Spouses, dependent children, and grandchildren of blinded veterans are eligible for the annual Kathern F. Gruber Scholarship and Thomas H. Miller Scholarship to assist them with their higher education tuition. These military dependent scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit through an application process that is evaluated by a committee. Gruber and Miller scholarships for veterans dependents are for one year only but recipients can re-apply and receive the award up to four times. The blinded veteran family member is not required to be a BVA member for the spouse, child, or grandchild to receive a scholarship. Qualifications for both scholarships are the same except for an added emphasis on music and fine arts for the Miller award.

The complete application package, including instructions and a press release, can be downloaded below.

Kathern F. Gruber and Thomas H. Miller scholarship application for the academic year 2019-20 is now available. All submissions for scholarships are due by Friday, April 19, 2019. The Scholarship Committee usually meets to make decisions in early June. For additional assistance or information, please contact Brigitte Jones at 202-371-8880, Ext. 330 or [email protected].

Kathern F. Gruber and Thomas H. Miller Scholarships winners for 2019-2020 academic years:

  • Riley Despres, Jacksonville, FL – Florida State College
  • Haley Kennedy, Tucson, AZ – University of Arizona College of Nursing
  • Patrick Marcinko, Sykesville, MD – Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Alexander Schodt, Youngsville, NC – East Carolina University
  • Nicholas West, Dallas, TX – University of Texas at Austin
  • Kendra Wirtner, Cedar Rapids, IA – Clarke University
  • Maryssa Fairbanks, Tucson, AZ – Northern Arizona University


BVA presents several awards during our National Convention in August. These awards include:

The Irving 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 Major General Melvin J. Maas Achievement Award, is awarded 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 David L. Schnair Award, honors and recognizes outstanding contributions of volunteers. 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.

Complete descriptions of each award, lists of past honorees, and instructions on how to nominate someone can be found on the respective pages of each award. Nominations are generally due in mid-April of each year. 

Veterans Awards List

Maas Achievement Award winners

  • 2019 – Dr. Norman Jones, Union City, GA
  • 2018 John Linder of Honolulu, HI
  • 2017 Kennan Horn of Edmond, OK
  • 2016 Guadalupe (Walley) Guerra of San Antonio, TX
  • 2015 James Hogan of Canyon Country, CA

Irving Diener Award winners

  • 2019 – Elizabeth Holmes, Midland, GA
  • 2018 Floyd Everett of Evans, GA
  • 2017 Lenard Pope of Ewing, NJ
  • 2016 Ruben Sanchez-Burgos of Vega Alta, PR
  • 2015 Ruth Klein of Sandy, UT

David L. Schnair Award winners

  • 2019 – Johnny Busch, Atlanta, GA
  • 2018 Anthony Ricci of N. Providence, RI
  • 2017 Dennis O’Connell of Long Beach, NY
  • 2016 Betty Charlesworth of Tulsa, OK
  • 2015 Ronald White of Laurelton, NY