EVAS To Ensure Customer Accessibility (6/29/2017) 
   EVAS To Ensure Customer Accessibility

EVAS To Ensure Customer Accessibility


Around the end of May, Electronic Vision Access Solutions (EVAS) started receiving technical support requests regarding the AVG Internet Security, a software native to EVAS computers for protecting the devices against viruses, malwares, etc. The requests were related to accessibility features when using AVG Internet Security.

Upon reviewing the situation, EVAS’s technicians found out that the software was automatically updating to the 2017 version and there was no way to roll back to the accessible 2016 version as stated by AVAST (the company that owns AVG). They determined that the current version of AVG Internet Security was mostly incompatible to screen readers.

So, to fulfill the need of their clients and to abide by their mission, EVAS has decided to switch from AVG Internet Security to Sophos CleanTM (formerly known as HitmanProTM). Sophos Limited has been in the IT Security Industry for nearly 30 years, where they have secured networks for companies like Ford, Pixar, and Avis®. An accessible version of Sophos CleanTM will run along with Windows Defender (a software native to all Windows computers). Windows Defender will run continuously on background, whereas Sophos CleanTM can only be executed on demand by the users.

For the purpose of appointment scheduling, EVAS’s Customer Service Team will contact the customers whose computers or AVG license renewals were shipped out in May and June of 2017. During that appointment, an EVAS Technical Support Engineer will remotely connect to the customer’s computer, uninstall AVG Internet Security, enable Windows Defender, and install an accessible version of Sophos CleanTM along with a three-year license.

EVAS has received calls from customers who have had no issues with the updated version of AVG Internet Security and its accessibility feature. EVAS has determined that such a situation is random one. Keeping in mind the random nature of the issue and some of EVAS’s customers staying with AVG, EVAS has decided to offer three years of Sophos CleanTM along with an appointment with an EVAS Technical Support Engineer to remove AVG Internet Security, enable Windows Defender, and install Sophos CleanTM as an affordable bundle item to customers with computers still under warranty, or computers which have an active AVG renewal shipped prior to May 2017.

For more information, or to get Technical Support regarding this situation, please call EVAS Customer Service (800-872-3827). Prior to calling, please have the EVAS System Serial Number or the Purchase Order Number handy.


 Gathering of Veterans in London To Focus on War-Related Vision Injuries (5/18/2017) 
   Blind Veterans UK to Host U.S. Veterans May 21-27 in London To Raise Awareness about War-Related Vision Injuries

Blind Veterans UK to Host U.S. Veterans May 21-27 in London To Raise Awareness about War-Related Vision Injuries


Four Gulf War I and Gulf War II era blinded veterans from the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) will share knowledge, experiences, and friendship with five Blind Veterans UK comrades, and two South African war-blinded St. Dunstan’s members next week to raise public awareness about military-related vision injuries. The exchange will take place in London and Brighton, England, during the seven days together. Known as Project Gemini, the exchange is now in its seventh year.

Joining the exchange to speak about vision loss due to blast injuries will be three internationally known veteran ophthalmologists as guest speakers at a public education “Life Beyond Sight Loss” seminar May 24 at the Victory Services Club in London. They will discuss veterans’ eye trauma, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) vision conditions, and joint efforts with trauma research. Wednesday morning the group will meet American Embassy senior staff to discuss the possibility of establishing a research exchange. Today 70 percent of those suffering from blast TBI’s complain of vision conditions and 15 percent of those evacuated have sustained eye injuries on the battlefield so more needs to be done.

The presenters are Colonel Robert Mazzoli, M.D. (Ret.), now Director of Trauma Education at the joint Department of Defense/Department of Veterans Affairs Vision Center of Excellence; Colonel Glenn Cockerham, M.D. (Ret.), Chief of VA Ophthalmology Services; and Lieutenant Colonel Kimberly Cockerham M.D. (Ret.), Clinical Professor at the Stanford University Department of Ophthalmology Oculofacial Plastics. The program includes the Surgeon General British Defense Medical Services Vice Admiral Alasdair Walker and Dr. Renata Gomes, Director of Research and Innovation at Blind Veterans UK.

Wednesday morning the Project Gemini group will visit the residence of the American Ambassador to discuss the connection among the allies since World War I in the area of vision injuries and rehabilitation services, along with plans for increased cooperation in conjunction with Project Gemini. The Charge D’Affaires Lewis Lukins, the Cultural Attaché Anneliese Reinemeyer, and Minister Counsellor for public relations Eric Johnson are meeting with the Project Gemini veterans, three U.S. surgeons, and Dr. Gomes.

Project Gemini was initiated in May 2011, named for the transatlantic cable that connects the United States and the United Kingdom, is a joint initiative between the nonprofit organizations BVA, BVUK, and St Dunstan’s. Expanding the exchanges to include meetings with officials of the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, Moorfields Eye Research Center, and UK Defense medical officials.

