Meeting Recap/Notes

Conference Call Every 4th Thursday of the month @ 4:00 pm (EST)

Phone: (602) 580-9829 Access Code: 5313007
For Meeting Notes – See your District Director or
Regional Group Leadership


Date: August 27, 2020
Time:  4:00 EDT

Roll Call:
Alison Glass, Panelist
Dr. Paulette Hubbert, Panelist
Donald Overton, BVA Execute Director
Thomas Zampieri, BVA National President
Monaca Gilmore, BVA WVG Chairman
Elizabeth Homes, BVA WVG Committee
Michaun Harrison, BVA WVG Committee
Marlene Davis Lilly, BVA WVG Committee
Jeanie Murphy, BVA WVG Committee
8-Additional BVA Women Veterans (Total 13 BVA Women Veteran Participants)

Please utilize information below to obtain recording of conference.
Conference Call Playback Number:  720-740-9893
Access Code:  5313007
Recording Number: 1.

September 2020 Conference Meeting Minutes
Jeanie Murphy, WVG Committee Member
Marlene Davis Lilly, WVG Committee Member
Michaud Harrison, WVG Committee Member
Elizabeth Holmes, WVG Committee Member
Monaca Gilmore, WVG Committee Chairman
5-other WVG Members
Total of 10 CC Participants

Update of BVA WVG Monthly Meetings (10 min)
WVG Chairman reminded WVG that its monthly meetings are the 4th Thursday of every month at 4PM EDT with the same conference call number until further notified. WVG informed WVG that meeting minutes can be found on WVG portion of BVA website and they can obtain a copy from their RG President, DD, or any committee member if they are not able to access it from website. WVG Chairman also acknowledged to WVG that the committee has decided to include one guest speaker for the WVG monthly meetings starting in October on topics of concern from our women veterans.

Update on WVG Member of the Month (3 min)
WVG Chairman confirmed with WVG that the selection for the WVG September 2020 Member of the Month have been posted to WVG portion of website. WVG Chairman encouraged WVG to forward nominations to their RG President to be properly submitted to WVG Committee for possible selection.

Update of WVG Fundraiser & Financials (2 min)
WVG Committee Member, Jeanie reminded WVG that the Scentsy Fundraiser is still going on. WVG Committee Member, Elizabeth gave summary of WVG financials. WVG Chairman informed WVG that funds from fundraiser will assist with expense for WVG events and to sponsor first-time women veterans to the national convention.

Update on Women Veterans Group Retreat (15 min)
WVG Chairman shared with WVG the two possible locations for the WVG Retreat. WVG Committee Members and other members gave their interested input mostly of location in Birmingham, AL. WVG Chairman was asked the number of days the retreat will be and WVG Committee suggested no more than three days (Thursday-Sunday or Friday-Sunday). WVG Chairman suggested to WVG that the retreat should have virtual accessibility such as ZOOM for those who may not be able to attend but who also pay a Registration Fee. WVG Chairman was asked if a Registration Fee has been established and she took suggestions from both WVG Committee and other member from $200-$250. WVG Chairman suggested that the registration should not be more than the BVA National Convention’s and that the WVG Committee would make the final decision. WVG members suggested a gift pack with resources and tokens of appreciation for registered participants.
Compliments or Concerns: WVG members appreciate the information getting distributed about the upcoming meetings.
Meeting Concluded.

We are excited to have our Women’s Veteran Group Conference Meeting on Thursday, October 29, 2020 at 4:00PM EDT. This special meeting will include the following guest speaker:
Christi S. Ulmer, PhD
Clinical Health Psychologist
Durham VA Medical Center

We look forward to your participation!
Dial in Number: 602-580-9829
Access Code: 5313007

Monaca Gilmore
Blinded Veterans Association
District Director 3
Women’s Veteran Group Chairman

November 2020 Conference Meeting Minutes

Date: November 19, 2020

Time: 4:00 EDT

Marlene Davis-Lilly, WVG Committee Member
Michaun Harrison, WVG Committee Member
Elizabeth Holmes, WVG Committee Member
Monaca Gilmore, WVG Committee Chairman
4-other WVG Members
Total of 8CC Participants

Guest Speaker: Dr. Paulette Hubbert
Ph.D. LCSW, MSW, CHt, USMC (Ret.)
Inspired Wholeness LLC

Recording of meeting can be found at the following:
Playback Number: 720-740-9893
Reference Number: 3


Guest Speaker (30 min)

The guest speaker had the opportunity to distribute information regarding her military experience, career background, and elaborate on the topic of the month, Mindfulness. Veterans experienced a mindfulness session by Dr. Hubbert as a coping mechanism to handle stress and implement refocusing on a daily basis in their lives.

