GCB board - taken at the 2018 Convention Conference

GCB Digest Online

GCB Digest Winter 2011 (Text Version)

THE GCB DIGEST A Publication of the GEORGIA COUNCIL OF THE BLIND An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind An Organization Promoting a Hand Up Not a Hand Out WINTER 2011 GCB Office 850 Gaines School Road Athens, GA 30605 706-549-1020 Email: gcbfyi@yahoo.com GCB President: William Holley 185 Weatherly Woods Drive Winterville, Georgia 30683 706-552-0521 Email: gcbpres@yahoo.com GCB Webmaster: Steven Longmire info@sunbright.biz GCB Website: WWW.georgiacounciloftheblind.org Editor: Amanda Wilson 45 Rocky Circle, Northeast White, Georgia 30184 770-547-4700 Email: moonrocks@bellsouth.net Assistant Editor: Suzanne Jackson 131 Cannon gate Circle Sharpsburg, GA 30277 770-463-1127 Email: susieb@numail.org TABLE OF CONTENTS From Your Editor, Amanda Wilson President’s Message, William Holley GCB Board Meeting Minutes, Robin Oliver GCB Treasurer’s Report, Jerrie Toney Helpful Hints, Sheila Rousey Chapter News Announcements From Your Editor, Amanda Wilson Hello, GCB family. We thank each one who has submitted articles in this issue of our magazine. If you have any change of address, telephone number, email address, or desired change of format, please inform our GCB treasurer, Jerrie Toney, at jmt2@bellsouth.net or via telephone at 706-549-2010. I want to say thank you to everyone who made our first issue of the GCB digest such a big success. I particularly want to thank Suzanne Jackson, my assistant editor, for the many hours she has worked on the magazine, for her editing skills and for the excellent reading of the cassette tapes. I want to thank our president, William Holley, for his presidential messages which include informative and important events, legislation and projects. I appreciate the contributions from each member who has sent articles, who has given suggestions to make the magazine better and who has supported me in so many ways. **************************** President’s Message By Bill Holley Greetings GCB Family Members, I wish everyone of our family a happy and prosperous New Year. I want to remain true to the commitment made by me to our membership for total involvement and participation in the growth and development of our organization. It is with this commitment in mind that our first priority is to request all elected officers to serve on committees and help recruit new members. GCB Purpose and Committee Structure According to GCB Constitution and bylaws Article II, GCB’s purpose is to promote the general welfare of the legally blind people of Georgia and to cooperate with ACB in activities to promote the well-being of all blind people. The article recommends GCB use a number of action steps to promote the well-being of Blind people. Therefore, the structure of our organization is very important to our success in meeting constitutional responsibilities. We as elected representatives can no longer afford to operate independently of our membership. We can no longer believe in me, myself, and I, but realize it is necessary to believe in we, us, and, our. This attitude will equate to real leadership. We cannot provide a forum for the views of blind people from all walks of life throughout Georgia unless we are informed as leadership; we will not be able to elevate the social, economic and cultural level of blind people without knowledge of what is available in our communities to support blind people; as leaders, in order to improve the education and rehabilitation services for blind people, we must become part of the decision making process to expand vocational opportunities; we must encourage and assist newly blind people, by becoming their peer supporters, as trained and skilled leaders to develop their abilities and potentials; it is GCB leadership’s responsibility to build cooperation between the public and private institutions and agencies of and for the blind; however, we cannot, if we fail to approach these entities as an organized and informed leadership; and without an organized informed leadership we cannot conduct a program of public education aimed toward improving the understanding of the challenges of blindness and the capabilities of blind people. The committee structure is the beginning of a process to educate our leadership, which will increase knowledge within our membership. It is a known fact that a knowledgeable membership will attract newly blind people who are ready to support services for all blind people. Therefore, the