Jacksonville Convention To Host Vision Rehabilitation At Educational Session (8/15/2017) 
   APH Museum Director To Examine Legendary Figure’s Life And Guiding Principles At Hyatt Regency

Jacksonville Convention To Host Vision Rehabilitation, Eye Care Professionals At Thursday Educational Session


Five leading Department of Veterans Affairs experts on the topics of emerging vision rehabilitation, ophthalmology, optometry, and general physical health will speak in a forum setting on Thursday, August 17 at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront Hotel.

The forum, which runs from 8:00 a.m. until Noon in the hotel’s Grand Ballroom 1, is one of several educational components of the Blinded Veterans Association’s 72nd National Convention. The August 14-18 gathering features organizational business meetings, social and recreational events, and an Exhibit Hall open to the public.

Forum speakers are John Townsend, O.D., Director of Optometry Specialty Care Services within the Office of Patient Care Services of the Veterans Health Administration; Gale Watson, National Director of Blind Rehabilitation Service, Department of Veterans Affairs; and Naazli Shaikh, M.D., Section Chief of the Department of Ophthalmology and Optometry at the Orlando VA Medical Center. The morning will conclude with a joint presentation by Timothy Doherty, Field-Based Implementation Team Consultant in the Office of Patient-Centered Care and Cultural Transformation; and David Hedrick, Visual Impairment Service Team Coordinator. The latter two currently serve at the Hefner VA Medical Center in Salisbury, North Carolina.

BVA’s membership of 8,500 includes blinded veterans from the Association’s Emerald Coast Regional Group and Florida Regional Group, two of 42 groups nationwide to be represented at the convention. All BVA members share a common bond as legally blind veterans. They resolve to help one another understand and receive the rightful benefits they earned through their service. The Association also represents the interests of its members before the legislative and executive branches of government and encourages all blinded veterans to participate in VA blind rehabilitation programs.

BVA was established in March of 1945 when a small but close-knit group of World War II blinded veterans gathered together in Avon, Connecticut. The founders hoped to help newly blinded veterans adjust to life without sight and to regain their confidence and independence. For further information, call BVA at 800-669-7079 or visit the organization’s website at bva.org.


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

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


Micheal Hudson, Director of the Museum at the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) in Louisville, Kentucky, will address the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) 72nd National Convention’s Father Carroll Memorial Luncheon on Thursday, August 17 at 12:30 p.m. in Grand Ballroom 4 of the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront Hotel.

The luncheon is an annual event at BVA’s convention. It honors the organization’s National Chaplain who served from 1946 until his unexpected death in 1971. Father Carroll is considered a pioneer and figure of unequalled proportions in the field of blind rehabilitation for his writings and work that began during World War II with the return of service members who had been blinded in combat.

In May of 2014, the APH Museum received a shipping pallet from Boston stacked with 40 cardboard boxes. Transferred to the museum as part of a partnership with the Carroll Center for the Blind to preserve Father Carroll’s legacy, the boxes contained records of much of his life’s work that included a quarter century of service to the Blinded Veterans Association and which Hudson has researched and studied.

Father Carroll himself was the featured luncheon speaker for the organization 21 times between 1946 and 1971. Throughout his tenure he was considered a friend, an advisor, and sometimes, as BVA’s spiritual leader, even a prophet just down from the mountain who could speak to the veterans with gentleness one moment and then become stern. Throughout his life Father Carroll worked to bridge the significant divide between war and civilian blind.

Hudson’s address will be one of several highlights of the BVA convention, which occurs August 14-18. Some 130 blinded veterans and an additional 200 family members, exhibitors, presenters, and friends of BVA will participate in the five-day gathering of business meetings, social events, and educational forums.


 High-Tech Visual Aids Exhibits Highlight Blinded Veteran Convention (8/10/2017) 
   High-Tech Visual Aids Exhibits Highlight Blinded Veteran Convention

High-Tech Visual Aids Exhibits Highlight Blinded Veteran Convention


Devices that allow Internet surfing by speech, low-vision simulators, audible money identifiers and scanners, medical alarms and two-way emergency communicators, Global Positioning System products, video magnifiers, and mobility aids all take center stage in an Exhibit Hall at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront Hotel August 15-16.

The high-tech displays that include 54 vendors in 64 booths, located in the hotel’s Grand Foyer, will reveal both old and new adaptive devices for both the totally blind and the visually impaired. The Exhibit Hall is among the most anticipated features of the 72nd National Convention of the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA), which runs August 14-18 at the Hyatt Regency. It includes convention sponsors OrCam, VFO Group, Mobience, Inclusite, eSight, and LS&S, who, in addition to their booths, are supporting additional convention events or activities.

