Chartered by the United States Congress
3801 Coco Grove Avenue
Miami, Florida 33133
(305) 446-8008


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FRG Newsletter February 2014

FRG President's Message: This message is very important to you personally, and unlike other president's messages in the past. Therefore as your president and your board of directors we are strongly urging you to read and then participate in this long overdue survey sponsored and conducted by your FRG-BVA service organization. Several of your District directors and their assistants directors have been attempting to make contact by phone in order to determine if the veterans are satisfied with services from the various government agencies and of course the VA. One of the most insurmountable problems that we have been running into is incorrect phone numbers, among other difficulties. Over the past several years veterans have been changing over to cell phones, and more recently I phones, and forgetting to contact National BVA as to their change of phone numbers. Therefore, we are attempting to obtain the much needed information by another means that we, the service organization need to attempt to make changes where they are needed. My current data base shows that as of this writing we have 2,011 Blinded Veterans to whom we send out the FRG Newsletters. We are finding that many phone numbers are incorrect, and also running into phone message machines, and unfortunately those messages left are seldom returned. Other service organizations due surveys from time to time and my understanding is that they are moderately successful. The short questionnaire, which only contains 14 questions, is on page 4 of this Newsletter. Just clip it off, complete it, and sent it back in the return envelope that is enclosed separately along with this newsletter. After you have completed the short questionnaire, just mail the survey in the self addressed envelope. If you wish to return it FREE MATTER FOR THE BLIND, all print must be in 14 point type. If you answer the questionnaire in 14 point type via computer, you can send it Free Matter if you do not seal the envelope.
All information received will be considered confidential. The Blinded Veteran will first be contacted by phone, before any action on behalf of the veteran will be initiated. Once again we cannot emphasize too strongly how important this survey is. A service organization must not reach a point in it growth, and say well things look to be just fine, and be complacent. Now we can't all set back and be contented with the way things currently are. That is definitely the wrong attitude. There is always room for improvement in any organization. I will close this president's message with a saying that I use to tell the people that I was training that were going into business. "The day you stop improving and become complacent in your business is the day you start failing and ultimately lose your business". The same philosophy can also apply to an organization and its workers. Now on a different subject, here is something that some of you may find rather interesting. Several weeks ago a question was raised by one of our Blinded Veterans. He was asking over our list serve if anybody had information concerning a phone number that one can call and ask most any question. Well there is just such a phone number, and, in closing, I agreed to publish it in the next newsletter, therefore here it is. phone number, 1 408 752 8052, for asking almost any question. Terry King, FRG President. (941) 505-7747, e mail

FRG Meeting Notice: The next meeting of the Florida Regional Group will be held on Saturday, March 22nd, at the Tropical Acres Steakhouse, 2500 Griffin Road, in Ft. Lauderdale. The meeting will begin at 11:30 AM, with a period of socializing, followed by lunch at noon. For lunch, you may select from Sliced Sirloin of Beef or Breast of Chicken Francaise (chicken in lemon butter sauce) and Salad, baked Potato, Vegetables, Rolls and Butter, Iced Tea or Coffee, and Black Forest Cake for dessert. The price of the lunch will be $5 per person, including tax and tip. Beer, wine, and mixed drinks will be available at an additional charge.

FRG President Terry King will preside at an Informational Meeting following lunch. A national legislative up-date will be provided. Plans for the FRG State Convention at the Plaza Ocean Club Hotel in Daytona Beach will be discussed. Representatives from the Department of Veterans Affairs will be on hand to provide information about services and benefits of interest to Blinded Veterans and their families. This will give you the opportunity to have an enjoyable and interesting afternoon and to meet with your fellow Blinded Veterans.

The restaurant has asked us to notify them as to the number who will be attending and the type of meal desired by March 19th. 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 Broward County, You may also call FRG Southeast District Director Jim McCoy at (954) 748-9428 e mail In addition, you may call: Roberta Goldstein, Miami VAMC VIST Coordinator, at (305) 575-7000 ex 1-3607, April Barnes, Broward VA Outpatient Clinic VIST Coordinator, at: (954) 625-8730, or Jackie Yoshimura West Palm Beach VAMC VIST Coordinator, at: (561) 422-5260. Please be sure to make your reservations before March 19th, as the restaurant needs this information in order to plan properly for our meeting. Jackie Yoshimura and Roberta Goldstein 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 at the numbers listed above.

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 22nd 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 $18.75 for each meal guaranteed. If you make a reservation and can't come, please call one of the individuals above and cancel before March 19th, so we won't have to pay for unused meals.

