Blinded Veterans Seek Candidates for National Chaplain Post (9/8/2017) 
   Blinded Veterans Seek Candidates for National Chaplain Post

Blinded Veterans Seek Candidates for National Chaplain Post


The Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) seeks candidates for the office of National Chaplain, a position appointed by a majority vote of a quorum of the members of the National Board of Directors.

The National Chaplain provides spiritual guidance and support to the blinded veteran membership at special events such as the national conventions, arriving early to greet members and guests and later conducting devotional exercises such as invocations and benedictions during individual business meetings and formal social events. He/she also composes a bi-monthly Chaplain’s Corner to be placed in each issue of the organization’s official publication, the BVA Bulletin. The purpose of the Chaplain’s Corner is to promote unity and generate both motivation and enthusiasm to Bulletin readers.

All National Board of Director positions within BVA are voluntary and uncompensated. The National Chaplain position, a Board position, does not include voting rights and travel and accommodations to the annual national convention are the responsibility of the individual.

The BVA National Bylaws hold that a vacancy in the office of National Chaplain shall be filled from among the Members, Associate Members, or Honorary Members in good standing. It is reviewed annually at the BVA Winter/Spring Board Meeting.

For consideration beginning October 15, 2017, please submit a cover letter and a sample Chaplain’s Corner of approximately 400 words via email to BVA Administrative Director Brigitte Jones, bjones@bva.org, and National President Joe Parker, nationalpresident@bva.org.

The legendary position of BVA National Chaplain was occupied by renowned blind rehabilitation pioneer Father Thomas J. Carroll, who helped lay the foundation for BVA’s now more than 72 years of service to the nation’s blinded veterans and their families.


 Life Membership Dues Returned to Previous Rates (9/6/2017) 
   Life Membership Dues Returned to Previous Rates

Life Membership Dues Returned to Previous Rates


A promotional life membership rate available to all prospective members of the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) throughout much of the organization’s Fiscal Year 2017 expired on August 1, 2017. The membership dues rates have returned to their previous schedule based on age and membership type.

Delegates appointed by their respective regional groups to the BVA 72nd National Convention narrowly defeated a proposed bylaw amendment on August 18 that would have extended the discounted rate into the future. A similar proposed bylaw amendment, passed in August 2016, offered life membership to all blinded veterans at a rate of $20.

The Life and Associate Life Membership rate prior to August 1, 2017, now restored and effective immediately, is $100 for veterans 44 years or younger, $88 for veterans 45-54 years of age, $75 for veterans 55-60, $63 for those 61-65, and $50 for veterans 66 and older. Annual membership dues, temporarily suspended last year, also return to the previous rate of $15 per year while a complimentary honorary life membership is available to World War II veterans.

A payment option is also available for life memberships if they cannot be paid in one lump sum.

Application forms in several formats, accompanied by an explanation of the qualifications for membership among the various membership types, along with an explanation of the acceptable supporting documents is also provided here.

As part of the application process, just as was the case during the promotional dues period, the membership form sent to BVA must be accompanied by the following items on official Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) letterhead or through Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST)/Veterans Health Administration examination notes:

  • Branch of Service
  • Beginning and Ending Dates of Services
  • Name of VIST Coordinator
  • Confirmation of meeting standards of blindness as follows—
    • ICD-9-CM Diagnosis Code 369.4 legal blindness, or
    • Visual acuity of 20/200 or worse in the better eye with corrective lenses, or
    • Visual field restriction to 20 degrees diameter or less in the better eye.

For more information about BVA membership, please contact Membership Coordinator Cecilia Montenegro at the organization’s National Headquarters, 202-371-8880, Ext. 315, or cmontenegro@bva.org.


 Blinded Veterans Establish Fund for Vets Affected by Harvey (9/1/2017) 
   Blinded Veterans Establish Fund for Vets Affected by Harvey

Blinded Veterans Establish Fund for Vets Affected by Harvey


The Blinded Veterans Association (BVA), a national Veterans Service Organization exclusively dedicated to serving and representing the needs of the approximately 130,000 blind and visually impaired veterans and their families nationwide, seeks to help the more than 1,800 such veterans currently living in one of the worst tropical storm flood zones in American history.

“As rains finally dissipate and floodwaters subside, many of our veterans will still be caught in the aftermath of this crisis for quite some time,” said BVA Executive Director Al Avina. “We are already aware of several of them who have been displaced from their homes and communities while some of them may need medical services that are currently not readily accessible.”

Avina said that many of the veterans with vision loss are also seniors who live in rural areas. Accordingly, BVA has set up a Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund to help the veterans who are currently struggling.

“We are asking all of our supporters throughout the nation for donations of any amount so that funds will be available to assist veterans in Texas and Louisiana who are blind, visually impaired, or with disabilities that are in addition to their vision loss,” he said.

Donations can be made through Network for Good by visiting https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/1436199?code=HarveyRelief.

Now in its 73rd year of service and chartered by the United States Congress, BVA was founded by a group of 100 World War II veterans blinded in combat. Its mission is the creation of opportunities for blinded veterans to help one another. The organization offers a wide range of services to help veterans and their families meet the challenges of blindness. For more information about BVA and its services, call toll-free 800-669-7079 or visit bva.org.


