A Fond Farewell To Alyson Alt


Blinded Veterans Association National Headquarters staff in Washington, DC and dozens of BVA friends throughout the country have bid farewell to longtime Director of Membership Alyson Alt. Her last day with the Association was November 21.

A potluck lunch provided by the staff was held that same day in Alyson’s honor at the national headquarters.

Photographed in 1995 for BVA’s 50th anniversary, Alyson Alt began her tenure at BVA eight years earlier. She joined BVA in June 1987, two months prior to the Association’s 42nd National Convention in Orlando, Florida.
Photographed in 1995 for BVA’s 50th anniversary, Alyson Alt began her tenure at BVA eight years earlier. She joined BVA in June 1987, two months prior to the Association’s 42nd National Convention in Orlando, Florida.

“Alyson has been instrumental in the integration process of our new database and we would not have been able make this transition in the same way without her,” said Executive Director Al Avina. “She will be missed and we wish her the best in her future endeavors.”

Alyson joined BVA in June 1987 with the title Membership Clerk, hired by then Administrative Director Tut Vale. At the time, she lived in Washington, DC and made the short commute to the Headquarters office, then located at 1726 M Street NW one year before BVA acquired its present building in the Chinatown neighborhood. She later moved to Wheaton, Maryland, and, as early risers and callers are well aware from her cheerful, early-morning greetings to so many, began arriving at the office somewhere close to 5:40 a.m. daily.

Prior to joining BVA, Alyson worked in membership services with organizations such as the United Seniors Health Cooperative, the Gerontological Society of America, and the National Council on Aging. Alyson was attracted to such organizations because of her interest in gerontology dating back to her social welfare studies at Penn State University.

On her last day at BVA, Alyson Alt with current Executive Director Al Avina, left, and Immediate Past Executive Director Tom Miller.
On her last day at BVA, Alyson Alt with current Executive Director Al Avina, left, and Immediate Past Executive Director Tom Miller. 

Although Alyson’s titles changed during her 27+ years at BVA, she continued to perform all keyboarding of computer input for new and renewal memberships, changes of address, and general list maintenance. She has generated labels and printouts for regional group and in-house requests such as the BVA Bulletin. She has handled the production and distribution of quarterly statements of annual dues, statistical reports on membership, and upgrading of membership data.

Alyson has ensured that new memberships and renewals are processed immediately, maintaining a billing schedule for both. She has prepared membership status change reports for regional group secretaries and has responded to questions and inputs from members about criteria for membership and the associated policies and procedures.

“I will certainly miss everyone very much and will constantly be thinking of my many BVA friends, co-workers, and other associates,” she said.

During 27 years, Alyson enjoyed a personal friendship with dozens of BVA members who routinely called and emailed her, including Jack Shapiro of the New York Regional Group. The photo was taken at BVA National Headquarters in 2009 while Jack was participating in the production of a promotional video.
During 27 years, Alyson enjoyed a personal friendship with dozens of BVA members who routinely called and emailed her, including Jack Shapiro of the New York Regional Group. The photo was taken at BVA National Headquarters in 2009 while Jack was participating in the production of a promotional video.

In the January-February 1988 issue of the BVA Bulletin, just six months after her hire, Alyson’s sense of responsibility, organizational skills, and attention to detail were mentioned as appreciated contributions to BVA and to the efficient operation of membership services.

“We will all benefit from her efforts and skills,” said then BVA Director of Special Programs Mona Thomas.

Surely Mona’s predictions have come to full fruition over an extraordinary tenure of service. BVA has prospered from Alyson’s dedicated work on behalf of blinded veterans and their families. All who have known her and worked with her will sorely miss her.