BLINDED VETERANS ASSOCIATION (BVA)
FLORIDA REGIONAL GROUP, INC.
3801 Coco Grove Avenue
Miami, Florida 33133
NEWSLETTER - JUNE 2005
FRG Post Convention President's Message:
Our BVA, FRG State Convention in Daytona Beach Shores, in my opinion, will
join the ranks as one of the most exciting and one of the most smoothly run Conventions we
have held. Just to give you a few highlights: Donald Freyberger, Prosthetics Representative for
VISN 8, spoke at our first Informational Seminar. one
of the questions that came up was, "Will the VA purchase upgrades for the adaptive
soft ware that the VA has originally issued to the Blinded Veteran? Mr. Freyberger stated, "Yes, Prosthetics
will purchase upgrades, when needed, but not for anti-virus soft ware". The question concerning anti virus software will
be addressed in a Resolution from the FRG to the BVA National Convention, covered in the
Minutes, later in this Newsletter. The
Dinner-Dance held later on Friday night, was attended by an unusual large number of BV's,
family members, and guests. According to the
large number on the dance floor, they all appeared to have a great time. During the opening of the installation banquet,
the VIST Coordinators were publicly recognized for the contribution to the large number of
new members who joined the FRG during the past year.
George H. Gray, Jr., VISN 8 Director was our Guest Speaker at the Installation
Banquet. In his comments, he recognized the
importance of maintaining services for Blinded Veterans in VISN 8 and to expand them when
possible. He also indicated that due to the
short fall in the budget, there are undoubtedly hard times ahead for services under the VA
Health Care System. He promised to work with
the FRG to insure quality services to Blinded Veterans.
In addition, he asked the FRG to contact him
if problems arise in this service that cannot be remedied at the local VA station. I will conclude this President's message with the
following request: Because of the hard times
that are apparently coming up, it is more important than ever before, that we continue to
increase our voice through adding to our current membership. The larger the number of Blinded Veterans that we
represent, the more apt Congress is going to listen to our needs. Therefore, I would strongly urge all existing
members to do everything within their power to encourage all Blinded Veterans to join the
growing ranks of the FRG, thereby, giving an even stronger voice when we speak before
Congress. Terry King FRG President.
FRG Auxiliary President's Message:: For all of you, who, for some reason, couldn't attend the FRG State Convention, you missed out on a lot of good friends, very good information, and especially excellent food. The hotel really out did themselves. If it was because of a farewell Convention at that hotel, thank you. Here is a brief summary of the FRG Auxiliary meeting. For one thing, something unusual happened. Joyce Thornton, FRG Auxiliary Scholarship Chairperson, reported that she sent out 1300 letters containing information about the two $1000 FRGA Scholarships available to the child or spouse of a Florida BV. Although she sent out Application forms to seven individuals, she did not receive any completed applications. The bottom line is that, this year, no Scholarships were awarded. We had our elections for this year with the following results: President - Joanne King, Vice President - Joyce Thornton, Secretary - Maureen Kaminsky, and Treasurer - Margaret (Peg) Toomey. Kathy Berry continues as Raffle Chairperson and Joyce Thornton as Scholarship Chairperson. I took it upon myself to be membership Chairperson. If all of you will help by taking an application home from our 7 luncheons, we can expand our FRG Auxiliary membership greatly. I put myself out on a limb again, by telling everyone that we will have at least 100 more people to attend our 60 BVA National Convention in Miami Beach, than have attended other Conventions. Don't let me down. The FRG is one of the MOST ACTIVE GROUPS IN THE US. There isn't any reason for not having more than ever before attend. There will be volunteers to help you get from the airport, etc. to the hotel. If you haven't requested a Convention packet call the BVA today, at: (800) 669-7079 and ask Annette or Kelly for the packet. See you in Miami Beach. Joanne King, FRG Auxiliary President.
Membership Dues:: Although the FRG is the largest Regional Group in the BVA, there are still 1016 Blinded Veterans who have not joined the BVA for 2005. As President King mentioned in his President's Message, we need the support of all Blinded Veterans so that we can speak with a united loud voice with Congress and the VA. Annual Membership and Associate Membership dues are only $8, the lowest of any veteran service organization. If you are not a Life or Associate Life Member and have not joined the BVA for 2005, you will find an application and return envelope in the print copy of this Newsletter. Please use it to add your support to the BVA by joining today. Life and Associate Life Memberships start at $80 for BV's age 44 and under down to $40 for BV's age 66 and over. You may start a Life or Associate Life Membership with a down payment of only $10 with the balance payable over the next 2 years. In the long run, it is better to become a Life or Associate Life Member and then you will never have to pay dues again. Further, as a Life or Associate Life Member, your name will be retained on our roles in perpetuity. Your Life dues goes into the Life Membership Fund and is never touched. Only the dividends and interest from the fund are distributed to the various Regional Groups according to the number of Life and Associate Life Members in the Group. Your investment in the Life Fund goes on forever. Since the FRG is the largest Regional Group in the BVA, we get the largest apportionment from the Life Membership Fund. This apportionment is used for this Newsletter, for other FRG expenses and to subsidize the FRG meetings and Convention. Please join the BVA today and add your support to the work of the BVA.