Update of BVA WVG Monthly Meetings (5 min)

WVG Chairman reminded WVG that the WVG December monthly meeting will be Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 4:00PM EDT due to regular meeting date and time occurring during Christmas week.
Update of WVG Fundraiser & Financials (2 min)

WVG Chairman reminded WVG of fundraiser with Scentsy, its December 2020 end date, and obtained the names of WVG members who needed the fundraiser link texted to them. Elizabeth Holmes, WVG Committee Member acknowledged that the financial report will be updated in the next meeting since the month of November has not ended to retrieve its final month financials.

Update on Other Veteran Events: (3 min)

WVG Chairman shared information with WVG of other several ski events Steamboat Stars have developed in the coming months for veterans. WVG Chairman obtained the names of WVG members who are interested in possibly attending events to pass their information on to OPS Committee Member Lonnie Bedwell.

Update on WVG December Topic: (3 min)

WVG Chairman asked the WVG for topic ideas for the December 2020 WVG Conference Call. Michaun Harrison, WVG Committee Member suggested that we follow-up on establishing a session on the topic of “Claims” with our claim’s representative from BVA due to the many question’s veterans have regarding claims that continue to be unanswered from that department. WVG Chairman explained to WVG that the claims representatives have been significantly occupied with the reorganization and update of several data systems contributing to accountability of claims for the BVA. WVG Chairman informed WVG that she will get an update on when the BVA’s claim representative can be available to answer questions. Yoneka Trent suggested the topic “Adaptive Sports” for December conference call. WVG Chairman confirmed no additional ideas and final approval from WVG Committee to use the topic of Adaptive Sports for December conference call. WVG Chairman informed WVG that she will obtain several guest speakers from outside organizations and VA representatives to discuss their adaptive sports programs.

Update on Women Veterans Group Retreat (2 min)

WVG Chairman shared with WVG that she is still waiting for a response from the contact person from the possible Birmingham, AL retreat location.

Compliments or Concerns: WVG members appreciate the topics and information getting distributed on the WVG Conference Calls.

Meeting Concluded.



Members of the BVA Women's Veteran Group pose for group photo


To support and serve blinded women veteran members of BVA through awareness and advocacy efforts that are impactful to their health and welfare.

General Inquiries

Follow Our Facebook Group

Monaca Gilmore (Chair), North Carolina
Phone: 252-822-3486

Marlene Davis Lilly, Arkansas
Phone: 870-413-9406

Jeanie Murphy, Kansas
Phone: 785-410-6575

Michaun Harrison, Virginia
Phone: 703-868-7883

Elizabeth Holmes, Georgia
Phone: 706-615-3346

Calendar of Events

The Blinded Veterans Association Women’s Veteran Group have began its fundraising initiative through one of our women veterans, Jeanie Murphy, a Scentsy Consultant. Scentsy provides safe and natural products that consist of the following: diffusers, warmers, wax bars, laundry care, cleaning solutions, and luxurious personal care products for women, men, and kids.

Through the link provided below, you are able to review items for purchase to assist with supporting our women’s veteran group retreats, adaptive sports events, and sponsorship to the BVA National Convention. We thank you for your diligent support.

Annual Women’s Veteran Retreat 2021 (TBD)

Stories from Past Events

In January 2020 BVA National President Dr. Thomas Zampieri established the Women’s Veteran Group (WVG) and a committee was formed to ensure that the unique needs of our blind women veteran were being addressed, and advocacy efforts tailored. The BVA WVG is honored to have the support of our national leadership team and looks forward to serving our women veterans.

WVG's Member of the Month

May 2020

Image of BVA WVG Member of the Month Sergeant Jeanie Murphy US Army (Ret.)

Mrs. Murphy joined the US Army in May of 1991 and attended Basic Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. She continued there for AIT becoming an Administrative Assistant – 71L. After completion of AIT she was assigned to the 42nd Military Police Group Customs in Mannheim Germany. As a 71L she worked in the S1 and continued there until the fall of 1992. Mrs. Murphy relocated to the United States to the PSC, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, KS and was there from September of 1992 until she went to the DISCOM and worked there until 1994. Still at Fort Riley, she was chosen to be the Divison’s Command Sergeant Major’s secretary as a Sergeant (E5) and was there until learning of a vision condition that would not allow her to continue her military career. Subsequently, she was medically retired in April of 1998. Her husband remained on active duty at Fort Riley where the family chose to remain after his retirement.

Jeanie Murphy, U.S. Army,
Regional Group

June 2020

Ms Foster is a mother of three children and a grandmother of ten grandchildren. Through encouragement from other blinded veterans to live life to the fullest, Ms. Foster began to increase participation with groups of the blind community. Ms. Foster joined the BVA in 2018 and she is now the Secretary of the Illinois Regional Group. She continues to thrive for the BVA with many volunteer efforts and we appreciate all her dedication to the organization. “Congrats Ms. Foster!”



