Momentum Mounting For Galveston Gathering

by Brigitte Jones and Roy Young

Moody Gardens is a garden entertainment and tourist complex. It features three main pyramid attractions—the Aquarium Pyramid, the Rainforest Pyramid, and the Discovery Pyramid. Photo courtesy of Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Moody Gardens is a garden entertainment and tourist complex. It features three main pyramid attractions—the Aquarium Pyramid, the Rainforest Pyramid, and the Discovery Pyramid. Photo courtesy of Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Official Notice

 

Pursuant to the provisions of Section 3b of Article IX (National Convention) of the BVA National Bylaws, all members of the Blinded Veterans Association in good standing are hereby notified that the BVA 67th National Convention will be held at the Hilton Galveston Island Resort, 5400 Seawall Boulevard, Galveston, Texas 77551, from Monday, August 20, through Thursday, August 23, 2012. Periodic updates regarding the convention will be posted regularly to the Convention page on the BVA website, www.bva.org/convention.

BVA members in good standing who wish to vote by proxy may request a form by writing or calling the Administrative Director at BVA National Headquarters no later than 45 days before the opening day of the 67th National Convention. Because the convention's opening day is August 20, the deadline for requesting a proxy form is July 6, 2012.

In compliance with Section 2c of Article IX, the proxy form must be completed and returned to BVA National Headquarters (Attn: Administrative Director). To be considered valid, the envelope containing the form must be postmarked no later than 21 days before the opening date of the convention. The due date is therefore July 30, 2012.

Significant Dates and Deadlines

 

BVA National Headquarters distributed notices in January regarding nominations for Certificates of Appreciation, the Maas and Diener Awards, the Wilburn H. Long Employment Award, and the David L. Schnair Volunteer Service Award. These actions also occurred in compliance with articles within the BVA National Bylaws.

A reminder will also be mailed to regional group presidents and secretaries on March 19 regarding the due date for submission of bylaw amendments for consideration at the convention. A mailing to all BVA members in good standing and residing in Districts 1 and 2 will also occur on or before March 18 (150 days leading up to August 16). The mailing will call for nominations for District Director. A similar mailing will communicate special elections to be held in Districts 4 and 6.

Three copies of the credentials form will also be mailed on April 12 to all regional groups.

Galveston Island Convention Center at night. The facility will host major events and meetings of the BVA 67th National Convention. Photography by Lee DeForke, Jr.
Galveston Island Convention Center at night. The facility will host major events and meetings of the BVA 67th National Convention. Photography by Lee DeForke, Jr.

Both regional groups and individuals should refer to the following timeline in preparing for the convention. Items listed include actions required of the Association's national headquarters, regional groups, and individuals. Questions can be addressed by calling BVA National Headquarters at 800-669-7079. Asterisks indicate actions required by the BVA National Bylaws.

1. March 19*--National headquarters sends reminder to regional group presidents and secretaries that proposed bylaw amendments for consideration at the 67th National Convention must be postmarked no later than 90 days before the convention (May 22).

2. March 23 (no later than 150 days before convention)--Mail call for nomination of Directors of Districts 1 and 2 to members in good standing from each of the two districts.

3. April 13*--Mail credentials forms to regional group presidents, vice presidents, secretaries, and treasurers (three copies each).

4. April 23*--Nominations for BVA Certificates of Appreciation, the Maas and Diener Awards, the Long Employment Award, and the Schnair Service Award all due at national headquarters.

5. Mid-May*--67th National Convention pre-registration package prepared and sent to printer.

6. Mid-May*--67th National Convention proxy forms mailed but only by request of national headquarters Administrative Director.

7. May 12 (no earlier than 100 days before convention)--Earliest date to mail pre-registration package and official convention notice to potential attendees.

8. May 22 (no earlier than 90 days before convention)--Earliest date to distribute ballots for Districts 1 and 2 elections to district members.

9. May 22 (no later than 90 days before convention)--Envelopes containing proposed bylaw amendments must be directed to national headquarters and postmarked.

10. May 22 (no earlier than 90 days before convention)--Earliest date to mail proposed bylaw amendments to members in good standing.