Presidents of every chapter are requested to serve on the leadership/fund development committee; First Vice Presidents are requested to serve on the state membership committee; Second Vice Presidents are requested to serve on a state public relations committee; Treasurers are requested to serve on the state finance committee; the Secretaries are requested to serve on the state constitution and by-Laws committee, and At-Large Representatives are requested to serve on the legislative/transportation committee. Each one of these state committees will have Co-Chairs (except the leadership committee), which will include the state elected officers. The following Individuals are recommended and have indicated some interest in Committee membership: Leadership and Fund Development Committee Chairman, Bill Holley- The President of each chapter will be represented on this committee Membership Committee Co-Chairs, Keith Morris, Phil Jones- The First Vice President of each chapter will be represented on this committee Public Relations/Technology Committee Co-Chairs, Steve Longmire, Amanda Wilson- The Second Vice President of each chapter will be represented on this committee Constitution and Bylaws Committee Co-Chairs, Robin Oliver, Joe McNeil- The Secretaries of each chapter will be represented on this committee. Finance Committee Co-Chairs, Jerrie Toney, Kathy Morris- The Treasurers of each chapter will be represented on this committee. Legislative/Transportation Committee Co-Chairs, Valarie Leighton, Adam Shapiro- The Members-at-Large will be represented on this committee with any volunteer from membership. Appointed Committees Scholarship Committee Chairwoman, Debbie Williams – All volunteers currently serving are invited to continue representing the committee. Awards Committee Chairwoman, Judy Presley – the names of all other volunteers will be announced at a later date. Banquet Committee Chair – Atlanta West Chapter, Banquet Committee. As previously stated in the GCB Digest (Fall 2009), I would like to suggest that every one of our GCB members become peer supporters. I further suggest that GCB members start out by advocating for themselves. Yes, self-advocacy is the major ingredient necessary for the future growth and development of GCB. Though changes can be unsettling, they are a much needed part of the growth and development of any successful organization. We sit at the pivotal point of reaching and teaching blind people how to advocate for themselves and others. In fact, how to move from the shadows and into the light, and it is my great honor to begin this new adventure with you so that our organization might enact the changes that will keep us a viable part of our society. **************** GCB Board Meeting Minutes, Robin Oliver August 8, 2010 The meeting was called to order by President Alice Ritchhart. Members present: President, Alice Ritchhart; First vice-president, Bill Holley; 2nd Vice-president, Keith Morris; Secretary, Robin Oliver; Treasurer, Jerrie Toney; At-large member, Debbie Williams; Athens Chapter Willie Harris; Augusta Chapter Kathy Morris; Bainbridge Chapter Tonya Wright; Greater Columbus Chapter Gregory McDuffie; East Georgia Chapter Phil Jones; Greater Hall County Chapter Judy Presley; Macon Chapter Tim Kelly; Metro Atlanta Chapter Adam Shapiro; Rome/Floyd County Chapter Amanda Wilson; Savannah Chapter Teresa Brenner; Stephens County Chapter Al Camp; GCBL Anne Wheeler; and GGDU Betsy Grenevitch. Absent: Atlanta West & Northwest chapters. It was decided that the October board meeting will be held in Athens. Ann Sims named the new staff of the GCB Digest, EditorAmanda Wilson and Assistant Editor Suzanne Jackson. Alice Ritchhart and Marsha Farrow will serve as advisors. Marsha inquired about the site for the 2011 banquet. It was decided that anyone wishing to make a site presentation could do so at the October meeting. Alice spoke on a Department of Labor contract that would involve her as a representative of GCB to speak in conjunction with Kay McGill to use the stimulus provided to the state to speak to seniors around the state. Bill suggested that research be done to make sure we did not run into a conflict of interest problem. Kay stated that Alice would only receive reimbursement. Greg suggested the discussion be tabled, but Alice decided to carry on due to an approaching deadline. After much discussion and an indecisive vote, it was announced that it was time to check out. The meeting ended. Respectfully submitted, Robin Oliver, GCB Secretary Alice Ritchhart 