BLINDED VETERANS ASSOCIATION (BVA)
FLORIDA REGIONAL GROUP, INC.
3801 Coco Grove Avenue
Miami, Florida 33133
FRG NEWSLETTER, September 2008
FRG President's Message: Leadership! In past Newsletters I have talked of my activities in support of our Blinded Veteran agenda. This past year, I took the opportunity to attend several of our fellowship blind or disabled veteran community, national or state conventions. I wanted to see what these other organizations might be doing that would or possibly could enhance or help our organization serve the membership better than we are doing currently. Of course, I do this out of my own pocket, it is one of my many contributions I give to our great Blinded Veteran organization and our Florida Regional Group. I don't speak of this to receive a pat on the back, but only to inform those who might feel that such ventures might be a waste of our available cash assets. I believe strongly that building bridges between these like organizations afford us their support when we need it and vice versa, when they need ours. It does makes us a strong united force when we have common issues to defend. The most recent veterans service organization convention I attended had as their Guest Speakers Senator Obama, via a taped video message and Senator McCain in person. In all of these conventions, and likewise in our organization, there is no support for any of these particular candidates. The organizations must stand neutral. The message I do wish to pass to you all is that it is essential to understand how any person seeking a position that intends on representing your interests can possibly misrepresent themselves and in doing such in fact not represent the interest you may have thought were going to be represented. This not only is possible at the highest office position, but at any level elected representation. I have all to often seen elected officials sent to represent certain stands on issues, but allow their individual ideals to ignore the wishes of the majority being represented. It is therefore imperative for us to be familiar with issues important to ourselves and review closely the record and background of those we elect to represent our blind and disabled veteran community. Our nation is, as we all are to well aware, engaged in a war on terrorism. The economy and housing market seemingly have been effected by many factors. No matter what our stand is on any of these factors, we must support our troops who are in harms way. We also must insure that our wounded warriors return home to an environment that is able to return their lives back to a best quality of life that is humanly possible. I repeat, humanly possible, not financially possible. The cost of war is not only computed on the equipment necessary to engage the target but the cost of reparation of its casualties. November is fast approaching, and I ask you all to give a serious look at the issues facing not only the economy, but also issues directly effecting our Blinded Veteran community. We are entering an election that will determine who will represent our needs for the next 4 years, or longer. Ask yourself, what is this candidate doing or has done that represents what you feel best represents your needs. Our mission statement is Blinded Veterans helping Blinded Veterans. Let us not be the blind being led by the blind. For the next couple of months, inquire, research, and discuss issues of most interest to you and our Blinded Veteran community. Let us try to insure that our veterans' needs will not be eroded by a non sympathetic administration. Sorry, but I have not the answer. I too will continue to review any person that will be representing me, and the process will continue up to the time I pull the proverbial lever. I wish us all the best in this endeavor, please get out and vote! Again, here are the telephone numbers of our FRG District Directors: Northwest Darryl Goldsmith (Pensacola) (850) 554-7819 email firstname.lastname@example.org; Northeast, Bill Burgess (Palm Coast) (386) 445-4987 email email@example.com; Central West Gigi Mathis (Lakeland) (863) 701-9389 email firstname.lastname@example.org; Central East Kirk Harmon (Orlando (407) 380-3371 email email@example.com; Southwest John S. Thomas (St. James City) (239) 283-1708, email firstname.lastname@example.org; Southeast Jerry Abney (Miami) (305) 270-1739, email email@example.com. BVA Headquarters (800) 669-7079. As always, keep the mission alive and help one another to help each other. Hope to see you this year at one of the District Informational Luncheons throughout the state. Paul W. Kaminsky, FRG President. (904) 291-0576, email firstname.lastname@example.org
FRG Auxiliary President's Message: Greetings to all Auxiliary members. I would like to give you some highlights from the BVA National Convention held in Phoenix, Arizona. I attended the meetings for the VIST Coordinators and found them to be interesting. Particularly the lectures on Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) that effects our veterans coming home from Iraq (OIF) and Afghanistan (OEF). The highlights of the Convention was the feeling of patriotism. We are proud to be able to support and assist the Blinded Veterans. The OIF and OEF veterans truly set an example of heroism and courage for the rest of us. A young man, 22 years old, walked on his prosthetic legs for the second time at a fiesta that the American Legion hosted for us. He is also totally blind. It was his birthday. We all sang Happy Birthday to him and I don't think that there was a dry eye in the group. National Conventions, every year, give those of us who work for the Blinded Veterans a new surge of energy and commitment to try our best to do our job better. Once again The Auxiliary auction was a success. I extend my complements to Aileen Mc Carten , Naples, who crocheted a beautiful afghan depicting the American Flag. This beautiful piece was used as a raffle prize. Thank you Aileen, I am so proud to know you. I also wish to extend my appreciation to Nancy Geden who is loyally working at a food pantry in her area, feeding and assisting our homeless veterans and others. Thank you Auxiliary members for all that you do in your home areas. Joyce Thornton, FRG Auxiliary President.
