A New Home for National Headquarters


Left to right, FRA National Executive Director Tom Snee, Al Avina, and FRA National President John Ippert in lobby of FRA National Headquarters now housing BVA’s temporary headquarters. Photo courtesy of Chris Slawinski, FRA.
Left to right, FRA National Executive Director Tom Snee, Al Avina, and FRA National President John Ippert in lobby of FRA National Headquarters now housing BVA’s temporary headquarters. Photo courtesy of Chris Slawinski, FRA.

The Blinded Veterans Association’s National Headquarters has crossed the Potomac River to relocate its facilities and staff from the Nation’s Capital to the Old Town neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia. Because of BVA’s presence in the Nation’s Capital itself from its early history, the change is a monumental one.

BVA most recently conducted its daily business from an historic DC landmark at 477 H Street NW in the Chinatown neighborhood located some 13 blocks from both the White House and U.S. Capitol heading two different directions. The building was purchased in 1987, occupied in 1988 after refurbishing, and paid for in full in the early 1990s through a generous bequest from a BVA supporter. With the 1998 inauguration of the Verizon Center (formerly MCI Center), home of two professional sports teams and a host of entertainment events, the neighborhood flourished with new housing, restaurants, and stores.

BVA’s new location, a temporary one on the third floor of the National Headquarters building of the Fleet Reserve Association (FRA), also has a rich history. Dating back to 1749, Alexandria’s riverfront ten blocks from the office was an important port during the colonial, revolutionary, and Civil War periods. Today, Old Town is a revitalized waterfront with cobblestone streets, colonial houses and churches, museums, shops, and restaurants. The George Washington Masonic Memorial and General Robert E. Lee’s boyhood home are located within walking distance.

National Secretary Joe Parker presented FRA Executive Director Tom Snee with honorary Navy mug as symbolic thank you for assisting BVA with temporary office quarters. Photo courtesy of Lauren Armstrong, FRA.
National Secretary Joe Parker presented FRA Executive Director Tom Snee with honorary Navy mug as symbolic thank you for assisting BVA with temporary office quarters. Photo courtesy of Lauren Armstrong, FRA.

The Association looks forward to a new presence in Old Town Alexandria with FRA, a sister organization that has openly welcomed BVA to share a floor of its currently open office space.

Sincere and abundant thanks are due to FRA for the immense warmth and hospitality of its leaders and staff during this time of transition for the Blinded Veterans Association.