Disabled American Veterans

Blind Veterans National Chapter #1

WEB SITE: http://www.davbvnc.com/

May-June, 2010 Newsletter






Commander Dennis O’Connell
Phone 516 328-3438
Email: bvnc1@verizon.net

Senior Vice Commander Richard Bugbee
1st Junior Vice Commander Joe Wallace
Judge Advocate Dave May
Chaplain Tony Martino
Phone 847 736 2111

Adjutant/Treasurer Paul Kaminsky

Phone 904 291-0576
email: pkjax@kaminsky.com

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.




Congratulations to the eight members who were voted in as delegates/alternates to represent the membership at our next DAV National Convention. I hope you all agree with me, considering that it was his first time handling it, that Paul Kaminsky did an outstanding job with this election process.

With just arriving home today from a nine day cruise, I have a lot of catching up to do, and I wanted to get this newsletter out to the membership ASAP. As I type Memorial Day is only eight days away, so, Marilyn and I would like to wish you all a Peaceful and Happy Memorial Day weekend. Let’s not forget Flag Day, June 14th and Father’s Day June 20th also!



Al Gauden, Streetsboro, OH 44241





Congratulations to the following members who gave biographies and whom the membership elected as delegates and alternates to this year’s DAV National Convention in Atlanta. The first four member names were selected as delegates and the next four as alternates.

Anthony Martino, Jerry Abney, Eddie Humphrey, Junior Farley,

Joe Link, Richard Bugbee, Joe Wallace, William Burgess



Mystic Seaport passes available


The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) has renewed its membership with Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America and the Sea and is once again offering NLS patrons use of a free one-day seaport pass. The seaport is a world-renowned, not-for-profit historical and educational institution occupying thirty-seven  acres on the Mystic River, near New London, Connecticut. Highlights of the site include restored tall ships, tours by shipwrights and craftsmen, and a variety of exhibit galleries. The pass entitles two adults and three children or grandchildren under eighteen to free admission to Mystic Seaport on the day of the week specified on the pass. The opportunity is available year-round. The pass will be sent by

express delivery and will include a prepaid return envelope.

        If interested, e-mail jcau@loc.gov or fax (202) 707-0712,

attention Mystic Pass Coordinator, Publications and Media Section.

Include your name, street address, telephone number, and the date and day of the week you wish to visit Mystic Seaport. For visitor

information, including accessibility details, membership opportunities,

directions, lodging, and more, go to www.mysticseaport.org.



SHINGLES Update 02:    


A vaccine for shingles, which Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) researchers helped develop, is available to veterans who are patients at VA medical facilities nationwide. The Secretary of Veterans Affairs said, “Shingles can seriously degrade the quality of life for those who suffer from this disease. Offering this vaccine to our patients is further evidence of VA’s commitment to provide world-class health care to America’s veterans. 


VA will continue research that leads to real-life solutions like the distribution of this shingles vaccine for patients at VA facilities across the country.” VA physicians will offer the vaccine to patients with appropriate medical conditions, usually those who are 60 years of age or older and have healthy immune systems.  A single dose of the vaccine offers protection against shingles, which is scientifically named Herpes Zoster. VA researchers and patients from across the country participated in studies which led to the vaccine’s approval by the Food and Drug Administration.  The vaccine is available immediately to those who are recommended for the treatment.


Shingles is a miserable painful skin and nerve infection caused by a reactivation of the chickenpox virus. Each year more than 800,000 Americans develop shingles, also known as herpes zoster.  About half of those who live to 85 will get the disease that had chickenpox as a child.  When a young person recovers from chickenpox the varicella zoster virus continues to remain in clusters of nerve cells next to the spinal cord.  The immune system causes the virus to lay dormant for many years but as we age the immune system weakens allowing the virus to reactivate. Factors other than age that can heighten the risk of reactivation are those that compromise the immune system.  AIDS, Hodgkin’s disease, intact of drugs that suppress the immune system, and stress can play a role in triggering the disease. 


Contact with an infected person does not cause another person’s dormant virus to reawaken.  However, the virus from a shingles patient may cause chickenpox in someone who has not had the disease before. When the virus reawakens it travels through the nerves to the skin.  The first symptoms can be flu-like such as fever, chills, headache, nausea, or upset stomach.  Some people experience itchiness, a tingling feeling, or pain in the initial stage.  Within a few days, a painful rash develops usually on the chest, back or face. When the rash is at its peak it can be intense and unrelenting.  This rash develops into small, fluid filled blisters that begin to dry out and crust over after about a week. 


     For most people the disease will resolve without treatment and after one attack the condition is unlikely to return. If treatment is provided with antiviral drugs within the first couple of days it can reduce the pain and may help prevent a shingles complication known as post herpetic neuralgia.  This condition results from damaged nerves and can continue long after the rash heals. While not life threatening, Shingles can develop into chronic pain that may bring with it insomnia, weight loss, depression, and other medical problems.  Fortunately, only about 10% of all people with shingles develop post herpetic neuralgia and in most cases the pain is not sever and goes away within a couple of months.  If shingles appear on the face it can lead to vision or hearing problems.  If the cornea becomes infected the result can cause permanent blindness.  For

additional info refer to www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/shingles/vac-faqs.htm . [Source: VACO OPIA Early AM Rpt 23 Aug 07 ++]



Announcing two brand new Sendero products and the new Sendero GPS 2010 for BrailleNote

