Disabled American Veterans
Blind Veterans National Chapter #1
July-August, 2010 Newsletter
"IF I CANNOT SPEAK GOOD OF MY COMRADE, I WILL NOT SPEAK ILL OF HIM OR HER."
OFFICERS OF THE BLIND CHAPTER
Phone 516 328-3438
Vice Commander Richard Bugbee
1st Junior Vice Commander Eddie Humphrey
2nd Junior Vice Commander Joe Wallace
3rd Vice Commander Junior Farley
Junior Vice Commander William Burgess
Judge Advocate Dave May
Chaplain Rev. Tony Martino
Phone 847 736 2111
Immediate Past Commander Eddie Humphrey
If you know of any member who is sick or deceased please inform one of the officers whose contact information is listed above.
James Skuggevik, Port Jefferson Station, NY
REST IN PEACE
Al Gauden, Streetsboro, OH
Glenn Logan, Colorado Springs, CO
MESSAGE FROM THE COMMANDER
Another good DAV National Convention happened in Atlanta. Even President Obama came on Monday morning to talk. Paul Kaminsky will give a synopsis what transpired later on in this newsletter.
It was a honor to be re-elected as your Commander for one more year, and I welcome, as Im sure you all do, the newly elected officers
listed above, representing the membership of our Chapter.
Off to the TEE Tournament on Labor Day, and I hope to meet many of you there.
MESSAGE FROM ADJUTANT/TREASURER
The Disabled American Veterans held their National Convention celebrating the beginning of their 90th year. Again it was an excellent event not only topped off with the performance of the Lt. Dan Band, but a special appearance from President Obama.
Friday, July 30, 2010 the Blind Veterans National Chapter #1 annual reunion held its first business meeting at 9:00 am. At 4:00 pm the second business meeting was held. During the business meetings two Bylaws were read. One Bylaw upon second reading was withdrawn, and the second was held over for a second reading at the third business meeting held Monday, August 2, 2010. The second Bylaw increased the compensation of elected Delegates by an additional $250. The increase had been previously approved during earlier annual reunions, but is now codified in the Chapter Bylaws.
Roll call of officers followed the opening invocation given by Rev. Tony Martino, and the Pledge led by Immediate Past Commander Humphrey. Officers present were Commander OConnell, Sr. Vice Bugbeee, 1st Jr. Vice Wallace, Judge Advocate May, Chaplin Rev. Martino, and Adjutant/Treasurer Kaminsky. A moment of silence was observed in the honor of the passing of the 2nd Jr. Vice Commander Ralph G. Barrett of Newburyport, Maine. Delegates present were Rev Tony Martino, Harold (Eddie) Humphrey, Junior Farley, and Richard Bugbee. Alternate Delegates present were Joseph Wallace, and William Burgess.
Following the reading and approval of the previous reunions meeting minutes, the Treasurers Report was given. Following is the brief summary of the annual treasury report:
Blind Veterans National Chapter #1
As Of June 30, 2010 (rounded nearest dollar)
Money Market: $150,823
Checking $ 17,677
Total Assets $168,500
Liabilities & Securities
Opening Balance Equity: $ 28,482
Retained Earnings: $197,890
Net Income: -$57,872
Total Equity: $168,500
Total Liabilities & Securities $168,500
Several business items were also discussed during the business meetings. Noted was that the Chapter had met its 2010 membership goal and received a flag pendant from National Headquarters. Commander OConnell reported that the DAV Van purchased by the Blind Chapter and donated to the Tucson Blind Rehab Center was picked up on July 8th. He also noted that he called the Tucson BRC to discuss the lettering denoting the donation was made by the Blind Chapter and that Immediate Past Commander Humphrey and Sr. Vice Bugbee will arrange a time to be present in Tucson for the official donation ceremony.
Richard Bugbee came up with the idea to have a Chapter Flag. Commander OConnell established a committee to design a flag and run it through DAV National for permission.
Commander OConnell assigned committee responsibilities to the Delegates and Alternate Delegates as were deemed necessary. Convention Committee Assignments: Tony Martino: General Resolutions; Eddie Humphrey: Legislation & Vet Benefits, Alternate: Bill Burgess; Richard Bugbee: Nominations; Junior Farley: Constitution & Bylaws; Joe Wallace: Credentials.
