Chartered By The United States Congress
3801 Coco Grove Avenue
Miami, Florida 33133
2011 FRG State Convention Issue


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     FRG President's Message:  The 2011 FRG State Convention is just around the corner and it's not too early to start making your Convention arrangements.  As we move closer to our annual FRG State convention, preparations are under way to complete the program schedule.  Those activities will be described in the Convention notice later in this Newsletter.  Highlights are: Thursday night pizza party; Friday morning Horseshoe Contest;  Informational Seminars  on Friday and Saturday afternoons;     The traditional Friday night dinner dance; The Annual FRG Business Meeting Saturday morning;  and conclude, of course, the grand finale, the Saturday night banquet. 


     A special notice to BV's in the southwest District .  Joyce Thornton-Gilbert has retired. Any veteran requiring aids and or devices, may contact the following until such time as a new VIST Coordinator is in place.  For assistance contact Jodi Teper, Bay Pines VIST at: (727) 398-6661 ex 4516 or Ft. Myers Clinic BROS Joyce Dyer at: 239 939 3939 ex 6177. 


     Several months ago, the FRG entered into an agreement with the West Palm Beach Blind Rehabilitation Center (BRC) authorizing us to do an exit survey on veterans that have completed there training at the BRC.  This survey shall be completed shortly.  BV's who have completed training at the BRC during the past year and has not been contacted, may participate in the 15 minute survey, may do so by contacting me at 941 505 7747.  Before concluding this message, I would like to inform FRG BV's that last month at our annual luncheon in Ocala, a historical record attendance of 195 BV's family members, and guests, not only  participated in the excellent luncheon, but also in the camaraderie and the valuable information received.  Terry King, FRG President    

     FRG Auxiliary President's Message:  The FRG state convention is always a happy weekend. What’s not to like  about an oceanfront room and someone else to do the cooking?  Last year the FRG Auxiliary held our first coffee hour on Friday morning while the horseshoe tournament was going on. We invite all spouses and friends to join us in the hospitality room, whether you are an Auxiliary  member or not.  On Saturday morning, the auxiliary has  its annual business meeting.  Recently, I participated in the first ever telephone conference for BVA Auxiliary national and  regional officers. I learned that the situation in

Florida is very different  from other regions. Our auxiliary covers the whole state. Some other auxiliaries are  much more local. For example, one person on the call represented only  southeastern Massachusetts. This means that the activities other auxiliaries do  are things such as visit a nearby veterans’ nursing home or decorate for a BVA  Christmas party.  Being so far flung as we are in Florida makes it difficult to have  an auxiliary-wide project. In spite of this obstacle, we have been very  successful with our annual scholarships. It doesn’t appear that any of the other auxiliaries has such an ambitious goal. Besides us, only the national auxiliary offers scholarships. The national officers were interested in how we raise money  to do this. Kudos to the raffle chairs at each of the BVA luncheons around the  state who pitch in and make this happen.  One  fundraising project the national auxiliary has come up with is to produce a  cookbook to be sold at the next annual convention. If you have a favorite  recipe, you may send it to Karen Teachout by April 20.  Her telephone number is  989-473-2446 or cell 989-493-5794. Her email is _sagelakesadie_2000@yahoo.com_ (.  Fran Thomas FRG Auxiliary President.


     FRG State Convention:  The Florida Regional Group State Convention will be held at the Plaza Ocean Club Hotel , 640 North Atlantic Avenue, Daytona Beach, Florida  32118.  Activities will begin with a Pizza Party in the Hospitality Room at 6 PM on Thursday April 28th.  On Friday, the Annual Horse Shoe Pitching Contest will be held at 9 AM on the beach in front of the hotel.  The formal meetings will begin at 3 PM on Friday, April 29. and will conclude on Sunday morning, May 1.  The Plaza Ocean Club is a 190 room hotel directly on the Atlantic Ocean.  Your Convention Committee secured the low rates of only $79 per day, for 1 to 4 persons per room.  All rooms have refrigerators and micro waves.  In addition all rooms have ocean view balconies.  These  low convention rates will be in effect, on a space available basis,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 only on a space available basis.  There will be another group at the hotel that weekend, so rooms will be at a premium.  We urge you to make your reservations very 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 will find a Hotel Reservation Slip at the end of this Newsletter.  Please clip it off and send it to the Hotel along with your check for one night's 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.  The Hotel toll free reservation number  is (800) 874-7420.  There are 22 Hotels using that reservation number, so  be sure to specify the Plaza Ocean Club Hotel.  In addition, refer to the Blinded Veterans Association-Florida Regional Group as the group which arranged the above indicated rates.    


     Convention Registration Fee:  The Convention Registration Fee will be $35 per person (for each BV, 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, FL 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.  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 in Miami.