125 Willow Pond Way Brunswick, GA. 31525 October 23, 2010 Georgia Council of the Blind Board of Directors 850 Gaines School Road Athens, GA. GCB Board of Directors: I am writing to make this an official document, and it should be included into the minutes of the October 23, 2010 board meeting. I Alice Ritchhart hereby resign as President and Immediate Past President of the Georgia Council of the Blind. I do so to avoid any more conflict in the organization, and so that GCB can fulfill its contract with the Department of Labor Senior Vision Program, and the mission of the Georgia Council of the Blind. Sincerely, Alice Ritchhart, GCB Member at Large ******************************************************************************************** GCB Treasurer’s Report by Jerrie Toney July 1 through July 31, 2010: Beginning Balance: $9,956.64 Ending Balance: $14,210.25 Scholarship Balance: $3,022.21 Savings Account Balance: $11,389.15 CD Balance: $11,228.97 Portfolio: $65,181.36 August 1 through August 31, 2010: Beginning Balance: $14,210.25 Ending Balance: $18,570.20 Scholarship Balance: $1,890.96 Savings Account Balance: $11,390.09 CD Balance: $11,233.58 Portfolio: $63,493.00 September 1 through September 30, 2010: Beginning Balance: $18,570.20 Ending Balance: $8,422.90 Scholarship Balance: $2,379.24 Savings Account Balance: $11,391.06 CD Balance: $11,238.35 Portfolio: $64,813.65 Anyone interested in acquiring copies of the 2010 treasurer’s reports, budget, and/or 2010 convention report may make your request known by contacting the GCB office: Multiple Choices Center, 850 Gaines School Road, Athens, GA 30605, telephone 706-549-1020, or via email at jmt2@bellsouth.net and your request shall be honored. ********************************************************************************************Helpful Hints By Sheila Rousey Stephens County Chapter of the Georgia Council of the Blind Hello, all GCB members, Sheila Rousey from the Stephens County chapter had this great idea of collecting and sharing some inexpensive helpful household hints and tricks that might help people with visual impairments to be more independent. She hopes that others in our group will send in their helpful household hints and tricks so that we might combine them into a resource booklet that could someday be used as a fund raiser. She said, “Many other organizations create these types of booklets and sell them as a fund raiser for their organizations.” Rousey also commented that we ALL know about the low-vision and adaptive aids from mail-order suppliers. This list is created for the purpose of locating items from LOCAL stores that can be used, and at a much lower cost to visually impaired consumers. Sheila suggested the following format for submitting ideas to this project. Name of contributor: Organization: Category: (such as labeling items) Product information: (where to purchase the materials); description (such as how the materials can be used) So, here is her contribution: Name: Sheila Rousey Organization: Stephens County Area GA Council of the Blind Category: Labeling Product Information: Wal-Mart or K-Mart Brand: Martha Stewart "Bright Large Gemstone Stickers” Package contains 48 adhesive backed raised plastic bump dots. The cost is around two dollars per package. This item is found in the craft department in the scrap booking section. Description: These plastic bump dots come in 4 colors including red, orange, green, and blue. They can be used like the bump dots from low-vision stores and the variety in color can be used for additional marking for those who have low vision and can still identify colors. We hope that everyone will send in some helpful household tips, tricks, or hints, so we can create a useful resource guide that might be of use as a fund raiser at some point in the future. ******************************************************************************************** CHAPTER NEWS Athens Chapter The Athens Chapter reports that they have a new president. He is Daniel Myers. Their other officers remain the same and they are as follows: Jerrie Toney as first vice-president; Pete Hayek as second vice-President; Robin Oliver as secretary; Jamaica Miller as assistant secretary; Annie Harris as treasurer; and Mike Teal as assistant treasurer. Instead of having a Christmas party this year, the Athens Council of the blind participated in two community activities. (1) The Athens Council of the Blind help sponsor the MULTIPLEchoices Bowl-A-Thon Kick Off on December 10, by providing chicken wings