
have shown to volunteer service is an inspiration for us all to help others.”

       Also participating in the awards presentation were Ralph‟s wife, Madelyn, daughters
Melissa and Kristine, and East Rochester Mayor James P. Bonacchi.

Massachusetts Chapter
Honors VIST Service

        David Armstrong, former VIST Coordinator in western Massachusetts, received a special
certificate of appreciation from the BVA Western Massachusetts Chapter at the organization‟s
semi-annual meeting October 3.
        David, who worked out of the Northampton, Massachusetts, VA Medical Center, received
the recognition in a presentation made by Chapter President Horace Edwards. David recently
returned to full-time social work after more than 20 years of coordinating services to blinded
        “As a part-time Coordinator, Dave has been devoted and has sacrificed as much as he
possibly could,” said longtime Massachusetts Regional Group President Leonard Greenblatt. “He
has been extremely supportive and is an absolutely great guy. If you needed a prosthetic or anything
else for that matter, he got it for you, no questions asked.”
        BVA Field Service Director Steve Matthews, who crossed paths with David several times as
the Region I Field Rep based in Boston, said that David‟s dedicated service and professionalism
made life better for countless blinded veterans.
        “He did all of the things that we would expect a full-time VIST Coordinator to do, and much
more,” he said. “He ran the support group meetings flawlessly and gave his full attention to each
veteran that needed his direction and expertise.”

Ivan Castro Runs 10-Miler
and Marine Corps Marathon

         Army 1st Lt. Ivan Castro, who last August attended the BVA 62nd National Convention
with his wife, Evelyn Galvis, as part of Operation Peer Support, recently competed in the annual
Army 10-Miler and the Marine Corps Marathon near the Pentagon.
         Both of Ivan‟s feats came just a little more than a year after he suffered multiple wounds and
the loss of his sight in a mortar attack in which he was lending fire support during a battle with
insurgents. His participation in the two races was reported, respectively, in a Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition piece by reporter Lisa Burgess on October 8 and the aforementioned USA Today
         Ivan completed the Army 10-miler in one hour and 25 minutes, a pace of 8:50 per mile. He
took four hours and 14 minutes to finish the 26-mile marathon, an even more amazing 9:46 per mile
for a distance more than two and half times the Army race. His participation was facilitated by a
running partner to whom he was attached at the arm by two white shoelaces.
         Ivan reportedly came up with his goal to run in the two races while still in a hospital bed in
October of 2006. Doctors questioned at the time whether he could make it even another week. A
mortar round that killed two other soldiers had landed a few feet from him, sending shrapnel into
his left side and damaging a shoulder, breaking an arm, fracturing facial bones, collapsing his lungs,
and requiring the amputation of a finger.
         Still on active duty at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Ivan is a former weapons sergeant in the
7th Special Forces Group and a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division. He has met with
Members of Congress and their staffs to discuss pending legislation affecting OIF and OEF service

Kansas Blinded Vet
Publishes Book

        Dr. Jack D. Wilkinson, BVA life member from the Kansas Regional Group, has published a
heartwarming fictional account of four boys growing up in a small western Kansas town during the
        Sand and Thistles, a 2006 publication, was written in the tradition of Mark Twain‟s Tom
Sawyer and Booth Tarkington‟s Penrod.
        “It is a humorous story but with some tears here and there,” said Jack in his preface.
        “The boys in the story are not mean, but just a little ornery,” he continued. They are ordinary
for the time in which they live because they have to make do with anything they come across to
entertain them. There isn‟t TV or the many other things we have now.”
        Jack was born in Parsons, Kansas, in 1929 and now lives in Chetopa, a small community on
the banks of the Neosho River known as the “Catfish Capital of the World” in the southeastern part
of the state. He was blinded as a result of a vehicle accident while serving in the Army and later
became an accomplished licensed chiropractor, practicing for 40 years.
        For more information about Sands and Thistles, contact Jack at P.O. Box 87, Chetopa, KS
67336, or at 620-236-7671.

