Mid-Atlantic Regional Group Meeting Minutes May 21, 2016


Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 9:00 A.M.by President, Doris O. Jones. Mr. Gregory Bennett rendered the Pledge of Allegiance. Dr. Clyde Jackson rendered the invocation.

In attendance were:

Hardy Alexander

Paula Banks

Woodrow Banks 

Gregory Bennett

Sandra Bennett

Forest Black

Stevie Bradley

Charles Butler

Robert Byrd

Evelyn Cabrera-Heatwole

Mitchell Cannon

Peter Davis

Lottie Davis

Rosemary Duda  

Veronica Edmonds

Caroline Evy

Diane Gillard

Michaun Harrison

Sherri Hicks

Clyde Jackson

James Jackson

Vanessa Jackson

Leland Jarrett

Doris Jones

Christine Patterson

Herb Patterson

Chris Semple

Betty Stump

Joseph Thomas

Sharon Thomas

Michael White


Welcome Address

Doris Jones

First guest speaker, Ms. Melanie Brunson, Director of Government Relations, Blinded Veterans Association.

Ms. Brunson works on legislation and public policy to benefit people. BVA’s legislative agenda has two major priorities presently. One is to get the Veterans Administration to pay for travel to rehabilitative centers for veterans who are rated catastrophic but not service connected. The bill was amended and accepted.    The second piece of legislation, the Department of Defense researches in diagnosing and treating eye injuries related to explosive blast.  The BVA requested an increase from 10 million dollars to 15 million dollars. The bill is moving to the Senate. There is an omnibus bill being worked on to be past  all bills as one big legislation.  The primary focus is to make changes to improve benefits and services to veterans, and to improve operations of the veterans administration and to make it easier for the VA to have the needed resources to clear up the back log of claims, and the financial burden of veterans on VA pensions. There is a big push to get expanded benefits for caregivers so veterans can remain in their homes. In addition issues regarding changes needed so visually impaired veterans have the same travel benefits as wheel-chaired veterans is also in the works.

District Director Remarks

Pete Davis informed the group that the Bureau of Printing and Graving has an app that will turn the i phone into a bill reader.

Some adaptive pinball machines have been donated. They are available to McGuire for veterans with various disabilities.

The BVA has services and a budget line provide resources for veterans traveling to rehabilitative centers.

Pete’s term as District Director ends June/July.  He will step down due to health issue he and his wife have.

Scholarship committee, Lottie Davis is chairperson. There is $5,000 in scholarship monies available to children and spouses of a blinded veteran who are full-time students.

Membership is now under 9,000. Pete requested veterans continue working to get new members. It is possible at the upcoming convention there will be an eleven-month sell on life memberships.

Second Guest Speaker

Rosemary Duda, Chief of VISOR, McGuire Medical Center

Gave overview of national background. There are currently 49 thousand veterans on VIST coordinator roster. Prosthetics cost, activity and daily living devices cost the most.  VISOR has been established for 8 years. Home visiting is a very strict modality of service. VISOR program continues to meet JHACO standards. Adaptive technology department is using 3-d printers and is also working on adaptive TV remote. VCU has bioengineering laboratory. VISOR will visit to see what projects they are working on.  There was a mandated satisfaction survey sent out with a  41% return feedback, and a 93% satisfaction rate.  The VISOR department passed the 5-year CARF accreditation.  Patients and family  members reported to CARF a high rate of satisfaction.       

MY Healthy Vet continues to expand and serves as a source of a way to communicate between staff and patients. Greatest concern is falls. VISOR has been tracking falls . Primary care doctors are notified of falls for coordination and continuity of care.




Integration Technologies Group (ITG)

Ms. Patricia Zawasky and Giovani presented. Ms. Zawasky shared information for Jerry from Freedom Scientific  in his absence.  The Ruby 7HD will be available in September. Giovani presented the Explorer 3,5, 7 and the specifics of each device.

The vendors set up displays in the rear of the room for viewing during the break.



Afternoon Session

The afternoon session began with the reading of the minutes by Sherri Hicks. The minutes were motioned, second and approved by the membership.


Treasurer Report

Spring 2016 Treasurer’s Report

May 21, 2016


Starting Balance                                                               $5,566.99



Fall Meeting Registration/donations/50-50         $1,517.00

BVA Membership                                                                                            $3,704.80

BVA General Fund                                                                        $60.00

Registration/donation/boat ride ($880.00)          $850.00

Donation                                                                                                             $500.00

Total Deposit                                                                                     $6,631.80


Paid Out                                                                                                              $4,307.43


Checks that has not cleared, and once cleared the balance will be as followed.