FRG Meeting Notice: The next luncheon meeting of the Florida Regional Group will be held on Saturday, October 4 at the Holiday Inn - Commonwealth, 6802 Commonwealth Avenue in Jacksonville. Paul Kaminsky, FRG President, has made the arrangements for this meeting. It will begin at 11:30 AM with a period of socializing, followed by lunch at noon. For lunch you will have American Home Made Meatloaf with Gravy, Salad, Mashed Potatoes, Southern Style Green Beans, Rolls & Butter, Iced Tea or Coffee, and Dessert. The price of the lunch will be $5 per person including tax & tip.
FRG President Paul Kaminsky will preside at the informational meeting following lunch. A National Legislative Up-Date will be presented. A discussion will be held regarding FRG activities for the coming months. Representatives from the Department of Veterans Affairs will be on hand to provide information about services and benefits for Blinded Veterans and their families. The FRG Auxiliary will also provide information about their activities.
To get to the hotel, take I 10 East or Highway 301 North to I 295. Continue East on I 295 to exit 22, which is Commonwealth Avenue. Exit there, the hotel is a short distance on your right. From the South take US 17, US 21, or I 95 north to I 295 and continue as above. From the North, take I 95 South and merge with I 295 at exit 360 B to exit 22. Keep left at fork in ramp, turn left on Commonwealth Avenue and the hotel will be on your right. Free parking is available at the hotel.
The hotel has asked us to notify them as to the number who will be attending by September 30. Please make your reservations by that date by writing to Bill Burgess at: 186 Beachwood Lane, Palm Coast, FL 32137 or call him at (386) 445-4987 or email at: email@example.com; Paul Kaminsky at: (904) 291-0576 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also make your reservations by calling: Bruce Davis, VIST Coordinator, Gainesville VAMC, at (800) 324-8387 ex. 5560, Louise DiGennaro, VIST Coordinator Jacksonville VA Outpatient Clinic, at: (904) 232-2751 ex 3015, or Judy Hayes, VIST Coordinator Lake City VAMC at: (386) 755-3016 ex. 2088. Although the cost of the meal to you is only $5, each meal guaranteed will cost the FRG over $14. If you make a reservation and can't come, please call Paul Kaminsky and cancel it by October 1. Otherwise the FRG will have to pay $14 for each meal guaranteed, including those unused.
Remember to make your reservation for the FRG meeting in Jacksonville on Saturday, October 4 by calling the individuals listed above by September 30.
FRG Meeting Schedule
October 4 FRG meeting Holiday Inn Commonwealth in Jacksonville
November 1 FRG meeting Porto Bello Restaurant in Punta Gorda.
FRG Newsletter Staff
Paul Kaminsky FRG President
Joyce Thornton FRG Auxiliary President
Terry King FRG Immediate Past President
George Stocking Editor