BLINDED VETERANS ASSOCIATION (BVA)
FLORIDA REGIONAL GROUP, INC.
3801 Coco Grove Avenue
Miami, Florida 33133
FRG NEWSLETTER, June, 2007
Recorded FRG Newsletter: For 25 years, the Florida Talking Book Library in Daytona Beach has recorded our FRG Newsletter, free of charge, to all BV's who desire to receive it in a recorded form. It takes a great deal of volunteer work to accomplish this task. The Newsletter is recorded on a standard tape speed so that BV's who do not have a TB cassette player may listen to it on a standard tape recorder. BV's in Florida greatly appreciate the work done through the TB Library in providing this service. If you prefer to use the printed copy and do not want the recorded version, please let us know. We can code your file, at the BVA office in Washington, so that your label will not go to the TB Library. The TB Library does not generate the label for the FRG Newsletter. Consequently, you need to notify us if you want to cancel your cassette subscription. Just cut the label off of the envelope containing the print copy of this Newsletter and send it to the address at the top of this Newsletter, indicating you want to cancel the cassette version and we will code your file. .
FRG President's Message: Well folks, another FRG State Convention is behind us and a good one it was. As forecasted, we kicked off our first annual FRG Horseshoe Pitching Tournament. Twelve members participated, and it was a great fun adventure. Honors for total blindness went to a tie between Ron Mackie from Jacksonville and Rick Calissi from Ocala. The low vision honors went to Leonard Hieber from Punta Gorda. It is definitely a keep for next year's Convention. Special, and I really mean special ,thanks to Mickey Burgess, Nancy Cantrell, Mary Kunkle, Myrtle Wells, Elva Dexter, and my wife Maureen, for clanging in the stakes so we could zero in on the targets and finding and running the horseshoes back to the throwers. Without their help, it would have been a total disaster. Notes were taken on how to do better next year, like having water, chairs, and shade. We found out later that there were spectators that wanted to participate, but thought it was too late. So, they stood silently and enjoyed the fun we were all having. Next time, might I suggest that standing silently around a bunch of Blinded Vets is not going to get one noticed? Just say, "got room for one more" and we will find room. Of course the dinner dance went off without a glitch. Marsha Summers, our entertainment, played song after song for us ands once we cleared the floor of tables, the dancing went on for quite awhile. First thing the next morning, the dreaded business meeting took place. Why we have to ruin a fun time with boring meetings, I'll never understand. I know, they tell me it necessary. Something about electing officers, approving budgets, and other like stuff. Anyway, I counted the members as they went in, and the same number left the room, which tells me we all made it out alive. Moving on to the evening, the Installation Banquet, now wow! If you weren't there, I'm really sorry. We had a terrific M.C., okay! it was me, and I wasn't that great, but at least I didn't faint. We kicked off the dinner with the Plainsfield, New Jersey Jr. ROTC Drill Team presenting the colors. That was quite impressive in itself. The Drill Team lined the room with smartly uniform clad young men and women, as the flag was paraded in. Then our honored guest speaker, Rear Admiral Leroy Collins gave us a brilliant insight into how our state looks out for our veterans' well being. Florida is truly a veteran friendly state. Then came the happy hour in the hospitality room, where everyone buys everyone else a free drink. Them, it was over. I think we need longer Conventions. So, maybe for next year, start dropping pennies into the mail jar and save up for next year. Hope to see you there.
Reminder: The applications for the Iowa TEE Tournament have been mailed out. If you attended last year, you should have received a new application already. If not then visit our FRG web site and down load a copy or call me at (904) 291-0576 and I'll mail you a copy.
