GCB Digest Fall 2003 (Text Version)
The GCB Digest
A Quarterly Publication
Georgia Council of the Blind, Inc.
An organization promoting a hand up,
not a handout!
Spring 2003 Edition
Editor: Dr. Jack Lewis
717 E. 49th Street
Savannah, GA 31405
Associate Editor: Ann Sims
3361 Whitney Ave.
Hapeville, GA 30358
By Marsha Farrow
State Convention Highlights
We Said We Would, and We Think We Did
By Carolyn Witcher and Anne Dilley
GCB Spotlight Award Winners
By Jerrie Ricks
ACB 42ND National Convention
By Dana E. Gantt
Going To The Dogs!
By Alice Ritchhart
The Midnight Express
By Jack Gilson
New Chapter Formed in Savannah
By Dr. Jack Lewis
Looking Forward 31
NFB Chapter Organizing in Bainbridge 35
By Dr. Jack Lewis
GCB Roundup 39
News Briefs 45
By Ann Sims
GCB Officers and Directors 50
Associate Editors 54
By Marsha Farrow
Greetings to all! Well summer is almost gone and with the ending of the season there is time to reflect on the accomplishments of the past months. This has been a very busy year for many of our membership and many of you have contributed greatly to the success of the board meetings, the state convention, and the latest big event, which was the Super Conference. I would like to thank everyone who helped to plan any and all of these events.
One of the greatest pleasures for this new President was the privilege of representing Georgia at the American Council of the Blind national convention along with approximately twenty others from our membership. This year’s convention was made even more special with the release of the new ACB history book, “People of Vision.” Also, the surprise appearance of Willard Scott from television made the banquet very special.
One of the most encouraging aspects of the Pittsburgh convention was the number of volunteers and their sincere willingness to help in any way possible. One of the most outstanding volunteers was a kind gentleman named Jerry Dukes who has corresponded with me in order to let us all know how much he enjoyed being a part of our convention. One of his voluntary services was to accompany a large group to the Pirates game and while there he lovingly walked the group across the brick that bore his name and his sons’ names. Mr. Dukes had written a very nice letter to the Pirates ball club thanking them for their hospitality while our group was at the stadium and mailed the letter of response to me from Kevin McClatchy, CEO, of the Pirates ball club.
Peggy Chavis and Alice Ritchhart made Georgia proud as they served in national positions on the multi-cultural committee chaired by Peggy and the transportation committee chaired by Alice. Peggy and Alice both are outstanding in their work at the national level.
The Midnight Run, organized and sponsored by Country’s Barbecue and its owner, Jim Morpeth, was held again in Columbus to raise money for the Georgia Chapter of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, known as AER. There were sixteen hundred runners and walkers and over twenty-five thousand dollars was raised by employees of Country’s Barbecue, motorcycle clubs and many other participants in the raising of funds. There was a good representation of GCB members, and over forty blind and visually impaired attended the event. Many of us finished the 5K run or walk. Please make your plans to attend next year and you will be glad that you did. There are further details in Jack Gilson’s article later in this magazine.
Finally, I would like to breathe a big sigh of relief as Alice and I will hopefully graduate on December 13, 2003 from Florida State University, each with a Master’s degree in visual disabilities. Words are not sufficient to convey how much we appreciate all of the encouragement and support given to us by the GCB members. This genuine show of concern has been energizing as we have struggled to complete the difficult tasks over the past two years. I look forward to seeing many of you in October at our next board meeting. Have a safe and wonderful fall season!
We convey get-well wishes to Janet Clary, Sandy Thomas, Gloria Blackwell, Tim Barrett, June Willis, John M. Sims and Patricia Fitts. Please let the editors know if there are others who need our get-well wishes and prayers.
Congratulations to Stanley and Heather Lopez and their new baby, and to Deborah Hill for her new job in Valdosta with the Ralph Shepherd Vending program.
Make your plans now to attend the GCB board meeting in Macon on Saturday, October 18, at 10 o’clock, at the Northside Christian Church at 5024 Northside Drive. For further information, you may contact Patricia Fitts, at 478-746-1557.
STATE CONVENTION HIGHLIGHTS
WE SAID WE WOULD, AND WE THINK WE DID!!!
By Carolyn Witcher and Anne Dilley
The East Georgia Chapter would like to thank everyone for their participation in this year's convention. Whether you had a job to do or just attended the many different and varied functions of the convention, there was an overall spirit of cooperation and fellowship that carried throughout the entire weekend.
Carolyn Witcher, president of East Georgia Chapter and Convention Co-chair, feels that our chapter’s willingness to do whatever it took to get the jobs done, including trying new things, carried over to all the other people that participated in the convention. Carolyn said, "We tried some new things this year; some worked, some didn't, but it gave us ideas for other possible improvements to enhance everyone's enjoyment at future conventions."
One thing that worked was the use of the bidder numbers at the auction. It made it easier for those keeping records to stay on track while still making it possible to keep up a faster, more exciting pace, which held people’s interest. Another thing that worked was having a separate registration committee, thereby taking a big burden off of our state treasurer, June Willis, at her busiest time of the year. Computerizing registrations was a great help also; we could tell at a glance what our count was for different events, so we could notify the hotel of any changes for number of meals, etc. Many people remarked that the name tags done on the computer gave us a much more organized and professional look.
We got off to a rousing start at the Thursday evening reception. Finding out who all was in attendance, many for the first time, was not a dull business with Jim Sparks in charge. Jim invited those that were attending for the first time to introduce themselves and give their impressions of how they thought the convention started off. There were 17 people that attended this year's convention for the first time. Two of those people that were not GCB members decided to become members that night. They are Nancy Jones and Elaine Terrell; both have joined the East Georgia Chapter. Other members that were in attendance for the first time were: Rasheen Abdullah-Bey, Bainbridge; Chris Baldridge, Atlanta; Ann Butler, South Metro; Jan and Ted Elders, both members-at-large who will be members of the new Savannah Chapter; Dana Gantt, South Metro; Nancy Goldsmith, Houston County; Gloria Hampton, Bainbridge; Evelyn Kind, Bainbridge; Lisa Lanier, South Metro; Dan Myers, Athens; Mary Myers, East Georgia; Elaine Terrell, East Georgia; Jeff Toney, Athens; Jerrie Toney, Athens; Vicki Vaughn, Chattooga County; Lori Weitzel, East Georgia.
Friday morning got off to an early start with the exhibitors’ breakfast. A number of the exhibitors were in attendance and talked briefly about the new items to see. A number of chapters had tables set up in the exhibitor area and sold a variety of items from birdhouses to canes to souvenir T-shirts. There were also a number of items to be raffled off from the different chapters. Bernace Murray won the afghan made by Jerrie Toney and raffled off by the Athens Chapter. Desta Tesfai was the winner of the GGDU raffle. The East Georgia Chapter raffled off two baskets filled with assorted goodies each including a $25 Target gift card. Those were won by Anne Wheeler and Dana Gantt.
