by Joe Parker
After the August convention, I spent a week in Alexandria, VA with the Headquarters Staff. This allowed me to get a better understanding of the problems that are creating difficulties for the organization as well as the membership.
We are making every effort to make adjustments to the staff and the way we do business, in order to stay within a realistic budget and provide services to the membership and other blinded veterans.
I must ask you to give us, the BVA Board of Directors and the BVA Staff, some breathing room and to allow us to do the job you have elected us to accomplish. It is our goal to be as transparent as we can without jeopardizing any legal obligations, and to make sure we fulfill the mission of BVA. I will keep you informed of developments as they occur. Please look for these updates in future articles.
The month of October was especially good for BVA. Jhennicea Morrow, Director of BVA District 4, and I traveled to Palo Alto, Ca to participate in the opening of the new Blind Rehabilitation Center. I shared Center Stage with the National Commander of the Disabled American Veterans, DAV, in the ribbon cutting ceremony. After a short speech, I presented the Chief of Blind Rehabilitation Services with a framed copy of the BVA Seal and a framed Parchment of the Description and Explanation of the Seal to be displayed in a prominent place at the BRC.
After a luncheon on the enclosed garden patio, we were given a private tour of the facility. This is by far the best engineered and equipped rehabilitation center in the VA Health Care System. It has 34 beds, expanded training facilities, and facilities for family training. The entire second floor is dedicated to the rehabilitation of Blinded Veterans. The first and third floors are for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Services (PM&R) and Polytrauma Systems of Care Programs respectively. The entire facility encompasses 174,000 square feet and is designed for the administration of efficient, adaptive training and care of the patient’s medical needs.
Please don’t forget to acknowledge our fellow veterans and think of their well-being this Thanksgiving and Christmas season. Remember, we are Blinded Veterans helping Blinded Veterans. This can be a simple “thank you”, with a handshake, a hug, a simple nod, or a donation to the Blinded Veterans Association.