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The Blinded Veterans Association is a national non-profit organization concerned with the welfare of blinded veterans. Founded in 1945 by a group of veterans who were blinded in World War II, the BVA is chartered by the U. S. Congress and serves as the official representative of blinded veterans throughout the United States. The Blinded Veterans Association has been providing service to blinded veterans for over 74 years. For the 2020-2021 academic school years BVA will award 7 scholarships. Six (6) scholarships will be for $2,000 each available through the Kathern F. Gruber Scholarship Program and one (1) will be for $1,000 offered through the Thomas H. Miller Scholarship Program. The Scholarship Committee will choose seven 7 recipients and two alternates. This is the 37th year for the Kathern F. Gruber Scholarship Program and the 8th year for the Thomas H. Miller Scholarship Program.

Dependent children, grandchildren, and spouses of blinded veterans to include Active Duty blinded service members of the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible for the scholarships. The veteran must be legally blind; the blindness may either be service‑connected or non‑service connected. The veteran need not be a member of the Blinded Veterans Association. Additionally, to be eligible for the scholarship, an applicant must have been accepted for admission, or already be enrolled, as a full-time student in an accredited institution of higher education, or business, secretarial or vocational training school.

The scholarships are intended to be used to defray a student’s educational expenses, including tuition, books and other academic fees. Scholarship payments will be made by the BVA directly to the educational institution.

Applications for the scholarships may be obtained from our website: Requests can also be made by email to: [email protected] or by calling the office at 202-371-8880.

Completed applications and supporting materials must be returned to the BVA by no later than Friday, April 17, 2020 to qualify for the 2020-2021 academic school years. Due to time constraints related to processing the applications for the Scholarship Committee’s review, applications arriving subsequent to the deadline WILL NOT be accepted. Incomplete applications will not be submitted to the scholarship committee. It is the responsibility of the applicant not BVA to ensure a complete application.

Scholarships will be awarded on a “most-highly-qualified” basis utilizing the following criteria: answers to questions in the application form; transcripts of high school and/or college records; three letters of reference; and a 300-word-essay on the applicant’s post-education, lifetime career goals and aspirations.

Each scholarship is awarded for one year only. Applicants are advised that the number of scholarships a recipient may receive under each program will be limited to four (4).

For more information please visit our website:

Or contact our Administrative Director: Brigitte Jones — 202-371-8880 Ext. 330


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’s 2020-21 is now available. All submissions for scholarships are due by Friday, April 17, 2020. 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

Application Downloads

The Kathern F. Gruber and Thomas H. Miller Scholarships are in 2 formats (Microsoft Word) and in an Accessible PDF Fillable form.  Please read all instructions carefully and include all supporting documents.


PDF__KFG Application Form 2020-2021 (pdf)

WORD_KFG Application Form 2020-2021 (docx)


Tom Zampieri giving an award to Elizabeth Holmes

BVA presents several awards during our National Convention in August. These awards include:  The Irving Diener Award,  The Major General Melvin J. Maas Achievement Award, and  The David L. Schnair Award.  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. 


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. 

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

Major General Melvin J. Maas Achievement Award

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. 

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

David L. Schnair Award

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.    

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

Certificates of Appreciation Award

Nominations for BVA Certificates of Appreciation for 2020 are now being ac­cepted by the BVA National Headquarters.

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