VETERANS ASSOCIATION (BVA)
FLORIDA REGIONAL GROUP, INC.
3801 Coco Grove Avenue
Miami, Florida 33133
FRG NEWSLETTER - MARCH 2007
FRG Presidents Message: Mark your calendar for the FRG State Convention May 4-6, in the lovely Plaza Ocean Club Hotel, Daytona Beach. If you have an empty back seat in your vehicle, I order you to fill it. Yeah! Sure, like an order will work with you all. So, if you would, please find another Blinded Veteran and spouse, if the case be so, and ask them if they would like to ride along.
Im pretty sure if one of you out there would like to come to the Convention and ask your VIST Coordinator, they might be able to find someone near you that has an empty back seat. For those of you who have empty back seats, notify your VIST Coordinator that you have an empty back seat, that the VIST could make an appropriate connection. My back seat is already reserved for a BVA member and his wife who live across town from me. Its our annual field trip to Daytona. This year, like every year, is going to be very enjoyable. As I noted in my last Newsletter, our VIST and BROS are holding training meetings during our Convention, so, they are always a welcome sight to run into while traveling the halls. Listen closely to their voices, for you may not recognize them outside their VA facility environment. For some strange reason, their voices seem to be a bit more, how could I say, jovial, happy, thats the ticket. Seems that everyone in attendance, have a similar happy voice quality. The Convention Newsletter was sent out already, and you should all have received it. So I will not go into great detail over that information. However, please make your hotel reservations early to insure your room. There are Two things I do wish to cover. First is the Horseshoe Pitching Tournament. I sort of touched on it in previous Newsletters. It appears that we will be holding our first annual Horseshoe Pitchers Tournament. Doug White from the Center for the Visually Impaired, has been working with us, trying to get it set up. The plan is to have it at the hotel,_preferably on or near the beach. Were asking the Center to help set up a pot-luck picnic for the participants. Believe it or not, there are establiThed rules tO Blind Horseshoe Pitching and those rules shall apply, unless we dont see you break them. This, of course, will be a morning event, on Friday the fourth, ending with the picnic, because it all has to be rapped up so everyone can register for the Convention at 1 PM and get ready for the Informational Seminar Meeting at 3 PM. During the dinner dance that evening, well have the awards presentations for the different classes of winners. If you want to participate, you will need to be there in the morning of the fourth. Please call Bill Burgess at: (386) 445-4987 or me, Paul Kaminsky at: (904) 291-0576, so we will know how many are planning to join us. The second item is that Im very pleased to announce that our Guest Speaker for the Installation Banquet, Saturday night, will be the Honorable Rear Admiral (retired) Leroy Collins, Jr., Secretary of the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs. Rear Admiral Collins has served under appointments by Governors Graham, Chiles, and just this past January was appointed by Governor Crist as Secretary of the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs. Eagle Scout, US Naval Academy Graduate (1956), Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, candidate for the US Senate in the last primary election, and believe me the list goes on and on. I personally am looking forward to meeting with him as I do hope that you all will be. One last item, we need volunteers to work in the Hospitality room on Saturday evening before and after the Banquet. Also a volunteer to store the left over supplies until the next Convention. If you wish to volunteer, call me Paul Kaminsky at the number listed earlier. Keep the mission alive and help one another to help each other. Paul W. Kaminsky, FRG President.
FRG AUXILIARY PRESJDENTS MESSAGE: The Time when we are going to be able to get together to share ideas, strengthen our friendships, and welcome old and new members is getting closer. The Daytona Beach weekend, at the FRG State Convention, is a weekend I always look forward to. So many of you have done wonderful things this year and our applicants for the FRG Auxiliary Scholarships are many. It will be difficult for the Committee to choose. I have all of the confidence in the world in them and Im sure they will come up with two worthy candidates. This year, I thought that it would be fun for the Auxiliary members to have a breakfast meeting. Ideas and good conversation seem to spring forward over a good cup of coffee. However, the hotel has stated that a breakfast meeting served in our meeting room would be $10.95 pIus 21% tip or about $13.25 Therefore, I will order a breakfast meeting for those who wish to attend in the dining room. However, those who do not want to join us for breakfast are welcome to join, at least for a cup of coffee. If you feel that you do not want to have a breakfast meeting, please let me know. I would like to know how many would like to have breakfast, so that I can give the hotel a count. Again we will have a raffle and prizes. Bring your donations, so that we can have a nice raffle. We have had some great gifts in the past. Lets make the raffle prizes worth while taking home. We also will have our annual election of Officers. Think about who you would like to have as your officers for the next year. If anyone thinks they might like to hold an office, be sure and have your name in nomination. I'm looking forward to seeing all of you again. Joyce Thornton, FRG Auxiliary President.
