Major General Melvin J. Maas
Achievement Award

The Blinded Veterans Association annually presents its Major General Melvin J. Maas Achievement Award to the veteran, with service‑connected blindness, who has proven himself/herself outstanding in his/her field of employment and in his/her adjustment to daily living.  Since you are in close touch with the blinded veterans in your area and are aware of their accomplishments, you are well qualified to recom­mend some of them for this award.

The Major General Melvin J. Maas Achievement Award was initiated by the late Baynard H. Kendrick, the famous mystery writer and author of Lights Out, the story of a World War II blinded veteran.  The award is named in honor of the well‑known Marine General who was an early president of the Blinded Veterans Association and was Chairman of the President’s Committee on Employment of the Handicapped at the time of his death.

From the beginning, presentation of the award has contributed to the enhancement of a positive image of blind people and to the elimination of the concept of helplessness.

It would be greatly appreciated if you would send your 2020 Maas Achieve­ment Award nomination, accompanied by a biographical sketch of the blinded veteran and the details of the veteran’s outstanding accomplishments, to the BVA National Headqua­rters (Attn: Administrative Director) to arrive by not later than Friday, April 17, 2020.

An original and three copies of each nomination are required for use by the judges chosen to make the selection.  Judging is done by three persons who have no affiliations with the BVA.

The recipient will be presented the award at BVA’s 75th National Convention at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, Washington, DC.

Please see below for a list of previous recipients of the Major General Melvin J. Maas Achievement Award.  A blinded veteran may receive this award only once!

We hope that you will submit nominations for the award this year, as so many of you has done in the past and help make the 2020 competition the best ever. A blinded veteran may receive this award only once!

Format/Outline For Nominations For The Major General Melvin J. Maas Achievement Award

IMPORTANT NOTICE:  The veteran nominated must have legal blindness rated as service-connected by the Department of Veterans Affairs or by the service in which the veteran served.

  1. Your Maas Award recommendation should consist of a cover letter with two enclosures, i.e., award recommendation with detailed justification and a biographical sketch.
  2. The detailed justification enclosure should sufficiently justify why this blinded veteran is deserving of the Maas Award. To assist you in this regard, the following outline is provided:
  3. Outline in detail what the veteran’s current work involves — what he/she does in the average day? How much help does the veteran receive in performing his or her work?  Is the help provided of a nature specifically required by blindness or a type required by anyone performing the same job?  How has he or she excelled in this job.
  4. Did the veteran get his or her current job through personal effort, or was the veteran placed by the Department of Veterans Affairs or another agency?
  • How did the veteran get the training required to do the job?
  1. Is the veteran totally blind or partially sighted? Does the veteran have other disabilities?
  2. Outline in detail the veteran’s attitude toward his or her dis­ability; toward sighted people?
  3. Outline in detail the veteran’s active participation in community life, civic organizations, etc.
  1. The biographical sketch enclosure should include the following:
    1. Military experience
    2. Education
  • Work Experience
  1. Honors, if any
  2. Professional organizations
  3. Hobbies/Pastimes
  4. Remarks — additional comments/amplifying data which might help the judges in evaluating the achievements of the veteran are invited.