Disabled American Veterans

Blind Veterans National Chapter #1


July/August 2014 Newsletter

Editor: Dennis O’Connell is the new email address






Commander Carroll Prosser (SC)

Phone (843) 997-1981


Senior vice Commander James Hogan (CA)

1st Junior vice Commander Terry Livingston (FL)

 2nd Junior vice Commander Charles Brooks (FL)

 3rd Vice Commander Ron Lester

4th Junior vice Commander William Burgess

Judge Advocate Dennis O’Connell (NY)
Chaplain Rev. Tony Martino (IL)
Phone 847 736 2111

Adjutant/Treasurer Paul Kaminsky (FL) (also webmaster)

Phone 904 291-0576

Immediate Past Commander Richard Bugbee (AZ)


PLEASE, if you know of any member who is sick or deceased inform one of the officers whose contact information is listed above ASAPP.



Robert Abshire, Colorado Springs CO

Stephen Hofheimer, Clearwater FL

Joseph McNeil, Columbus GA

Donald Overton, Palm Bay FL

Robert Tullis, Tucson AZ



 My fellow Blind Chapter members, it was really good to see many of you at the national convention. Wish more could have attended but we are all getting older and that has really made a difference in our attendance. The convention was full of information and we are looking for a successful year under Commander Ron Hope.

    Thank you for the honor of serving as the Blind Chapter commander for another year and we also look forward to a successful year for each of us.

    A great big thank you to all of our new officer for stepping up and agreeing to serve. A special thank you to adjutant Paul Kaminski for a job well done, not only at the convention, but also during the year. The best part of the convention was the opportunity to spend social time with the members and their wives.

 I wish each of you peace and good health, 



Many of our blinded Vets also have PTSD, and it is important for everyone to know that it is not a life sentence!

His letter:

A few of your recent articles on the problems encountered by the Wounded Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Carson have made it to the ‘Military Medical News’ of late. This is a subject that is very near to my heart, as I bear a VA diagnosis of Severe Combat-Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (in partial remission). My diagnosis was as the result of Korea, Vietnam and a couple of wars in which I was an ‘observer’, but the dynamics are similar to what was described by Alexander the Great in the years of the Peloponnesian Wars.

I’m very happy with the designation ‘in partial remission’. This means that, on days when my serenity is low, I may exhibit a ‘startle reaction’, or maybe break out in a sweat and smell gunpowder if I see a snatch of a jungle warfare movie on TV. This can be controlled by using self-talk and meditation to ensure that my serenity level is high enough to prevent the appearance of PTSD symptoms, and a high serenity level correlates well with increased longevity and better health (so I gain an added benefit)

For 17 years after I left Vietnam, I self-medicated with alcohol. I had no idea what was wrong, and thereby no inkling that it could be healed. Then I was arrested for a DUI, and this set in motion the events that would lead to ‘partial remission’.

I was required to enroll in a treatment center for alcoholism and drug addiction (my blood alcohol had been .369 and I was coherent, indicating that the disease of alcoholism was severe). Against the odds (only one in ten stay sober for any significant length of time), I’ve been sober for over 22 years and counting.

A series of coincidences led to my enrolling in Graduate School to become a Clinical Mental Health Counselor (and simultaneously to start training as an eventual Senior Chemical Addictions Counselor). One of my Professors suggested that I go to the VA to get help with my PTSD (I did not realize that it was so obvious that it could be spotted in the classroom), so I went to the Vet Center and entered counseling.

At the Vet Center, my Readjustment Counselor was a former Army Chaplain who was also recovering from PTSD, and the men in my group all had PTSD with symptoms about as intense as my own. My first epiphany was the realization that I was not a freak, I was simply having normal reactions to abnormal stimuli. This allowed for the possibility of getting better. As we shared our stories of the incidents that caused the initial reactions, and learned about the triggers that reproduced these reactions in the present, we were able to unbundle the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual components of the symptoms we were demonstrating, and healing began.

I subscribe to a theory of treatment that I attribute to Dr. Charles Figley, a giant in the treatment of PTSD. This is that there is a ‘Trauma Membrane’ that folks with PTSD establish around themselves. It is tough and leathery, and the more attempts are made to get inside this membrane, the tougher it becomes. But someone who has had a similar experience is welcomed inside the membrane, for they will not treat their fellows as freaks! (This theory has a lot of support in the literature on treatment of PTSD in rape and child sexual abuse victims.)

The ‘trauma membrane’ theory does not preclude non-PTSD-suffering therapists  from being effective, but it does suggest  that they might better function as ‘moderators’ while the victims in the group heal each other.

Professionally, subsequent to my 22-year Army Intelligence career and 13 years as ceo of a small defense contractor, I worked as a Senior Chemical Addictions Counselor, Veterans Readjustment Counselor, Psychiatric Evaluator in the Emergency Rooms of city hospitals, and Adjunct Professor of Psychology at PPCC. The years in the healing professions paid little by comparison, but they were by far more personally satisfying, for me.


FAREWELL MARINE the combat boots are empty and finally they're still, they’re set carefully at attention, they've marched up their last hill. The rifle, too, is silent now and unwaveringly erected, Holding up the well-worn helmet of the Marine it once protected.

Farewell Marine United States Marine Taps USMC Marines Honor Combat Boots Rifle Comrades Tribute Memorial Brotherhood Brother of Man Hero Heroes Buddy Farewell Sacrifice Sacrifices Proud Marine the Proud the Few the United States Marines Marine Corps USMC   



Greyhound Lines, Inc. and Veterans Advantage Inc. today announced a new special savings program for Veterans Advantage VetRewards Card members, honoring military and veteran families with a 40 percent nationally recognized discount on Greyhound Package Express (GPX), the company’s expedited shipping service. U.S. Active Duty Military, Veterans, National Guard & Reserve and their families holding.



ASPCA Animal Poison Control Number: (888)426-4435



It was a good turnout by the membership of the Blind Veterans National Chapter #1 in Las Vegas for the DAV National Convention this year. Our meetings accomplished a great deal, and I’m sure our Adjutant/Treasurer, Paul Kaminsky, will give an overview in the next issue.

For the first time, many of us stayed an extra day and enjoyed dinner together and then the show “Jersey Boys”.

Maybe someone will come up with some ideas that we can do together in Denver in 2015?

If anyone receives this through snail mail and would prefer email, please let me know via email:

Congratulations to our own Paul Kaminsky, who was elected to the office of District Director 5 for the BVA.



1.  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

2.  Sleep Apnea

3.  Diabetes Type II

4.  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

5.  Irritable Bowel Syndrome

6.  Tinnitus

7.  Peripheral Neuropathy

8.  Depression

9.  Anxiety

10.  Various Skin Disorders