FRG Lapel Pins: Bob Fick, Lakeland BV, submitted a design and source of supply for our first BVA-FRG Lapel Pin. The membership approved the purchase of 100 of these pins. The plan is to sell them starting at our luncheon meetings. The pin is gold with the BVA logo over the Florida outline, and the letters BVA FRG at the top part of the pin. The anticipated price is $5 per pin. Bob, thank you for your efforts. Paul Kaminsky, FRG President
FRG Auxiliary President's Message: Hello! Fellow Auxiliary members. I hope that you have recovered from the FRG State Convention and everyone had a great time. The Auxiliary meeting seemed to go well. Things were done differently this year. I felt that the Auxiliary members would be more relaxed and enjoy themselves while they were conducting Auxiliary business if they had a cup of coffee and refreshments. Initially, there was a mix up but finally, the hotel graciously gave us complementary coffee and muffins. This of course made everyone happy. Next year, I will ask for the complementary libation. Everyone was relaxed, expressed themselves, and the meeting was worth while. We had the election of officers and they are the following: President - Joyce Thornton, Vice President - Nancy Geden, Secretary - Patricia Taylor, and Treasurer - Maureen Kaminsky. The President gave the Auxiliary Charter that was presented to the FRG Auxiliary at the National Convention in Buffalo last August. It was voted that the Charter would stay with the office of Secretary. We had several applications for the FRG Auxiliary Scholarships this year. The Committee had difficulty choosing because they were all worthwhile this year. However, Lily Bean from Ft. Myers won a scholarship for the second time, as her grades were outstanding, as were her community service activities. She will be attending Boston College again this year. The second scholarship was awarded to Peggy McCloud, a single mother of a 12 year old son. She wishes to go to a computer school to be a computer programmer and technician so she can earn a living for her son and herself. Her grades were high and her community service was outstanding. These two recipients will receive a letter in the mail from the Scholarship Chairman and their checks will be mailed to the institution of learning that they have chosen to attend. For those who were not recipients, please apply again. Even though you were not selected this year, there is always another year. Keep applying and as President of the FRG Auxiliary, I appreciate your efforts to fill out the application. The Auxiliary program of reaching out to a lonely vet so their phone rings once in awhile is working. Pat Holcomb found a new friend in the Ocala area who had a phone that never rang. Now, they are friends. Try to make someone's phone bright with a friendly hello, are you okay? You can't imagine how this can help. Hope to see all of you at the various luncheons around the state. If you have anything to ask me or to request, you may get in touch with me at: (239) 433-7722 or (239) 839-5825 which is my cell phone, or (239) 939-3939 ex 6284 at work. Have a wonderful summer and stay safe. Joyce Thornton, FRG Auxiliary President.
Minutes, FRG Annual Business Meeting: The meeting was called to order at 9:01 AM by President Paul Kaminsky in the Ball Room at the Plaza Ocean Club Hotel in Daytona Beach. The pledge to the flag was led by FRG Past President Terry King and the invocation was given by George Stocking. A motion was passed to waive the reading of the 2006 Annual Business Meeting Minutes and to accept them as published in the June 2006 FRG Newsletter. The Treasurer reported a balance of $23139.17, in the FRG checking account on April 20, 2006. During the year, income totaling $58924.90 was received, making a total of $82064.00 available in the checking account for FRG use. Expenditures during the year totaled 15821.97. In addition, $40,000 was transferred from the checking account to General Fund Certificates of Deposit. Thus the balance in the checking account, available for FRG use on April 20, 2007, was $26242.03. During the year, three major fund raising events occurred . Larry Newman, Southwest District Director coordinated, with the help of Joyce Thornton VIST Coordinator and Terry King, a White Cane Walk-A-Thon in Ft. Myers raising $1048; Southeast District Director Paul Mimms with the leadership of Mike Nagelberg, raised $1365 through a Walk-A-Thon in Palm Beach County. In addition, Bob Fick a BV in the Lakeland area, invited FRG President Paul Kaminsky to speak to the Cypress Lakes Veterans Association, resulting in $2557 being donated to the FRG. In addition, we received a bequest of $29575 from the estate of Howard Strosser, a BV from the Ft. Myers area. The value of the CD's in the general fund, on April 20, 2006 was $28328.21. Interest on the two CD's during the year was $998.75 . This left a balance in these two CD's on April 20, 2007 of $29327.00. During the year $40,000 was transferred from the checking account to three CD's. Interest on those 3 CD's was $964.15. The total funds in the 5 CD's as of April 20, 2007 was $70291.15.The total funds available, excluding the Scholarship Fund, on April, 20, 2007 was $96,533.18. On April 20, 2007 the FRG Auxiliary Scholarships Fund CD , a restricted account, was valued at $12,650.98, available for future FRG Auxiliary Scholarships. The Convention accepted the Treasurer's report as presented.