FRG Annual Business Meeting Minutes April 30, 2005: The meeting was called to order at 9 AM by President Terry King in the Ball Room at the Holiday Inn South in Daytona Beach Shores. The pledge to the flag was led by FRG Vice President Paul Kaminsky and the invocation was given by George Stocking. A motion was passed to waive the reading of the 2004 Annual Business Meeting Minutes and to accept them as published in the June 2004 FRG Newsletter. The Treasurer reported a balance of $4188.94, in the FRG checking account on April 20, 2004. During the year, income totaling $16503.04 and $2000 ($1000 from the General Fund CD and $1000 from the Scholarship Fund CD) was deposited in the FRG checking account, with a total of $22691.98 available in the checking account for FRG use. Expenditures during the year, including the $1000 transfer to the Auxiliary for its 2004 Scholarships , totaled $14,857.93. Thus the balance in the checking account, available for FRG use on April 20, 2005, was $7834.05. The value of the CD's in the general fund, on April 20, 2004 was $26503.24. Interest on the two CD's during the year was $215.66. After the $1000 transfer to the checking account, this left a total in the 2 CD's of $25,718.90 on April 20 2005. The total funds available, excluding the Scholarship fund, on April, 20, 2005 was $33,552.95. On April 20, 2004 the FRG Auxiliary Scholarships Fund CD was valued at $11260.36. Interest of $88.74 was added. After the $1000 transfer for the 2004 Scholarships, a balance of $10,349.10 was available for used for future FRG Auxiliary Scholarships. As of April 20, 2005 the FRG had $43,902.05 in total assets. The Convention accepted the Treasurer's report as presented.
The Membership Committee reported the Florida Regional Group had a total of 1315 Members and Associate Members as of April 22, 2005. This is an increase of 291 over the 1024 at the time of the 2004 FRG State Convention. The FRG continues to have the largest membership of any Regional Group in the BVA. This took a significant effort on the part of FRG Officers, District Directors, and Assistant District Directors and fantastic cooperation from the Florida VIST Coordinators. In addition to those Blinded Veterans who actively support the BVA, there are a total of 1016 BV's on the FRG - BVA mailing list who have not paid their dues for 2005. The FRG - BVA new mailing list contains a total of 2331 Blinded Veterans in the State of Florida. President Terry King has gained the continued cooperation of the VIST Coordinators in Florida to offer BV's not on our list the opportunity to have their names added to the mailing list. 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 1315, 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.
Mike Taylor reported on his activities as the FRG Representative on the Rehabilitation Council of the Florida Division of Blind Services (DBS). The Rehabilitation Council is established by federal law to advise the DBS on services to Florida's blind citizens. 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. Mike Taylor made a presentation regarding activities at the Talking Book Library. Dwight Sayer reported on the successful efforts to keep the Orlando Sub Regional Talking Book Library open when the Orange County Library Director wanted to close it. Congratulations were extended, by the FRG, to Dwight and all of those who contributed to this successful effort. Those in attendance made positive comments regarding the Talking Book Library.
President King opened the floor for discussions of Old Business. The six FRG District Meetings actually held during the past year were reviewed. The meeting scheduled on September 11 was cancelled due to the hurricane damage in the area. Announcements regarding the remaining activities at the 2005 FRG State Convention were made. A discussion was held regarding the activities at this year's Convention.
President King opened the floor to New Business. A motion was passed to donate $1000 to the Talking Book Library. A motion was passed to take out a one page ad ($100) in the BVA National Convention Program.
The 2006 FRG State Convention was discussed. The Holiday Inn, South has been sold. It is understood that the new owners will make it into a condo. Consequently, a lengthy discussion was held regarding the 2006 FRG State Convention. Convention Chairman Stocking reported on contacts with approximately 30 hotels in the central part of Florida. Some did not have the necessary meeting space and some were too expensive. Proposals from several hotels which generally meet the FRG needs were discussed. A motion was passed authorizing the Convention Committee to negotiate with the hotels and accept the contract that most meets the FRG needs. It was the consensus of the Membership that we remain in the Daytona Beach area if an adequate contract can be negotiated.
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 FRG is the co-sponsor, with the BVA National, of the 60th National Convention at the Wyndham Hotel in Miami Beach, August 16-20, 2005. A discussion was held regarding the plans for the Convention. A variety of fund raising projects including exhibitors, program ads, and solicitation from corporations and organizations were considered. At the 2004 FRG Convention, George Stocking was elected as Convention Chairman and Paul Kaminsky as Convention Treasurer. A motion was passed to have the FRG Auxiliary sell BVA Overseas caps ands BVA ball caps for $20 and $10 respectively, at FRG meetings, and then obtain the caps from the BVA National. .
A motion was passed to have Paul Kaminsky, Paul Mimms, and Dennis Wyant draft a resolution to the BVA National Convention requesting the VA to provide the necessary computer equipment, soft ware, and services to eligible Blinded Veterans.
The following Blinded Veterans were elected as Officers and District Directors for
|President||Terry King||Northwest||Paul Kaufman|
|Vice President||Paul Kaminsky||Northeast||Mike Taylor|
|Secretary-Treasurer||George Stocking||Central West||William Menendez|
|Past President||Charles Duncan||Central East||Rick Callissi|
An election was held to select the Florida Regional Group Delegation to the BVA 60th National Convention as follows: Delegate - Dr. George Stocking; Alternate Delegates: Terry King, Paul Kaminsky, Mike (Myron) Nagelberg, Mike Toomey, Paul Mimms, Mike Taylor, Bill Stockslager, Bill Geden, Frank Drab, and Frank Hennessy. 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 11:39 AM.
Respectfully submitted, George E. Stocking Secretary-Treasurer