The presidents’ award luncheon was the chance for presidents and their chapter members to recognize those members who put in hours of work for the benefit of their chapters. There was also a special "Award of Courage" presented to Patricia Cox. Despite her young age and the problems she has had to face this young lady always has something positive to say and is an inspiration to many people who know her.
The Friday afternoon hodge-podge seemed to be a success also. By offering different activities each person could be as active or as inactive as he or she wished to be. The tour of CVI and the shopping trip to the local malls seemed to be very popular.
Those who were not completely exhausted by an afternoon of touring, shopping, swimming and aerobics (and some that were) were in attendance for the talent show and auction on Friday night. (By the way, Jack, it has now been made a hotel requirement that there be a dance floor available for the talent show. Keeps down the wear and tear on tabletops.) Anne Wheeler and Barry Vaughn introduced the acts for the talent show and kept the audience in stitches and groans in-between acts. Although Adam Shapiro, Jeff Toney and Patricia Cox think they were the winners of the show, it was actually the members of the audience who were so entertained who were the real winners.
Melvin Turner kept the auction moving along at a good pace which made the bidding and counter-bidding that much more exciting. Peter Tolly was the highest bidder for the Savannah Westin Hotel weekend that was donated by Jack Lewis. For the first time we broke the $1000 ceiling for proceeds from the auction by taking in an excess of $1400.
The Saturday morning LIONS breakfast was a great success with plans to make this event an ongoing part of our conventions. Many people who were not already members of the LIONS showed an interest in becoming affiliated with a group.
The Friday and Saturday educational sessions focusing on employment, technology, transportation and legislation offered a large range of topics and speakers that encompassed areas of interest for everyone.
The Saturday evening banquet and dance were greatly enjoyed by all. We were greeted with music from Jeff Toney from the Athens Chapter as we were being seated for the banquet, then later at the dance enjoyed music from Al Camp and the Nite Owls. The East Georgia Chapter won the $100 prize for selling the winning raffle ticket; Melvin Turner sold not one but two of the winning tickets to his daughter, Tara Turner. Also announced at the banquet was the winner of the silent auction. Jacqueline Burkes of the Columbus Chapter turned in the winning bid for the picture painted and donated by Dr. Richard Amy. Our banquet speaker, Harry Anderson, told a number of amusing stories about self-determination.
Sunday started with the devotional led by Reverend Frank Stewart, then ended with the GCB business meeting. The question over the age of GCB was debated at length. It was determined that GCB will be 50 in 2006 and that the convention will be held in Macon that year. There was one board position open for a member at large; this position was won by Dana Gantt of the South Metro Chapter. James Dickerson, president of the Bainbridge Chapter, renewed his chapter’s request to hold the 2004 Convention in Bainbridge. Final details will be determined at the October 18, 2003 board meeting to be held in Macon. The convention was then adjourned for the brief board meeting that followed.
All in all it was a very busy, tiring, yet invigorating weekend. We tried to offer something for everyone. To quote an earlier comment from Carolyn, "Plans are underway to make this year's convention the best one yet." We think we did it. What do you think?
GCB SPOTLIGHT 2003 AWARD WINNERS
By Jerrie Ricks
At the recent GCB convention held at the Marriott Hotel in Norcross, Georgia, four distinguished service awards for 2003 were presented to four worthy recipients. This issue of the Digest focuses its spotlight on these individuals and their outstanding accomplishments.
The recipient of the prestigious Walter R. McDonald award was our illustrious convention coordinator, Mr. James Gus Sparks. Jim has many outstanding abilities as a leader. Perhaps his most significant attributes, for those who have been fortunate enough to have been associated with his leadership, are his management skills and his organizational abilities. His career in the sighted world tells of his successful efforts in creating and promoting equal access to work-related opportunities for the employees of a large sales concern. This took place in the Edison Shoe Company where he worked for seventeen years and rose to the managerial level.
In his work with the blind and visually impaired, Jim’s achievements in procuring jobs and improving the working lives of people are attested to by many voices throughout the Southeast. Jim worked for seven years at the Center for the Visually Impaired where he helped to grow and develop the program from annual sales of $11,000 to over $100,000 in annual sales.
He was then employed for four years with The Georgia Industries for the Blind where he served as sales representative, sales and marketing manager, and interim co-director during tenure.
Employed next for three years as executive director of the Kentucky Industries for the Blind, he developed and implemented two service related switchboard contracts that resulted in the employment of 34 individuals who are blind.
Jim is a colorful speaker and a gifted comedian who uses his talents to promote good will and encourage amiable relations among all. He helped to organize the Smyrna Toastmaster's Club where he participated for over 25 years and held all elected offices at one time or another. He served on the Smyrna Jaycees for seven years as director on the board, project chairman, and speech coordinator.
Jim has been involved in church and community over the years. He served Bethel Baptist Church for over twenty-five years as a deacon, children's church pastor, revival planner, and teacher of children to senior adults. As a spiritual leader, Jim continues to radiate strength and stability to all young people and adults who come within his sphere of ministry.
It is clear that the committee made a brilliant choice in selecting Jim Sparks to receive the Walter R. McDonald award.
Ann Sims was honored by the presentation of the Rhoda W. Walker Award for the year 2003. Ann’s qualifications so exactly exemplify the criteria set forth by the guidelines of this award that many had probably assumed that she had already received this recognition. This, however, was not the case. Here are some of the impressive facts that so well illustrate Ann’s outstanding contributions to the blind and visually impaired community.
Ann has been a valuable staff member at the Center for the Visually Impaired for almost twenty years. As a dedicated braille communications instructor, Ann has equipped many individuals to become successful braille teachers. In addition, she has opened a new world of literacy to hundreds of other blind and visually impaired students both at the Center and with private lessons in the community at large.
Her teaching service with the children’s STARS program at CVI is only one illustration of Ann’s generosity in providing volunteer assistance in service projects. Furthermore, Ann often voluntarily embosses materials for the Georgia Council of the Blind, the National Federation of the Blind, the National Association of Blind Teachers and other organizations of and for the blind free of charge. This same generosity extends to many individual schools, clubs and parents of visually impaired children for whom Ann frequently volunteers her brailling and teaching services.
Always a willing teacher and an available friend to the visually impaired, Ann has freely shared her knowledge of the computer and other adaptive technology with many individuals without compensation.
Ann is a very worthy honoree. I am confident that Ms. Walker, herself, would applaud the selection of Ann Sims for the Rhoda W. Walker award.
Mrs. Cora Camp was the worthy recipient of the June Willis Guiding Eyes Award. The following letter of recommendation from Judy Presley of the Stephens County chapter speaks volumes about this lovely lady who many of us refer to affectionately as Mrs. Cora.