for the guests. (2) We adopted a family of 6 (mom, dad, 5 month old twin daughters, 6 year old son, an Athens Chapter wishes everyone a very Happy New Year. The Athens chapter wishes for all to keep Dorothy Jones in their prayer. She had a stroke in December and is in Emory Hospital. Please contact the Athens chapter if you wish to call Dot Jones or send her a card. Atlanta West Chapter As we say goodbye to our first year as chartered members of "The Georgia Council of the Blind", we look backward in awe, that we are still here at all, and happy to be. Our first challenge was finding the right place to hold our meetings. This endeavor took three starts before we settled on the right one, which is the Carrollton Public Library in Carrollton, Georgia. This is a good fit at last and we hope to stay there. We have had one very good fund-raiser, which was a country group known as the "Chattahoochee Pickers". Everyone got into the act and we earned enough to pay the GCB. A proud time. However, we followed that with a really sad event in the form of a craft and yard sale and this was a total loss. We ended up buying from one another, and although everyone went home happy and with much they didn't need, it did not make us any revenue. Live and learn. We were lucky to get some fantastic publicity in the County newspaper--a full page of us holding our new banner, written well enough to draw in two new members. The New Year will find us working diligently to draw in new members, host as many fund-raisers as possible, and never losing our spirit of hope, trust, and hard work. What a wonderful year it has been. Thanks to everyone who helped and dried our tears when we went in the wrong direction, and cheered when we made good decisions. Welcome 2011. The Atlanta West Chapter still has their same officers. They are as follows: Steve Estes as president; James Holland as vice-president; Joan Estes as secretary and treasurer. The Atlanta West Chapter meetings are held on the second Saturday of each month at 11:00 A.M. at the Carrollton Regional Library in Carrollton, Georgia. For more information please contact Steve Estes at 770-562-4213. The Atlanta West Chapter wishes everyone a Happy New Year. Augusta Chapter The Augusta Chapter of the Georgia Council of the Blind reported that their October party/meeting was a huge success. They held their elections in November. They elected the following officers and board members. They are as follows: Christopher Chavous as president; Heather Lopez as vice president; Kathy Morris as secretary; Sheila Chavous as treasurer; and their board members are Keith Morris, Stanley Lopez, and David Everley. The Augusta chapter had their Christmas dinner party at Scorner Barbeque. The Augusta Chapter meetings are held at the Freedman Library on North Leg on the second Saturday at 1:00. For more information, please contact Christopher Chavous at 706-737-4341. The Augusta chapter wishes everyone a Happy New Year. Bainbridge Chapter The Bainbridge chapter has the following officers: Tonya Wright as president; Paddy Duke as first vice president; Keith Carter as second vice-president; Gloria Hampton as secretary; Janice Tootle as treasurer. The Bainbridge chapter had their raffle of the meat box which contained frozen cuts of meat. Tonya’s mother was the lucky winner. The Bainbridge chapter is planning to raffle off a red blanket with a big G on it. The Bainbridge chapter had their Christmas party on Saturday, December 11 at the Golden Corral where they had good food and a good time. The Bainbridge chapter meetings are held on the second Saturday of the month at the library. For more information please contact Tonya Wright at 229-248-0087. The Bainbridge Chapter wishes everyone a Happy New Year. Chattooga County Chapter The Chattooga County chapter officers are as follows: Marsha Farrow as president; Wendi Wilson as first vice-president; Mary Turnip seed as second vice-president; Jan Morris as secretary/treasurer. The Chattooga County chapter meetings are held at the Chattooga County Library which is located at 360 Farrar Drive, Summerville, Georgia 30747, on the Fourth or last Friday of the Month at 10:00 AM. For more information please contact Marsha Farrow at 706-857-2968. The Chattooga Chapter wishes everyone a happy New Year. Often people with vision loss seem to find themselves on the sidelines of community events, but thanks to a wonderful local Doll Artist, Mrs. Linda Espy of Summerville, Georgia, this was not the case at all for the Chattooga County