Greenfield Blinded Veteran Addresses Traditional Luncheon at National Convention

John J. Carter, President of the Blinded Veterans Association’s (BVA) Wisconsin Regional Group and most recently the group’s Judge Advocate, will address the organization’s Father Carroll Memorial Luncheon on Thursday, August 26, in the Crystal Ballroom of the Hilton Milwaukee City Center Hotel.

The luncheon is an annual event at BVA’s convention, now in its 71st year. The event honors the organization’s National Chaplain who served from 1946 until his unexpected death in 1971. Father Carroll is considered a pioneer and historic figure of epic proportions in the field of blind rehabilitation for his writings and work directly with the blind that began during World War II with the return of service members who had been blinded in combat.

Carter served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. After receiving an honorable discharge, he went on to become a Patrol Officer with the Milwaukee Police Department. He retired from the force due to disability when a sniper’s shotgun blast left him totally blind.

Not allowing his disability to stand in his way, he attended St. Paul’s Rehabilitation Center for the Blind in 1968. He later graduated from Marquette University in three years at a time when there were few accommodations for the blind and visually impaired. He went on to receive a law degree from Marquette in 1974 and accumulated more than 40 years of trial experience in both criminal and civil cases. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Association of Developmental Disabilities and the Center for Blind and Visually Impaired Children, Inc. He has also been a member of the Supreme Court Interdisciplinary Committee on Court-Related Needs of the Elderly and People with Disabilities.

Father Carroll, for whom the event is named, was himself the featured luncheon speaker for the organization 21 times between 1946 and 1971. Throughout his service he was considered a friend, an advisor, and a spiritual leader. Throughout his life he worked to bridge the significant divide between war and civilian blind.

Carter’s address will be one of several highlights of the gathering, which occurs August 22-26. Some 100 blinded veterans and an additional 200 family members, exhibitors, presenters, and friends of BVA will participate in the five-day gathering.