by Norman Jones
The pleasure is indeed all mine as I sit before my computer and compose this note of thanks for your support. I appreciate the votes that elected me as your National President at our 62nd National Convention in the Great State of New Mexico.
Congratulations are well in order to the New Mexico Regional Group for a job well done in hosting the convention. I salute you for your hard work and the excellence with which you arranged many of the week’s events.
Newly sworn-in BVA National President Dr. Norman Jones, Jr.
The manner in which the Santo Domingo Native American Disabled Veterans posted the colors at the opening meeting and again at the Awards Banquet was both exciting and exhilarating.
My thanks extend to every blind and visually impaired veteran within the lower 48, Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. I pledge to work as hard as I can and to the best of my ability for the benefit of every one of you, service-connected or nonservice-connected, within my grasp. Be it before the President of the United States, before Congress, in front of regional groups, at BRCs, or even in interacting with individual blinded veterans, I will always represent you in the highest manner and as I would expect you to represent me.
As I look out at the horizon beyond my airborne wings, I see a potentially large decrease in membership over the next decade as many of us continue to age. We need to address this issue as soon as possible. Because our members numbered 10,718 as of June 30, 2007, the highest number we’ve ever had at the end of any fiscal year in BVA’s history, I feel impressed that “as soon as possible” should really mean “now” as we stand at this pinnacle.
You might ask what my plan is for bringing in new members. The plan is quite simple: If only half of the 10,718 of us recruited only one new member by convention time next year, our membership total would be 15,000. This would be a stupendous feat. Can we do this? Of course we can because we are BVA and we believe wholeheartedly in our motto that blinded veterans must and do indeed, by nature, help their fellow blinded veterans.
I thank you also for the election of our talented National Board of Directors. I am quite sure that Vice President Ordway, Secretary White, Treasurer Kekahuna, and the six District Directors feel the same appreciation for your votes of confidence.
I thank also our National Chaplain, the Reverend Neftali Sanchez, for his loyalty and willingness to take on yet another year of excellent service. I acknowledge the dedication of our now Immediate Past President and Chairman of the Board Larry Belote, whose dedication and job well done we will never forget.
While I am thanking, I find it mandatory as well to acknowledge our conscientious, faithful, and devoted staff at National Headquarters in Washington. In my book, they are unbeatable, as are our highly rated Field Service Representatives who are the backbone of the Association.
None of our past progress would have been possible without the courage and steadfastness of BVA’s founders and early pioneers. Fortunately, I find the same qualities today in our 10,718 members, our regional groups, and our regional group chapters.
In my campaign to increase membership, I hope to see and shake hands with as many of you as possible. Keep a light on for me and let’s see how it goes. In the event you wish to send a suggestion or two, my email address is email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I almost forgot to thank a most important group of people. I must not overlook our spouses, our partners, our friends, helpers, caregivers, and whatever other title one may give to the beautiful, kind, and patient folks that assist us each and every minute of every day. What would we do without them?
Thanks indeed be to all responsible for making our lives better. May God bless all of them and all of us. May God bless BVA and may He continue to bless America.
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