Chapter. Mrs. Espy generously donated a very beautiful Hand Crafted scene of Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller to our ACB Auction in 2010. From this point the relationship between the Chattooga GCB Chapter and the Victorian Committee has become a wonderful friendship. . This relationship inspired the joint effort to create the Helen Keller Display in Summerville, Georgia. The local Victorian Christmas Event already featured Displays of: Charles Dickens writing "A Christmas Carol" Queen Victoria and Prince Albert Working carousel with hand-carved horses Toy Shoppe and Sweet Shoppe "The Night Before Christmas" (scene from book) Scrooge and Tiny Tim Victorian Santa in antique sleigh Confederate soldiers in camp at Christmas Quilting in the Quarters This year's very special addition depicted Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan. On Sunday afternoon December 5, 2010, Summerville was alive with the sights and sounds of Christmas Past. Moreover, the local Chattooga Civic Center was the site of a hands-on display of life size figures of Helen Keller as a child and her beloved teacher, Anne Sullivan. The scene depicted Helen and Anne sharing a Christmas morning when Helen had received a bird and cage as one of her gifts. Anne was positioned as if finger spelling into Helen’s palm. There was a fireplace with real looking flames and Helen’s pet basset hound warming near the fire. There was a Christmas tree with some toys and a doll in the scene. The water pump, the rocking horse, the dog, the bird and cage were crafted from paper by very gifted artists who are presently inmates from Hayes’s State Prison. All of the items just named were remarkably made from paper mache and there was even a perfect replica of a Braille writer made from paper mache. Chattooga County members and family helped out in many ways: Saunya and her mother Editha Jones served as Hosts and demonstrated Braille writing. Saunya dressed like young Helen Keller and provided information about the scene. Wendi Wilson spent hours representing Chattooga GCB at the Victorian Christmas weekly workshop. Antonia and Malachi Mack, along with Jan Morris, sold refreshments. Marsha and Bob Farrow helped out to host and sell food items. Betty and Gene Hall donated brownies to be sold. Martha Craig of Floyd County GCB Chapter and her son Johnny and his wife Danalee participated in the Civil War history and display. Martha and Dannalee dressed in authentic costume by wearing dresses patterned after those worn during the Victorian period. Johnny and other men dressed in Civil War Military attire. Helen Keller’s father was a Military Officer in the Civil War. Everyone had a wonderful time and plan to do even more to enhance awareness of the history of outstanding people with vision loss from our country’s past during the Victorian era. East Georgia Chapter The East Georgia Chapter reelected their officers. They are still Neb Houston as president; Phil Jones as first vice president; Patricia Cox as second vice-president; Christina O’Brien, as secretary; Anne Wheeler and Linda Cox as co-treasurers; and their board members are Dot Davis, Larry Chalena, and Elsie Moonie. The East Georgia Chapter meetings are held the second Saturday of each month in Conyers. For more information, please contact Neb Houston at 770-784-0236. The East Georgia Chapter wishes everyone a Happy New Year. The East Georgia chapter wishes for all to keep the Turner family in your prayers, as Barbara Turner died in December of 2010. The East Georgia chapter wanted to remember John Fearon. We are especially proud that he was one of the founding members of our chapter. He was very dedicated to helping other blind people in the community. His life experiences and profound impact on the blind community will be remembered not only by our chapter but by the many people he touched. John was born July 15, 1944, with retrolental fibroplasia, which left him totally blind. An exceptional child, John was the first blind student to attend a public school in Atlanta. He was very successful with his early education and was also proud to be a boy scout. He went on to graduate from Mercer University and also attended law school. He met his future wife, Faye, in 1970. For the next thirty nine years it was clear to everyone his love and devotion to Faye. Some of John’s favorite activities were his participation in his church, his ham radio groups and Lions Clubs. John had a unique passion for every group, church or organization that he was involved