Major General Melvin J. Maas
Achievement Award

The Blinded Veterans Association annually presents its Major General Melvin J. Maas Achievement Award 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.  Since you are in close touch with the blinded veterans in your area and are aware of their accomplishments, you are well qualified to recom­mend some of them for this award.

The Major General Melvin J. Maas Achievement Award was initiated by the late Baynard H. Kendrick, the famous mystery writer and author of Lights Out, the story of a World War II blinded veteran.  The award is named in honor of the well‑known Marine General who was an early president of the Blinded Veterans Association and was Chairman of the President’s Committee on Employment of the Handicapped at the time of his death.

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.

It would be greatly appreciated if you would send your 2019 Maas Achieve­ment Award nomination, accompanied by a biographical sketch of the blinded veteran and the details of the veteran’s outstanding accomplishments, to the BVA National Headqua­rters (Attn: Administrative Director) to arrive by not later than Friday, April 19, 2019.

An original and three copies of each nomination are required for use by the judges chosen to make the selection.  Judging is done by three persons who have no affilia­tions with the BVA.


The recipient will be presented the award at BVA’s 74th National Convention at the Marriott Tulsa Hotel Southern Hills, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Please see below for a list of previous recipients of the Major General Melvin J. Maas Achievement Award.  A blinded veteran may receive this award only once!

We hope that you will submit nominations for the award this year, as so many of you has done in the past and help make the 2019 competition the best ever. 

Format/Outline For Nominations For The Major General Melvin J. Maas Achievement Award

IMPORTANT NOTICE:  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.


  1. Your Maas Award recommendation should consist of a cover letter with two enclosures, i.e., award recommendation with detailed justification and a biographical sketch.
  2. The detailed justification enclosure should sufficiently justify why this blinded veteran is deserving of the Maas Award. To assist you in this regard, the following outline is provided:
  3. Outline in detail what the veteran’s current work involves — what he/she does in the average day? How much help does the veteran receive in performing his or her work?  Is the help provided of a nature specifically required by blindness or a type required by anyone performing the same job?  How has he or she excelled in this job.
  4. Did the veteran get his or her current job through personal effort, or was the veteran placed by the Department of Veterans Affairs or another agency?
  • How did the veteran get the training required to do the job?
  1. Is the veteran totally blind or partially sighted? Does the veteran have other disabilities?
  2. Outline in detail the veteran’s attitude toward his or her dis­ability; toward sighted people?
  3. Outline in detail the veteran’s active participation in community life, civic organizations, etc.
  1. The biographical sketch enclosure should include the following:
    1. Military experience
    2. Education
  • Work Experience
  1. Honors, if any
  2. Professional organizations
  3. Hobbies/Pastimes
  4. Remarks — additional comments/amplifying data which might help the judges in evaluating the achievements of the veteran are invited.


1947 Leonard Shelhamer
1948 Thomas C. Atkeson
1949 Orlando A. Milano
1950 Paul R. Grant
1951 Hilliard F. Kirby
1952 Jesse S. Castillo
1953 Russell C. Williams
1954 Charles A. Boswell
1955 Criss Cole
1956 James L. Womack
1957 Welker O. Shue
1958 Vincent L. Lopez
1959 Thomas J. Kennedy, Jr.
1960 Walter F. Stromer
1961 Hez J. Bussey
1962 H. Smith Shumway
1963 Bob Cowley Riley
1964 John E. Hodgin
1965 Thomas C. Hasbrook
1966 Orlando A. Milano
1967 Richard C. Nooe
1968 Paul Duke
1969 George E. Stocking
1970 Donald H. Wedewer
1971 Thomas A. Dargie
1972 Michael A. Naranjo, Jr.
1973 John Amaniera, Jr.
1974 Salvatore D’Amico
1975 Michael W. Johnson
1976 E. Sid Allen
1977 Irvin P. Schloss
1978 Charles A. Boswell
1979 George M. Gillispie

1980 Dennis R. Wyant
1981 George Woody Stafford
1982 Jerry R. Monroe
1983 Ronald L. Miller
1984 Ellsworth L. Sharpe
1985 William W. Thompson
1986 Clayton E. Simons, Sr.
1987 Joe W. Burns
1988 Robert A. Bottenberg
1989 Buddy B. Spivey
1990 J. Dennis Cadigan
1991 Don E. Garner
1992 Stephen C. Maguire
1993 Carl L. Kirksey
1994 William H. Fullerton, Jr.
1995 Ernie Flynn
1996 Michael D. Burton
1997 Elizabeth R. Carr
1998 David M. Szumowski
1999 Dennis M. Lewis
2000 Clifford D. Phillips
2001 Vito DeSantis
2002 Wilbert Vandenbos
2003 Dr. Sidney Ordway
2004 Reverend Robert “Dale” Stamper
2005 George Brummell
2006 Randolph H. Greene
2007 Peter Link
2008 Roy E. Young
2009 Dr. Roy Kekahuna
2010 Loyal Eugene Apple
2011 Dan Standage
2012 Thomas L. Hicks
2013 Joe Parker
2014 Paul MImms
2015 James Hogan
2016 Guadalupe “Walley” Guerra
2017 Kennan Horn
2018 John Linder