Dear June Willis Guiding Eyes Committee,
I consider it a great privilege and honor to recommend Cora Camp for the June Willis Guiding Eyes Award. This extraordinary lady fits the criteria for this award in every way possible.
In the eight years that I have been associated with GCB, she has been there lending a helping hand. Whether it is handing out food or leading someone to the restroom, you can bet that she is there to help out at the GCB board meetings. She spends an untold number of hours each year preparing for the Stephens County Chapter Bluegrass Benefit Show. She has volunteered her services to every state convention.
I can recall many times when I have been at a GCB function that was held in unfamiliar surroundings, and I found myself fumbling for an elusive door handle. Then I would hear this sweet voice say, "Can I help you with that?" She is almost like a guardian angel who hovers near by to get us blind folk out of trouble.
Perhaps it is because of the 50 years she has spent as companion and help mate to her husband Al who lost his sight in the Korean War that has heightened her sensitivity to the needs of the blind. Whatever the reason may be, we are blessed to have her.
Congratulations, Mrs. Cora, for your achievement in receiving this well-deserved recognition and for sharing with all of us your guiding eyes.
The Gerald Pye Community Service Award was presented to Anne Wheeler of the East Georgia chapter of GCB. Anne’s service and involvement with the community is impressive. After completing her studies at the University of Georgia, Anne taught English and Spanish, speech and drama for thirty years. She received the honor of being chosen teacher of the year in 1991 at Newton County high school.
Presently Anne is a member of the Covington Elkadettes. She is also a member of the Covington Pilot Club and has served as their devotional chairman for three years. Anne is a very active member of the Covington LIONS Club where she has served in leadership capacities including the presidency in 1999. She is now the Region 1, Zone 1 chairman for District 18-F. In addition to all of this she is a Georgia LIONS Lighthouse associate director.
Anne is a volunteer low vision consultant with Tech-Able, a part of Tools for Life in Conyers. She works on Thursdays to counsel the blind and visually impaired on the technology available to them, and she introduces them to resources for the blind. She has worked with individuals and with teachers of the visually impaired.
Anne is a charter member of the East Georgia Chapter of GCB and has served as their president for two years. Through her leadership abilities, the chapter has grown to over 65 active members.
Anne has received both the Rhoda W. Walker Award and the Walter R. McDonald Award from the Georgia Council of the Blind. Anne Wheeler certainly exemplifies the outstanding work of Gerald Pye as a winning public figure in any community. She also represents, just as Gerald Pye himself has always done, an image of GCB that might well be emulated by all.
ACB 42ND NATIONAL CONVENTION
By Dana E. Gantt
South Metro Chapter
Wow, what an adventure! "So much to do and so little time to do it in" just about fits the bill for all the expo's sessions, seminars, and tours that were available. There were booths in the Expo center with information on many items and services for the visually impaired community. This being my first national convention, I found the session both informative and enlightening. I learned a great deal of new information from the many associations that were holding their meetings in sequence with ACB and new information from touring parts of Pittsburgh and the surrounding area. However, one of the most important parts to me, personally, was the opportunity to meet so many different people from across our nation and making new friends.
Representatives were in the Expo Center dealing with issues using adaptive technology: guide dog schools, mobility canes, colleges and correspondence learning centers, braille jewelry, bibles on tape, and the list could go on and on. It turned into a very educational excursion for me, and I am now a much more informed visually impaired individual.
While at the convention, I was able to attend the many different sessions dealing with issues pertaining to visual impairments. I am so glad I was able to witness first hand all the procedures that are required before a vote is cast and counted. There are a lot of decisions to be made at the annual conventions, and, I found out, sometimes a lot of discussion, both pro and con, before a vote can actually be taken. This was one of my favorites, and yes, my vote did count in the final verdict in electing our ACB officers for the next term and for amendments that were changed or added. Attending meetings on employment opportunities, transportation, guide dog issues, and education were also a big part of the excitement of this trip. The luncheons, dinners and the banquet all were full of networking opportunities, information and just plain fun.
We toured the city of Pittsburgh, some of its historic districts and traveled over the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers. President Marsha Farrow and I got off of the bus on top of Mt. Washington and stood on an overlook that we were told was spectacular. We also visited the Western Pennsylvania School for the Blind where we were treated to a wonderful lunch and a tour of their excellent facility. On this same tour we visited the Pittsburgh Vision Services Center and learned all about the different services they offer. The Steel Heritage Tour took Jamie Teal and me to areas where steel was first discovered and into Homestead where an ugly battle was fought for civil rights of steel workers. We concluded this tour at the USS Steel Company and discovered a monument to all the steel workers that have lost their lives while on the job. These tours were very informative and enabled me to see just how rich the Pennsylvania culture is and how the people of this area adapted as the times changed.
I am so glad that I was able to attend and have already started making plans to attend next year's convention in Birmingham, Alabama. The convention workers, the dog relief area employees, the hotel staff and especially the volunteers made this a wonderful event and went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure everyone was taken care of. I encourage anyone who hasn't been to a convention to try at least once to go. It will change your life, encourage and empower you to do more and be more. My dog guide, Amber, and I hope to see you all in Birmingham next year.
GOING TO THE DOGS!
By Alice Ritchhart
The Georgia Guide Dog Users (GGDU) was officially established a little over a year ago at the GCB convention in Augusta. The group was formed to allow Georgians who use dog guides to have a forum for sharing experiences with peers, to educate the public on dog guides, and to advocate for the rights of people who choose to use dog guides as their mobility aid. There are currently 20 active members from throughout the state. In it's first year, the organization has been very active.
We are currently focusing on three issues:
(1) Last year a bill was introduced in the Georgia legislature, HB 211, which would impose penalties on owners of dogs that attack or interfere with service dogs. The legislation was initiated by a paraplegic whose service dog was attacked by another dog while in service. Because this problem has occurred with dog guides as well, GGDU supports the legislation. During the 2002 session, we succeeded in getting the bill brought up for consideration in committee. Two of our members, Deborah Hill and Judy Presley, gave testimony relating their own experiences with interference and attacks by unmanaged dogs.
Unfortunately, no action was TAKEN. Thanks to the legislature tying up the session haggling over the state budget, HB 211 was tabled and carried over to the 2004 session. GGDU will be back in Atlanta in January to continue our fight for the bill's passage. Here is where you can help. It is absolutely essential that these incidences be documented. The more cases that can be identified, the better the likelihood that the legislation will succeed. Please communicate your personal experiences with me at the address given at the end of this article.