1061                       04/13/2016                         -$420.00              

1063                       05/12/2016                         -$1,191.50


New Balance                                                                                     $7,891.36




$880.00 was collected for registration/donation/boat ride

$850.00 was deposit on April 8, 2016


If there’s any question about the $30.00, see the email on the back.


Respectfully Submitted

Hardy Alexander

MARG Treasurer


Proposed Budget


Proposed Expense for 2016 

May 21, 2016


2 chapters ($500 each) $1,000

Fall Meeting Budget $1,500.00( times 2)


Convention Ad $100.00


3 Delegates to Convention ($300.00 each)     $900.00


BVA Scholarship Support Fund   $250.00

Winter Sport Clinic      $50.00/each up to 5 members  Total $250.00 (discuss)


Mailing  $100.00 for each meeting  total $200.00


Beginning                                                                           $8,582.86


Propose Budget                                                               $5,700.00


Plus (safety zone)                                                           $2000.00


Total Budget                                                                      $7,700.00


New Balance                                                                     $882.86


Respectfully Submitted

Hardy Alexander

MARG Treasurer


Pete Davis made a motion for the treasurer report and proposed budget for 2016 are approved.  The motion was carried. The treasurer report and budgets were approved.







Old Business

Doris continues to update the MARG website. Any changes or additions to be made to the MARG website should be directed to Doris Jones, or Michaun Harrison.

New Business

Doris Jones, MARG President

Hampton agreed to host the Fall meeting.   A motion was made for the Hampton chapter hosts the meeting in October 2016.  Dates and additional details will be forthcoming. The motion was carried.


Election of Officers and Delegates

Pete Davis, Director

The floor was opened for nominations.  No new persons were nominated.  Pete Davis opened the floor for a mass nomination and call for the vote for the current members to be re-elected. Robert Byrd made the motion for the current board members to be re-elected. Unanimous vote was made and the current officers were re-elected and will serve for 2 more years. The motion was carried.

300 dollars has been budgeted  for 3 delegates to attend the convention.  Pete opened the floor for nominations for delegates to attend the upcoming convention in Milwaukee Wisconsin, August 2016.  Doris Jones, Michaun Harrison, and Hardy Alexander were nominated.  The floor was opened for additional nominations.  A motion was made to approve the nominated delegates; Doris as primary, and Michaun and Hardy as alternates. Motion was carried.

A new by-law change is a temporary suspension of the current rules for the by-laws so that we may decrease membership fees September 1,2016 through August 1, 2017. The  price for a lifetime membership will be reduced to 20 dollars.  Motion was made for the primary delegate attending the convention vote in favor of this change on the first ballot.  The motion was carried.

In the past the delegate has been instructed to vote in the best interest of the BVA and MARG.  A motion was made that the delegate will continue this past instruction.  The motion was carried.

Doris presented a question made by the Thomas’s.  The questions was weather or not we ever contacted other organizations that are not military related that may have blinded veteran  members. It was also discussed if an initiative  should be taken on a chapter or regional level.

Robert Byrd questioned if we can have honorary  members at the chapter level Honorary and corporate membership has been discussed to help increase membership.

Board has been discussing honorary and corporate membership. Current by-laws allow honorary members.   Additional information is forthcoming.



Dr. Clyde Jackson

Meeting adjourned at 1400hrs


Respectively submitted by Michaun Harrison, Mid Atlantic BVA Secretary on November 2, 2015.

These minutes have been amended effective October 29, 2016 to include Robert Byrd in attendance.

Respectively submitted by Michaun Harrison, Mid Atlantic BVA Secretary on November 7, 2016.


Send to:

BVA National Headquarters Administrative Director Bridgett Jones:  bjones@bva.org

Mid-Atlantic Region President Doris Jones: olivia25@gmail.com

Mid-Atlantic Region Vice President Greg Bennett: gbennett804@gmail.com

Richmond Chapter President, Herbert Patterson: blindknight1@verizon.net

Hampton Chapter President, Robert Byrd:  rbyrds@hotmail.com

Mid-Atlantic Region Treasurer, Hardy Alexander: halexander6@verizon.net

Tom Eaton, Webmaster: tjeatonjr@cox.net


End of Document