The Auxiliary's View...

by Darian Slayton Fleming

BVAA has been extremely active and busy this quarter. We've been attending to our regional group needs and planning for the upcoming convention activities in Las Vegas.

Please remember, when sending your much appreciated donations to BVAA, to indicate whether you prefer that they be applied to the general funds or to the scholarship funds.

We extend a special thank you to the Georgia and Mid-Atlantic Regional Groups for their donations to BVAA. These funds will be very helpful in providing future scholarships. As an additional note regarding scholarships at a regional level, the Florida Regional Group Auxiliary has awarded a stipend to Samantha Hynes, who attends the University of Central Florida and plans to become a zoologist specializing in the use of animals in rehabilitation.

We realize that supporting our veterans is difficult when we struggle to support our own organization, both regionally and nationally. Here is a tip that might help resolve some of the challenges. If your members are having difficulty getting to meetings, consider a conference call as a solution. Information regarding such a call is located at and additional questions can be emailed to The service can also be contacted via toll-free 877-482-5838.

Please remember to send minutes of any meetings, including new officers, to Sandy Krasnodemski, BVAA National Secretary, or 15229 Garfield Avenue, Allen Park, MI 48101. At our national convention, BVAA meeting attendees will be able to participate in an annual planning and idea-sharing workshop. We will discuss how BVAA as a national organization can support the regional groups and get more people involved in the organizing as well as the fun and enjoyment of local meetings. Because our groups are so spread out, we will explore how we can stay connected.

Convention highlights include the BVAA Silent Auction featuring items donated by our blinded veterans themselves and their families and friends. This will be our big chance to do some early holiday shopping since a variety of delightful and unusual items will be up for bid.

The new BVAA cookbooks will be on sale in large print and/or on CD. Convention prices are $12 per book or CD while the book and CD together will run $18. For orders that must be mailed, an additional $1 per item will be added for shipping and handling. The Auxiliary will also offer a raffle again this year. On Tuesday of the convention week (August 16) at 10 a.m., there will be a motivational speaker (open to everyone at the convention—BVA, BVAA, Operation Peer Support, and guests). The address, entitled "The Least Blinded Veteran," will feature Rae Hail. He will touch on the politically incorrect aspects of blindness that many could address but seldom do. He'll make you angry, give you hope, and help you laugh at some of the things you – and other blinded veterans – experience.

There will be a BVAA member and guest support panel discussion beginning at 1 p.m. that same day. The panel represents professionals, caregivers, and spouses of veterans from a variety of age groups, service backgrounds, and families. The panel will address several topics and entertain additional audience questions as time permits. Some panel members may even be available for individual or small group discussion afterward.

Our annual BVAA meeting will begin after the BVA Opening Business Session on Wednesday. The Auxiliary will also hold regular meetings of the membership, enjoy fun times with one another, and conduct a "craft make it and take it." We will also hold our annual election of officers for the coming year.

Remember to send me information about regional group Auxiliary activities via my email address, Readers of the Bulletin are interested in hearing about issues and activities relevant to your local groups. They would also appreciate suggestions regarding plans for White Cane Day. Together we can create a more efficient and effective BVAA and provide even greater support for our blinded veterans everywhere.