Peer Support Participant
Now Has Own Website

         Blinded U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Tim Maxwell has established his own website to tell his
own story and that of the hundreds of other Marines who have given of themselves in OIF
operations. The site‟s URL is
          Tim is one of the highest-ranking service members to be wounded in Iraq and an Operation
Peer Support participant at the BVA 62nd National Convention.
         The site is filled with photos and tributes to wounded Marines, their families, and the causes
they have undertaken in Iraq. For the time being, Tim is both the content editor and webmaster for
his site.
         “I call my effort „The Team‟ because I want other wounded to help me with this, and to send
their stories, and to realize that they are not alone,” he said.
         Tim is also designing a new shirt with a “Semper Max” logo for which he also raising
money to cover production costs.

Guide Dogs and
Convention Heat

       BVA members who have a service animal and who are thinking of attending the BVA 63rd
National Convention in Phoenix, Arizona, may wish to secure special boots to protect the animal‟s
paws. The boots are effective for dogs that must work in an area that becomes very hot in the
summer and/or extremely cold in the winter,
       For more information, contact Stuart Nelson at BVA National Headquarters.

Auxiliary’s View
by Peter Davis

         Very early in the morning, a young soldier approaches a marked grave. Upon reaching his
destination, he bends over and places an American flag alongside the headstone. Then, standing
erect, he salutes.
         The action is repeated reverently and with honor long before the day‟s first flight departs
from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and before rush hour traffic disturbs the mood.
No one watches but every grave is visited. Every veteran is honored.
         May we never forget any of them, whether it be Veterans Day or any other day of the year.
         Now is the time to contact Barbara Stocking for an application for a Renee Feldman
scholarship. Because of the significance of these scholarships to our organization, we repeat and
emphasize this information here although it is also provided in the Bulletin’s “Around BVA”
         BVAA will again award $8,000 this year to spouses and children of blinded veterans.
Requests to Barbara can be made by writing to her at 3801 Coco Grove Avenue, Miami, FL 33133,
or by calling her at 305-446-8008.
         Many of our Auxiliary members have recipes that they might like to publish and share.
BVAA is working on a new cookbook as a fundraiser. Please send recipes you wish to share to
Barbara Stocking at the aforementioned address and telephone number.
         Many of our BVAA members may have some time to donate to a cause to which they feel
committed. Have you ever considered volunteering at your local VA Medical Center or outpatient
facility? You may not realize it at the outset, but you are needed. Secondly, and even more
importantly, you will feel good as you perform this wonderful service. For more information,
contact Voluntary Services at your nearest medical center or clinic.
         Because the BVA 63rd National Convention will be upon us sooner than we all realize, now
is the time to start planning for the August 12-16, 2008 gathering and our traditional Silent Auction.
Dust off that cute gift you received last holiday season and just found. Start collecting other items
too, especially during this holiday season. Most welcome are articles that are homemade or
otherwise unique. They can be brought to Phoenix or sent to Faye Duvall, 4053 West Gardenia
Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85051. Make this year‟s auction an outstanding fundraiser for our scholarship
         BVAA sends condolences and pauses in remembrance of Lori Ordway, who recently passed
away. Lori was an active and valued Auxiliary member in the South Texas Regional Group who,
with other family members, made monumental contributions to both BVAA and BVA. We will all
miss her very much.
         On behalf of all of the BVAA national officers, we wish you a very happy holiday season.
May you and your families find time to share with each other and with veterans out there who may
enjoy your friendship, warmth, and good cheer.

Of Note
Peake Confirmed as
New VA Secretary

        Dr. James B. Peake was approved by the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs on
December 5 to become VA‟s new Secretary. At press time, the Committee had not set a date for a
confirmation vote in the full Senate.
        Peake was nominated to the position by President George W. Bush on October 30 following
the resignation of R. James Nicholson, which was effective October 1. Peake visited with members

of the House and Senate during the month of November prior to his appearance before the
        Peake is a 1966 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and began his career
as an infantry officer. He served as a platoon leader in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division.
For his efforts under fire, he was awarded the Silver Star, a Bronze Star with Valor, and two Purple
Hearts. After Vietnam, Peake attended Cornell University Medical College and became board
certified in general and thoracic surgery.
        In 2000, Peake was nominated as the 40th Surgeon General of the Army and as Commander
of the U.S. Medical Command. Four years later, he joined Project Hope, a nonprofit international
health foundation with offices and programs in more than 30 different countries on five continents.
        Peake has most recently worked closely with former VA Secretary Anthony J. Principi as
Chief Medical Director and Chief Operating Officer at QTC Management, the largest private
provider of government-outsourced occupational health and disability examination services in the

