Dr. George E. Stocking: Decades of Devotion
by Stuart Nelson
Because he knows nearly everything there is to know about BVA and has done almost everything there is to do in leading the organization over a span of 40 years, the name George E. Stocking is now nearly synonymous with the Blinded Veterans Association. Dr. Stocking has been and is the guiding light for BVA’s direction and leadership.
Dr. George Stocking is the longest serving member of the Board of Directors in BVA history.
For the moment at least, as a result of an election in District 5, Dr. Stocking’s longtime Florida Regional Group will be the beneficiary of his deep knowledge in the area of benefits, legislation, and simply getting things done for blinded veterans. His countless and varied talents provides the means by which ideas are put into action.
A resident of Miami, Florida, Dr. Stocking first became acquainted with and joined BVA in the 1960s. He was one of only three BVA members at the 69th National Convention who had met Father Thomas Carroll. He held a number of offices within the Florida Regional Group prior to being elected to national office, including secretary and president. He was instrumental in the founding of many regional groups in the southeastern United States.
“I first began to more fully appreciate Dr. Stocking’s commitment and dedication to BVA, and indeed to all visually impaired and blinded veterans, when serving with him on the National Board of Directors for nearly six years,” said Past National President and Past Executive Director Tom Miller.
Tom also added: “Dr. Stocking proved to be a wonderful mentor, not only to me, but many other blinded veterans. His ability to encourage and inspire a genuine passion for the work and mission of BVA was and continues to be incredibly impressive. Few in the history of BVA have given as much to our organization and its success as Dr. George Stocking.”
Dr. Stocking served as the Director of District 5 for 33 consecutive years beginning in 1981 and five additional years in the 1970s. As such, he represented the blinded veterans of the southeast on BVA’s National Board of Directors throughout those two time periods. Previous to that, Dr. Stocking was BVA’s National President (1979-81) and National Vice President (1977-79). He was the regional group secretary while serving as the National President.
For much of his time on the Board of Directors, Dr. Stocking was a member of the Executive Committee and the BVA National Legislative Committee.
An Air Force veteran, Dr. Stocking was blinded as a result of burns suffered in a mid-air jet collision. In ten years of reconstructive plastic surgery, he underwent more than 100 operations. Before the end of this process, Dr. Stocking entered a vocational rehabilitation training program, where he was assigned as a darkroom technician. He was afterward placed as a Vocational Counseling Aide in Psychology Services at Coral Gables VA Medical Center, eventually leading to a Master of Science in Counseling in 1968 and completion of a Doctorate in 1970, both at the University of Miami.
He is also a graduate of the Central Blind Rehabilitation Center at the Hines, Illinois VA Medical Center.
Within the past few years Dr. Stocking retired from his position as a Rehabilitation Psychologist and Coordinator of the Rehabilitation Psychology Unit at the Miami VA Medical Center, where he worked for more than 40 years.
In addition to his duties with BVA, Dr. Stocking is a Past President of the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and the Florida Rehabilitation Association’s Dade Chapter. He has served on the Advisory Council of the Florida Division of Blind Services, the Florida Council on Independent Living, and the Advisory Committee of the WLRN Radio Reading Service.
In 1969, Dr. Stocking was awarded the Major General Melvin J. Maas Achievement Award. He earned the Irving Diener Award in 1977.
Dr. Stocking and his wife, Barbara, live in the Coconut Grove section of Miami. Between them, they have five grown children and five grandchildren.
Just as before when he completed terms of office, the service of this BVA stalwart will assuredly not cease now. BVA is where his heart and soul have been and still now belong, a fact for which the organization and literally thousands of blinded veterans could never begin to repay or give sufficient thanks.