with. The East Georgia chapter is honored to recognize the life and love of John Fearon. We miss you. Greater Columbus Chapter The Greater Columbus Chapter reported that In November, we provided baskets for 12 families. On December 5th we had our Christmas Dinner. In December, we will provide 12 more families with baskets. Our officers are Gregory McDuffie as president; Eddie Walker as first vice-president; Dirk Jones as second vice-president; Terri Powell as secretary; Laverne Byrd as assistant secretary; Clifford Brinson as treasurer; Joseph McNeil as assistant Treasurer. The Columbus chapter meetings are held the first Saturday of each month at the Columbus Public Library, 3000 Macon Road, from 1PM-3PM. For more information please contact Gregory McDuffie at 706-570-3695. The Greater Columbus Chapter wishes everyone a Happy New Year. Greater Hall County Chapter The Greater Hall County Chapter officers are as follows: Richard Bagley as president; Judy Presley as vice-president; Ted Brackett as treasurer; Sue Hesketh as secretary. The Greater Hall county chapter had their Christmas party on Saturday, December 4, 2010, at Luna’s Restaurant in Gainesville, Georgia. The Greater Hall county chapter meetings are held at the East Hall Special Needs Library on the first Saturday of each month. For more information please contact Richard Bagley at 770-983-1213. The Greater Hall County Chapter wishes everyone a very Happy New Year. Macon Chapter The Macon chapter of the GCB held their elections with the following officers: Milton Brown as president; Kaye Hall as secretary; Serena Kelly as treasurer. The Macon chapter had their Christmas party on Saturday, December 11, 2010, at the Logan Steak House. The Macon Chapter meetings are held in the basement of the Dempsey Apartments on the second Friday night of the month at 7:30 p.m. For more information please contact Milton Brown at 478-962-3747. The Macon Chapter wishes everyone a Happy New Year. Metro Atlanta Chapter The Metro Atlanta Chapter of GCB held its elections in November with the following officers and directors elected: Ann Sims as president; Barbara Graham as first vice president; Chester Thrash as second vice president; Chris Baldridge as secretary, Steve Longmire as treasurer, and Lisa Jones, Sam Howard and Brent Reynolds as the three directors. Kathy Coursey-Boes was our speaker and informed us about the myths and truths of metastatic cancer. Since she is a victim, she has done much research on it, and her information was most interesting. We participated in the Belk Charity Day event and were able to raise money for GCB, GGDU and GCBL, as well as our chapter. More of our members helped this year, and we were able to raise over one thousand dollars. It is a fun and easy fundraiser, and we hope to be involved with it again in April and May. For December, we met at the Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Hapeville for our Christmas party and dinner. We sang carols led by Maxine Sims, and Addie Boes, Kathy’s daughter, played her clarinet along with Ann Sims on the piano, and Josh Taylor entertained us with playing the piano and singing some favorite Christmas songs. The dinner was delicious, and the members brought toys for needy children in the area. Our two children we sponsored this year were Tyzia and Martha Ann, children of Suzette Wood. Tyzia received two Barbie dolls and a sweet baby doll, and Martha Ann received a baby doll and two musical toys. Everyone seemed to enjoy the celebration. Our prayers go out to member Diane Healy who fell about a month ago and broke her hip. She is in rehab now and expects to get to go home by Christmas. We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and will enjoy a prosperous year of good health and happiness. Come and visit us on the second Friday night of the month. For details about the meetings, please call Ann Sims at404-767-1792. Northwest Georgia Chapter The Northwest chapter reports that they still have the same officers. They are as follows: James Howard as president; Frederick McDade as first vice-president; Ron Burgess as second vice-president; Cynthia Wilson as secretary; Charles Stubblefield as treasurer; Robert Sprayberry as chaplain. The Northwest chapter had its Christmas party at Cindy Nabors’ house. The Northwest chapter is having a softball tournament in March. For more information on this event, please contact Tim Barrett at 706-996-8129. The Northwest chapter meetings are held on the first Tuesday of every other month at the Walker County