The following individuals were re-elected or elected for the noted office position:
Commander: Dennis OConnell (New York)
Sr. Vice Commander: Richard Bugbee (Arizona)
1st Jr. Vice Commander: Harold Humphrey (Oklahoma)
2nd Jr. Vice Commander: Joseph Wallace (Delaware)
3rd Jr. Vice Commander: Junior Farley (Tennessee)
4th Jr. Vice Commander: William Burgess (Florida)
Judge Advocate: David May (Newly Elected Ohio State Commander)
Chaplin: Rev. Anthony Martino (Wisconsin)
The closing event of the DAV National Convention was an evening where we attended the presentation of our new National Officers which was followed by a remembrance to Dale Adams, Past National Adjutant, who passed away the previous month. A presentation of another $1 million donation from Harley Davidson was made to continue our very popular and productive "Harley's Heroes" Mobile Service Van Program where we send Service Officers to the Harley Davidson Dealerships around the country to assist veterans with their claims. We then had a very nice buffet dinner followed by entertainment from a group named "Shimmer". This concluded a very enjoyable and productive National Convention. Plan next year to attend in New Orleans from August 5 - 9 2011, and enjoy a terrific and well planned event. In closing following is our new DAV National Officers for 2010-2011:
Commander Wally Tyson, North Carolina
Sr Vice Commander Don L. Samuels, Tennessee
1st Jr Vice Commander Larry A. Polzin, California
2nd Jr Vice Commander Mary J. Bencivenga, New Jersey
3rd Jr Vice Commander Joseph W. Johnston, Ohio
4th Jr Vice Commander Ron Voegeli, South Carolina
National Judge Advocate Michael E. Dobmeier, North Dakota
National Chaplain Dr. Charles W. Edwards, Jr., Texas
Hope to see you next year!!
Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD
In the past few weeks the VA has announced major changes in how it will deal with the issue of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
This is important information if anyone has ever filed a claim on
PTSD and gone through the difficult process of trying to get service
connected for this condition.
From Secretary Shinseki
For Vets with PTSD, end of an unfair process By Eric Shinseki
For 38 years, I was privileged to serve the men and women entrusted with our nation's security. The character of their service is reflected in something called The Soldier's Creed. Most everyone I have met who is familiar with its four key lines agrees that they define the essence of uniformed service:
I will always place the mission first;
I will never accept defeat;
I will never quit;
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
Four simple, declaratory statements - promises that form the foundation for trust within military formations. Especially in time of war, those who wear our nation's uniforms and their families bear incredible burdens for us. A new generation faces the demand for courage, strength, dedication and stamina - as daunting today as it has ever been. Failure is never an option.
Our service members have never failed the nation, the mission, or their comrades. But the toll for this kind of loyalty and dedication is high.
Troops are returning with invisible wounds that can be as debilitating as any physical battlefield trauma. As in every conflict in our nation's
history, today's warriors are suffering emotional injuries just as they do physical ones. The residual effects of combat manifest themselves in every combatant's life. You have to be strong to prevail. You must be loved, respected and supported to weather the worst of the storms. You must be patient, and it helps to be lucky. And you must have the strong, unwavering support of the nation that sent you on those missions. At the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) there is only one goal - to ensure that veterans of every generation receive the best possible health care and the benefits they have earned. Previously, veterans filing for health care and disability benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD) were required to document
in detail the causes of their symptoms. These have traditionally been called "stressors. "The rules stringently required veterans, who served in the combat branches of the military, where the likelihood of direct action against an armed enemy was highest, to provide detailed documentation of those engagements. For those not serving in the combat branches, the burden of proof was even higher. But in either case, these rules were neither fair nor sustainable. At VA, we're now moving to treat all veterans equally.
Today, VA begins simplifying the process by which veterans with PTSD are able to access health care and receive benefits. Streamlining this process will help not just the veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, but generations of veterans who have previously "borne the battle" for our nation. We're publishing a regulation today in the Federal Register that simplifies the process for claiming service connection for PTSD by
reducing the documentation needed for veterans to validate the specifics of place, type and circumstance of incident. From this point forward, VA will not require corroboration of a PTSD stressor related to fear of hostile military or terrorist activity, if a VA doctor confirms a diagnosis of PTSD and the stressful experience recalled by the veteran adequately supports that diagnosis. This decision to simplify the process has been validated by an Institute of Medicine study, which concluded that service in a war zone is inherently linked to increased risk of PTSD. As President Obama has said,
"Just as we have a solemn responsibility to train and equip our troops
before we send them into harm's way, we have a solemn responsibility to provide our veterans and wounded warriors with the care and benefits they've earned when they come home. That is our sacred trust with all who serve -and it doesn't end when their tour of duty does. "In Profiles in Courage, President John F. Kennedy, himself a combat veteran, noted, "Without belittling the courage with which men have died, we should not forget those acts of courage with which men ...have lived. The courage of life ... is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy. "The courage to deal with
the effects of battle is real, and it takes courage and determination to
mitigate its effects once we return from operations. It has been so for
every generation of warriors. Simplifying the documentation needed to receive medical care and compensation for service connected to PTSD upholds our commitment to those who protect our freedoms - not just the veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq, but all generations of veterans, who proudly served and sacrificed in their time.
In case you didnt know, Eric Shinseki is secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
If you have any questions about PTSD contact a DAV Service Officer in your area.
