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National Conventions




Blinded Veterans Association

70th National Convention
Louisville, KY
August 17-21, 2015
Register | Hotel | Schedule | Travel

Registration Package: [PDF]

Registration Form: Download before completing, we do not accept online registration as this time. [PDF][Word]

Exhibitor and Sponsor Information Package will be available upon request beginning in March.

Education Sessions: August 17-18, 2015

Exhibit Hall Dates: August 18-19, 2015. Contact for exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities.

Business Meetings: August 19–21 2015

Draft Schedule of Major Events

Sunday, August 16
12:30 pm – 6:00 pm Early Check In
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm Education/ Orientation Sessions

Monday, August 17
8:30 am – 5:00 pm Field Service Training
9:30 am – 4:00 pm Education Sessions - Primary focus on smart phones and mobile devices
9:30 am – 6:00 pm Registration & Information
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm American Printing House for the Blind (APH) Museum and Factory Tour
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm Off site Baseball game Louisville Bats vs Durham Bulls (pre-registration required all advanced tickets sold) tickets are available at the stadium

Tuesday, August 18
8:30 am – 4:00 pm Education Sessions
8:30 am – 5:00 pm Field Service Training
9:30 am – 6:00 pm Registration & Information
10:00 am – 5:00 pm BVAA Silent Auction
10:30 am – 6:30 pm Exhibit Hall
12:00 am – 1:00 pm Lunch and Learn Topic Non-24 (first 200 registered attendees only)
4:00 pm – 4:30 pm Rules Committee Meeting (members only)
4:30 pm – 5:00 pm Credentials Committee Meeting (members only)
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm BVA President's Welcome Reception Sponsored by American Printing House for the Blind and America’s VetDogs.

Wednesday, August 19
8:00 am – 9:30 am Welcome Session
9:45 am – 11:30 am Opening Business Meeting
10:00 am – 5:00 pm BVAA Silent Auction
10:00 am – 5:00 pm Field Service
10:30 am – 6:00 pm Exhibit Hall (Open to the Public)
1:00 pm – 1:30 pm Exhibitor presentation
1:40 pm – 2:10 pm Accessible Phones
1:00 PM – 4:00 pm Consumer Finance and Protection Bureau
2:00 pm – 2:00 pm Legislative and Field Service Updates
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm Bylaws & Resolutions Meeting
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm Off site Bowling
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm Guide Dog Users Group

Thursday, August 20
8:15 am – 12:00 pm BVA Forum
8:30 am - 9:45 am VA Prosthetics Update
10:00 am – 11:00 am Vision Research Presentation
11:00 am – 12:00 am ToastMasters Effective Meetings
8:30 am – 12:00 pm BVAA Silent Auction
12:30 pm – 2:30 pm Father Carroll Lunch Sponsored by National Industries for the Blind and Sprint
2:30 pm – 3:30 pm Officer Candidate Speeches
3:30 pm – 5:00 pm District Caucus Meetings
6:30 pm – 7:30 pm Toast Masters meeting

Friday, August 21
8:30 am – 12:00 am Closing Business Meeting (members only)
2:30 pm – 3:30 pm Leadership Training
1:00 am – 3:30 pm American Printing House for the Blind (APH) Factory and Museum Tour
6:00 pm – 9:30 pm Awards Banquet

Saturday, August 22
7:30 am – 9:00 am 5K Run/Walk/Role (due to anticipated participation this event has been modified for recreation and enjoyment not competition)
12:30 pm - 2:30 PM American Printing House for the Blind Film Festival (transportation not provided) August 22, 12:30-2:30 BLINDSIGHT (2006) Blindsight relates how six Tibetan teenagers, all blind, reached the 23,000 summit of Mount Lhakpa Ri, practically next door to Everest, with their teacher, a blind educator and adventurer who established the first school for the blind in Tibet, and their guide, blind mountaineer and adventurer Eric Weihenmeyer. It is also about the challenges of being blind, the important of building confidence in young people, and the clash of Western and Tibetan notions of success.

Convention Hotel: Marriott Downtown Louisville

Please call 1-800-228-9290 and use Group Code BVA in making reservations. The BVA room block rate of $106 per night applies Sunday–Friday. There is a 16.07 percent tax( tax is subject to change and is based on check out date). Wi-Fi Internet access throughout the hotel, valet/self-parking in the parking structure. Upgrades are also available starting at $10.00 additional per night. Restrictions may apply.

The hotel will honor the group rate three days before and three days after the conference dates, pending availability. Locking in your room reservation will make for a more leisurely stay before, during, and after the convention.