Library at 7:00 PM. For more information, please contact James Howard at 706-996-4417. The Northwest Chapter wishes everyone a Happy New Year. Rome/Floyd County Chapter The Rome/Floyd County chapter officers are as follows: Phillip Dillard as president; Suzanne Jackson as secretary and co-treasurer; Betty Ellington, co-treasurer. The Rome/Floyd county chapter meetings are held in the Etowah Room of the Rome library at 11:00, usually on the third Tuesday of the month. For more information, please contact Phillip Dillard at 770-748-8629. The group celebrated Christmas at their December meeting. A catered meal was provided by the local Lions Club. George Barton presented a beautiful program of Christmas music on the piano, and Suzanne Jackson read selections from “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”. The Rome/Floyd County Chapter wishes everyone a Happy New Year. The Savannah Chapter The Savannah Chapter reports that at their November meeting of the Savannah Council of the Blind, we elected officers. Those officers are: Teresa Brenner as president; Marion Badie as vice-president; Dr. Jack Lewis as secretary; Kim Harrison as treasurer; and three Board members Jan Elders, Jermaine Smart, and Cyndi Milbourne. The Savannah Council of the Blind had its annual Christmas party on December 4. The party was hosted by one of our members, Loretta Thomson, in her lovely home. After having refreshments, the group participated in a fun filled game called Yankee Swap. It provided much fun and laughter for the group of 20. Thank you, Loretta and Group, for a job well done. Our meetings are held the third Tuesday of each month except July. Our Annual Christmas Party serves as our December meeting. We meet at the JCLewis Ford Company on AbercornStreet in the Conference Room. Our meetings begin at 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. A 30 minute Social Time is held prior to the meeting. For information contact Teresa Brenner at 912-247-0446. The Savannah chapter wishes everyone a Happy New Year. Stephens County Chapter The Stephens County Chapter officers are as follows: Alfred Camp as president; Sheila Rousey as vice-president; Delores Rutenber as secretary; Nettie May Liles as treasurer. The Stephens County chapter usually meets at the Shiloh Fire Department. For more information on their meetings please contact Alfred Camp at 706-886-3894. Announcements Announcement from the Georgia Guide Dog Users The Georgia Guide Dog Users will be holding its next membership meeting in Athens on Saturday, February 26, 2011 from 10:30 AM until 3:00 PM. We will be meeting at Multiple Choices, 850 Gaines School Road.The business portion of the meeting will take place in the morning, beginning at 10:30. We will adjourn for lunch at noon. Lunch will likely be from Subway, at a cost of approximately $8 per person. At 1:30 we will hear from our scheduled speaker, animal behaviorist and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Alexandra Moesta. Dr. Moesta earned her veterinary degree in Hanover, Germany in 2004. Since then she worked in a private practice in Germany specializing in dog behavior problems. She also conducted post graduate research and published papers on the behavior and welfare of laying hens. She started as a resident for veterinary behavioral medicine at the University of Georgia in August 2009.She is a proud owner of a Terrier Mix and a German shepherd and is passionate about dog training, especially agility, obedience and nose work. Dr. Moesta will speak to us about how dogs learn, a topic of particular interest to guide dog users. We anticipate being joined at this meeting by students from UGA who are puppy raisers for the Guide Dog foundation, and we want to invite any interested GCB members to join us as well. There will be time for socializing and getting to know the UGA students who are doing the important work of raising future guide dog puppies. Plus, we'll hear from the perspective of a behaviorist, just how dogs, and guide dogs in particular, come to know so much about interacting with us humans. For questions and more information about this meeting or about GGDU, contact Marj Schneider or 912-352-1415. Announcement from the Georgia Guide Dog Users Buy a Lighted Arm Band and Support Georgia Guide Dog Users To raise funds, Georgia Guide Dog Users is selling lighted arm bands for $10. These versatile arm bands are made of weather and shock resistant materials and are 10-15 inches in length. They are a reflective yellow color, fasten with