From the Field StaffBVA Field Service Director Ed Eckroth

By Ed Eckroth

BVA and EVAS Act To Support Veterans

“It is a pleasure to let you know that EVAS and Dell are able to support veterans who may have a delay in using their VA-issued EVAS Personal Computers,” announced EVAS Corporate Vice President Sara Saint Jean on April 4 shortly after a conference call with a blinded veteran computer users group.

In early March, EVAS participated in the Blinded Veteran Computer Users Conference call. One veteran asked about the three-year warranty provided by EVAS on computers they provide to blinded veterans through VA. The warranty starts the day the computer is issued by EVAS. While the veteran may have received the EVAS Personal Computer while attending a VA BRC, it may have been in stock at the BRC prior to it being issued. EVAS quickly contacted Dell and developed a plan to provide veterans a complete three-year Dell warranty and EVAS services.

“I hope that the multiple scenarios below will meet the varying needs of our veterans as well as stocking at the BRCs so that veterans can receive the technology they need ‘on-demand’ while still benefiting from a complete three-year warranty and service,” Saint Jean said.

The veteran/VA staff must be able to provide either the EVAS Serial Number or Dell Tag Number when contacting EVAS for support. This can be found on both the large-print label on the exterior of the PC and on the EVAS Information Center from the Start Menu. Braille is available upon request. The warranty comes with the following guidelines and stipulations:

1. New orders placed for stock and/or if veterans’ information is not provided at the time of the order: EVAS will automatically apply a one-year grace period of support and warranty service, transparent to the veterans and at no additional cost, when the original three-year period expires. This means that if veterans contact EVAS within the fourth year after the original shipment, they will receive the same high level of support that they would if they were contacting EVAS in the first, second, or third year.

2. New orders placed with veterans’ information at the time of order: Typically, when an order is placed for specific veterans, they will be using the computer soon after EVAS ships them. While EVAS will not automatically apply a one-year grace period of support and warranty service (as stated in Item 1 above), EVAS understands that there may be occasions in which VA staff may order veterans’ systems much ahead of their discharge/readiness for use, or there are extenuating circumstances leading to the PC not being used for some time. With this in mind, EVAS welcomes VA staff to contact them at either the time of quoting the PC, or at the time of order, to review the veterans’ specific needs and apply the one-year grace period as a courtesy.

3. Existing EVAS systems within the three-year period being utilized by veterans that would be considered inclusive of Items 1 or 2: EVAS would like to offer the same consideration to veterans who are currently using an EVAS PC that was either ordered by a BRC for stock, or their information was not provided at time of order, or there was another special consideration for their delayed use of the PC. VA staff may contact EVAS to review the specific needs and apply the one-year grace period (again stated in Item 1) as a courtesy.

BVA thanks EVAS for their dedication and service to veterans and for their work on this project.

Keep Your Fingers Crossed!

BVA Executive Director Al Avina has informed us of a new exciting new initiative for the organization. He has written the following to include in our Field Service page:

BVA has applied for a federal grant to fund adaptive sports activities for our blinded veterans.

Our military service members are, by nature, active and engaged individuals. They are trained to face danger, as well as physical and mental challenges, in the service of our country.

But when veterans lose their vision, it takes time for them to adapt. It is common for them to begin to believe they can no longer do rigorous physical activities.

Participating in adaptive sports offers the training, support, and teamwork they crave. It helps restore their feelings of dignity, independence, freedom, self-reliance, and belonging.

Armed with renewed confidence, they can once again greet the challenges of life. They begin to set their own goals: continuing their education, finding a job, and rebuilding their lives. They focus on what they CAN do, not on what they CANNOT do.

Referring to competition in a context outside of sports and athleticism, there are many programs competing for only two federal grants. Nevertheless, BVA is uniquely positioned to succeed. Why?

  • Unlike many other nonprofits, we can demonstrate our ability to manage the funds efficiently and effectively because we are good stewards of our donors’ heartfelt contributions.
  • Unlike other organizations without a history, we have been addressing the needs of blinded veterans since World War II.
  • We are fiscally stable and well managed.

We are blinded veterans helping blinded veterans. And we wouldn’t be where we are without YOU! Stay tuned for more updates and keep those fingers crossed that the grant will be awarded to BVA!