Meeting Details

Zoom meetings every 4th Thursday of the month @ 6:00 pm (ET)

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Meeting ID: 811 1419 0805
Passcode: 454954

August 27, 2020

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 24, 2020

September 2020 Conference Meeting Notes
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.

October 29, 2020

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 19, 2020

November 2020 Conference Meeting Notes

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.



December 17, 2020


December 2020 Conference Meeting Notes


Date: December 17, 2020
Time: 4:00 EDT
Marlene Davis-Lilly, WVG Committee Member
Jeanie Murphy, WVG Committee Member
Michaun Harrison, WVG Committee Member
Elizabeth Holmes, WVG Committee Member
Monaca Gilmore, WVG Committee Chairman
4-other WVG Members
Total of 9CC Participants
Guest Speaker:
Representatives from Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center

Richmond, VA

Sharron Hicks, Recreation Therapy Supervisor, BS, CTRS, CDP
Nicole Shuman
Krystal Pinckney
Recording of meeting can be found at the following:
Playback Number: 720-740-9893
Reference Number: 4



Guest Speaker (20 min)
The guest speakers had the opportunity to distribute information regarding
Recreational Therapy and the Adaptive Sports Program offered by the VA.

WVG December 2020 CC Minutes
Update of BVA WVG Monthly Meetings (5 min)
WVG Chairman reminded WVG that the WVG monthly meetings are the
fourth Thursday of every month at 4:00pm EDT except when there is a holiday
interfering with meeting date and they will be notified of new meeting date.
Update of WVG Fundraiser & Financials (5 min)
WVG Chairman reminded WVG of Scentsy fundraiser end date of
December 31, 2020 and WVG Committee Member, Jeanie Murphy, gave
November 2020 total raised funds from Scentsy Fundraiser. Elizabeth Holmes,
WVG Committee Member, gave the financial report of WVG.
Update on Women Veterans Group Retreat (15 min)
WVG Chairman shared update of WVG 2021 Retreat Plan to include the
following: type of retreat along with activities, registration fee, and gift bags. In
addition, WVG Chairman took a vote for the Retreat date which resulted in having
the retreat March 4-5, 2021. The retreat will be virtually with day and evening
Compliments or Concerns: WVG members appreciate the topics and
information getting distributed on the WVG Conference Calls.

Meeting Concluded.

February 24, 2021

WVG February 24, 2021
Committee Meeting Notes


Date: February 24, 2021
Time: 6:00PM EDT

Marlene Davis-Lilly, WVG Committee Member
Michaun Harrison, WVG Committee Member
Elizabeth Holmes, WVG Committee Member
Monaca Gilmore, WVG Committee Chairman



Update on designated representative for processing WVG claims (5 min)
The WVG Chairman introduced Loreal Hamilton who will be working with
WVG Committee member Marlene Davis Lilly with processing claims for our women veteran members. Loreal works in our Veterans Resource Center and is also a VSO with a level of certification required by the BVA as an employee and certified VSO. Marlene who is also a VSO is currently in the Veteran Resource Center Ambassador Program. Marlene will act as a liaison and conduct the initial processing of the claims in which she will forward to Loreal for review and final processing. The WVG Committee appreciates the Executive Director and WVG Chairman making this decision to better serve our women veterans.


Update on BVA WVG February 2021 Member of the Month (5 min)
The WVG Chairman informed committee that she has decided to save the WVG Member of the Month nominations for next month, March, due to more important information that needs to be distributed to the membership and other situations that has affected many such as the following: upcoming advocacy on Capitol Hill, WVG 2021 Virtual Retreat, and the challenging weather in many areas.


Update on BVA WVG 2021 Retreat (10 min)
The WVG Chairman confirmed the following updates regarding the WVG retreat: all presenters of sessions have accepted their invites, the mindfulness session has been changed to a women’s empowerment session, all items for gift bags have been ordered and purchased, and due to COVID 19 along with newly weather challenges there is still an expectancy for registrations and gift bags that are mailed to be delayed. WVG Chairman requested WVG Committee member
Elizabeth Holmes to maintain and report final update of registrations and finances of retreat by Friday, February 26, 2021 via email.


Update on WVG Legislative Statements (5 min)
The WVG Chairman confirmed with committee members if they have received a copy of the statements sent on behalf of WVG Group to Executive Board and Executive Director. WVG informed committee that our speakers for the advocacy event have not received the exact date to present information and our headquarters communication team will be sending that information to distribute amongst the membership.


Update on WVG Convention Educational Session (5 min)
The WVG Chairman gave an overview of the format for the educational sessions that will be held during the National BVA Convention. The WVG Chairman requested each committee member to develop one topic they would like to present within 30 minutes to members regarding the resources that the WVG provide.


Meeting Concluded


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

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Committee Members

Jeanie Murphy, Chair



Elizabeth Holmes



Michaun Harrison




Calendar of Events

Fundraiser - Scentsy

The Blinded Veterans Association Women Veterans Group has 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.