Outdoor Audio Description Technology for Guests with Disabilities (The World According to Jack)
If you have some vision, and reading this on a computer, click on the link as there are graphics and pictures showing what the device looks like and such.
Here's the text of this article:
Outdoor Audio Description Technology for Guests with Disabilities
Beginning on June 27, guests with visual disabilities will be able to explore Walt Disney World theme parks in a whole new way. Using a Disney-designed Assistive Technology Device guests will now be able to explore the parks accompanied with an audio description of all the sights.
This easy-to-use device is obtained at any theme park guest relations window. It is offered at no cost with a refundable deposit. It comes with a headset and strap so you can hang it around your neck. Disney conducted a number of focus groups with organizations for the blind to help them create an easy to understand machine that can be mastered in a few minutes.
I spent an hour today with an Assistive Technology Device (ATD) at Disney's Hollywood Studios. As I walked from area to area, the ATD would come alive and vibrate as I passed hidden sensors. Then it would provide me with a fairly accurate description of my location. For example, it would announce, You are on Pixar Place near the restrooms or You are in Animation Courtyard between Voyage of the Little Mermaid and Playhouse Disney. If at any time I needed a reminder of where I was at, I could push a button and the ATD would repeat the last announced location.
Another button provided me with a general description of my surroundings. When the recording finished, I was given the option to hear more information in six categories. These were (1) a more detailed description of the area, (2) nearby attractions (3) nearby restrooms, (4) nearby restaurants, (5) entertainment, and (6) shopping. From these, I could drill down for even more detailed information.
Another automatic feature of the ATD is Attraction Descriptions. When I boarded Toy Story Mania, the ATD started automatically and provided me with a detailed commentary of all the sights along the way. I never had to push any button.
To give you an idea of what Im talking about, Ive included a short audio clip from the Haunted Mansion. The first voice you hear is that of the Ghost Host. Following our disembodied spirit is the ATD voice describing a few of the sights.
(That is a link on the web site-the Editor)
ATD can also be used by the hearing impaired. Although I did not get to try this feature,
I was told it works in all attractions and the ride or shows dialog is automatically
displayed on the screen.
I spoke with Bob Minnick, Manager Facility Safety and Accessibility. I asked him if the ATD could be easily updated as things are constantly changing at WDW. He told me that Disney partnered with WGBH Boston in the development of this device. I was assured that all Disney needed to do was provide a new script to WGBH and an updated recording could be made an uploaded in very little time. When I asked if these devices would be available at the resorts, Bob told me that Disneys objective at the moment is to bring Disneyland online with the ATD. After that, they will assess the demand and need for further expansion.
Disney has patented and licensed this new technology and is eager to make it available beyond the theme parks. To that end, its already being used at the Coca Cola Museum in Atlanta, The Hall at Patriot Place, and the Dallas Cowboys Stadium.
Walt wanted Disneyland to be enjoyed by everyone. Through the years, his company has strived to bring magic to all. Here are a few examples of how the Imaginers are constantly looking for ways to improve the guest experience.
In making a drinking fountain wheelchair accessible, it also makes them kid friendly. And Braille maps can be found in all four theme parks.
All Walt Disney World transportation is wheelchair accessible all buses have hydraulic lifts and the docks all float so they are always level with the watercraft. The buses also have closed captioning, announcing destinations and other pertinent information.
A number of guest rooms are available with height appropriate vanities and easy access tubs and showers. Text telephones are obtainable for the deaf.
Swimming pools have sloped entrances so that aquatic wheelchairs can easily roll into the water. This shallow area also provides toddlers with an area to splash with safety.
At the golf courses, specially designed carts are available to allow just about anyone the ability to play a round.
At Blizzard Beach, a special gondola can accommodate a wheelchair for a ride to the top of Mount Gushmore.
Special viewing areas have been set aside on a first come, first served basis along the parade routes. Even the Grand Marshal vehicles can accommodate a wheelchair so just about anyone can be included in the festivities.
Disney is always looking for new ways to retrofit older attractions. A special Jungle Cruise boat was updated with a lift for wheelchairs. And newer attractions are also getting into the act. Since loading and unloading can take longer in these cases, Toy Story Mania was designed with an auxiliary loading area so folks can take all the time they need to get situated.
Many of the live shows offer sign language interpreters. These are presented on certain days and at certain hours. You need to check with Guest Relations for exact days and times.
I have to admit, when I attended todays press event, my eyes became a little misty when I saw all that Disney is doing to bring the magic to everyone. I take so many things for granted and I was moved that Disney does not. They strive to include everyone they can.
For more information about touring the parks with special needs, check out the AllEars.Net section for guests with special needs
as well as Disneys webpage: WALT DISNEY WORLD GUESTS WITH DISABILITIES
Tags: Assistive Technology Device ATD disabilities special needs
Posted by Jack Spence on June 23, 2010 5:00 AM