Tom Zampieri giving an award to Elizabeth Holmes

BVA presents several awards during our national convention in August. These awards include the Irving Diener Award, the Major General Melvin J. Maas Achievement Award, and the David L. Schnair Award. Complete descriptions for each award, lists of past honorees, and instructions on how to nominate an individual can be found on the respective pages of each award. Nominations are generally due in mid-April of each year.

Irving Diener Award


The Irving Diener Award, is presented to the veteran who contributes in an outstanding way to  the BVA as an organization rather than for personal achievement in rehabilitation and in the field of employment. 

Irving Diener Award winners

  • 2019 – Elizabeth Holmes, Midland, GA
  • 2018 – Floyd Everett of Evans, GA
  • 2017 – Lenard Pope of Ewing, NJ
  • 2016 – Ruben Sanchez-Burgos of Vega Alta, PR
  • 2015 – Ruth Klein of Sandy, UT

Major General Melvin J. Maas Achievement Award

The Major General Melvin J. Maas Achievement Award,  is awarded annually 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. 

Maas Achievement Award winners

  • 2019 – Dr. Norman Jones, Union City, GA
  • 2018  – John Linder of Honolulu, HI
  • 2017 – Kennan Horn of Edmond, OK
  • 2016 – Guadalupe (Walley) Guerra of San Antonio, TX
  • 2015 – James Hogan of Canyon Country, CA

The David L. Schnair Award,  honors and recognizes outstanding contributions of volunteers. The  award may be given to a BVA volunteer office, a member, or an Auxiliary  member, working in a BVA Volunteer Office who has provided at least one  year of consistent and outstanding service as a BVA volunteer.    

David L. Schnair Award winners:

  • 2019 – Johnny Busch, Atlanta, GA
  • 2018 – Anthony Ricci of N. Providence, RI
  • 2017 – Dennis O’Connell of Long Beach, NY
  • 2016 – Betty Charlesworth of Tulsa, OK
  • 2015 – Ronald White of Laurelton, NY

Nominations for BVA Certificates of Appreciation for 2020 are now being ac­cepted by the BVA National Headquarters.