BVA Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day (1/18/2019) 
   

In 1986, this Nation set aside a day to honor the birthday of slain civil right leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who led the fight for equal rights and justice for all African-Americans.  His "I Have A Dream" speech, delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, is timeless and his message of nonviolence gave hope and still inspires many to this day. Join BVA in honoring his life, work and legacy today.




 BVA Announces “Light Up the Darkness” Charity Event (1/10/2019) 
   

BVA Announces “Light Up the Darkness” Charity Event  (1/10/208)

 

Join us for the Blinded Veterans Association's first annual “Light Up the Darkness” event on 28 March at the State Theater, Falls Church, Va., featuring country artists Corey Batten and Kent Blazy.

Nashville songwriters, Batten and Blazy have worked with mega-stars including Chris Young, Black Shelton, Trisha Yearwood and Reba McIntire to name a few.  Country and cross-over audiences may not recognize the songwriter’s names, but clearly have loved their work including:

  • “Getting’ You Home” – The Black Dress Song
  • “If Tomorrow Never Comes”,
  • “Ain’t Going Down” – Til the Sun Comes Up,
  • “She’s Gonna Make It”, “Somewhere Other Than the Night”

Come and enjoy fun, great music, food, and community while supporting the important work BVA does for blinded veterans in need. There are 42,000 veterans in the United States who are legally blind, and more than 200,000 veterans with low vision loss of ability to perform daily necessary activities.  BVA provides focused support programs, advocacy, public education, volunteer services, scholarships and peer support as our heroes work to regain their lives after losing their sight.


When & Where:

March 28, 2019

State Theater

Falls Church, VA

 

For ticket information or sponsorship opportunities go Here(Link)



 BVA Celebrates World Braille Day (1/3/2019) 
   

BVA Celebrates World Braille Day

Each year, January 4 is celebrated as World Braille Day.  

This day marks the birth of Louis Braille (1809-1852), the French inventor of the reading and writing code for the blind.

He developed the system when he was 15 years old and it was inspired by a military system of ‘Night writing’ which assisted soldiers in communicating in the dark without sound and light.

Since Louis Braille’s time, braille codes have been developed for virtually every written language in the world. Thus, countless blind people worldwide owe a huge debt to Louis Braille whose ingenuity and tenacity made it possible for future generations of people with visual impairments to communicate and receive information efficiently and independently. 

Though many people have not learned to use it, braille continues to play a key role in the lives of blind people around the world. It increases independence, enables greater access to information, and enhances quality of life generally. BVA is proud to honor World Braille Day, and recognize Louis Braille’s astonishing achievement. May Louis Braille’s legacy live on through the efforts of today’s pioneers who continue to look for means of making braille more accessible to blind people around the world who can benefit from it.



 AT&T and Aira Partnership Enabled Blinded Veterans to Fully Participate During Monday Night Football (11/20/2018) 
   

AT&T and Aira Partnership Enabled Blinded Veterans to Fully Participate During Monday Night Football

By. Thomas Zampieri
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
On November 5 a partnership between the NFL Network, Dallas Cowboys, AT&T, and Aira enabled two members of the Blinded Veterans Association participate in the Dallas Cowboys Military and Veterans appreciation game on Monday Night Football. Aira provided the missing piece for visually impaired fans, the ability to understand what is happening on the field in realtime. This occurs through the transformative remote assistive technology that connects the blind with a network of certified agents via wearable smart glasses. Agents, serving as visual interpreters for the blind, help users accomplish a wide range of daily tasks and activities - from navigating busy streets to recognizing faces and literally traveling the world. Aira was used throughout various aspects of the game experience, like watching the National Anthem, opening game activities, viewing the game, as well as half-time show. Aira even assisted with locating seats, navigating the concessions area, and enjoy other amenities sighted visitors to AT&T Stadium take for granted.