 Back on the Road to Independence Blinded Veterans Association (8/25/2017) 
   Back on the Road to Independence--Blinded Veterans Association

Back on the Road to Independence: Blinded Veterans Association


It’s been 75 years since WWII. And although there continue to be wars and conflicts around the world, Americans must never forget the tremendous sacrifices of those who put their lives on the line to preserve our liberty.

The Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) was formed during WWII by a group of blind veterans who came together in solidarity to advocate for their needs and the needs of those to follow.

“On the battlefield, men and women risk their lives to ensure that no one is left behind,” said BVA Executive Director Al Avina. “The blinded veterans of BVA understand that on or off the battlefield, no one should have to face blindness alone.”

Since WWII, BVA has opened its doors to all veterans who are blind or visually impaired, whether or not their injuries are combat related. For those whose vision loss is sudden, such as from an explosion or gunfire, their needs are immediate. For others, whose vision loss is gradual and ever-changing, such as those who have suffered traumatic brain injury or a degenerative eye disease, there may be years of re-adjustment.

BVA is the official voice for blinded veterans before Congress and the Veterans Administration to address the specific needs of veterans who can no longer see, read print, or drive. Recently BVA helped shape legislation so that blind veterans’ travel costs to get to blind rehabilitation training are covered. BVA works to ensure that they have access to print and online information and their privacy is protected.

“Our mission is blinded veterans helping blinded veterans,” said Avina. “We want blind veterans to know that help is just a phone call away from someone who really understands. By speaking directly with another veteran who has already been through what they’re going through, it is showing someone a way forward to renewed independence.”

About the Blinded Veterans Association:
The Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) was founded during WWII with the mission: blinded veterans helping blinded veterans. It is chartered by Congress to be the official voice to speak on behalf of blind veterans. It is the only veterans' service organization exclusively dedicated to serving America's blind and visually impaired veterans, offering a wide range of services to help veterans and their families meet the challenges of blindness.


 Blinded Veterans Urged to Prepare for Impending Storms (8/25/2017) 
   Blinded Veterans Urged to Prepare for Impending Storms

Blinded Veterans Urged to Prepare for Impending Storms


The Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) today expressed concern that the members of the organization and their families, as well as all other veterans with vision loss who live on the southern Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana, take all of the necessary precautions in preparing for the effects of Tropical Storm Harvey, which is expected to strengthen to a hurricane before landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast late Friday.

“We urge all of our veteran friends and families, especially in the areas of the Greater Houston and Louisiana Regional Groups, to closely follow local news advisories by keeping their cellular telephones and portable radios adequately charged,” said BVA Executive Director Al Avina. “We advise them to evacuate when necessary and protect themselves and their families first and foremost.”

Harvey is expected to stall or meander for a few days, leading to dangerous flood conditions in parts of Texas and Louisiana. Hurricane, tropical storm, and storm surge watches have been issued for parts of Texas and Louisiana that will extend into early next week.

Last week Valerie Beynon, Access Coordinator at the Bureau of Preparedness and Response at the Florida Department of Health’s Division of Emergency Preparedness and Community Support, addressed the topic “Preparing for a Disaster” at an educational session hosted by BVA’s 72nd National Convention in Jacksonville. Beynon shared the following Internet links related to emergency preparedness with the attendees at her session.


About the Blinded Veterans Association:
The Blinded Veterans Association, the only Veterans Service Organization exclusively dedicated to serving America’s blind and visually impaired veterans, was founded during World War II to help blinded veterans access the benefits they have earned as a result of their service to the nation. The organization is chartered by Congress to be the official voice to speak on behalf of blind veterans. BVA offers a wide range of services to help veterans and their families meet the challenges of blindness.


Recent Posts

Blinded Veterans Seek Candidates for National Chaplain Post

Posted on 9/8/2017
Blinded Veterans Seek Candidates for National Chaplain Post

Life Membership Dues Returned to Previous Rates

Posted on 9/6/2017
Life Membership Dues Returned to Previous Rates

Blinded Veterans Establish Fund for Vets Affected by Harvey

Posted on 9/1/2017
Blinded Veterans Establish Fund for Vets Affected by Harvey

Blinded Veterans Urged to Prepare for Impending Storms

Posted on 8/25/2017
Blinded Veterans Urged to Prepare for Impending Storms

Back on the Road to Independence Blinded Veterans Association

Posted on 8/25/2017
Back on the Road to Independence--Blinded Veterans Association

Innovation, Instruction Highlight 72nd Convention

Posted on 8/24/2017
Innovation, Instruction Highlight 72nd Convention

APH Museum Director To Examine Legendary Figure’s Life And Guiding Principles At Hyatt Regency

Posted on 8/15/2017
APH Museum Director To Examine Legendary Figure’s Life And Guiding Principles At Hyatt Regency

Jacksonville Convention To Host Vision Rehabilitation At Educational Session

Posted on 8/15/2017
APH Museum Director To Examine Legendary Figure’s Life And Guiding Principles At Hyatt Regency