11. May 22 (90 days before convention and 60 days following original mail call referred to above)--Nominations for regular elections of Directors of Districts 1 and 2, and for special elections in Districts 4 and 6, due at national headquarters.

12. June 6 (no later than 75 days before convention)--Latest date to mail pre-registration package and official convention notice from national headquarters.

13. June 11 (no later than 70 days before convention)--Latest date for national headquarters to mail ballots for regular elections of Directors of Districts 1 and 2.

14. June 15*--National headquarters mails annual financial report forms (three copies) to treasurers of regional groups.

15. July 6 (no later than 45 days before convention)--Ballots for regular elections for Directors of Districts 1 and 2, and for special elections in Districts 4 and 6, must be postmarked no later than midnight.

16. July 6 (no later than 45 days before convention)--Latest date to mail proposed bylaw amendments to members in good standing.

17. July 11 (no later than 40 days before convention)--Regional group meeting notices to elect convention delegates must be mailed to group members. A copy of the notice must also be mailed to national headquarters at the same time it is mailed to the group membership.

18. July 16 (35 days before convention)--National headquarters counts election ballots for regular election of Directors of Districts 1 and 2 and special elections in Districts 4 and 6.

19. July 30 (21 days before convention)--Completed delegate credentials forms and proxy forms must be postmarked no later than midnight.

Galveston Island Updates

 

Start planning now to attend the Blinded Veterans Association's 67th Annual National Convention.

The Department of Veterans Affairs will not be hosting a concurrent VIST/BROS training session this year due to federal government cutbacks. Because of this change, BVA has had to shift the location to the Hilton Galveston Island Resort Hotel, which is adjacent to the Galveston Island Convention Center, the site of the major convention events.

BVA encourages early registration for everyone, especially those who combine family vacations with BVA conventions. The BVA room block rate of $99 per night is now available August 18-27. The hotel will honor the group rate for the conference dates pending availability so make your reservation early to secure your room. Doing so will allow for a more worry-free stay before, during, and after the convention.

The regional group's representatives will be onsite to greet you, provide orientation to the hotel, and assist you with the numerous activities available on the island. Consider arriving a day early to take advantage of a fishing trip.

The convention officially starts on the evening of August 20 with the President's Reception.

The opening business meeting will occur early Tuesday Morning. The convention will conduct the Bylaws and Resolutions meetings Tuesday afternoon. The regional group is planning a unique social activity Tuesday night.

Wednesday morning will kick off with the BVA forum, focusing on leadership training, followed by the Father Carroll Memorial Luncheon and afternoon Caucus Meetings. Thursday morning will bring the business meetings to a close with voting on the proposed bylaws, resolutions, and the election of National Officers.

The Awards Banquet will be held Thursday evening. Although the convention officially ends Thursday, attendees can continue enjoying the sights and sounds of the island. They may choose the opportunity to squeeze in an early morning fishing trip or visit any number of other island venues.

Hilton Galveston Island Resort Hotel

 

The Convention room rate is $99.00 plus 15 percent tax (9 percent city tax, 6 percent state tax) for both single and double occupancy.

Upon arrival at the AAA Four Diamond Hilton Galveston Island Resort Hotel, which is directly across from the beach, convention attendees will be greeted by a representative of the BVA convention staff. Facing the hotel, the Galveston Island Convention Center will be directly to the left. In front of the hotel are two cabana areas on the left and right, each seating up to 25 people.

There are no steps in front of, or entering into, the hotel, which has automatic sliding glass doors. As convention attendees enter through these doors, they will be standing in the hotel lobby. To the immediate right is the hotel's registration desk area with three check-in stations. On the immediate left is a business kiosk area with three stations and an Automatic Teller Machine.

The hotel lobby continues past the registration desk with the Palm Court Restaurant to the left and the hotel's Lobby Bar to the right. Both areas have an open entrance without doors and social seating areas are seen along the walls throughout the lobby.

Just past the Lobby Bar is an exit door on the right going out to the tropical swimming pool and lounge area that features a Jacuzzi and a swim-up bar and grill. Passing this door and to the right are elevators leading to rooms with private walk-out balconies. Just past these elevators is a long corridor that stretches from the lobby area to the rear of the hotel. Down this corridor, the first glass door on the left is the hotel gift shop. Past the gift shop on the left is the hotel's fitness center. Further down this corridor are elevators on the right that take guests to the tower rooms.