FRG District Meeting: For the first time, the FRG will hold a District meeting in Pensacola. The meeting will be held on Saturday, April 7 at the Mesquite Charlies Steak House, 5901 North W Street in Pensacola. Northwest District Director Darryl Goldsmith and FRG Past President Terry King have worked to schedule this first time meeting. The meeting will begin at 11:30 AM with a period of socializing, followed by lunch at noon. For lunch, you will have a 12 ounce Choice Sirloin Steak, baked potato, vegetable, rolls and butter, ice tea and coffee and dessert. Although the cost to the FRG is $15 per person, those in attendance will pay only $5 including tax and tip. BYs in the panhandle are served by the Biloxi VA Medical Center and have little service. VIST Coordinator John Olson is only permitted to visit the Pensacola VA Clinic once a month. This is not sufficient to coordinate services for Blinded Veterans. We urge all BVs in the Panhandle to attend this important meeting so that we can organize advocacy for BVs. Make plans to attend this important meeting. Paul Kaminsky, FRG President, will preside at the meeting following lunch. VIST Coordinator John Olson has been invited to attend and provide information about the VIST Program. Information about services and benefits of interest to BVs and their families will be available. Please come and add your support to better services in the panhandle. We need to notify the restaurant how many will be attending by April 4. To make your reservations, write Darryl Goldsmith, 709! Rampart Way, Pensacola, FL 32505 or call: (850) 554-7819, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call, in Pensacola, Paul Kaufman (850) 458-5851. Please make an effort to attend, we need to work together to improve services in the panhandle. If you make a reservation and cant come, please call Darryl Goldsmith and cancel before April 4 so we wont pay $15 for reservation made and not used.
FRG State Convention Reminder: This is your final reminder that The FRG State Convention will be held at the Plaza Ocean Club Hotel , 640 North Atlantic Avenue, Daytona Beach, FL 32118, May 4 - 6. This is our second year at this 190 room hotel directly on the Atlantic Ocean. Your Convention Committee secured the low guaranteed group rates of only $72 per day, for I to 4 persons per room.
The Plaza Ocean Club Hotel has completed its renovations since our last Convention and all rooms are equipped with refrigerators and microwaves. All rooms have ocean view balconies. These low
convention rates will be in effect 3 days before and/or 3 days after the Convention. So, you may come early or stay late for an extended vacation. The low Convention rates are guaranteed for reservations
made on or before April 13th. Reservations made after April 13th, will be at the low Convention rate but on a space available basis. We encourage you to make your reservations soon to insure your
accommodations. You may cancel your reservation and receive a full refund of your deposit, if you cancel 24 hours before noon on the day you were scheduled to arrive. You may send your reservation to the Hotel along with your check for one nights room rate and 12.5% tax or you may use your credit card number to guarantee your reservation. Other than your deposit, the hotel will not accept checks for your remaining charges. You must have a credit card or cash.. Better yet, as time is short, you may make your reservation by calling the toll free reservation number at: (800) 874-7420. There are a large number of hotels using that reservation number. be sure to specify the Plaza Ocean Club Hotel and that you want the guaranteed group rate, indicated above, for the Florida Blinded Veterans Association Convention. If you have any problem with the reservation clerks, call George Stocking at (305) 446-8008, evenings and weekends.
