Values: Specific or general, there are positive values embedded in our organizations, our military, and our Constitution. They are hopefully enduring values. “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” are just the basis for values and freedoms such as independence, courage, leadership, integrity, honor, etc. As a blinded veteran or family caregiver, empower yourself and others through courage, integrity, independence, and dignity. How is this done? By standing up for yourself and your fellow “man” and advocating for yourself, your independence, and your dignity. Do not give in to grievances and hate spewed by some – particularly against and toward our blind, our veterans, or anyone else. Our values are common – and they are personal.

The Blinded Veterans Association Auxiliary (BVAA) supports our blinded veterans and the Blinded Veterans Association. The mission of BVA should be the guide for each individual associated with BVA – and certainly is supported by BVAA. The Auxiliary is proud to work with BVA in all of its endeavors and work within the parameters of the common values of the two organizations. These are:
Pride in being an American – especially a veteran – and a blinded one, at that.
Independence – doing what you can, so you too can be the free individual that you were destined to be.
Advocacy – for yourself, your brethren of all ethnicities, religions, and circumstances. This takes courage and leadership. Are you willing and ready?
Individual rights and responsibilities involve looking at what is best not only for the self but at what the greater good is for our entire country and our country’s future – then “doing the right thing.”
Common sense is looking at what is right for each of us and for all of us collectively.

This summer, BVA had no choice but to cancel our much-looked-forward-to 75th Anniversary Convention. This was a great disappointment to many but also a necessity and an opportunity. It took the leadership of a few and the education, confidence, common sense, and integrity of many to build and follow through with the Zoom webinars BVA hosted as well as the behind-the-scenes work of several staff that “made it all happen.” Was it perfect? Maybe not, but it was very close. There were also many areas that were not well covered this year. BVAA, for example, reduced the schedule of nine sessions down to two and supported a third caregiver session. BVAA looks forward to presenting other educational sessions through the year. 

Never give up! Our country, our education and advocacy, and our independence and integrity have been slowed, but will be the base for a fantastic convention in St. Louis in 2021.

And for now: strive for what is right, use common sense and integrity, and be responsible; be educated before you cast you ballot in this year’s election. A tidbit I recently learned: there are more amendments to the Constitution, acts passed, and laws enacted to improve our voting rights in the United States of America than any other single topic. Now it is your responsibility to do the right thing and help maintain our freedoms and values. Think about them and remember the following from Ronald Reagan:
“Freedom is always but one generation away from extinction.”