The exchange will address the approach in treatments of eye injuries and policy goals among the three countries. It will further examine common historical events with respect to vision rehabilitation programs for veterans from World War I to the present. April 6, 2017 marked the Centennial anniversary of U.S involvement in the war.

U.S. veterans participating in Project Gemini will also share coping with blindness and their personal peer support adjustment through rehabilitation. Operation Iraqi Freedom participants are Army Sergeant Russ Nelson, Army Lieutenant Colonel Kathy Champion, Gulf War I U.S. Marine Corp Staff Sergeant Kevin Jackson, and Gulf War I and II Marine Corps Sergeant Dan Standage. Army Major Tom Zampieri (Ret.) is coordinating the trip on behalf of BVA’s Operation Peer Support Committee and as a member of the organization’s Board of Directors.

BVA traces its roots to a March 28, 1945 meeting at Avon (Connecticut) Old Farms Convalescent Hospital servicemen who had lost their sight during World War II. Blind Veterans UK is a national charity for visually impaired ex-servicemen and women with 102 years of service to blind veterans and their families.

Find out more at: bva.org, follow us on Facebook at: facebook.com/blindedveteransassociation, on Twitter at: twitter.com/BlindedVeterans


Research and Innovation Seminar Series: Life Beyond Sight Loss | 24 May 2017 | Victory Services Club
12.45 – 13.10: Registration and refreshments.
13.15 – 13.30: Welcome – Major General (Ret. Army Air Corps) Nick Caplin CB, Chief Executive, Blind Veterans UK.
13.30 – 13.45: Address by the Surgeon General of the British Defence Medical Services –Surgeon Vice Admiral Alasdair Walker, OBE, QHS, FRCS
13.45 – 14.10: Sight loss and the brain – Dr. Heidi Baseler Ph.D., Principal Investigator and Lecturer in Imaging Sciences, Centre for Neuroscience, The University of York.
14.10 – 14.35: Shell shock and traumatic brain injuries with sight loss – Colonel (Ret. U.S. Air Force) Dr. Glenn Cockerham M.D., Chief of Department Veterans Affairs Ophthalmology Services.
14.35 – 15.00: Advanced technology for stabilization and restoration of vision in military ocular injuries – Lt. Colonel (Ret. U.S. Army) Dr. Kimberly Cockerham M.D. FACS., Adjunct Associate Clinical Professor, Stanford University Department of Ophthalmology Oculofacial Plastics, Orbit and Neuro-Ophthalmology, Palo Alto VAHPS.
15.00 – 15.30: Coffee break
15.30 – 15.55: Advances in military ocular and combat casualty care – Translating lessons learned in war to peacetime practice – Colonel (Ret. MC US Army) Dr. Robert A. Mazzoli M.D. FACS., Director of Education, Training, Simulation at the DoD-V.A. Vision Centre of Excellence Washington DC.
15.55 – 16.15: Veterans blind rehabilitation services from First World War to today – Major (Ret. U.S. Army) Dr. Thomas Zampieri Ph.D., Blinded Veterans Association, Operation Peer Support and Project Gemini Coordinator.
16.15 – 17.00: Panel discussion – Traumatic brain injury, what’s next? Chair: Major General (Ret.) Nick Caplin CB Panel Members: Mr. Ian Sherriff, Dr. Kimberly Cockerham, Dr. Thomas Zampieri, Dr. Glenn Cockerham, Dr. Robert A. Mazzoli.
17.00 – 17.10: Panel discussion – Traumatic brain injury, what’s next? Chair: Major General (Ret.) Nick Caplin CB Panel Members: Mr. Ian Sherriff, Dr. Kimberly Cockerham, Dr. Thomas Zampieri, Dr. Glenn Cockerham, Dr. Robert A. Mazzoli.
17.00 – 17.10: Closing remarks – Dr. Renata Gomes, Head of Research and Innovation, Blind Veterans UK.
17.10 – 19.00 Drinks and canapé reception.

 Project Gemini Offers Binding Link to Veterans of Two Nations (4/5/2017) 
   Project Gemini Offers Binding Link to Veterans of Two Nations

Project Gemini Offers Binding Link to Veterans of Two Nations


A joint initiative of the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) and Blind Veterans UK has again brought together veterans with vision loss from the United States and the United Kingdom. The occasion is this week’s exchange in Washington, DC in recognition of the centennial anniversary of World War I.

Now in its seventh year and known as Project Gemini for the transatlantic cable that connects the two countries and continents, the week of activities in the Nation’s Capital has included educational forums, key federal agency site meetings with leaders of such agencies, and visits with U.S. vision rehabilitation experts, eye trauma specialists, researchers, and Department of Defense (DoD) specialty leadership.

