Mid-Atlantic Regional Group Teleconference Meeting Minutes May 2, 2020
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 12:10 P.M. by President, Doris Jones. Mr. Gregory Bennett rendered the Pledge of Allegiance. Mr. Danny Wheeler rendered the invocation.
In attendance were:
Laurie (Mary) Cutlip
Alton (Rick) Grisby
Donald Overton, Jr.
Joe (Huff) Thomas
WELCOME ADDRESS: Mr. Donald D. Overton, Jr., Director of Government Relations, Blinded Veterans Association
Mr. Overton updated the group on the recent leadership changes at headquarters. He also encouraged the members to utilize the BVA website for legislative updates and priorities. He spoke about the current changes of the Care Givers Benefit Program. The VA is making changes for veterans of eras other than Post 911 veterans to receive the benefits. He updated the members on the 3504 Special Adaptive Housing Resolution. The grant amount of $90,000 will allow for veterans that do not have a loss of limb(s) to be eligible for the grant. The resolution is ready to move on unanimous consent when congress resumes. The House and Senate is still working on HR 1199 (Accessibility VA platforms). The national office is engaged with ride share programs like UBER and LIFT to solve transportation issues for visually impaired/blinded veterans. He spoke about the Ability One Program. This program employs blind and disabled veterans. The court ruled in favor (unanimous consent) to help stabilize the program to make sure jobs are kept. The BRCs are working together with VISTs and BROs to keep the budget intact and continue to work on a plan to reopen the BRCs with safe practices post COVID-19. Mr. Overton encouraged us to participate as Consumer Reviewers. Participation will aid in increasing monies for vision research. He informed the members about the Blinded Veterans United Kingdom Program. The program enables the USA and United Kingdom personnel to work together. Robert Byrd asked about the progress of the HR33 Bill (veterans Retirees with 20 years with less than a 50 percent service connected disability rating and Chapter 61 retirees who were medically retired with less than 20 years cannot receive both their military retirement and their VA compensation. H.R. 333 will correct this oversight). Mr. Overton informed members that there has been no movement on the bill but the bill has bipartidism support.
SECOND GUEST SPEAKER: Ms. Monaca Gilmore, District III Director
Monaca congratulated MARG for doing a great job. She commended Doris Jones, Michaun Harrison, and Hardy Alexander for a job well done. She encouraged members to commit to fundraising ideas. She informed the group that Ken Horn is the new Chairman for Operation Peer Support. Monica informed members of the mission and goals of the Women Veterans Group. She encouraged the group to call the Resource Center for questions, and claim assistance. She said there will be a District III page on the BVA website. She directed the group to utilize the chain of command when resolving issues and concerns. The 2020 convention has been canceled as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
READING OF THE MINUTES: By Mrs. Paula Banks, Spouse Woodrow Banks
The MARG May 4, 2019 minutes were read by Mrs. Banks. A motion was made by Clyde Jackson to approve the minutes as read. The motion was second by Forest Black. The motion was carried.
SPRING 2020 TREASURER REPORT
All checks have cleared.
Life Membership Funds $1691.92
Starting Balance $6,145.04
The Spring 2020 Treasurer Report was read by Michaun Harrison.
Respectfully Submitted By
A motion was made to accept the Spring 2020 Treasurer Report as read. The motion was second and carried.
PROPOSED 2021 BUDGET REPORT
Starting Balance $6,833.80
Two Chapters ($200.00/each X 2) =$400 X 2 $800.00
MARG meeting(s) (one conference call, one in-person) $1,000.00
Convention Ad $100.00
2 Delegates to Convention ($300.00 each) $600.00
BVA Scholarship Support Fund $250.00
The Proposed 2021 Budget Report was read by Michaun Harrison.
Doris Jones proposed that each chapter receive $200.00 instead of $400.00 each, and the remaining $200.00 be giving to Baltimore and DC chapters. These two chapters are currently inactive but are in the process of reactivating. Hardy Alexander also suggested the $100.00 for incidentals be increased. A roll-call vote was done. The members voted in favor of the proposed budget. A motion was made by Herb Patterson to accept the Proposed Budget as read. Hardy Alexander second the motion. The motion was carried.
President Doris Jones and Michaun Harrison updated the group on the need to update the webpage platform. The will discontinue the contract with Jumpline. Doris and Director Monica Gilmore informed the members of the South Carolina Chapter President Cheryl Gajadhar’s CNRI Services (Website business), and proposed MARG contract with her. The set-up cost to contract with CNRI Services will cost $750.00. The members discussed funding and fundraising options to pay for the set-up cost. Herb Patterson made a motion we accept the proposal to upgrade the website and contract with Cheryl Gajadhar (CNRI Services). The motion was second and carried.
Election of Officers and Delegates
Pete Davis opened the floor for nominations for officers. Nominations for president was opened. Doris Jones and Michaun Harrison were nominated for president. A roll-call vote was taken. Michaun Harrison was elected to serve as the new MARG president. Michaun Harrison accepted the nomination.
Nominations were Vice President was open. Lawrence Harrison was nominated for Vice President. Lawrence Harrison was elected as the new MARG Vice President. Lawrence Harrison accepted the nomination.
Nominations for Secretary was opened. There were not members nominated for secretary. The floor was closed to nominations.
Nominations for Treasurer was opened. Stevie Bradley and Hardy Alexander were nominated to run for MARG Treasurer. A roll-call vote was taken. Hardy Alexander was re-elected to serve as MARG Treasurer. Since there were no nominations for secretary, Hardy Alexander will serve as MARG Secretary in conjunction with the position as MARG Treasurer. Hardy Alexander accepted the nominations to serve as secretary and treasurer.
SWEARING IN OF NEW OFFICERS
The new officers were sworn in by Monica Gilmore, District III Director
Election of Delegates:
Since the 2020 convention was canceled, there were no delegates elected. The members proposed that the President and Vice President should represent MARG at the next convention. A motion was made to allow the President and Vice President to serve as delegates for the next convention. The motion was second and carried.
NEW CHAPTER FORMATION:
Richard Lane and Pete Davis updated the members on the Washington, DC and Maryland BVA Chapters reactivated/reforming. Members discussed how much to money should be given to each reactivated chapter. A motion was made to wait until the chapters are reactivated and have the executive committee vote on how much to fund each chapter. The motion was second and carried.
Spring 2020 Meeting Location
A motion was made to wait on determining the location for the next meeting due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. The executive board will contact members and vote on a location at a later date. The motion was second and carried.
BY Mr. Danny Wheeler
Meeting adjourned at 1505hrs
Respectively submitted by Hardy Alexander, Mid Atlantic BVA Secretary on May 11, 2020
BVA National Headquarters Administrative Director Bridgett Jones
Mid-Atlantic Region President Michaun Harrison:
Mid-Atlantic Region Vice President Lawrence Harrison:
Richmond Chapter President, Herbert Patterson:
Hampton Chapter President, Robert Byrd:
McGuire, VA Richmond VIST, Evelyn-Cabrera Heatwole
McGuire, VA Richmond, Director VISOR Department
Harvey Guary, Baltimore Chapter: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lawrence Harrison, Vice President, MARG: email@example.com
Pete Davis, DC Chapter: firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Lane, DC Chapter: email@example.com
Cheryl Gajadhar, Webmaster, President, SC Chapter: firstname.lastname@example.org$$