Stories from Past Events

2021 Virtual Retreat

On March 4-5, 2021, the BVA Women’s Veteran Group (WVG) held its first retreat virtually via ZOOM. Each participant in the retreat had the opportunity to address concerns regarding equal health care for women veterans through the “Her Tea Time” session. Another highlight was the fun of sharing military experiences during the “Rep Your Branch” session. Some of the other sessions consisted of the following:

  • Women Empowerment
  • Karaoke
  • Healthy Living, Yoga
  • Sip, Nip, & Chat
  • Music Therapy

The WVG enjoyed a very impactful retreat that allowed members to strengthen their camaraderie, share resources, learn from one another, develop ideas for fundraising and their next retreat, and ensure that awareness of BVA occurs within their respective communities throughout the country. The WVG Committee would like to offer a heartfelt thanks to all participants and guest instructors.


Music Therapy Session—WVG Retreat participants enjoyed a session with Freedom Sings USA, a nonprofit effort to help both veterans and active duty military, along with their families, attain and retain emotional balance through the creative process of songwriting.


Jeanie Murphy—Highlighting the unprecedented times that necessitated a virtual retreat in the first place, Jeanie Murphy, President of the Heartland Regional Group,
displays mask and shirt received by participants in the 2020 WVG Virtual Retreat.


Michaun Harrison—Mid-Atlantic Regional Group President Michaun Harrison seen via Zoom screen during historic, first-ever virtual retreat of the Women’s Veteran Group.

January 2020

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 Flyer

WVG Flyer (PDF)

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


Michaun Harrison enlisted in the United States Army in 1990, beginning her Basic Training at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Her military career consisted of the following positions: 42C Orthotic Specialist, reclassified 91V3H Respiratory Therapist, Instructor Phase II, Pulmonary Function Technician, and Polysomnography Technician. Michaun served at four duty stations: Fitzsimmons Hospital in Aurora, Colorado; Brook Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas; the 121st General Hospital in Seoul, South Korea; and Moncrief General Hospital at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. She medically retired from the Army for health reasons after more than 13 years of active-duty service.


Michaun is an identical twin and has an 18-year-old son. She enjoys adaptive sports and has no fear of trying out activities she has never experienced. She also enjoys serving the veteran community. Congratulations, Michaun, on this well-deserved recognition, and thank you for your continued service!

Michaun Harrison, U.S. Army
Mid-Atlantic Regional Group

January 2021


Cheryl joined the United States Army where she served as a drill sergeant and a logistics officer until her retirement. Cheryl continued her education at Midlands Technical College where she received associate degrees in computer science and computer programming. She also worked as a program analyst at CSC in Blythewood, South Carolina. Following her employment at CSC, she formed her own company, CNRI Services, where she became a vendor for the Columbia Veterans Healthcare System proudly teaching many disabled veterans how to overcome their disabilities and to use computers. Cheryl became the president of
the South Carolina Blinded Veterans Association and later served as the webmaster of the Blinded Veterans Association website. Although she served her country well, she remained devoted to serving her fellow Blinded veterans until her dying day. Thank you for your continued service and you will be missed!

Cheryl Gajadhar, U.S.Army
South Carolina Regional Group

April 2021


Dr. Vaneada “Vee” Harvey is a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel. She is a combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient wounded in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. As one of the first women to jump into combat, Dr. Harvey knows what it means to hit the ground running. Although she began her Army career as a proud enlisted signal soldier, she was selected to attend Officers’ Candidate School (OCS) at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Dr. Harvey also supported Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm as her first tactical conflict. She is among the first females to enter combat while supporting the Initial Brigade Combat Teams. She is the first female African
American Communications Officer to command the most forwardly deployed Tactical Satellite Company in the Army. She has worked several tactical and strategic assignments, culminating her career as Deputy Director of the Army’s first Acquisition and Technology Office. She also worked as a professor facilitating senior leadership training for Contracting at Army Logistics and Technology University (ALU) at Fort Lee, Virginia.
Army life left indelible marks on Dr. Harvey, who is a true survivor. She builds a life of daily self-care as a survivor, meeting the challenge of low vision. Like many wounded warriors, Dr. Harvey has invisible scars. She overcame a Traumatic Brain Injury, gunshot wounds, and tumors. Additionally, she is one of many soldiers negotiating life with Post
Traumatic Stress Disorder and Sleep Apnea. She is also a breast cancer survivor.
Currently, Dr. Harvey is retired but works as an adjunct and visiting professor. She is a certified whole health veteran peer mentor and
volunteer at the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia. She leads supportive group therapy in chronic pain and creative expression at the Veterans Integrative Pain Center.
Dr. Harvey earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management, a
Master’s in Management, and a Ph.D. in Communications Technology and
Management. She is a proud Virginia Commonwealth University alumna.
Dr. Harvey’s professional organizational affiliations are too numerous to list
but include the Women Veterans Interactive (Vice President, Richmond Chapter), BVA, and other veteran support organizations. In addition, she supports Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the American Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Dr. Harvey is married to Retired First Sergeant Kennith Harvey. They are
caregivers for a very busy 81-year-old grandfather, Pedro. They have three grown children—Cherie, Kendra, and Charlie—and eight grandchildren. The family has a service dog Sebert (pronounced Sea-Bert).

Vaneada Harvey, U.S.Army
Mid-Atlantic Regional Group