COLA Rises
2.3 Percent

        The Department of Labor has announced that the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for
2008 is 2.3 percent. The increase will apply to military retirees and their survivors as well as to
Social Security annuities and certain other federal payments that affect millions of Americans.
        The increase is the lowest since 2004, having come in at 2.7 percent in 2005, 4.1 percent in
2006, and 3.3 percent in 2007.
        COLAs are set by comparing the change in the consumer price index for wage earners and
clerical workers from the third quarter of one year to the third quarter of the next year. The COLA
is lower for 2008 due to a drop in energy costs in August and September.
        The Veterans‟ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2007, Public Law 110-111,
applies the COLA to veterans benefits.

Poel Retires
from VA

        VA Blind Rehabilitation Service Director Stanley Poel announced his retirement from
government employment in a memo circulated throughout BRS on November 7. His last day at VA
Central Office was November 30.
        Poel, a 25-year advocate for blinded veterans in a variety of capacities, also served as Chief
of Blind Rehabilitation at the Waco, Texas, VA Medical Center before being appointed as acting
national director on April 21, 2005. He was shortly thereafter appointed to be the permanent
        Poel‟s aforementioned statement read: “After careful consideration of personal and family
matters, I have decided to retire from government service effective November 30, 2007. It has been
an honor for me to serve blinded veterans. I am proud of your commitment and your
accomplishments in meeting the needs of our nation‟s heroes. My friendships in the blind
rehabilitation community mean a great deal to me. I leave with some disappointment that I will no
longer be a part of the exciting new developments in Blind Rehabilitation Service but with the
excitement of the opportunity to spend more time with my family and to explore new personal
        Tom Miller and Tom Zampieri presented Poel with a plaque of appreciation on behalf of
BVA in a private meeting on November 30.
Editor’s Notes on Additional
Social Security Earnings

        The “Of Note” section of the Summer 2007 BVA Bulletin included a two-paragraph write-
up entitled “Extra Social Security Earnings for Service.” The short piece generated a number of
calls and other inquiries to the Bulletin editor and Director of the Field Service Program at BVA
National Headquarters from veterans who served in the U.S. Military during 1940-2001.
        According to Eva Lujan, Public Affairs Officer at the Social Security Administration (SSA)
in Albuquerque, New Mexico, veterans who qualify for the extra earnings have, in probably 99.9
percent of the cases, already had it calculated into their future paychecks when they first applied for
Social Security benefits.
        The additional earnings are also not blanket payments but credits to income already earned
during the course of one‟s years of gainful employment, however long such a time period was. The
earnings are based on the amount of Social Security taxes paid over that same span.
        “What your previous Bulletin information should have mentioned is that most of your
readers are already receiving the credit, and that the amount of additional money per Social Security
check is probably a matter of cents rather than dollars,” said Lujan.
        The Bulletin regrets not having provided a more complete picture of the additional earnings
benefit and not having acknowledged that most blinded veterans are most likely already receiving it.
Lujan, who participated in Field Service Representative training at the BVA 62nd National
Convention, encourages Bulletin readers who are still in doubt to contact SSA at 800-772-1213
Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern Time.
        “The Social Security representative can access, confidentially, the client‟s records right
during the telephone call and determine whether they are receiving the extra earnings,” she said. “If
they are eligible and this has somehow been overlooked in the past, they need only to take their DD-
214 to a local Social Security office in order to correct the situation.”