 

The Blinded Veterans Association applauds the Cowboys and AT&T efforts to include blind and visually impaired Veterans partake in the full fan experience by becoming an Aira Access partner. This commitment was kicked off by enabling Retired Army Major Thomas Zampieri and Captain Timothy Hornik being the first Aira Explorers and BVA members test out Aira Access at the stadium. Timothy remarked, “far too long us blind NFL fans relied on our partners and neighbors to describe even the most basic elements of the game. AT&T, through their Aira Access partnership finally enabled me to fully enjoy the amazing fan experience they make possible for each and every home game.”

A media event occurred on Thursday, November 15th, which captured  the outcomes from this event. A combination of video footage of Tom and Tim using Aira throughout the game and comments from representatives of Aira and the AT&T demonstrated the importance of Aira in making the world more inclusive for blind and visually impaired Veterans. The video footage was released through social media accounts and news articles by the NFL, AT&T, Aira, and the Blinded Veterans Association.

BVA seeks to help blinded veterans look ahead to the possibilities and opportunities that their lives still present to them. This is done through social activities, counseling, educational forums regarding benefits and rehabilitation, and attending recreational events, updates on vision research and technology. Support is established with both veterans of earlier conflicts and their current military service members returning with penetrating and Traumatic Brain Injury visual disorders.  

            BVA again appreciates the strong support from AT&T, AIRA, and with the Dallas Cowboys NFL staff for making this possible. For more information about the trek and the day’s activities onsite, please visit www.bva.org  BVA is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization, and we will celebrate 74 years of continuous service on March 28, 2019 which is national Blinded Veterans Day to honor our nations blinded veterans and their families.

 


 Blinded Veterans Unite at 14th Annual Major Soltes Golf Event (11/20/2018) 
   

Blinded Veterans Unite at 14th Annual Major Charles Soltes Memorial Golf Event


Three blinded American veterans and other local California area blinded BVA members will share rehabilitation experiences that tell the story of their personal adjustment to blindness at the 14th Annual Major Charles Robert Soltes Memorial Golf Tournament in Irvine, California on Monday, October 8, 2018. The BVA members will join golfers for the annual competition to honor Major Charles Soltes at the Oak Creek Golf Club.


In October 2004, Major Soltes became the first U.S. Army optometrist-soldier killed in action while serving on active duty in Iraq.


The key note speaker for the golf event is former US Navy Petty Officer, Lonnie Bedwell. Bedwell was critically injured in a hunting accident in 1997 that took his sight instantly. However, it didn’t stop him from raising three daughters as a single father and becoming a renowned adventure sports athlete. He has kayaked the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, the Zambezi River in Africa, and the Gauley River in West Virginia – some of the most challenging stretches of whitewater in the world. He was named a 2015 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. He has climbed notable peaks such as Mt. Kilimanjaro, he downhill skis, and volunteers in his hometown in southern Indiana as well performing roofing, construction and supporting veteran related nonprofits and local schools.


Lonnie is an advocate for blind/visually impaired individuals, veterans, and anyone facing adversity in their life. He is the author of the award-winning book 226: How I Became the First Blind Person to Kayak the Grand Canyon and shares his passion for adventure and overcoming obstacles with audiences around the country as a motivational speaker. Lonnie recently lead a team of four other blinded veterans on a historic 226 mile kayaking adventure through the Grand Canyon Sept 1 to Sept 12th.


The participants will spend time together with the golfers in activities during the golf event on Monday. The Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) is a non-profit Veterans Service Organization that uses funds raised at the golf tournament for its Operation Peer Support (OPS) initiative, which supports various events during the year. OPS bring together Gulf War I and Gulf War II era blinded veterans to share their experiences, and also participate in various sports events throughout the year.


The BVA veterans taking part this year include; Navy veteran Lonnie Bedwell and Marine Corps veteran Carlos Pere who is president of Florida Regional Group BVA. Maj Thomas Zampieri (Ret.) is Vice President BVA. There are 5,000 men and women in the U.S. who have been affected by penetrating eye injuries, with an estimated 38,000 wounded in the VA system with suspected TBI vision system impairments. The BVA was organized March 28, 1945. Its motto is “blinded veterans helping blinded veterans.” The organization connects veterans and their families to each other (www.bva.org). Information about the tournament (www.soltesmemorial.com)