The Auxiliary's View... 

by Joyce Thornton-Gilbert

The start of a new calendar always motivates the Florida Regional Group to think about BVAA scholarships. Our members are encouraging the spouses and children of blinded vets to apply for our yearly award, which is announced at the Florida state meeting in July.

If any other regional group Auxiliary has a similar project or anything that is being done locally to improve the welfare of blinded veterans and their families, please let me know so that these efforts may be highlighted and utilized to motivate others. So often, good things are accomplished with little fanfare or recognition. While we do not seek praise and recognition for positive actions that help others, knowing about them can sometimes get us moving and make our efforts more effective.

I hope all of you are seriously thinking about the BVA 65th National Convention in Washington. The occasion marks an extremely significant celebration for America’s blinded veterans. How amazing it is to contemplate the uninterrupted service of this relatively small organization since 1945.

No BVA or BVAA member has been insignificant in this long history of continuous efforts by the organization to improve services and benefits for our veterans with vision loss. Banding together, veterans and those who truly care about them have made great strides, which in turn are now assisting those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Although we often feel that our own voice is not being heard, we need only look at history to know that individuals do make a difference.

So let us make a large and enthusiastic showing at this convention. The side benefit is a visit to our Nation’s Capital, where I always feel very humbled and grateful for my citizenship. During my visits to the various symbols of freedom, I realize what has been sacrificed for me by marvelous men and women. I look forward to seeing you there.

In preparing for the convention, please remember the importance of the BVAA Silent Auction. This fundraiser provides the scholarship money awarded to needy and worthy students. We need valuable prizes for the raffle too. We have an obligation to contribute and, while it may be difficult during these tough economic times, perhaps thinking about it now will help our members find items to donate.

At the last annual business meeting, a number of alternative fundraising projects were discussed. Among them was a Hawaiian night. We urge our members to contact us with any other ideas they may have.