Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) National President Joseph D. McNeil, Sr. today announced the appointment of Paul Mimms of Kansas City, Missouri, and the Heartland Regional Group to serve as National Vice President for the remainder of a two-year term ending in August 2023.
President McNeil also announced the selection of Tonora Lyn Shannon of the Michigan Regional Group to fill the vacancy of National Ombudsman previously occupied by Paul.
Article 4, Section 6 of the BVA National Bylaws authorizes the National Board of Directors to fill vacancies from among BVA members for the position of Vice President by a majority vote of a quorum present at a meeting of the Board called for that purpose.
Paul Mimms has previous experience as a BVA National Officer, having served as National Treasurer from 2013-15, National Secretary from 2015-17, and as National Vice President from 2017-18. The current appointment places him in line to be elected the Association’s National President at next year’s BVA 78th National Convention in St. Louis, Missouri.
Born in Iowa City, Iowa, Paul considers the Kansas City area to be his true home. He graduated from the city’s Central High School and returned following both his military service and then again after a career with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that took him to West Palm Beach, Florida.
Unlike the hundreds of thousands of draftees of the 1960s during the Vietnam War, Paul volunteered for military service, enlisting in the Navy in 1966 after two years of college. He was stationed in San Diego for a year and a half before deployment to Vietnam in January 1968 aboard the World War II-constructed USS Luzerne County in the Mekong Delta. An accident on the ship led to early onset of glaucoma and his medical discharge from the Navy in 1969.
Paul worked in the restaurant industry and retail management before enrolling at the Central Blind Rehabilitation Center at Hines. He then returned to college, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology at the University of Missouri Kansas City and a Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Kansas in 1991.
He began working for VA in 1992 at the Kansas City Vet Center and eight years later went to work at the West Palm Beach, Florida, Blind Rehabilitation Center. In 2004, he became the VA Visual Impairment Service Team (VIST) Coordinator at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center. Upon retirement in 2009, he returned to Kansas City and helped rejuvenate the Missouri Regional Group that he had helped to initiate as a charter member some 20 years before.
Paul has held most of the possible leadership positions in two regional groups, including the position of state District Director unique to the Florida Regional Group. He is also well known for his technological skills and knowledge and a passion for guide dogs, sharing his enthusiasm and expertise on several relevant BVA committees during the past nine years.
Tonora Lyn Shannon
Tonora Lyn Shannon is the current Vice President and Secretary of BVA’s Michigan Regional Group. She is a Persian Gulf era blinded veteran, serving seven years on active duty. During her service, she was a Data Processor Technician and served aboard to different Submarine Tenders. She was also stationed at the Ship Intermediate Maintenance Command in Norfolk, Virginia.
Tonora is also a retired VA employee with experience at the John Dingell (Detroit) VA Medical Center, the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center, Palo Alto VA Medical Center, and the North Las Vegas VA Medical Center.