US Legislative Up-Date: The BVA is working on its Legislative Program to present to a joint session of the US Senate and House of Representatives Veterans Affairs Committees, next month. Included in the package will be the joint BVA-PVA program to get the VA to provide beneficiary travel to NSC Blinded Veterans and Spinal Cord Injured veterans to Blind rehab Centers and Spinal Cord Injury Centers whose income is above the income threshold. S 633 and HR 1284 have been introduced and would accomplish that goal. Several years ago, the BVA worked with Congress to establish an Eye Trauma Vision Center of Excellence. It was established at Walter Reed Military Medical Center. The Center will coordinate research on eye trauma and establish a process to insure a seamless transition from active duty to the VA. The VA is supposed to provide staffing both for research and to insure that military personnel will be followed appropriately after separation from the military. To date the VA has only provided 2.5 staff positions in the Vision Center. This is barely enough to keep up with administrative responsibilities. The BVA will urge Congress to hold hearings on the VA's failure to provide the staff outlined in the DOD and DVA agreement. Another topic in the Legislative Package is the long delay in filling vacant VIST and BROS positions. Initially these positions were funded by the VACO and are supposed to be kept filled by the local facility once the position is established. The BVA will urge the Health Care Sub committees to hold hearings on this deficiency. A more complete report on the BVA's Legislative Program will appear in the winter issue of the BVA Bulletin.

Miami VAMC BROS: In late July, Lisabeth Causey transferred to the new VA Blind Rehab Center in Long Beach, California. The vacant position was advertised, applications received, interviews held, and a selection made. We are happy to report that Linh Pham will take up her duties as the new Miami VAMC BROS on February 10th. After high school in her native Miami, Linh Pham earned a Bachelor's Degree in Occupational Therapy from Florida International University. Subsequently, she began working as an O.T. for a medical company. Although she worked with all ages, most of her patients were elderly. Since many of her patients had some visual disability, she became interested in providing service to those patients. As a result, she took some low vision training through Nova University in Jacksonville. Although the training was helpful, she felt that she needed more training to accomplish her vocational goals. After 3 years with the health agency, she returned to school at Florida State University. She earned Master's degrees in Rehab Teaching and Orientation and Mobility. She is certified in those positions and as a Low Vision Therapist. In 1993, she was employed ass a Blind Rehab Specialist at the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind. Linn, her husband and 2 sons (age 8 and 6) live in the Kendal section of Miami. Although her work and raising 2 active sons takes most of her time, when she can, she enjoys gardening and bicycle riding. Lihn, on behalf of the Florida Regional Group of the Blinded Veterans Association, let me take this opportunity to welcome you to your new position at the Miami VAMC. We look forward to working cooperatively with you for many years.

Jacksonville VAOPC VIST: In the November 2013 FRG Newsletter, it was announced that a candidate had been selected for the vacant VIST position at the Jacksonville vAOPC and was being processed by Human Resources. During the long delay, the individual chose not to take the position. The entire process has to be started all over again. At the writing of this Newsletter, the position had not been advertised. We will keep you informed of the situation as more is known.

Survey: After the meeting schedule and Newsletter Staff, you will find the Survey mentioned in the President's Message. Please complete the Survey and return it in the enclosed envelope.

FRG-BVA Meeting Schedule
March 22nd FRG Meeting Tropical Acres Steakhouse in Ft.

May 1-4 FRG State Convention Plaza Ocean Club Hotel Daytona Beach
August 19-24 BVA National convention in Reno, Nevada

FRG Newsletter Staff
Terry King FRG President
George Stocking FRG Newsletter Editor

Florida Regional Group

Survey Sheet

1: Name: _______________Telephone number:: __________

2: Email address: _______________________________

3: Are you receiving aids and devices in a timely manner? _____

4: Are the services with the VA Healthcare satisfactory?______

5: Are the services from your VIST Coordinator satisfactory? ___

6: Do you receive services from the Talking Book Library in Daytona Beach? _______

7. Have you been provided with the new digital talking book machine? __________

8. Have you attended any VA Blind Rehabilitation Center

(BRC)? ______

9. If the answer is yes then, what BRC did you attend and how was the training? Name of BRC: ____________ How was the training?: _______________________________________

10. Do you have a computer? ________

11. If yes, have you received any local computer training, NOT including your BROS? _________

12. Do you attend the VIST support group meetings in

your area? _________

13. Have you ever paid annual, life time, or paying to life membership dues? ____ If no, would you care to join

the Blinded Veterans Association? _______

14: If you have any further comments that are not covered within this survey, just add any additional sheets to this survey , and mail them in the self addressed envelope included with this Newsletter. If you type additional information, it must be in 14 point type in order to go free matter for the blind. If you plan to send it Free Matter For The Blind, you cannot seal the envelope.

The Survey above is important. If you wish, you can find the February FRG Newsletter on the FRG-BVA web site at: Those of you who are on the List Serve will find a copy of the Newsletter in your e mail.