The Membership Committee reported the Florida Regional Group had a total of 1302 Members and Associate Members as of May 1, 2007. This is an increase of 4 over the 1298 at the time of the 2006 FRG State Convention. The FRG continues to have the largest membership of any Regional Group in the BVA. It will take a significant effort on the part of all BV's in Florida if the FRG is to exceed the 1350 we had at the end of the 2005 BVA Fiscal Year, June 30, 2005. In addition to those Blinded Veterans who actively support the BVA, there are a total of 880 BV's on the FRG - BVA mailing list who have not paid their dues for 2007. The FRG - BVA new mailing list contains a total of 2182 Blinded Veterans in the State of Florida. A discussion was held regarding those Blinded Veterans who were not Members or Associate Members of the BVA. Those in attendance were encouraged to become actively involved in recruiting new Members and Associate Members during the coming year. Now that we have reached 1302, let's work for 1500 members.
The District Directors presented reports regarding activities in their Districts. This included information about their Assistant District Directors to expand contacts with Blinded Veterans in the six Districts. A highlight of Darryl Goldsmith's report was the holding of the first FRG Northwest District Meeting In Pensacola on April 7.
The Legislative Committee presented information regarding National legislation of interest to Blinded Veterans. All Blinded Veterans in attendance were encouraged to become actively involved in writing to their Senators and Representatives regarding legislation. President Kaminsky encouraged all BV's with computer access to add their name to the BVA-FRG Distribution List. BV's on that list receive legislative and other current information of interest to BV's in Florida.
President Kaminsky opened the floor for the discussion of old business. The format of the FRG Newsletter was reviewed. There were no recommendations regarding the Newsletter. Consequently, it will continue with the same format as in the past. The FRG District meetings were discussed. President Kaminsky announced that the FRG would hold meetings in Orlando on September 1, Jacksonville in October, Ft. Myers in November, Clearwater in December, Ocala in January, Tampa in February, Ft. Lauderdale in March, and Pensacola in April. No recommendation was made to change the schedule or location of the District meetings. A discussion was held regarding the remaining activities at the 2007 FRG State Convention.
President Kaminsky opened the floor to New Business. A motion was passed to donate $1000 to the Talking Book Library. A motion was passed for the FRG to take out a one page ad ($100) in the 62 BVA National Convention Program. A motion was passed to purchase 100 BVA-FRG lapel pins at $2.86 each. This pin is shaped like the State of Florida. The pins will be sold at FRG District Meetings for approximately $5 each.
The 2007 FRG State Convention was discussed. The Convention Chairman George Stocking reported on contacts with the management of the Plaza Ocean Club Hotel. The proposed arrangements for the 2008 FRG Convention will be essentially the same with an increase from $72 to $77 per day for rooms. A number of other hotels in the central part of Florida were contacted with similar or higher prices. A motion was passed authorizing the Convention Committee to negotiate with the Plaza Ocean Club Hotel and accept the contract if it continues to meet the FRG needs. It was the consensus of the Membership that we remain in the Daytona Beach area.
A resolution was passed to maintain FRG accounts in the First National Bank of South Miami, with the President and Secretary-Treasurer as co-signers on all of the BVA -FRG accounts.
The following BV's were
elected as Officers and District Directors for 2007-20
President Paul Kaminsky
Vice President Terry King
Secretary-Treasurer George Stocking
Northwest Darryl Goldsmith
Northeast Bill Burgess
CentralWest William Geden
Central East Rick Calissi
Southwest John Thomas
Southeast Simon Buchsbaum
An election was held to select the Florida Regional Group Delegation to the BVA 62 National Convention as follows: Delegate - Dr. George Stocking; Alternate Delegates: Paul Kaminsky, Terry King, Mike (Myron) Nagelberg, Bill Burgess, Bill Geden, Ronald Mackie, Darryl Goldsmith, and Norman Cosby. Terry King was elected as FRG Representative on the By-Laws and Resolutions Committee, with the Delegate and/or Alternate Delegates, in the order listed above as Alternate Representatives on that Committee. A motion was passed to send the Delegation uninstructed.
The Business Meeting adjourned at 11:48 AM.
Respectfully submitted, George Stocking Secretary-Treasurer