(2) Another advocacy issue that GGDU has been involved with, along with GCB and ACB, is the discrimination to dog guide users from a state agency that is responsible for providing services to the blind and visually impaired in this state. I am referring to the Business Enterprise Program which is part of the Department of Labor, Division of Rehabilitation Services. Back in 1996 Michael Benson, who is a dog guide user, was left unemployed from a company due to down-sizing and decided to go into the Business Enterprise Program to become a vender. At that time he was told he could not have his dog guide with him due to a Georgia law. Mr. Benson followed the rules and left the dog at home for over a year while he completed training and got his first snackbar. With the help of friends in his home town of Augusta, Mike went about to change the law. Thanks to the help of former state representative, Ann Mueller from Savannah, the rule was repealed in 1998. Problem resolved, right? Wrong!
Just a few short months ago, the issue resurfaced when two of our GCB members, who are dog guide users, went into the BEP training. They were told the dogs would have to be left at home or put in to a "cage." So once again, GGDU, along with help from GCB and ACB, wrote letters to the governor, the commissioner of DOL, and the Director of Division of Rehabilitation Services. In essence, we stated that if the unlawful practices were not stopped, more severe action would be taken. The trainees were then allowed to have their dogs with them for the remainder of the training. Problem resolved with a victory, right? Wrong!!!
When we held our GGDU meeting at the end of the GCB convention this year, we were told again by one of the trainees that when she was going to visit a cafeteria for further training she would have to kennel or leave the dog at home. BEP management contends that this action is necessary to assure that dog hair does not get on food products. Where workers must use hair nets, so should dog guides. The trainee reminded them of the most recent dog guide law. She was then told that if she brought the dog with her, it would have to wear a full body net. There is no such thing and therefore is not required under any laws relating to working in food services.
So, GCB president Marsha Farrow and myself as president of GGDU, asked Kay McGill to please set up a meeting with the acting director of BEP, along with the BEP trainer and the chairman of the vender committee. This would provide an opportunity to clear up the confusion and gain a mutual understanding of the laws. We are unable to understand why trainees who have dog guides and who want to be productively employed and be tax contributors, are being discriminated against by the very same people whose job it is to provide them with productive employment. At the same time, cane users are welcomed into the program with opened arms.
The other purpose of the meeting with the BEP leadership was to request that BEP provide training on the laws concerning service dogs to all venders since some of the problem is with the venders themselves. The acting director turned down our request for an interview. However, he assured us that the issue is being addressed, and a training session on service dogs and food service will be done in October at the annual BEP Training Conference. So stay tuned.
I do hope that the problem is resolved and that future dog guide users who enter the BEP program will be welcomed with their dog guides without penalty.
(3) The final issue GGDU is working on concerns the widespread discrimination by businesses that deny access to dog guide users. Several convenience stores, hotels, and restaurants in the state have denied access to dog guide users even after the law had been explained by law enforcement authorities. This problem has occurred mostly with proprietors who immigrated to this country. One situation occurred in Helen, Georgia last year where a Ramada Inn manager, who was an Asian immigrant, refused a woman and her dog a room. She sued, and it is my understanding that a settlement has been reached. Apparently, they are imposing the customs and standards of their native country here in America which is proving especially troublesome for dog guide users.
Presently, there is no uniform policy or law to address this growing problem. GGDU is exploring ways to try to stop the discrimination that is occurring not only in Georgia but across the country. We are considering writing a handbook that can be presented to agencies that grant business licenses to these people. What we want to see eventually accomplished is for retail owners and direct service workers to take an examination and successfully demonstrate knowledge of the disability laws relevant to their industry. Such a law should impose a penalty, including a fine and even loss of license for those who blatantly disobey the law. However this will take time, and we will keep you posted.
In conclusion, please be aware that GGDU is open to anyone who is a dog guide user or just a lover of dogs. If you want to be part of our cause, or if you know someone who might, please feel free to join us at our next quarterly meeting in Brunswick on October 31 through November 1. October 31 is our fun time. We are planning a night out on the Emerald Princess casino ship. Be aware that our venture might well bring us into direct conflict with the ship's management since it has previously exhibited an indifference toward visually impaired passengers with dog guides. The guide dog laws are on our side, and it is our obligation to see that our rights are recognized.
On Saturday we will hold our business meeting where we will discuss strategies for the upcoming legislative session and other matters. We also plan to have a speaker. You can get additional information by contacting me at 912-261-9833 or by e-mailing me at email@example.com.
THE MIDNIGHT EXPRESS
By Jack Gilson
South Metro Council
What do you get when you mix a warm, humid evening, loud bands, great-tasting barbecue, and about 1,600 sweaty bodies? Well, you get the 23rd Annual Midnight Express 5K Road Race, held every August in Columbus, Georgia. And included in this year’s 1,600 participants were a record number 40 blind and visually impaired runners and walkers from throughout Georgia.
The Midnight Express, sponsored by Country’s Barbecue and its owner, Jim Morpeth, has been playing special host to blind and visually impaired participants for the last 15 of those 23 years. This includes free race registration and the traditional and sumptuous pre-race barbecue dinner. But the even bigger tribute to blind Georgians is the money raised for the Peter Lindh AER scholarship fund. This year, four scholarships were awarded to deserving Georgians in memory of Peter Lindh, a job development specialist from the Center for the Visually Impaired in Atlanta, who’s life was tragically cut short because of a brain tumor.
Blind and visually impaired participants in this year’s road race ranged in age from 12 to 80 years. Among the blind and visually impaired runners and walkers from the GCB organization were: Jimmie Burkes, Peggy Chavis, Marsha Farrow, Barbara Graham, William Holley, Roger Keeney, Annie Maxwell, Ann Sims, Jamie Teal, Desta Tesfai, Peter Tolly, Jeffrey Toney, Jerrie Toney; and many sighted GCB members as well as family and friends participated. Our own 65-year-old Ann Sims rapidly walked with her 12-year-old grandson, Jordan, and they made it, without stopping, in just over 52 minutes!
One of Ann’s students, Annie Ross, was a youngster of 80 years, and she made the whole walk and received special recognition for a job well done! Also, another former student of Ann’s, Rita Harrison, brought her STARS mintee, Grecia, and she placed just after Rita and ahead of Ann. She is totally blind and only 12 years old.
At exactly midnight, the cannon was fired, denoting the start of the race. Runners and walkers made their way through 3.1 miles of candle-lit Columbus streets, circling back to the barbecue restaurant. The fastest of the blind and visually impaired participants was 57-year old Collie Robinson of Albany, Georgia. Collie covered the distance in slightly over 36 minutes. Some, like Collie, ran; others walked. But participation was what it was all about – covering the distance, working those muscles, and proving that you could do it. The sweat was just a by-product.