“The American Veteran”
 Debuts in December

        A new monthly half-hour program from VA using the latest in video and broadcast
technologies, stirring music, creative graphics, and solid writing seeks to inform active duty service
members, veterans, and their families about the services and benefits they have earned while
simultaneously honoring and recognizing their service.
          Featuring a news magazine format, “The American Veteran” is produced by VA‟s Office
of Public Affairs and the VA Learning University/Employee Education System (VALU/EES). It is
broadcast to VA facilities on the department‟s own internal network and around the world on The
Pentagon Channel and community cable outlets. Also targeted to the American general public, the
program relates stories of heroism and sacrifice. It also relives moments in history with those who
previously experienced it, reminding veterans of the bond of service they all share.
        “We are committed to informing veterans and active duty military alike about VA‟s many
benefits and services, and we are very pleased with the quality and reach of “The American
Veteran,” said Acting VA Secretary Gordon H. Mansfield. “The feedback and recognition the
program has received is a testament to the effort put in by all involved.”
        Included in the December program was information about technology for the blind and
visually impaired, prevention of falls, the VA suicide prevention hotline, and applying for VA
benefits. It also profiled World War II Bataan Death March survivor Ralph Levenberg, who

survived three years as a Japanese POW, and Vietnam veteran Wayne Miller, who lost a leg in
combat and is today a Vet Center Team Leader and an award-winning athlete and singer.
        The VA Office of Public Affairs offers the program to local broadcasters and cable/satellite
outlets. It is already available via DISH, EchoStar, T-Warner, and Cox. To view the news magazine
on the VA website, go to and click first on “Public Affairs” and then on “Featured
Items.” It can also be viewed right as it is being broadcast at
        For more information or to find out how to obtain the program for local broacast, contact
VA at 202-273-5730.

Unique Cruises Available
To Blind, Visually Impaired

        Two upcoming cruises tailored to the needs of the blind and visually impaired have been
arranged by a Midwestern travel agency.
        Damar Travel‟s seven-day Hawaiian Island Cruise will leave Honolulu on August 2, 2008
and include the following Ports of Call: Hilo, Maui, Kona, and Kauai.
        A seven-day Fall Foliage Cruise will depart New York City on Carnival‟s Victor on
September 27, 2008 and return October 4. Visits include Boston, Portland (Maine), St. John‟s New
Brunswick, and Halifax (Nova Scotia).
        Damar cruises are fully escorted with Braille signs placed throughout public areas.
Assistance with service animals is also provided, as are verbally descriptive movies, Braille or
large-print menus, and audiocassette versions of daily activities.
        For more information, contact Dave Kronk at 800-999-6101. An auditory online link at provides an overview of Damar‟s services to the blind and
visually impaired.

VA Clarifies Policy on
Flag-folding Recitations

       Recent misunderstandings regarding recitations made while the U.S. flag is being folded at the
gravesite of a veteran at any of the 125 national cemeteries operated by VA has brought a
clarification of the policy. The clarification seeks to ensure that burial services reflect the wishes of
veterans and their families.
       “Honoring the burial wishes of veterans is one of the highest commitments for the men and
women of VA,” said William F. Tuerk, VA‟s Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs. “Families may
request the recitation of words to accompany the meaningful presentation of the American flag as
we honor the dedication and sacrifice of their loved ones.”
       Traditional gravesite military funeral honors include the silent folding and presentation of an
American flag, a 21-gun rifle salute, and the playing of Taps. The clarification includes the
       1) Volunteer honor guards are authorized to read the so-called “13-fold” flag recitation or any
comparable script.
       2) Survivors of the deceased need to provide material and request that it be read by the
volunteer honor guards.
       3) Volunteer honor guards will accept requests for recitations that reflect any or no religious
traditions, on an equal basis.
       Veterans with a discharge other than dishonorable, their spouses, and eligible dependent
children can be buried in a national cemetery. Other burial benefits available for all eligible

veterans, regardless of whether they are buried in a national cemetery or a private cemetery, include
a burial flag, a Presidential Memorial Certificate, and a government headstone or marker.

“Silver Book”

      Silver Book: Vision Loss, a compendium of the latest data on the incidence and economic
burden of aging eye disease, is now available online. The module was written and released by the
National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) in partnership with the Alliance for
Aging Research.
      “The Silver Book: Vision Loss is a great source of information when one considers the
numbers of Americans to be affected by blindness and low vision over the next 15 years,” said Tom
      In addition to its focus on the burdens of age-related eye disease, the text also discusses the
potential for innovative treatments that are emerging from current research which could, ultimately,
relieve such burdens.
        A comprehensive summary of a Capitol Hill briefing about the book is found at The book itself is located at