Advances in technology continue to offer the blind and visually impaired opportunities to enjoy a higher quality of life, helping them live and work independently in increasingly innovative ways. During visits to the Exhibit Hall, BVA members, blind rehabilitation specialists from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the general public will have opportunities to see, feel, and test the latest products. Representatives from the various industries, which also include several companies offering guide dog services, will answer questions and provide detailed explanations and demonstrations.

Hours of the exhibit hall are 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. on both August 15 and 16. The public is invited and encouraged to attend with no admission charge. Additional information about the Blinded Veterans Association and its services to blinded veterans is available at www.bva.org.


 National Veterans Organization To Host Recently Blinded Veterans In Jacksonville (8/10/2017) 
   National Veterans Organization To Host Recently Blinded Veterans In Jacksonville

National Veterans Organization To Host Recently Blinded Veterans In Jacksonville


Six U.S. veterans from Gulf War I and Gulf War II will join some 140 additional veterans with vision loss and their families at the Blinded Veterans Association’s (BVA) 72nd National Convention at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront Hotel August 14-18.

The group will spend time together in BVA’s business meetings, recreational activities, educational seminars, group discussions, and visits to local attractions, including Bragan Field at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville for the August 14 contest pitting the Double-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp against the Mississippi Braves beginning at 7:05 p.m.

Participants will be honored as guests of BVA at its convention. The gathering of the veterans who have more recently lost their sight is made possible through an organizational initiative known as “Operation Peer Support,” guided by a committee that this year determined to bring the six aforementioned newly blinded veterans and seven additional veterans from the Vietnam or Gulf War Era who would not otherwise be able to attend. The latter seven veterans represent all of BVA’s geographic districts. The initiative’s traditional financial supporters are Allergan, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and the Major Charles R. Soltes Memorial Golf Tournament.

The Operation Peer Support initiative began in early 2006 when generous corporations and individuals provided financial support to bring a small group of recently wounded personnel to BVA’s 61st convention in Buffalo, New York. The program has continued at subsequent meetings in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Phoenix, Arizona; Washington, DC; Las Vegas, Nevada; Galveston, Texas; Spokane, Washington; Reno, Nevada; Louisville, Kentucky; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

According to BVA National Officer Dr. Tom Zampieri, Director of District 6, the chief aim of Operation Peer Support is for recently blinded veterans to meet and gain strength from many of BVA’s longtime members, the annual convention serving as a means by which such exchange and mentoring begin to occur.

“Our desire is that strong relationships might be established between the members of BVA blinded in previous conflicts and those who have recently had a similar experience,” he said. “Physical and emotional isolation is a huge issue for those who have recently lost their sight, and perhaps only those who have gone through the experience themselves can truly understand the great challenges they are facing.”

All BVA members share a common bond as legally blind veterans. They resolve to help one another understand and receive the rightful benefits they earned through their service. The Association also represents the interests of its members before the legislative and executive branches of government, at the same time openly encouraging its constituents to participate in Department of Veterans Affairs’ blind rehabilitation programs.

For further information, call BVA at 800-669-7079 or visit the organization’s website, www.bva.org.


 Blinded Veterans’ Podcast Now Available Through Various Platforms (8/9/2017) 
   Blinded Veterans’ Podcast Now Available Through Various Platforms

Blinded Veterans’ Podcast Now Available Through Various Platforms


The Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) has announced the availability of its Podcast on iTunes, Google Play Music, Tumblr, and via Podbean.

Stations will be added continuously to allow listeners to use their favorite platform. First-time listeners are urged to search for “The BVA Podcast” on the aforementioned platforms and either subscribe or follow. The act of subscribing/following allows the listeners to be notified on their Smartphones each time a new episode of the podcast releases.

Once listeners have subscribed or committed to follow the Podcast, they will find the pilot episode entitled “Focus on the Hill.” They may follow the same steps in listening to and subscribing to the Podcast on Google Play Music.

The link to the Podcast on iTunes is https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-bva-podcast/id1265942774?mt=2. However, listeners must install iTunes on their devices in order to play the podcast. To subscribe to the BVA Podcast on Podbean, visithttps://www.podbean.com, or the Podbean mobile application and search for “The BVA Podcast.” Select BVA Podcast and click on or touch Follow. The direct link to BVA’s Podcast ishttp://bvamedia.podbean.com/.

Listeners can also visit BVA’s Tumblr page, https://bvamediaportal.tumblr.com to listen to the latest episode of the Podcast. They can also follow BVA on Tumblr to stay up-to-date on what is available.


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