Veterans With Sight Loss To Gather In Jacksonville For Annual National Convention

Veterans from across the United States will gather August14-18 at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront Hotel in Jacksonville, Florida for the 72nd National Convention of the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA). The organization is a congressionally chartered Veterans Service Organization dedicated solely to serving the needs of America’s blind and visually impaired veterans and their families.

Delegates and other convention attendees, among them Gulf War I and Gulf War II veterans who have recently experienced vision loss, will set BVA’s course for its upcoming fiscal year, participate in a variety of information sessions, and reunite with old friends. They will also take part in special events, including a Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp minor league baseball game on August 14, a local Dine-Around in downtown Jacksonville on August 16, a tour of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery on August 18, and a grand finale Awards Banquet, also on August 18.

Convention attendees will learn about new technology for the blind and visually impaired in a state-of-the-art Exhibit Hall August 15-16. Some 54 vendors in 64 booths will be present to share information about their products and the technological advancements such products demonstrate.

Attendees will also hear from featured speakers and conduct official business at the weeklong event’s Opening Business Session on August 16. They will be also be favored by remarks from Micheal A. Hudson, Director of the American Printing House for the Blind Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, on August 17. Hudson will discuss the contributions of the late Father Thomas A. Carroll for whom the luncheon is named. A pioneer in the field of blind rehabilitation, Father Carroll also served as the BVA National Chaplain for 25 years.

Among BVA’s membership of approximately 8,500, and those who will be attending the convention, are members of the Florida Regional Group. A large contingent of veterans with their family members and friends will also travel from Georgia, the Carolinas, and Louisiana to attend and participate in the gathering.

All BVA members share a common bond as legally blind veterans. They resolve to help one another understand and receive the rightful benefits they earned through their service. The Association also represents the interests of its members before the legislative and executive branches of government and encourages all blinded veterans to participate in VA blind rehabilitation programs.

BVA was established in March of 1945 when a small but close-knit group of World War II blinded veterans gathered together in Avon, Connecticut. The founders hoped to help newly blinded veterans adjust to life without sight and regain confidence and independence. For more information, visit