The group today visits Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in nearby Bethesda, Maryland, where the veterans will meet with the Director of the joint Department of Defense/Department of Veterans Affairs Vision Center of Excellence and the Chief of Ophthalmology. They will also visit the Military Amputee Treatment Center and the National Intrepid Center of Excellence within Walter Reed.

“The goal of this DC exchange is much like the ones we have experienced in England and then in Chicago last year,” said BVA Government Relations Committee Chairman Major Tom Zampieri (Ret.) and annual coordinator of the exchanges. “We learn from one another and share best practices in the area of blind rehabilitation, war eye injury management, and current vision research advances so that our participants can be prepared to share them with officials in their home countries.”

The Wednesday activities later in the day include visits to each of the Washington, DC war memorials with special emphasis on the present-day, lesser known World War I Memorial.

Zampieri stressed the importance of the program in fostering mutual respect and understanding between the two allied nations as participants establish new friendships, share knowledge of blind and visually impaired rehabilitation services, and exchange insights and personal experiences regarding their own adjustment to blindness. The dynamics have been created this week as participants recognize the historical significance of World War I and the subsequent beginnings of blind rehabilitation programs in both countries.

U.S. blinded veteran participants are BVA National President and Vietnam War veteran Dale Stamper of Hayden, Idaho; Gulf War era veteran Monaca Gilmore of Rocky Mount, North Carolina; Gulf War I and II veteran Bryan Corcoran of Dayton, Ohio; and Vietnam era veteran Tom Zampieri of Pearland, Texas.

Participating from the United Kingdom are Blind Veterans UK President Colin Williamson and Royal Navy veterans Steven Birkin and Sue Eyles. Alan Walker, an Army veteran who served in the Falkland Islands War in 1982, will also make the trip along with Blind Veterans UK Director of Research and Innovations Dr. Renata Gomes.

The group’s activities continue throughout the week, culminating in a Friday evening farewell dinner.


 BVA Announces Affiliate Memberships (4/4/2017) 
   BVA Announces Affiliate Memberships

BVA Announces Affiliate Memberships


Alexandria, VA (April 04, 2017)—The Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) today announced the addition of a series of new membership types across the spectrum of the organization’s current and future stakeholders.

The categories added, which are effective immediately, include individuals and organizations that offer rehabilitation services, technology, and other types of support to veterans with vision loss. The memberships are categorized under three major affiliate names: Veterans and First Responders Affiliate, Occupational Affiliate, and Organizational Affiliate.

“The addition of these new categories will allow BVA to expand its outreach far beyond what it has been previously,” said Executive Director Al Avina. “We are confident that these additions will also increase public awareness of America’s blinded veterans and strengthen our networks of support across the country.”

Affiliate members will receive the Association’s bi-monthly publication, the BVA Bulletin, as well as the monthly e-newsletter and regular legislative updates. They can register for the annual national convention at the regular membership rate.

For additional information on how to become an affiliate member, visit bva.org.


 Blinded Veterans To Present Annual Congressional Testimony (3/20/2017) 
   Blinded Veterans To Present Annual Congressional Testimony

Blinded Veterans To Present Annual Congressional Testimony


Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) National President Dale Stamper will join representatives of seven other Military and Veterans Service Organizations at the witness table at a joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees scheduled for March 22 in the Nation’s Capital.

The annual hearing, originating this year from Room 50 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building, will be streamed live at veterans.senate.gov beginning at 10 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

Stamper and officials from the Jewish War Veterans, Fleet Reserve Association, Air Force Sergeants Association, Military Order of the Purple Heart, American Ex-Prisoners of War Organization, The Enlisted Association, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and Military Officers Association of America will each outline their respective organizations’ legislative priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. Their oral testimony will be limited to approximately five minutes.

A question and answer session moderated by Committee Chairmen Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Phil Roe (R-TN) and Ranking Members Jon Tester (D-MT) and Tim Walz (D-MN) will follow the oral remarks.

In addition, each participating organization submitted in advance for the Congressional Record a much longer and detailed written testimony document that will be accessible at veterans.senate.gov soon after the hearing.

Already in town for the Association’s annual early spring meetings, the National Board of Directors will also attend the hearing.

Priorities for national legislation included in this year’s BVA testimony are the modernization of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) information technology and communications infrastructures to become more accessible to veterans with vision loss. Also included is a request for improved access to information about prescription drugs for blinded veterans; funding for research into the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of penetrating eye blast injuries; and greater oversight of efforts to more fully establish the joint VA-Department of Defense Vision Center of Excellence.

Now in its 72nd year of service, BVA is the only Veterans Service Organization chartered by the U.S. Congress (1958) to represent the needs of blind and visually veterans. For more information about BVA and its services, call toll-free 800-669-7079 or visit bva.org


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