Joseph D. McNeil, Sr., Georgia Regional Group, was born in 1958 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-Westside. He was the oldest of seven brothers and sisters and the first in his family to graduate from college with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and a Master’s Degree in Human Resources.

After graduating from high school, Mr. McNeil joined the Army National Guard and worked his way through college, joining the Army ROTC program. Upon graduation, he received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Field Artillery. His duty assignments included 2nd Infantry Division Korea, 42nd FA Brigade, V Corps G3 Operations Germany, 197th Infantry Brigade Fort Benning and 18th Airborne Corps Fort Bragg. He held numerous staff jobs during his tenure. Upon his diagnosis in October 1989 of Retinitis Pigmentosa, he was processed off of active duty as a Captain after which he re-enlisted in the Georgia Army National Guard and served for four years before his vision prevented him from doing his assigned duties as Personnel Staff Noncommissioned Officer.

Mr. McNeil is a multi-graduate of three different blind centers. He joined the Blinded Veterans Association in 2005 and has held the position of Georgia Regional Group vice president. He was president of the Columbus Chapter of the group from 2005 to 2007 and simultaneously the Georgia Regional Group secretary. He was the Georgia Regional Group President from 2007 until 2015. In 2015 he was elected BVA National Treasurer, serving until 2017. He then served a term as Secretary during 2017-19 and will now serve as the organization’s National Vice President until 2021.

Since his professional retirement, Mr. McNeil has become an accomplished entrepreneur, father of six, and grandfather of four. He serves his community by sitting on numerous boards representing the blind community as an ambassador, especially for blinded veterans and their capabilities. He has membership in multiple service and civic organizations and is a certified National Veterans Service Officer (NVSO) for BVA.

Some favorite mottoes one may hear from Mr. McNeil include: “Information is Knowledge, Knowledge is Power, and Power Wielded properly is an awesome Weapon,” and “Perception is not Reality.” You can find him speaking to civic groups and churches about blindness and the help that is available to those with vision loss.

Photo of Joe McNeil

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