BVA Loses Loyal Servants 

 

Dr. Sidney Ordway

 

National Convention attendees reacted with surprise and sadness at the August 12 President’s Reception announcement of the passing of BVA National Vice President Dr. Sidney Ordway in San Antonio, Texas, just hours before.

Sid was a retired attorney with a remarkable history of honors and personal achievement in the face of great disability and adversity.

Sid Ordway at BVA’s 57th National Convention in San Antonio. Sid chaired the convention just one year prior to becoming a BVA national officer.
Sid Ordway at BVA’s 57th National Convention in San Antonio. Sid chaired the convention just one year prior to becoming a BVA national officer.

Born in Des Moines, Iowa, Sid served three tours in Vietnam. He was a Major in the Delta Forces of the Army’s prestigious Green Berets. During a firefight with hostile forces, he was shot in the head. The injury caused total blindness, impaired hearing, loss of smell and taste, and an injury to the brain. He received the Silver Star, three Bronze Stars, four Purple Hearts, a Combat Infantry Badge, Airborne Wings, and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star.

Sid sought to overcome his sight loss through education, a decision that made him a model and inspiration to fellow blinded veterans and sighted individuals alike. He first attended the Central Blind Rehabilitation Center at Hines shortly after recovering from his injuries. In 1972 he received a B.A. degree from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. A law degree in 1975 from the same institution was next. In 1979 he received a Ph.D. in political science from UCLA.

Sid was honored for gallantry and community contributions by the city of Los Angeles in 1973. He was the 1976 Texas Handicapped Person of the Year and received the Outstanding Veteran Award for Texas in 1982. More recently, Sid served as President of the BVA South Texas Regional Group; National Treasurer, Secretary, and Vice President; member of the Audie L. Murphy Visual Impairment Services Team Advisory Group; member of the Regional Advisory Committee of the Texas Commission for the Blind; advisor to the Low-Vision Club of San Antonio; member of the local transit board; and member of the Ethics Committee for the Bexar County Sheriff’s Department. At the 2003 convention in Myrtle Beach, he received BVA’s highest honor, the Melvin J. Maas Award for Professional Achievement.

Sid was preceded in death by only a few months by his wife, Hannelore. He is survived by two sons, Roland and Terry Ordway; his daughter Andrea Rand and son-in-law Ricky; and four granddaughters and two grandsons. Funeral services were held August 20 at Sunset Funeral Home Chapel in San Antonio.

General Weeks

General Weeks with grandson Eric Weeks at the BVA 57th National Convention.
General Weeks with grandson Eric Weeks at the BVA 57th National Convention.

Known among BVA ranks as Director of District 1, leadership training guru, and a true gentleman of the finest manners, General J. Weeks passed away August 24 near his home in Dedham, Massachusetts.

General Weeks became a member of the BVA Board of Directors in 1994 and held that position until just prior to his passing. In addition to instituting the popular leadership training program for regional group officers, General served on a variety of national committees during his tenure. He was past president and treasurer of the Massachusetts Regional Group.

Born in Floyd, Virginia, and a resident of Dedham for more than 45 years, General was a Korean War era veteran of the United States Navy. He was a graduate of both the regular rehab program and the CATS program at the Eastern Blind Rehabilitation Center at West Haven. Prior to his blindness, he worked as a fleet maintenance supervisor for the Coca-Cola Company.

In addition to his duties with BVA, General also served on the board of directors for the Massachusetts Affiliate of the Foundation Fighting Blindness, the governing board of directors of Boston Aid to the Blind, the Dedham Disability Commission, the district advisory board for the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind and the board of directors for St. Luke's Lutheran Church. He was also a member of the American Legion Post 18 in Dedham. General was also a little league baseball and football coach.

General is preceded in death by a daughter, Julie. He is survived by his wife, Sheila, of 52 years; sons Donald and Robert; his daughter, Mary E. Czyras; and four grandchildren. He will also be missed by his guide dog, Brady.

Funeral services were held September 3 at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Dedham. Mary McManus, a dear friend of General and Sheila and his former VIST Coordinator at the Boston VA Medical Center, penned and then offered the following tribute at the funeral:

The day that I first met you, 
some 20 years ago 
I thought you were a general 
"That's my name," you'd let me know.

I was a worker at the VA, 
and you were “newly blind” 
And with every challenge you would face 
Great courage you would find.

You were a champion at bowling, 
though the pins you couldn't see 
And a champion for veterans 
BVA's own deputy.

Despite those chronic headaches 
and the weakness and the pain 
You'd travel and do all the work 
And rarely would complain.

A devoted, loving husband,
kind in spirit-gentle touch 
Adoring father, son and grandpa 
Family always meant so much.

Although our hearts are aching,
Your Spirit now flies free 
To be a guardian angel 
For all eternity.

And although you’re not a general, 
I salute you from my heart 
Feeling blessed for having known you 
As from this world you now depart.

Your family will go forward, 
knowing you are now at peace 
All the suffering that you endured 
Now at last can cease.

God bless you on your journey, 
we will miss your gentle voice 
It was time for God to call you home 
We know you had no choice.

Your legacy of character, 
humble faithful true 
Shall endure for generations 
A light that's shining through.

            

Henry Bloomberg

 

Henry “Hank” Bloomberg worked for BVA as a Field Service Representative, was an accredited National Service Officer, and served in a variety of voluntary capacities on behalf of blinded veterans in the Pennsylvania Regional Group.

Hank was born in Patton, Pennsylvania, and served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. His first love was diesel truck mechanics. After losing his vision and hence his truck inspection license through disease, he subsequently retrained for a new career and graduated from Bowling Green University with an M.S. degree, specializing in Rehabilitation Counseling.

BVA stalwart Hank Bloomberg passed away at his home in  DuBois on August 29.
BVA stalwart Hank Bloomberg passed away at his home in  DuBois on August 29.

Following his stint as a BVA Field Rep, Hank worked for the Pennsylvania Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services in Erie. He served as president of the BVA of Pennsylvania for 10 years, president of the Clearfield-Jefferson County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind, president of the Northwest Pennsylvania Blind Golfers Association, and held a seat on the Pennsylvania State Veterans Commission. He also represented BVA on the Advisory Council of the Pennsylvania Soldiers and Sailors Home.

In recognition of his volunteer service, Hank received two Pennsylvania Commendation Medals from the Pennsylvania governor. BVA of Pennsylvania also presented him with its Jules Schick Award for his selfless service on behalf of blinded veterans.

Hank is survived by his wife, Sandy; sons David Abbey, Randy Yarwasky, Toby Yarwasky; daughters Kathy Abbey and Debbie Sutkoff; eight grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Funeral services were held September 1 at the Goble-Baronick Funeral Home in DuBois, Pennsylvania. Full military honors were accorded from the funeral home by the members of the DuBois Area Honor Guard.