Mental Health Assessment
Assists Veterans, Families

       An initiative funded by the Department of Defense offers veterans, service personnel, and
their family members the opportunity to take anonymous, free mental health and alcohol screenings
online, via the telephone, and through special events held at installations.
       The Mental Health Self-Assessment Program (MHSAP) is designed to help individuals
identify their own symptoms and access assistance before a problem becomes serious. The tests
available address common yet often under treated and misunderstood conditions such as depression,
anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and alcohol abuse.
       Once the self-assessment is completed, examinees are given information on where to turn for
a full evaluation. MHSAP can be accessed online and by telephone 24 hours a day, seven days a
week, at and 877-877-3647.

“Shades of Green”
Salutes Veterans

       Shades of Green, An Armed Forces Recreation Center located right on the Walt Disney World
Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, is now offering all military veterans the opportunity to stay at
the resort during the months of January and September as part of its “Salute to our Veterans”
       The center is one of five self-supporting Armed Forces recreation facilities in the world. It
provides luxury accommodations at a fraction of the cost of similar facilities.
       Shades of Green sits between the Palm and Magnolia Golf Courses, two of Disney‟s PGA-
certified courses. It consists of 30 acres of landscaped grounds with cascading waterfalls and
tropical gardens. Guests are provided transportation to all Walt Disney World attractions and early
entry into select venues.
       While Shades of Green can assist honorably discharged veterans year-round in acquiring
discounted accommodations in neighboring resorts and hotels, the “Salute to our Veterans” program
allows veterans to book rooms at Shades of Green Resort for the first time. Space is limited and
early reservations are required.
      For more information or to make room reservations, call Shades of Green at 407-827-8387 or
go online at

Health Literacy Tool
Serves Older Adults

      A new information resource filled with useful strategies and suggestions to help bridge the
communication gap between professionals and older adults is now available from the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services.
      “Quick Guide to Health literacy and Older Adults” has, as a focus, special issues that apply to
older adults, including visual and hearing impairment, in an era in which individuals are asked to
take a greater role in managing their own health. It offers strategies in plain language for dealing
with such issues, including an emphasis on desired actions rather than actions to avoid.
      For more information about the guide, visit

Free Service Offers
Literature Goldmine

      Some 400 classic and contemporary book titles can now be read entirely free of charge via
email and RSS installments.
      The service, DailyLit, allows readers to choose how often and at what time they want the
email messages sent to them. Books on DailyLit can be read through any medium on which a reader
receives email, including on a PDA, Blackberry, iPhone, or Treo. Each installment can be read in
less than five minutes and, if a reader finishes a particular installment and chooses to read more, the
next installment of the book can be received immediately.
      “We have received fabulous feedback from members of the blind community that this service,
for those who have computers equipped with screen reading software, is a great resource,” said
DailyLit founder Daisy Kline.

Horses for Heroes
Moves Forward

       The North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, Inc. (NARHA) of Denver,
Colorado, has developed a nationwide “Horses for Heroes” program for America‟s wounded service
personnel and veterans.
       “Appreciating the power of the horse to change lives is our goal,” said NARHA President Dr.
Paul Spiers.
       A March 2007 meeting between VA and several members of a Horses for Heroes task force
initiated the new partnership. Since then, the task force has provided additional information to VA
Voluntary Services, BRS, and Recreation Therapy Service. Presentations at VA have been received
positively with pledges of continued support to expand the program.
       “This has been an incredible opportunity and honor for NARHA to be working with VA and
its service areas to provide equine-assisted activities to the wounded military returning home from
Iraq and Afghanistan, and to the many other veterans who can benefit from the various programs
that all NARHA member centers provide,” said Sheila Kemper Dietrich, NARHA‟s Chief

Executive Officer. “It is a great partnership that we are building with a potential for more good to
come in the future.”
      For more information about Horses for Heroes, including program guidelines, a fact sheet,
program contact information, printed articles, and a photo gallery, visit and click
on the NARHA Horses for Heroes link. Marketing Coordinator Anthony Chavez is also available at
800-369-7433, Ext. 125, or at

Educator Website
Addresses Blindness

       A website that addresses education and disabilities features a page on blindness that contains
potentially useful information for BVA members and their families.
       The site, managed by public school teacher Chris Glavin, is
Topics related to blindness include causes, adaptive techniques and tools, social attitudes toward
blindness, organizations, support services, books, videos, magazines, products, software, mailing
lists, and a community discussion list for the visual impaired.