NEW CHAPTER FORMED IN SAVANNAH
By Dr. Jack Lewis
In the late spring, I received an e-mail from Jan Elders, a student at the Savannah Association for the Blind, requesting that I speak to their support group about the American Council of the Blind. I readily agreed. The 15 to 20 participants were quite verbal and asked many probing questions. I briefly explained our 42-year history, the formation of the Georgia Council, our programs and purposes. Several verbalized the need of some type of organization here in Savannah to more effectively deal with issues of transportation, employment and other problems confronting the blind and visually impaired.
I left the meeting enthusiastic and was impressed with the good job SAB has done in building such a productive support group. Their monthly meeting provides a forum for participants to learn about resources and opportunities. Most importantly, it provides an atmosphere for personal growth and mutual support. The group is democratically structured, with participants largely determining their own agenda and direction. The support group is truly making a difference in the lives of those persons who are struggling to adjust to their loss of vision in a sighted world.
At the invitation of the group, a member of the local NFB chapter also met with them. Within a week or two, Jan Elders again contacted me stating that several persons were eager to organize a GCB chapter. According to Jan, there were two considerations that attracted them to the American Council and GCB. In my presentation to the support group, I emphasized that we are all in the same boat with our struggle for independence and equality, and we must all join together regardless of race. Secondly, these members considered the democratic process within GCB and the American Council to be more to their liking than the more autocratic structure of the NFB. Specifically, some were especially bothered by the restrictive policy of the National Federation that prohibits their members from having dual membership in the American Council. ACB, on the other hand, is open to all blind and visually impaired persons, including Federationists.
In June, we held an organizing meeting at Barns Restaurant. We have now met three times and have officially adopted our constitution and bylaws. We agreed to name the chapter the Greater Savannah Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired. The chapter meets at Memorial Health University Medical Center on the third Tuesday of each month. Those wanting to have dinner and socialize before the 7:30 meeting will get together in the food court. In July the group elected temporary officers with permanent officers to be elected in November. Here are their names: president, Brian Leighton; vice-president, Michael Anthony; secretary, Marcia Anthony; treasurer, Jan Elders. The two directors are Robert Warner and Ted Elders.
During the week of August 18, two organizers representing the National Federation of the Blind suddenly arrived on the scene. They were college interns sent by the national administration in Baltimore to create another NFB chapter. Their reason for coming to Savannah is not totally clear. It was reported that the intent was to establish a chapter serving the outlying areas and would not conflict with the existing chapter. It was also suggested that the chapter would be oriented toward attracting younger blind and visually impaired persons into the Federation. While members of the NFB of Chatham County were disturbed over the way in which the national administration was going about their chapter building, they agreed not to stand in their way.
The two young men immediately began recruiting students at the Savannah Association where they spent considerable time over the week. It became obvious from the outset that this new chapter would be in direct competition with the existing NFB chapter that has been around since the early 1970s. Brian Leighton specifically asked the organizers if the formation of the new GCB chapter had anything to do with their coming to Savannah. They responded with “no” and that they were not even aware of it beforehand.
Alice Ritchhart is a member of the GCB Board of Directors, formerly from Savannah, and now a resident of Brunswick. She reflects: "It's strange that their national organization would try to organize a chapter where one already exists when there are so many areas of the state where they have no chapters whatsoever, such as right here in Brunswick." The true reasons behind their controversial action are, of course, the internal business of NFB. It is best, I believe, to let their ways of doing things speak for themselves.
The efforts of the NFB apparently backfired. On Friday evening, August 22, the representatives held a meeting in the conference room of LIFE Inc. Over the week, they invited numerous persons from throughout the county. Only seven people attended, none of which were members of the SAB support group who they aggressively courted. At the meeting were Anil Lewis, president of the NFB of Georgia, his driver, the two organizers and three local persons. Of the three local people, one was already a long time NFB member. The other two, a retired couple, were both members of the American Council in another state before retiring to this area, and now members of our new chapter.
The dust is now settled, and the Greater Savannah Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired is firmly intact. The group unanimously agrees on one thing - it wants the chapter to be a viable force in the community and make a real difference. It wants to identify the various organizations that deal with blindness issues and establish open communication with them. The group also plans to identify the problems confronting the blindness community and to formulate action plans for addressing the problems. Actually, the chapter is already on its way in making this a reality.
In November, Savannah will be electing a new mayor. The chapter is sponsoring a mayoral candidate's forum on September 30, which will focus exclusively on disability issues. Questions to the candidates will be asked by a panel made up of persons representing the various disabilities: the visually impaired, hearing impaired, paraplegics, learning disabled, etc. The moderator will be Jan Elders, who many readers met at our August convention. Because this is the only community forum focusing on the concerns of the disabled, members are working hard to assure a good turnout. The event is being publicized and the media is being invited. Disabled citizens and professionals employed in the disability field are being contacted. This is a golden opportunity for the chapter to gain name recognition and to begin establishing itself as the leading voice for the blind and visually impaired citizens of Coastal Georgia. Stay tuned! You ain't seen nothing yet.
RIDDLE: What can go up the chimney down but can’t come down the chimney up? (Answer at end.)
Surgery gives man a new outlook on life and miracles.
For 47 years Valdostan Danny Weeks was legally blind. Today he is studying for a driver's permit following cataract surgery in March and April.
"We'll have to call this a miracle," Dr. Mark Eanes told Weeks following a checkup. "This is something I couldn't have done. We'll have to give the Lord credit for this."
Both Weeks and Eanes went into surgery expecting the patient's eyesight to improve, but not to the extent that he would qualify to drive.
"We went into the surgery anticipating that there would be some correction," Weeks said. "It was not a corrective procedure. We had absolutely no idea it would be as significant as it was."
On the day of the first surgery in March, Weeks later had to put drops in his eye.
"I knew when I peeled the patch back at noon that day something wonderful was going on because I could see the texture in the ceiling I had never seen before," he said.
Before the surgeries, Weeks had been seeing circles around lights, had difficulty identifying certain colors and was not seeing well at night.
"I've known for three or four years that I had cataracts, and at the appropriate time, we'd do surgery on them," he said. "Both of my parents had cataract surgery performed by Dr. Eanes, and they really liked him."
Following his second surgery April 14, it seemed Weeks' eyesight could possibly be improved to 20/80.
"My vision before the surgery was 20/150 in the right eye and 20/200 in the left eye," Weeks said. "When I went back on May 6, I was checked, and it measured 20/60. I was stunned. I knew the significance of what that meant. You have to have 20/60 to drive in Georgia. I went into a mild state of shock. I couldn't believe this."
Eanes closed his door and told Weeks he needed to thank God for letting him be a part of this miracle. Tears poured down the cheeks of both men.
"We both became a little emotional," Weeks said. "We shared in something wonderful for a few minutes."
"If there is any one message that I want to share with everyone, it is that prayer still works. There were lots of people in prayer both before and during the surgeries."
Weeks said after his vision reached 20/80, he wouldn't ask for more, but a lot of people did, including their pastor, the Rev. Dr. Clyde Stokes of Charity Baptist Church, where they are active members.