More options for independence, March 23, 2010
1.       With a shake of the iPhone, Sendero GPS LookAround announces the nearest address, cross street, heading and points of interest. LookAround runs on the iPhone 3GS. Positioning is done through a combination of cell towers and GPS along with the iPhone's built in compass. The optional free Voice Over program provides accessibility to the touch-screen. Sendero GPS
LookAround is the first in a series of apps planned for the iPhone and is expected to be free or very low cost depending on the features enabled by the time of its release in April.
2.       The new Sendero Maps software for the PC will provide the virtual explore capabilities available on the 4 products powered by Sendero GPS version 2010 or later. The full keyboard and power of the PC may sometimes be preferable when researching a location or calculating long routes. These routes and points of interest can be transferred to and from portable Sendero GPS devices. Sendero Maps will be included at no additional charge
with the purchase of a new Sendero GPS 2010 for the BrailleNote. There may be a small charge for those upgrading. Sendero Maps version 1 does not yet offer GPS tracking.
3.       Not to be upstaged by the new kids on the block, Sendero GPS 2010 for the BrailleNote is packed with new features, maps and points of interest. It is the gold standard for accessible GPS. For a list of features since the last paid upgrade, go to

From January 2000 to March 2010, Sendero Group is proud to have developed accessible GPS for six platforms. Since not one size fits all, Sendero will continue to improve current products and to offer new ones based on your user input.

To see an entire list of all accessible GPS products, go to

Contact Sendero Group:
direct phone: +1 530 757-6800
toll free phone (US & Canada): 888-757-6810


from: Melanie Brunson, Executive Director

American Council of the Blind


Hi all,

There have been a couple of posts here and some calls in the office bout the new $100 bill being unveiled by Treasury this week. The question asked is what about accessibility features. Here’s what I know. First, the court order requiring accessibility features applies to the designs that are undertaken after the date of the court decision.  The design of this new $100 bill was already well under way when the court ruled in our case, and is therefore not covered by the court’s order. However, it does have some interesting features. The numerals are rather large and may be easier for folks with low vision to see. In addition, there are two new anticounterfeiting features that have been incorporated into this bill that people might be able to feel.  There is a strip on the bills, which is referred to as a security ribbon, created by incorporating ground up glass into part of the paper. This is a technology that is in use on Swedish currency. Also, on Ben Franklin’s shoulder, they have added some enhanced entaglio printing. Depending on how “enhanced” it is, that might change the texture of the paper where it is located. Neither of these things were done with accessibility in mind, but they could be sufficiently tactile to make the bills identifiable, at least while they’re new. We won’t actually know this until we can see one. Our attorney, Jeff Lovitky, told me this morning that the actual bills won’t be available until February, so we may have to wait until then to find out more about these features. In the meantime, I thought you might be interested in a bit more info.

Melanie Brunson, Executive Director

American Council of the Blind

2200 Wilson Blvd. Suite 650

Arlington, VA 22201

(202) 467-5081


Fax: (703) 465-5085






VA Benefits                1-800-827-1000.

Health Care               1-877-222-8387.

Education                  1-888-442-4551.

Life Insurance            1-800-669-8477.

Debt Management      1-800-827-0648.

Mammography Hotline      1-888-492-7844.

Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD)      1-800-829-4833.

CHAMPVA                 1-800-733-8387.

Headstones and Markers      1-800-697-6947.

Special Health Issues: Gulf War, Agent Orange, Project 112/Shad     1-800-749-8387.

 Web Sites

VA Home Page ....................................................... www.va.gov

VA Health Care ............................. www.va.gov/health_benefits/

Returning Veterans ................. www.seamlesstransition.va.gov/

Survivors .......................... www.vba.va.gov/survivors/index.htm

VA Facilities ................... www.va.gov/directory/guide/home.asp

VA Forms ................................................. www.va.gov/vaforms/

VA Benefit Payment Rates ........ www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Rates/

Education Benefits ........................................ www.gibill.va.gov/

Home Loan Guaranty ......................... www.homeloans.va.gov/

Life Insurance ....................................... www.insurance.va.gov/

Voc Rehab ........................... www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/index.htm

Burial and Memorial Benefits ......................... www.cem.va.gov/

Veterans Employment and Training .............. www.dol.gov/vets/

Federal Jobs ......................................... www.usajobs.opm.gov/

Veterans Preference ............ www.opm.gov/veterans/index.asp

Records .............. www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/

Department of Defense ............................ www.defenselink.mil/

The National Archives and Records Administration is where you can order a copy of your military personnel and medical records.  Always have copies of these. www.archives.gov/veterans/

The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims could be your next step if your claim has been denied.  Study this site carefully...you will find everything needed to take your claim to the court. www.military.com/benefits/legal/appeals/u.s.-court-of-veterans-appeals





Guide dogs, if they are registered with the VA, are considered prosthetics for blind veterans. You do not have to be service connected to have the VA pay for your veterinary bills. Just ask your VIST coordinator to process the paper work and within a short period of time your guide dog’s veterinary bills will be paid by the VA. Of course, this does not include grooming, just the health needs of your companion.





Applications are now available for the VA sponsored National TEE (training, experience, exposure) Tournament. If you never played the game, but wanted to try, or a once in a while player, or even someone who can break 100, then this is something you should experience.


For an application, contact Kirt Sickels at the Iowa City VAMC by phone 1. 319.338.0581 ext. 7104 or via email at


You may also contact your VIST coordinator or someone at the Recreational Therapy Department at your local VAMC, to see if they can get you an application.


Over the years many of your Chapter members have attended, and are still attending. To name just a few of those who have gone to this event; Barbara Anzelmo, Bill Burgess, Rick Calissi, Carl Foley,

Jerry Hogan, Richard Holden, Sam Huhn, Eddie Humphrey,

Paul Kaminsky, Terry Livingston, Glenn Logan, Rubin Martinez, Steve Matthews, Dave May, Elvon Miller, Dennis O’Connell

and Joe Wallace. Why not add your name to this list?