Back on the Road to Independence: Blinded Veterans Association
It’s been 75 years since WWII. And although there continue to be wars and conflicts around the world, Americans must never forget the tremendous sacrifices of those who put their lives on the line to preserve our liberty.
The Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) was formed during WWII by a group of blind veterans who came together in solidarity to advocate for their needs and the needs of those to follow.
“On the battlefield, men and women risk their lives to ensure that no one is left behind,” said BVA Executive Director Al Avina. “The blinded veterans of BVA understand that on or off the battlefield, no one should have to face blindness alone.”
Since WWII, BVA has opened its doors to all veterans who are blind or visually impaired, whether or not their injuries are combat related. For those whose vision loss is sudden, such as from an explosion or gunfire, their needs are immediate. For others, whose vision loss is gradual and ever-changing, such as those who have suffered traumatic brain injury or a degenerative eye disease, there may be years of re-adjustment.
BVA is the official voice for blinded veterans before Congress and the Veterans Administration to address the specific needs of veterans who can no longer see, read print, or drive. Recently BVA helped shape legislation so that blind veterans’ travel costs to get to blind rehabilitation training are covered. BVA works to ensure that they have access to print and online information and their privacy is protected.
“Our mission is blinded veterans helping blinded veterans,” said Avina. “We want blind veterans to know that help is just a phone call away from someone who really understands. By speaking directly with another veteran who has already been through what they’re going through, it is showing someone a way forward to renewed independence.”
About the Blinded Veterans Association:
The Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) was founded during WWII with the mission: blinded veterans helping blinded veterans. It is chartered by Congress to be the official voice to speak on behalf of blind veterans. It is the only veterans' service organization exclusively dedicated to serving America's blind and visually impaired veterans, offering a wide range of services to help veterans and their families meet the challenges of blindness.