Stokes asked Weeks' wife, Susan, what his vision had to be for a driver's license, and she said 20/60.
"Well, let's just ask for 20/60 and get that driver's license," the pastor said.
And the prayers were granted.
"That's where we are now," Danny said. "We are excited, scared in a way, and continue to think of ways this will change our lives. We have a lot of things to be thankful for – we both come from Christian homes and were brought up in the church, and because of our visual limitations (Susan is blind), we have got to meet a lot of people. Friends and family have helped with transportation for work, doctors' appointments, to and from church, to the grocery store and all of our errands. I feel like everyone has been an angel sent our way. People have been very, very kind."
Weeks and his wife take daily walks, and you'll see them doing a lot of laughing and crying – tears of joy as Weeks discovers a new world and as his blind wife shares in the experience vicariously.
"It is an awesome freedom," Danny said. "A lot of people don't realize they can walk out and get into a vehicle and go where they want to go. I'm studying for a learner's permit, and maybe before too long, I'll be out there with them."
Danny is also looking forward to going to the firing range and to enjoy fishing whenever he wants – to drive to and from work, to church, to buy groceries.
"That in itself will be wonderful for us," he said.
The couple will celebrate 29 years of marriage in October, and Susan wants to take a 30th anniversary trip next year – by themselves.
It was love at first sight when, following high school graduation, the couple met at the Georgia Rehabilitation Center in Warm Springs. The former Susan Lavender of Milledgeville and Weeks took the 12-week course in basic living skills offered there through West Georgia College.
"Everyone (there) discouraged us from marrying," he said. "We went back (to Warm Springs) on our 15th anniversary and our marriage had outlasted some of the others. We have a special bond."
Susan, who was legally blind, completely lost her sight due to detached retinas 13 months after they married. For the next couple of years, it was surgeries and in and out of hospitals for Susan. In 1977, she received her first Leader Dog, funded by the Lions Club, from The Leader Dog School for the Blind in Rochester, Mich.
"We started learning to adapt," her husband said.
Danny worked for Pantry Pride 12 years. In 1985 when the supermarket closed, he began dispatching for Lowndes County Sheriff's Office. In 1993 when dispatchers from the city and county were consolidated into the 911 Emergency Management System, he continued dispatching for one year before becoming the systems manager in December 1994.
"It's like living in a 3-D movie since the surgery," Weeks said. "One of the most impressive things to me was being able to see depth – seeing the trees in the front and those behind them."
Can he see his wife's face clearer?
"Yes, I told them in Sunday School, the girls get prettier and the guys are – just there," he said, laughing.
"It's exciting at 47 years of age, when most people are getting eye problems, for me to be able to see so much better than I have before. It's hard to comprehend."
And his joy is doubled.
"Now I get to see through his eyes,” his blind wife said. "I believe the miracle was supposed to be his, and through him, it's mine too."
NFB CHAPTER ORGANIZING IN BAINBRIDGE
By Dr. Jack Lewis
This July, two organizers with the National Federation of the Blind came to Bainbridge to create a chapter. With the permission of management, they spoke to the workers at the Georgia Industry. They held an organizing meeting in which several workers joined. Stan Tootle is the president of this new chapter. As readers know, Stan had been a member of GCB for several years, President of the Bainbridge Chapter, and a former worker at GIB. A year or so ago, Stan left GIB and shortly afterward joined the professional staff at BAIN, the local independent living center.
In the summer of 2000, Stan was the recipient of a generous first-timers stipend from the American Council to attend its annual convention in Louisville. It didn't take long for Stan to get involved. Stan became interested in the minorities concern group and wasted no time forming friendships. Stan returned home from the week long convention with mixed feelings. He seemed to really like the people he met and most of what he experienced. However, at the same time, Stan was especially bothered by a resolution that was presented for adoption on the floor of the convention.
The Rehabilitation Services Administration in Washington was proposing a rule change concerning closure of client caseloads for those who are placed in workshops. In essence, the rule change would prohibit rehabilitation agencies from closing out a client case as a "successful closure" as long as the client worked in a workshop. RSA's rationale was basically that workshops are not designed to be places of permanent employment, but rather, a stepping stone or training ground for productive employment in the private sector. Closing the file on clients could have the effect of permanently restricting them in low paying, sheltered employment. This rule change had the full backing of the National Federation and was likely initiated by them.
The ACB resolution opposed the rule change. Basically, the resolution contradicted the contention that a closure is automatically final once the client is placed in a workshop. Proponents of the resolution insisted that rehabilitation could evaluate each client, based on individual circumstances, and could reopen the case should it become apparent that further rehabilitation training might enhance an individual’s employability. Additionally, ACB pointed out that the amount of funding for rehabilitation agencies largely depend on the "26 closure," the official designation for successful client placement. This rule change would penalize rehabilitation agencies for doing their job by resulting in reduced funding.
Another argument was that this action is an insult to work shop employees and could rob them of their dignity and freedom of choice. The way the rule was written, a worker could be denied additional rehabilitation training for job enhancement within the workshop, while someone who wants to be trained for work in the private sector could have his or her case reopened. Many workshop employees are there because they want to be and because they take pride in what they are doing. It is absurd to suggest that one's job is unacceptable if it involves working in a setting where a majority of the workers are disabled. This rule change would be especially demeaning to them.
Finally, after a lengthy floor debate, the motion was called for and a vote was taken. The convention voted to support the ACB resolution, opposing the proposed rule change. At the time, I was state president and, along with other GCB delegates, voted against the resolution. At our state convention the following month, the resolution committee, of which Stan was a member, proposed it's own resolution that supported the proposed rule change. The resolution passed overwhelmingly. This meant that the GCB action was just the opposite of the resolution adopted at the ACB convention. (This action by a state affiliate would likely have met with retaliation within the National Federation and would have been grounds for expulsion. However, this is the American Council, where differences through the democratic process are protected under the ACB constitution.) After a few months, the proposed rule change was implemented, meaning that the GCB resolution met with success while the ACB resolution did not.
Most of the time Stan was in GCB was during the four years I served as president. I valued his input very much, especially on workshop matters. Stan, like myself, believes strongly in advocacy and the use of "activism" when necessary. He held strong views on issues and did not hesitate to voice them. I was excited to write the letter of nomination on his behalf for the First-Timers ACB stipend.
Although our members supported overwhelmingly his position on the RSA rule change, this apparently was not enough. Stan has expressed to me and others that he did not feel he had the support of GCB. Possibly, this was due in part to his failure to get elected to our state board on more than one occasion. For better or for worse, our membership tends to prefer a more positive and conciliatory approach in dealing with issues than the approach Stan usually projected. Thus, our members tend to elect leaders that reflect their way of doing things. It is a mistake on Stan's part to conclude that he was not valued by his colleagues in GCB. I believe I am speaking for all of us in saying that we hope that Stan has found his "niche." If he pursues his advocacy causes in NFB with his usual determination and in a way that gets results, then all of us will benefit, not just the Federation.
