by Dale Stamper
Greetings BVA members, fellow blinded veterans, and friends. I hope that everyone is having a great New Year thus far.
This year promises to be a very busy one for me as I continue to serve as your National President.
As Melanie has mentioned in her Update above, BVA will be center stage on March 3 as we deliver our overview of legislative priorities on Capitol Hill. This opportunity presents itself annually because of BVA’s status as a Congressionally chartered Veterans Service Organization. That charter was issued by Congress in 1958 and allows BVA to serve as the official voice nationally for blinded veterans.
In the testimony I am honored to present for BVA, I will point out the general concerns and needs of our constituency in the ongoing effort to make our voice heard on Capitol Hill. I will also cite specific and relevant legislation that has already been introduced and which affects us as blinded veterans.
Melanie is now performing the day-to-day advocacy work with the same goals.
Another important event of early 2016 is the meeting of the full Board of Directors beginning April 1. Referred to in the past as our midwinter meetings, we are getting together slightly later this year. The change in the scheduling does not change our agenda, however, as we will still be conducting the business of BVA, working to make the Association a strong advocate for our blinded veterans.
We are excited about our 71st National Convention August 21-26 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We are returning there for a convention after 60 years, the first one having been held as the 11th National Convention at Hotel Schroeder August 1-4, 1956! All of our members throughout the country are invited to join us for an informative and festive time. We conduct our official, serious business while enjoying the company of one another. Please carefully consider immediately the possibility of joining us and then make your arrangements.
Since I am on the subject of the convention, I would like to take the opportunity to encourage our regional groups to consider hosting a national convention. The Spokane Inland Empire Regional Group, my local group, hosted the convention three years ago. It was an enriching, rewarding experience. As our members worked together, bonds of friendship were strengthened and new workers stepped up to make the convention successful.
Start planning now for 2017 if you would be interested in hosting the BVA 72nd National Convention!
Contemplating the fact that BVA now approaches 75 years of serving blinded veterans of all eras is amazing to me. We must stay focused on the mission: To promote the welfare of blinded veterans so that, notwithstanding their disabilities, they may take their rightful place in the community and work with their fellow citizens toward the creation of a peaceful world. Attending the national conventions better equips us, both individually as well as collectively, to achieve our goals in support of this wonderful mission.
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