red, white, and blue star with initials B V A

Special receptions, programs, and walks commemorating White Cane Awareness Day, now known also as Blind Americans Equality Day, have involved several BVA regional groups in different parts of the country. The activities typically occur at VA medical facilities, state and local government agencies, community centers, shopping centers, schools, and other organizations of and for the blind.

The official date of October 15, this year falling on a Saturday, moved some of the commemorative events to later in the month. Although complete accounts of all the activities are not in just yet, the Captain Buddy Spivey Razorback and Southern California Regional Groups have both reported successful participation.

In Arkansas, the State Division of Services for the Blind hosts a program for White Cane Awareness Day annually. The program consists of various speakers addressing the topic of the white cane. The Central Arkansas Veterans Health Care Services (CAVHS) is usually asked to furnish a veteran to speak. CAVHS, in turn, asked BVA’s Captain Buddy Spivey Razorback Regional Group to provide a speaker. The request was accepted, and Treasurer James Lea represented the regional group with a 20-minute informal delivery of “What the Cane Means to Me, a Veteran” that was seen both live and via Zoom.

In the main lobby of the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center, the Southern California Regional Group teamed up with Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Specialist Beatriz Sanchez and Blind Rehabilitation Specialist Supervisor Ted Zadourian at two display tables. The purpose was simply to increase awareness of the importance of the white cane. The target groups were the VA medical staff and veterans visiting the medical center, most of whom were not familiar with the Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST) or BVA. The VIST staff screened several veterans for potential eligibility for the VIST program. The BVA team met a potential new member, with follow-up now in process.