by Roy Kekahuna
I wish to thank you all for your faith in me, demonstrated by your votes to bestow on me the responsibility to lead this great organization.
I hope that all of you had a fun-filled summer. The success of our 64th National Convention in Portland, Oregon, made for an enjoyable end of the summer for many of us. One of the highlights of this year’s meetings was an unusual amount of local and national media attention we were able to attract throughout the convention week and beyond. The national media were especially interested in our Operation Peer Support program while many local stories highlighted our Portland area attendees and the visit to our Opening Business Session by Secretary Shinseki, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski, and Senator Ron Wyden (Democrat-Oregon).
When Dr. Norman Jones took office in 2007, he challenged us to recruit at least one person to increase our membership. I believe that many of our members took the challenge seriously and made a sincere and successful effort to do just that. My goal, with your assistance, is to make BVA a very public organization with a stable financial outlook for the next generation of blinded veterans.
Goals are like seeds: we plant them and watch to see the growth. I have given you my goal. I cannot do it alone. Working together as a team, we “CAN DO” anything! I borrowed the “CAN DO” attitude from the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team of World War II. The team’s motto “Go for Broke” is “Pidgin English” slang that means risk everything and give everything you have, all or nothing. This is my challenge to you.
Blinded veterans are the epitome of survival. Our legacy is a reminder to our sister organizations of individual courage, persistence, pride, and optimism to go out and succeed despite the challenges and trials of blindness.
I look forward to working with and serving all of you throughout the coming months. Together we can make this year a banner year.