GCB CHAPTER ROUNDUP
News from the Bainbridge Chapter:
President James Dickerson says that the chapter has filled the board vacancies created when Stan Tootle along with Jeff and Shelly Ellis left to join the new NFB chapter. The Bainbridge Chapter has elected Dexter Conyers as vice-president, Gloria Hampton, secretary-treasurer and Rasheen Bay, director. The chapter now has 14 members. James says that the members are already busy working with Jim Sparks on the 2004 state convention to be held in Bainbridge. They are in the process of getting menus prepared in large print and braille and are working on programming. The group is planning for a recognition event honoring the Georgia Industries for the Blind for its more than a half century of operation. Management is making good progress in bringing the Industry into the 21st Century and its efforts need to be recognized.
This summer, the chapter presented the Gilbert H. Gragg Public Library with a plaque for its 29 years of community service, especially in recognition of its services to blind and visually impaired patrons in the Bainbridge area. The library was one of the first libraries in the state to make available an accessible computer for the public. The computer is equipped with both voice and print enlargement. The library also hosted the chapter for its monthly meetings. As a result of the recession, the library has been forced to cut back services and is struggling to meet its community obligations. The chapter members made sure that the local newspaper covered the summer event, which they hoped would generate greater community support for the library.
News from the Greater Columbus Chapter:
Jimmie Burkes reports that the chapter held its Second Annual Gospel Concert in June. “It was a successful spiritual endeavor. We have invited the director of the W.C. Bradley Memorial Library to our meeting to discuss the changes that have occurred in the past year. This includes the name change from the Talking Book Center for the Blind and Physically Handicapped to CLASS, and the new library which is under construction. We are concerned about the effect that these changes will have on the visually impaired patrons. We want to be sure that these changes do not result in a decrease in services.
“Also, at our meeting on September 6, we had as our special guest, Ms. Annette Santiago from the Columbus Cycling Club. Ms. Santiago is a cyclist who is interested in securing tandem bikes so that visually impaired individuals interested in cycling may be able to do so. We are working with her and other agencies in the communities on this project. We will keep everyone informed.”
News from the Northwest Chapter:
Sean Hogue reports that the chapter had twenty-five people at their September meeting. Brenda Young, with Blind and Low Vision Services of North Georgia, spoke to the group about its services. The chapter publicized the meeting on radio and TV and through word of mouth. The chapter will be holding elections in December.
Tim Barrett has been totally blind for over twenty years. Nevertheless, he had been experiencing problems with infection and rupturing of the eye. He made the decision to have his eyes removed. One eye was removed in August and the other in September. Tim is doing well and was able to attend the September chapter meeting.
News from the Chattooga County Chapter:
In August, Barry Vaughn attended the Blind Advisory Committee meeting for Region 1. It was a good meeting with transportation and employment topping the list. Marsha Farrow and Barry Vaughn attended the Family Connection meeting. Family Connection is an organization that includes all organizations within the county. Their goal is to bring all of the resources together so that more accomplishments can be made for the family environment. One reason for bringing all of the organizations together is to set up a resource kit so that when a family comes in having a particular special need, Family Connection can use the resource kit to put the family in touch with the right individual or resource.
In September, the chapter meeting was a picnic held at the Sloppy Floyd State Park, and on October 13th, the members will be having a fund raiser at the skating center in Trion. This fund raiser was quite a success for the chapter a couple of years ago. The group was able to buy a CCTV for a local child in the county.
News from the Atlanta Chapter:
Phil Jones reports: “The chapter's transportation committee is still working on a resolution laying out our positions on accessible transportation in the metro area. We not only want to have something dealing with MARTA, but we also want to work on other goals that chapters throughout the state are working toward. We hope to have something to begin working on next month. Like other chapters we need more members so we're starting a campaign to grow. It's very easy to do. We'll have each current member invite someone to a chapter meeting and, while at the meeting, invite that person to join. We'll start this at the next meeting and see where we go.”
News from the Houston County Chapter:
J. C. Coefield and Kim Ledford attended the Blind Coalition meeting at the Georgia Academy for the Blind in Macon. They also took part in the Blind Superconference held recently in Macon. J. C. participated in a round table discussion where he represented the Georgia Lions Lighthouse. Kim was there to represent Southeastern Leader Dog School and puppy raisers.
The chapter members continue to work on transportation issues in Houston County and are currently selling raffle tickets for a framed and matted print to raise funds for the chapter.
Last year Roger Sumner obtained a dog guide from Southeastern. Sadly, he had to put his dog, Baxter, to sleep because he was suffering from cancer. Everyone’s deepest sympathy goes out to Roger for his loss.
News from the South Metro Council:
Secretary Robin Oliver reports the following:
“South Metro Chapter, Good and Sad Times: The South Metro chapter had 60% of our members attend this year’s GCB convention. A very good time was had by all.
“We are losing valued member, Nina Messler. She has decided to gift Florida with her presence. You cannot find a harder working, devoted, gracious member as Nina, but she promises to come back for our annual May Fest.
“The Braille Club continues to work hard on making Braillables, raised pictures that blind and visually impaired children and adults can color. The club already presented 15 such books of pictures for each child in the BEGIN program at the Center for the Visually Impaired. The children were thrilled and got busy right away coloring bears, rabbits, a man on horseback, and many more. Now the club is working on more pictures to be presented to the STARS children at the same Center. There will be 40 of these made with about 12 pictures to color in each book. Desta Tesfai, one of our members and a Braille Club member as well, has made braille calendars for 2004. They are free for the asking, but we would encourage a small donation to our Braille Club if you can do so.
"Dana Gantt is releived that her dog guide, Amber, is well again after suffering some kind of bacterial infection, according to the doctors at the Auburn University Veterinarian School. We certainly hope Amber continues to stay well.
“We have one permanent loss. Ann Sims' dog guide, Vim, had to be put to sleep on July 31, just before his 13th birthday on August 15. He was such a good and faithful helper, a real trooper, and he will be sorely missed.”
News from the Augusta Chapter:
Stanley and Heather Lopez are overjoyed to have their precious little son, Andrew, born August 22, weighing an even seven pounds upon arrival! All the grandmothers in GCB are anxious to get their hands on this little one and spoil him for Heather and Stanley! No, they wouldn’t do that, but everyone is looking forward to meeting Andrew soon and wishing the Lopez family blessings and good health.
Janet Clary appreciates everyone’s thoughts and prayers as she goes through her treatments. She says she is doing pretty great so far, and her mother, Sarah, thanks everyone for their concern.