Velcro and have a three-position switch for a flashing or solid red light that is visible for up to one mile in no or low light situations. The replaceable battery, which is included, lasts for 200 hours. You can visit the Safety Smart Gear website to see the product for yourself: www.safetysmartgear.com/Products-Blowout_Sale.html These arm bands are ideal for blind and visually impaired pedestrians, and for friends and family who walk, run, bike or are out doing anything at night. You and they will be safer by being more visible to drivers, and you can help GGDU at the same time. To order one or more arm bands at $10 each, send a check made out to Georgia Guide Dog Users to Marj Schneider, 212 Oxford Drive, Savannah, GA 31405. Include a note in print or Braille with the address where the order should be sent. For further questions, contact Marj at marjschneider@bellsouth.net or 912-352-1415. Announcement from Stephens County The Stephens County Chapter of the Georgia Council of the Blind invites you to attend their Annual Gospel Benefit Concert. This is a fund raising event for their Scholarship Fund and the Operational Fund for the Georgia Council of the Blind. When: Sunday, February 6, 2011 from 12 noon until it ends. Where: Shiloh Fire Dept., Toccoa GA Directions: Take Highway 17 or 1-85 to Exit 173 (Toccoa /Lavonia) Highway 17 North. Go 15.5 miles to Toccoa First Baptist Church, turn at light on Prather Bridge Road (Highway 184). Go 2 miles. Shiloh Fire Dept. on the left. The following bands will be performing: JERALD LANHAM & BAND BRANDY ROCK MTN. BLUEGRASS BAND ELI ROUSY NEXT IN LINE JOHN OLIVER AND CARMEL RIDGE AL CAMP AND NIGHT OWLS ED TEAGUE, LAWTON & FRIENDS SOUND BY MAX BUCKNER EMCEE LIZ MOORE RAFFLE TICKETS $1 EACH OR 6 FOR $5 REFRESHMENTS: HOT DOGS, HAMBURGERS AND MORE FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CALL: AL CAMP 706-886-3894. FREE ADMISSION DONATIONS APPRECIATED In Loving Memory of James Guss Sparks Mr. James Guss Sparks age 62 of North Augusta, South Carolina died on November 27, 2010 at his home after a brave long battle with cancer. He was the former president of the Georgia Council of the Blind. Jim, as most of us knew him, served as GCB convention coordinator and actively planned our last convention in Bainbridge. He enjoyed working with Kay McGill in the Older Blind Program. James Guss Sparks was born on June 9, 1948 in Taledega, Alabama. to Leroy and Wilma Sparks. He spent his childhood in Lincoln, Alabama and graduated from Lincoln High School. Then after graduation from Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama he moved to Smyrna, Georgia. Jim later received his Masters in theology from New Orleans Baptist Seminary. Jim spent most of his career as an advocate for people with vision loss and he understood very well as Jims own mother lost her vision. His last employment was with the Social Security Administration in Aikens, South Carolina. He is survived by his wife Tiffany L. Sparks of North Augusta South Carolina. A son, Samuel S. Sparks of Smyrna, Georgia, and one daughter and son-in-law, Elaine and Kevin Greenberg of Marietta, Georgia and one grandson, Jordan Sparks. On Tuesday, November 30, 2010, Marsha Farrow represented GCB at Miller Funeral Home and Crematory in Oxford, Alabama. GCB purchased a lovely garden basket and angel in memory of Jim. Funeral services were held on Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at Antioch Baptist Church in Eastaboga, Alabama with burial at Antioch Cemetery. The following is a lovely poem written by Jim in fall of 2009. The Message If I had but one sermon to preach With millions of untold souls to reach I would preach Jesus as plain as I could How he died for our sins on a cross of wood And, from the beginning and until the time I was done I would preach Jesus and God the Holy Spirit as one I would share of his love, grace and redemptive power, Tie in his creation, control and man as a fading flower I would share of his promise and tie them to us I would share Jesus as worthy of our trust. I would praise his word and encourage everyone to heed To find comfort in life situations, which we all need To believe how that our sins cause God to grieve About why Jesus died, paid the price and rose again Showing that his love has no beginning or end Pleading you trust him while standing on Holy Ground Believing his message pointing us heaven bound. Jims poem was Framed and on display at the funeral home and written on the back of the funeral card. Jim, we love and miss you!