Traveling Wall
Still Moving

      The Wall That Heals, an exhibition featuring a 250-foot replica of the original Vietnam
Veterans Memorial in Washington, continues to travel across America to major cities and small
      The traveling exhibit, now in its 11th year, addresses not only the loss of life but the
contributions of the more than 58,000 men and women whose names are inscribed on The Wall.
More than 2 million individuals have visited the exhibit. Stops have occurred in more than 250 U.S.
locations in addition to an April 1999 tour of the Four Provinces of Ireland and a visit to Canada in
      According to Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund,
The Wall That Heals is a money-saver for those who cannot visit the Memorial in Washington or
who may find the war‟s legacy easier to confront within their own communities.
      “It transcends the Vietnam War to help our great nation renew its relationship with veterans of
all wars and to help veterans from all of America‟s conflicts to find healing and a powerful
connection through their common military experience,” said Scruggs.

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

Arkansas R.G.
James L. Sanders

Florida R.G.
Joseph Calise
Roger H. Dennis
Charles Dusel
Don Peters

Richard G. Reed
George A. Schauerte
Chester M. Stanhope
James D. Wooten

Greater Houston R.G.
Paul Bourgeois
Douglas G. Knight

Illinois R.G.
Leonard Krantz
Stephen Miyagawa

Indiana R.G.
Stephen Belcher
David S. Cook, Jr.
Willis D. Finley
Charles C. Gaither
Dennis Mason
Margaret McClanahan

Kansas R.G.
Richard W. Kiddoo

Kentuckiana R.G.
Charles D. Bradley
C. L. Light

Massachusetts R.G.
Frank D. Atwood
Doris M. Broll
William R. Steinbock, Jr.

Michigan R.G.
Marcel R. Gerych
Frank Kay

Mid-Atlantic R.G.
Warren G. Brehm
William Schwenk

Minnesota R.G.
Charles Aguirre

Missouri R.G.
Arland R. Marlette
James N. Wilson

Mountain States R.G.
Lawrence H. Moore

New Hampshire R.G.
Frederick Campbell
Paul A. Therrien

New Jersey R.G.
Nick Frank
William A. Monaghan
Henry S. Schanck

New York R.G.
Claude O. Bennett
William S. Godfried
Edward A. King
Arthur J. Petermann
Frank VanNess

North Carolina R.G.
James E. Pope, Jr.

North Texas R.G.
Joseph Pacot

Northern California R.G.
Clara V. Prien-Germaine
Joseph Seigle

Ohio R.G.
Richard Sipple

Oklahoma R.G.
Archie Boone

Oregon-Columbia R.G.
Donald Kay

Pennsylvania R.G.
William J. Nojunas

Rio Grande R.G.
Emmet E. Cook

Rocky Mountain R.G.
Veralyne E. Fenty
Joe Montoya
Donald C. Rice
Edward Schmitz
Larry Schultz
Silver State R.G.
Blaine W. Frew
Edward F. McCarty

South Carolina R.G.
Rudolph B. Beard

South Texas R.G.
Alfred F. Bosche
Paul T. Hanley
Robert A. Marsh
Roy E. Matlock
Edward Verner

Southern California R.G.
Robert Routh

Spokane Inland Empire R.G.
William G. Chisholm

Tennessee R.G.
William R. Chapman

Final Thought
       Deafening silence, followed by a chorus of oohs and ahs from the audience, accompanied
the posting of the colors by the Santo Domingo Pueblo‟s Native American Disabled Veterans at the
opening business session at the BVA 62nd National Convention.
       The polished ceremony included the Civil War version of the Star Spangled Banner played
by the New Mexico Territorial Brass Band. An equally impressive march and ceremony were
performed at the Saturday evening Awards Banquet.
       Honoring BVA‟s presence in Albuquerque, the Santo Domingo Native American Disabled
Veterans also sponsored an arts and crafts fair in nearby Civic Plaza during the convention week.


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