     Convention Schedule:  As indicated in President King's message above, several activities are being planned prior to the formal start of the Convention Friday afternoon, April 29. Thursday evening the Hospitality Room will be open at 6 PM for a Pizza Party .  For those coming to the Convention early, this is an opportunity to socialize and have a good time.  The fifth annual Horseshoe Pitching Contest will be held at 9 on Friday morning, on the beach in front of the hotel.   The Convention Late Registration Desk will open at 1 PM on Friday, April 30.  If you have not pre-registered, you may pay your late Registration at that time.  If you have pre-registered, stop by the Registration table in the Hotel Lobby and pick up your name tags and Convention Program.  We need to have you check in so that we can give the proper count for the Dinner-Dance and Banquet. 


     The opening Informational Seminar for Blinded Veterans and their families will be held at 3 PM on Friday, April 29.  At 7 PM on Friday evening, a Dinner-Dance will be held in the Ballroom.  This will be an evening for  good food, good times, good fun, and good music. 


The Annual Florida Regional Group Business Meeting will be held at 9 AM on Saturday, April 29, in the Ballroom.  At that meeting, reports regarding FRG activities for the past year will be made.  A legislative up-date will be presented.  Plans for FRG activities for the coming year will be discussed.  Any  proposed amendments to the FRG By-Laws, will be considered.  The elections for FRG Officers and  District Directors for the coming year will be held.  The election and instruction of a Delegate and Alternate Delegates to the BVA National Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada will also be held.  Proposed resolutions for presentation to the BVA National Convention will be considered.  All Members and Associate Members in Florida are encouraged to attend this Business Meeting and plan for next year.


The FRG Auxiliary will hold its annual meeting in the Osprey Room at 9 AM on Saturday.  Spouses, family members, and friends of the  BVA should plan to attend this FRG Auxiliary meeting.  At that time, the Auxiliary will plan their activities and elect Officers for the coming year. 

At 2 PM on Saturday, a second Informational Seminar will be held.  The Convention will close with the Installation Banquet on Saturday evening.  There will be a period of socializing in the Hospitality Room before and after the Banquet.


     FRG District Meeting:  Prior to the FRG State Convention, a FRG Southeast District meeting will be held at the Tropical Acres Steakhouse 2500 Griffin road in Ft. Lauderdale, on Saturday, March 5.  The meeting will begin at 11:30 AM with a period of Socializing followed by lunch at noon.  For lunch you may have either Sliced Sirloin of Beef or Stuffed Breast of Chicken and salad, potatoes, vegetable, rolls and butter, iced tea or coffee and dessert.  The price of the lunch will be $5 per person, including tax and tip.  FRG President Terry King will preside at the meeting following lunch.  Zaskia Diaz, Chief of the VA Blind Rehab Center in West Palm Beach will be our Guest Speaker.  A National Legislative Up-Date will be provided.  Representatives from the VA will be on hand to provide information of interest to BV's and their families.  Plans for the FRG State Convention in Daytona Beach will be discussed.  The restaurant has asked us to notify them as to the number who will be attending and the type of meal desired by March 2.  Please make your reservations prior to that date by writing to George Stocking at:  3801 Coco Grove Avenue, Miami, FL  33133 or call:  (305) 446-8008 email  In Stuart , call FRG Southeast District Director Bill Mc Dermott  at: (772) 287-2105 email  You may also call:  Roberta Goldstein, Miami VAMC VIST Coordinator, at (305) 575-7000 ex 3607, April Barnes , Broward VA Outpatient Clinic VIST Coordinator, at:  (954) 625-8730, or Jackie Yoshomura West Palm Beach VAMC VIST Coordinator, at:  (561) 422-5260.  Jackie and Roberta are attempting to arrange transportation to the meeting from Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties, respectively.  This transportation will leave from the West Palm Beach and Miami VAMC.  If you need such transportation, contact Jackie or Roberta.  To get to the Tropical Acres Steakhouse, take I 95 or the Turnpike North or South to Griffin Road.  From I 95 Go west a half mile or from the  Turnpike go east about 3 miles.  The Tropical Acres is on the south side of Griffin road .  Parking is available adjacent to the restaurant.  Please mark March 5 on your calendar and make plans to join us for an enjoyable and interesting afternoon.  Although the cost of the lunch is only $5 to you, the FRG will pay $17 for each meal guaranteed.  If you make a reservation and can't come, please call one of the individuals above and cancel before March 2.

FRG-BVA Meeting Schedule

February 27                                    FRG Meeting at the Tropical Acres in Ft. Lauderdale .
April 30-May 2                             FRG State Convention Plaza Ocean Club Hotel in Daytona
August 24-29                BVA National Convention in Washington, D.C.

Newsletter Staff

Terry King              FRG President
Fran Thomas             FRG Auxiliary President
Trudy Rothenberg    FRG Auxiliary Scholarship Committee Chairperson
George Stocking      Editor