BVA traces its roots back to the end of World War II. The organization’s founders consisted of some 100 young men, mostly in their early 20s. Members of this unique group had recently lost their sight in the war and were recovering from their injuries at Avon Old Farms Army Convalescent Hospital near Avon, Connecticut. On March 28, 1945, the group held a meeting at the facility with the express purpose of forming an organization to help their fellow blinded veterans. Thirteen years later, BVA was chartered by the U.S. Congress to speak and write on behalf of blinded veterans in national legislative affairs. Ever since, BVA officers and staff have worked tirelessly to fulfill the Association’s mission and uphold the ideals expressed in its Congressional charter. Throughout BVA’s history, Congress and the now Department of Veterans Affairs (formerly the Veterans Administration) have recognized BVA as the exclusive voice for blinded veterans nationwide.
- April 1946, The BVA Bulletin became the official journal of the Blinded Veterans Association.
- November 1946, BVA officially recognized by the Veteran’s Administration as a Service organization
- March 1947, BVA adopted resolutions in assembled conventions calling for the establishment of a comprehensive residential Blind Rehabilitation Center (BRC).
- July 1948, the first BRC was opened in Chicago, Illinois due to BVA efforts.
- August 1958, the 85th Congress formally incorporated the Blinded Veterans Association. The Act made BVA eligible to participate in state funds for veterans’ service work that were only available to Congressionally chartered organizations.
- March 1967, BVA played an instrumental role in the establishment of the Visual Impairment Service Team (VIST) Program.
- March 1978, BVA urged VA to make VIST positions full-time. VA responded by establishing six full-time VIST Coordinator positions.
- February 1995, BVA advocates for more full-time BROS positions. Congress enabled BRS to establish 15 Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Specialists (BROS) full time positions.
- January 2007, BVA recommends a full continuum of vision rehabilitation services be established. The Secretary of Veterans Affairs approved the establishment of a full continuum of vision rehabilitation care.