In accordance with the BVA Bylaws, the official convention announcement will be sent out in early May 2015 to all current members of the organization. Simply contact the BVA Membership Department at 202-371-8880, Ext. 3315, to confirm that your dues are up to date and that your email address or address of record is correct.

Travel Rates

Once you make travel arrangements, please contact Margarine Beaman at or at 512-921-1625 to coordinate for a BVA volunteer to meet you at your gate.

Airfare: Louisville, KY (SDF) welcomes major carriers from around the U.S. each day, with many non-stops and arrival times to select from.

TSA Helpline for Travelers with Disabilities
Travelers may call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227 prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint. TSA Cares will serve as an additional, dedicated resource specifically for passengers with disabilities, medical conditions or other circumstances or their loved ones who want to prepare for the screening process prior to flying.

TSA provides additional expedited screening benefits for Wounded Warriors.

To be eligible for this service, a Wounded Warrior or traveling companion should email the Military Severely Injured Joint Services Operations Center,, or call 1-888-262-2396 with itinerary information for the traveling party. Traveling companions will receive standard screening.

Remember These Dates

IRVING DIENER AWARD - Nominations due mid-April
The Diener Award is presented to the veteran who contributes in an outstanding way to the BVA as an organization rather than for personal achievement in rehabilitation and in the field of employment. The focus should be on the candidate’s regional group.

Each nomination must include detailed written justification concerning the contributions the veteran has made and the service rendered to his or her regional group. Additionally, the nomination must include a biographical sketch of the blind veteran, including data about his or her military service, education, job status, family life, community service and contributions, hobbies and pastimes. Please ensure that the nomination is accompanied by a nomination cover letter signed by an officer of the regional group or by the individual submitting the nomination.

MELVIN J. MAAS AWARD - Nominations due mid-April
The Major General Melvin J. Maas Achievement Award is presented annually to the veteran with service-connected blindness who has proven himself/herself outstanding in his/her field of employment and in his/her adjustment to daily living. The veteran nominated must have legal blindness rated as service-connected by the Department of Veterans Affairs or by the service in which the veteran served.

Major General Melvin J. Maas was a Marine General who was an early president of the Blinded Veterans Association.
From the beginning, presentation of the award has contributed to the enhancement of a positive image of blind people and to the elimination of the concept of helplessness.


The David L. Schnair Award honors and recognizes outstanding contributions of volunteers. David L. Schnair was one of the earlier members of the Blinded Veterans Association; he was BVA's Director of District I for many years and was an outstanding volunteer.

During his over 40-year tenure as a VA accredited Volunteer National Service Officer (VNSO), Mr. Schnair managed the New York Regional Group VNSO Office in the Manhattan VA Regional Office, where he constantly sought to inform Blinded Veterans of their VA benefits. He had a strong involvement with his community and in strengthening regional groups. As a result of his leadership, the Field Service Program was extremely successful in reaching out to Blinded Veterans. Mr. Schnair’s efforts to enhance the lives of Blinded Veterans were recognized by the VA, other organizations serving the blind, and the New York state government. He was a true role model and a totally dedicated volunteer. In view of his total commitment, a volunteer award bearing his name is certainly fitting.

The guidelines for the David L. Schnair Award are as follows:
The award may be given to a BVA volunteer office, a member, or an Auxiliary member, working in a BVA Volunteer Office who has provided at least one year of consistent and outstanding service as a BVA volunteer.

The volunteer candidate should have a good understanding of the VA system and should be an asset to the BVA Volunteer Office and Blinded Veterans. The volunteer should also be involved with community activities, including representing BVA as a spokesperson.

It is necessary for the Volunteer Office or individual working in a Volunteer Office to have a good regional group and volunteer service affiliation, and to be consistent in submitting monthly reports. Activities conducted at the medical center, regional office, or within the community should also be taken into consideration.

May: Registration Forms will be available online and requests for Printed Registration package may be submitted. Call 1-800-669-7079

June 17: Early registration deadline. Attendees who register with the hotel and submit their BVA convention registration by this date will be entered to win a complimentary four-night stay during the convention. Announcement of the winner will be made during the Awards Banquet

July 17: Deadline for mailing in registration form and payment to BVA National Headquarters. After July 17, the late registration fee of $20 per person will automatically be added to a registration, resulting in a $120 per person charge. July 18 is also the deadline for members and regional groups to submit a convention program announcement/ad page. Contact Christina Hitchcock at 800-669-7079 for additional information on placing announcements or ads in the convention program. July 17 is also the last day to obtain the special room rate, if indeed availability still exits at that time.


Courtesy of Serotalk, listen to the BVA 67th National Convention Opening Business Session and interviews with several convention exhibitors who demonstrated the latest in technology for the blind and visually impaired.


National Convention History

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