Janet is planning to send some applications for the high school students’ writing contest to the board meeting next month and urges every chapter president, member-at-large and other officers and directors serving on the board to help spread the word. She says that there needs to be more participation this year, and with more publicity, there can be.
By Ann Sims
MARTA schedules and other information are now available in large print, Braille, computer diskette, via E-mail or on audio cassette. These materials are also available in several foreign languages. For more information, or to request materials in your preferred format or language, call Carla Ford-Jourre, in MARTA's Department of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, at 404-848-4037or MARTA Customer Service at 404-848-4800.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has a toll-free hotline for air travelers with disabilities, which is available seven days a week, from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The Hotline serves to provide air travelers with disabilities with education as to their rights under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), and with on-the-spot assistance in resolving disability-related air travel problems. Hotline operators are well versed in the ACAA and Part 382 and can also respond to requests for printed consumer information about air travel rights. They provide a variety of services to callers, including contacting air carriers and convincing them to accept service animals and electric wheelchairs on board flights, to stow folding wheelchairs in the cabin, and to provide requested assistance. Call the Hotline at 800-778-4838 (voice) or 800-455-9880 (TTY).
NFB NEWSLINE has revolutionized the reading of the newspaper for people who are blind. Now you can access over 56 newspapers via touch-tone telephone on a toll-free number from anywhere within the continental USA. To register, call 404-212-2021.
Are you in need of a cane? The National Federation of the Blind of Georgia-South Fulton Chapter has launched a cane bank. For more information on how you can get fitted for your free NFB cane, call Stephanie Scott at 404-202-1650.
Elizabeth Isaacs, a mobility instructor in Lawrenceville, repairs white canes free of charge. She is currently fixing grips, tips, tapes and bungee cords. You may send your cane to her, free matter for the blind, at: Elizabeth Isaacs, 1785 Presidents Drive, Lawrenceville, GA 30043; Phone: 770-963- 9562
The Buckhead Library has a Freedom CCTV with a color monitor and an automatic focus feature. The library is located at 269 Buckhead Avenue. For more information and directions to the Buckhead Library, contact Katherine Suttell at 404-814-3500.
Tell Me is a free voice activated service which can be accessed via touch-tone phone and enables callers to check the time, get news, weather, driving directions, traffic and entertainment updates, set up and follow stock portfolios and access a host of other information. Call 800-555-8355.
Voice Access Communications' Audio Yellow Pages is a free interactive speech program for people with disabilities. Available 24 hours a day, this service offers callers 10 million nationwide business listings by city and state or zip code and business type. To access this service, call 888-654-1236.
Current information on audio described TV programming and videos is available by calling 1-800333-1203, or online at http://www.dvs.wgbh.org
Since 1984, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in conjunction with states and local telephone companies has administered a Lifeline program designed to provide low income individuals with monthly discounts on the cost of receiving telephone service. Eligibility is determined based on income or factors closely related to income including participation in Medicaid, food stamps program, supplementary security income program, federal public housing assistance or the low income energy assistance program. For information on the benefits of and qualifications for the FCC's Universal Service Program for Low-Income Consumers, call toll-free at 888-225-5322, or visit
The Emergency E-mail Network was established to deliver emergency weather alerts and other emergency information of an official nature, originating from your state and/or local emergency
services office, via e-mail. When you sign up online, simply select your state, county, and what kind of emergency information you want to receive: weather, power outages, sources of emergency supplies,
etc. For more information, visit
DisabilityInfo.gov is a comprehensive online resource specifically designed to provide people with disabilities with access to disability-related information and programs available through the government on numerous subjects, including civil rights, education, employment, housing, health, income support, technology, transportation, and community life. The e-mail address is: http://www.DisabilityInfo.gov
In addition to informational and entertainment programming of interest to people who are blind, ACB Radio now offers World Blindness News from its home page. ACB Radio, in association with
Moreover.com, enables you to access the latest information about what's happening around the world in the blind community through current articles gathered from a wide variety of national and
international newspapers. For more information, visit http://www.acbradio.org
(Now, for the answer to the riddle: Of course, it’s nothing else but an umbrella!)
GCB Officers and Directors
The entire roster of the GCB Board is furnished below for the benefit of members. You are encouraged to retain this list for future reference, so for this reason, the list is on separate pages.
President, Marsha Farrow
102 N. Elizabeth St.
Summerville, GA 30747
Toll free (877) 667-6815
Local (706) 857-4221
Home (706) 857-2968
Office (706) 857-5441
First Vice President, Peggy Chavis
526 Fourth St.
Athens, GA 30601
Second Vice President, Granger Ricks
1699 Oxford Drive
Morrow, GA 30260
Secretary, Judy Presley
P.O. Box 231
Helen, GA 30545
Treasurer, June Willis
15 Kensington Road
Avondale Estates, GA 30002
Director, Geraldine Coursey
3398 Highway 81 N.
Oxford, GA 30054
Director, Alice Ritchhart
125 Willow Pond Way
Brunswick, GA 31525
Director, Dana Gantt
5 Kingsbrook Circle
Newnan, GA 30265
Ex Efficio Member:
Dr. Jack Lewis, Immediate Past President
717 E. 49th Street
Savannah, GA 31405
Athens Chapter, Roger Keeney
217 E. Meadow Drive
Athens, GA 30605
Atlanta Chapter, Phil Jones
922 Edgewater Drive
Loganville, GA 30052
Augusta Chapter, Stanley Lopez
1011 Hickman Road, Apt. D-2
Augusta, GA 30904
(706) 738-1129 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bainbridge Chapter, James Dickerson
929 E. Evans Street
Bainbridge, GA 39819
Chattooga County Chapter, Barry Vaughn
103 South Ridge Road
Summerville, GA 30730
Greater Columbus Chapter, Jimmie Burkes
5600 Hunter Road, Apt. 2-A
Columbus, GA 31907
Greater Hall County Chapter, Joseph Weaver
3864 Chadwick Drive
Flowery Branch, GA 30542-2949
Houston County Chapter, J.C. Coefield
105 Fox Den Court
Warner Robins, GA 31093
Macon Chapter, Patricia Fitts
523 Cherry Street, Apt. 410
Macon, GA 31201
Northwest Chapter, Sean Hogue
48 Lake Site Drive
Lafayette, GA 30728
South Metro Chapter, Bernace Murray
3432 Hollow Tree Drive
Decatur, GA 30034
Stephens County Chapter, Al Camp
6972 Alfred Camp Road
Toccoa, GA 30557
Jerrie Ricks, 1699 Oxford Drive, Morrow, GA 30260, 770-961-6137, E-Mail: email@example.com
Ann Sims, 3361 Whitney Avenue, Hapeville, GA 30354, 404-767-1792; Cell, 770-815-1792; E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope you have enjoyed the Fall Edition of The GCB Digest.