The Auxiliary's View... 

by Darian Slayton Fleming

Another summer is upon us and that means nice weather, outdoor recreation, and fun with friends!

Exciting news: The Oregon Columbia Regional Group, under the leadership and advocacy of Newport residents Rae and Patricia Hail, has been hard at work arranging the purchase and installation of bronze plaques depicting the American flag and imprinted with the Pledge of Allegiance in Braille at major cemeteries and facilities in and around Oregon.

The flags are produced by the Kansas Braille Transcription Institute. Thanks to the regional group, they have already been installed at the VA Medical Center in Portland, Talking Book and Braille Services, Willamette National Cemetery, and the Roseburg National Cemetery Annex.

Other planned installations include the Eagle Point National Cemetery and the Guide Dogs for the Blind campus in Boring, Oregon. The regional group has funded the Braille flag with private donations.

“We are doing this so that blinded veterans can reconnect with the flag,” Ray said in an interview and published story in the Roseburg News-Review on June 11. “When you lose your sight, there are so many things you lose contact with—for example, as a veteran you’ve developed affection for the American flag and then you can’t see it.”

We are looking forward to meeting up with friends once again at the BVA 68th National Convention. As always, the BVA Auxiliary is planning informative and fun events this year. Remember to attend the Silent Auction and support funding for scholarships.

The ever-popular peer support panel will be on the schedule again. Valerie Duffy, VIST Coordinator from the Boise VA Medical Center, will be a presenter. We will also hear about a beautiful and peaceful retreat from Sharon Elder, Executive Director of the Oral Hull Foundation and Park in Sandy, Oregon.

BVAA members who have sent in their BVAA Volunteer Challenge Effort Notes will be recognized by the Auxiliary during the convention. Check the BVA website and www.bvaaux.org for up-to-date information.

Finally, we extend our sincere condolences to our Volunteer Coordinator extraordinaire, Margarine Beaman, on the death of her husband Bob. Margarine has been our ever-faithful worker for many years and we deeply appreciate her support. At this time, we extend our support to her in the form of our thoughts and prayers. God be with you and yours, Margarine.