Convention Registration Fee: The Convention Registration Fee will be $35 per person (for each By, family member, or friend attending). However, an early registration fee of only $30 per person will be in effect for registration received on or before April 13th. The registration fee will cover general Convention activities, including the dinner-dance on Friday night, the Hospitality Room, and Banquet on Saturday night. Please make your check payable to the BVA and send it to: 3801 Coco Grove Avenue, Miami, Florida 33133. Please include the first and last name of each person registering, so that we will be able to make name tags prior to the start of the Convention. It will be helpful if you will send your registration fee in advance. This will greatly speed up the late registration at the Convention. It takes a lot of volunteer work to put on this Convention and your assistance will be greatly appreciated.
The Convention Late Registration Desk will open at 1 PM on Friday, May 4, in the hotel lobby. If you have not pre-registered (see registration information above), you may pay your late Registration at that time. If you have pre-registered, stop by the Registration desk and pick up your name tags and Convention Program. We need everyone to check in so that we can give the chef the proper count for the dinner dance and Banquet.
The opening session will be held in the second floor Ball room at 3 PM on Friday, May 4. The Informational Seminar will be open with a presentation on Prosthetics and Sensory Aids for the Blind by Donald Freyberger, VISN 8 Prosthetics Representative. this is the time to get questions answered about prosthetics. Next, Charleen Szabo, new Director of the West Palm Beach VAMC will present a program on new Blind Rehabilitation services in the planning stages at that VAMC. This will be an important presentation, as it will outline proposed improvements in services for BVs.
The Dinner dance will begin with dinner at 7 PM followed by dancing. Again, this year, Marsha Summers will provide the music, both during the dinner and for dancing afterwards. Those of you who have attended before will remember what a great job she does playing music for good listening and good dancing. New conventioneers will be pleased with an enjoyable musical interlude. A cash bar will be available for liquid refreshment. this should be a fun evening, so join in the good times.
Saturday, May 5, The Annual Florida Regional Group Business Meeting will be held at 9 AM in the 2nd floor Ball Room. In addition to reports on the past year and planning the FRG Program for the coming year, you will have the opportunity to share your thoughts and comments on future FRG activities. Elections for FRG Officers and District Directors, for the coming year, will be held. The election of a Delegate and Alternate Delegates to the 62nd BVA National Convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico in August, will also be heard. Proposed resolutions for presentation to the BVA National Convention will be considered.
The FRG Auxiliary will also hold its Annual Meeting at 9 AM on Saturday in the Osprey Room on the first floor. The BVA Auxiliary is not a Ladies Auxiliary but is open to all family members and friends of the BVA.
At 2 PM on Saturday, the second Informational Seminar will be held. It will start with a presentation by Mike Gunde, Chief of the Bureau of Brail and Talking Book Services. Mike will bring us up to date on innovations in the Talking Book Program. Next, a presentations on veterans benefits will be presented by Olivia Delgado-Newton, VA Regional Office Liaison to the Florida VIST Coordinators.
The Hospitality Room will be open from 5 to 7 PM. The Installation Banquet will be held at 7 PM in the second floor Ball Room. Paul Kaminsky, BVA President will be Master of Ceremonies. As indicated earlier, Rear Admiral Leroy Collins, Jr., will be our Guest Speaker. Prior to the end of the Banquet, the FRG Auxiliary will hold the drawings for its raffle. The Banquet will close with the Installation of FRG Officers and District Directors and FRG Auxiliary Officers for the coming year. Join us in the hospitality Room, after the Banquet for more socializing and refreshments. Sunday will be the time for goodbyes and travel home.
Remember to send your hotel reservation slip and deposit to the Plaza Ocean Club in Daytona Beach and your Convention registration fee to the BVA-FRG in Miami. We look forward to meeting you in Daytona Beach May 4-6. Please join us for a productive meeting and enjoyable weekend.
FRG-BVA Meeting Schedule
April 7 FRG Meeting in Pensacola
May 4-6 FRG State Convention, Plaza Ocean Club, Daytona Beach
August 14-19 BVA National Convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paul Kaminsky ERG President
Joyce Thornton ERG Auxiliary President
George Stocking Editor
End of Newsletter