Cindy Foster, U.S. Army
Illinois Regional Group


July 2020

Sharon Giovinazzo is a life-member of the Blinded Veterans Association and an
active member of the Captain Buddy Spivey Razorback Regional Group of the BVA in Arkansas. She is the Chief Executive Officer of World Services for the
Blind in Little Rock, Arkansas. She travels all around the world with her guide dog Pilot raising funds for the community she serves. Sharon is an active member and
participant in the Central Arkansas Team River Runner kayak group, where
blinded veterans are encouraged to participate in therapeutic and adaptive sports.
As a motivational speaker, Sharon has been a guest speaker at our National Blinded Veterans Association Convention in Reno, Nevada. During our current
pandemic, Sharon continues her services for the blind community by keeping thedoors to World Services for Blind open as an essential center for those in need.
Congratulations Ms. Giovinazzo!

Sharon Giovinazzo, U.S. Army
Captain Buddy Spivey Razorback Regional Group

August 2020

Marlene Davis- Lilly served in the United States Navy as an Aviation Boatswains Mate and was stationed at Naval Air Station Sigonella Sicily. Marlene leads a kayak team in Little Rock Arkansas and is married with two children and three grandchildren. Mrs. Davis-Lilly has served as a police officer and a mental health social worker. Currently, Mrs. Davis-Lilly is an active member of BVA’s Captain Buddy Spivey Arkansas Regional Group and Women’s Veteran Group. She is an accredited Veteran Service Officer in which she continues to display her dedication to assisting veterans. Congrats Marlene Davis-Lilly!

Marlene Davis-Lilly, U.S.Navy
Captain Buddy Spivey Razorback Regional Group

September 2020

Pauletta "PJ" Sisk with guide dog

Pauletta (PJ) Sisk is a former United States Army Medic. Pauletta is a Life Member of the Blinded Veterans Association and an active member of the Tennessee Regional Group. She is also an alumni member of the Outta Sight Clinic Kayak Team of Montana. Pauletta resides in Kingsport, Tennessee, where she participates with Washington County Disabled Veterans Chapter, volunteering countless hours with her service dog Pilot. Pauletta has lost a great deal of vision but that has not interfered with her love of music playing and singing in different bands. Pauletta is using her gift of music at the James H. Quillen VA Medical Center in Johnson City, Tennessee by teaching other veterans how to find their gifts in playing musical instruments. Pauletta draws her inspiration from her late father, a World War II veteran whom she affectionately calls her rock. He was the utmost example she needed to make the decision to join the Army. Pauletta is a survivor and always committed to bringing joy to the veterans she serves.
Congratulations Pauletta “PJ” Sisk!

Pauletta Sisk, U.S.Army
Tennessee Regional Group

October 2020

As a former Medical Service Corps Officer of the United States Navy beginning in 1989, Laurie Cutlip served as a staff Dietitian at the National Naval Medical Center (now Walter Reed) and was then advanced to the position of Head, Nutrition Education. She was asked to head the Clinical Nutrition Department simultaneously while retaining her position as head of Nutrition Education. She developed standards of nutrition care for all areas of inpatient dietetics. Other responsibilities included nutrition education to Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy, Congressmen and Senators, staff at the Washington DC Navy Yard, and staff at the Navy Annex. In 1993, she medically retired as a Lieutenant and subsequently opened a private nutrition practice in Maryland. During this period, she also authored one nutrition book and co-authored two additional books. After 16 years in private practice, her military passion got the best of her and she became a Clinical Dietitian at the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (Virginia). With her advancing chronic eye condition, she retired from civil service. After meeting her chapter president during blind rehabilitation, she became aware of the Blinded Veterans Association and immediately became a life member. She is an active member of the Hampton Roads BVA Chapter and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Group. Her passions include the Baltimore Ravens and international travel. Congrats Laurie Cutlip!

Laurie Cutlip, U.S.Navy
Mid-Atlantic Regional Group

November 2020

Elizabeth “Liz” Holmes, Georgia Regional Group, is an Army veteran. During her career, she attended both the Basic and Advance Ordnance Course and Airborne School. In 1976, she was commissioned to a 2nd Lieutenant in the Ordnance specialty. Following her military service, Ms. Holmes became a United States Postal Service employee, serving in a variety of capacities until she was forced to retire in 2014 due to her vision loss. She left USPS with 36 years and one month of federal service. Ms. Holmes is a widow with two accomplished grown children: Bianca, a Registered Nurse, and Benjamin, a Mechanical Engineer who also currently serves as the BVA Auxiliary as its National Treasurer. She has one grandchild, Scarlett. Ms. Holmes also serves on the Mayor’s Commission for People with Disability Executive Board and attends monthly meetings advocating awareness for the disabled. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Studies and master’s degree in Human Relations at DePaul University. Ms. Holmes has been an active member of her regional group and its Columbus Chapter since September 2015. In November of that year, she was appointed chapter secretary. She currently serves as BVA’s National Treasurer and is an active member of the organization’s Women’s Veteran Group Committee. Congratulations LIZ HOLMES!

Elizabeth Holmes, U.S. Army
Georgia Regional Group

December 2020

Name, U.S.
Regional Group