At the end of the corridor is the rear entrance of the hotel, where an automatic glass door exits out to the dog relief area and parking lot.

The goal of the Convention Committee is to maximize the pleasure of convention attendees' stays and to increase the productivity of the convention. The hotel offers a long list of comfort and convenience amenities for the visitors' stays. All elevators have bells. All rooms above the first floor have an ocean view with coffee makers, bathrobes, free Internet connections, and a host of other amenities.

BVA has arranged two phone lines for your convenience. One of the lines is updated daily with each day's detailed agenda. The second line will be for any concerns or issues that may arise during your stay and will be monitored throughout each day.

The Hilton Galveston Island Resort Hotel is a 240-room facility. All rooms have been blocked specifically for BVA convention attendees during August 20-24. This allows the convention staff to totally convert the hotel to a blind friendly environment. Although overflow arrangements have been made with other hotels, early registration is still advisable. In making reservations, be sure to announce that you are part of the BVA room block. For more information, please call the hotel at 409-744-5000 or visit www.hilton.com/Galveston-TX.

Ground Transportation

 

A shuttle service is available to convention attendees for travel between the Hilton and the two Houston area airports. Departure times and prices are as follows:

Hobby Airport to Galveston Hilton: $60 per person round trip
Schedule: 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 5:00 p.m.

Bush Airport to Galveston Hilton: $70 per person round trip
Schedule: 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 4:00 p.m.

Galveston to Hobby and Bush Airports: $60 and $70, respectively, per person round trip

Schedule: 8:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., and 1:30 p.m.

If there is a group (minimum of five passengers) arriving before or after these scheduled pickup times, another scheduled time can be provided. This is also true on the return from Galveston. Peak travel departure times from Galveston will be accommodated by buses.

Limousine service is also available by reservation and prepayment at 800-640-4826 or 409-744-5466. Convention attendees requiring a wheelchair accessible van must notify the clerk with the Galveston Limousine Service when making reservations.

When calling in for group transportation reservations, please advise the clerk that the travelers are with the BVA conference or convention in order to guarantee the discounted rate. The deadline for reservations to obtain this rate is July 20, 2012.

Recreational Events, Outside Activities

 

During the BVA 67th National Convention, the Greater Houston Regional Group will offer group rates to Association members and their families for a unique and unforgettable opportunity. Galveston's premier fishing spot and the city's largest recreation areas, Seawolf Park, is located on Pelican Island just north of Galveston Island. The Houston Group will offer the Park's "Sleepover Program" August 25-26. Both the USS Stewart and the USS Cavalla are available for this program where participants can "…sleep in the same bunks and walk the same decks that the brave crews did when they were taken into harm's way during World War II."

The USS Stewart is a World War II era Edsall Class Destroyer Escort 238 that was built in Houston, Texas, in 1942 and commissioned May 31, 1943. She commenced North Atlantic convoy operations in 1944, making 30 crossings with occasional enemy submarine and aircraft encounters. The USS Stewart was moved to the Pacific Theater in 1945 to conduct training exercises out of Pearl Harbor until the end of the war. Installed at Seawolf Park in 1974, she is one of only two surviving Destroyer Escorts in the United States and now stands as a memorial to the many men who served on Destroyer Escorts during World War II.

The USS Cavalla is a Gato class submarine built in the summer of 1943. She served in the Pacific Theater during World War II and was capable of carrying 24 torpedoes and a crew of 80 men. On June 19, 1944, on her maiden patrol, she sank the 30,000-ton aircraft carrier Shokaku. This earned her the Presidential Unit Citation. Most of her duty was spent assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, escorting convoys to Europe and the Caribbean. After the war in 1952, she underwent conversion to a new class of American sub, the SSK (Hunter/Killer), to meet the Soviet threat. The USS Cavalla is the only remaining ship from the World War II era that is credited with the sinking of an aircraft carrier.

This educational program for veterans and their families has a minimum requirement of 20 participants and a cost of $20 per person plus transportation. The sleepover includes a pizza dinner. For registration, email Roy Young at royyoung149@windstream.net. The deadline to register for this activity is June 30. See you on the Island!