Palmetto Blind

The Palmetto Blind

The voice of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina



Federation Center of the Blind Renovations Headed up by Center Chairman Ed Bible


Photo Captions:

Jennifer Bazer’s new Successful Transitions Office

New Computer Training Room with LED lights

New Storage Unit at Federation Center

Renovated Office Hallway

Lounge set up for Christmas

Barry Chavis, our “Renovations Man,” moving items to the new Storage Unit


Winter 2018


The PALMETTO BLIND, published twice a year in large print, in digital format, email and Braille by the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina. David Houck, Editor. The National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina is chartered under the laws of the state of South Carolina to promote the spiritual, social and economic well-being of all blind South Carolinians. The state organization is an affiliate of the nation’s oldest and largest organization of the blind–the National Federation of the Blind.

The PALMETTO BLIND is the voice of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina and is available free of charge to any blind individual or member in large print, Braille online, or text email format. Other subscribers are encouraged. If readers desire to do so, donations to cover the annual subscription cost of $10.00 per year may be made payable to the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina and sent to: Valerie Warrington, Treasurer, National Federation of the Blind of SC, 119 S. Kilbourne Rd., Columbia, SC 29205. Upon request, we can email a color photo version in a pdf format. This version is not useful to adaptive technology like JAWS or Guide.          Braille or large print copies may be retained for personal libraries.

Giving A Dream

One of the great satisfactions in life is having the opportunity to assist others. Consider making a gift to the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina to continue turning our dreams into reality. A gift to the NFB of SC is not merely a donation to an organization; it provides resources that will directly ensure a brighter future for all blind people.

Seize the Future

The National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina has special giving opportunities that will benefit the giver as well as the NFB of SC. Of course the largest benefit to the donor is the satisfaction of knowing that your gift is leaving a legacy of opportunity. However, gifts may be structured to provide more.

  • Helping the NFB of SC fulfill its mission
  • Realizing income tax savings through a charitable donation
  • Making capital gain tax savings on contributions of appreciated assets
  • Providing retained payments for the life of a donor or beneficiary
  • Eliminating or lowering federal estate tax in certain situations
  • Reducing estate settlement costs

NFB of SC programs are dynamic:

  • Making the study of literacy and technology a real possibility for blind children and adults • Providing hope and training for seniors losing vision
  • Promoting state and local programs to help blind people become first class citizens
  • Educating the public about blind people’s true potential
  • Advancing technology helpful to the blind
  • Creating a state and national library on the progress of blindness
  • Training and inspiring professionals working with the blind
  • Providing critical information to parents of blind children
  • Mentoring blind job seekers. Your gift makes you a partner in the NFB of SC dream. For further information or assistance, contact the NFB of SC, 119 S. Kilbourne Rd., Columbia, SC 29205. 803-254-3777 or


Honors and Remembrances


Support the blind of South Carolina by Honoring or Memorializing a Loved One

Please apply my gift to:

_____National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina

_____Rocky Bottom Retreat & Conference Center of the Blind

_____Federation Center of the Blind

Send check payable to the one you chose, address and mail to:

______(organization name)

119 S. Kilbourne Rd., Columbia, SC 29205


  1. To Honor Someone Special:

I am donating $_____ in honor of ___ who lives at____(address)

Please acknowledge me with a copy of this honorary letter:

My Name___


My check is enclosed. (Tax deductible)



  1. OR To Memorialize Someone Special:

I am donating $_____ in memory of __. Please send letter to next of kin or:___

who resides at ___


Please acknowledge me with a copy of this memorial letter:

My Name ___

Address ___

My check is enclosed. (Tax deductible)


Thank You!


For more information regarding these organizations of the blind contact: or call 803-254-3777 for brochures.



Table of Contents


NFB Orlando Convention – NFB of SC Places 9th in Attendance By Frank                 Coppel


62nd Annual NFB of SC Convention A Huge Success!




Event to Raise Money for Rocky Bottom Camp   By Jason Evans, Staff Reporter


37th Annual Labor Day Fun Day Festival Successful


The Gem of Rocky Bottom   By Shelley Coppel


Rocky Bottom Hosts 39th Annual Christmas Board Retreat   By Frank Coppel


From the President’s Desk   By Frank Coppel


From the Editor   By David Houck


Final Thought




“The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day, we raise the expectations of blind people because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want: blindness is not what holds you back.”



NFB Orlando Convention – NFB of SC Places 9th in Attendance

By Frank Coppel


(Editor’s Note: This article is reprinted from the July 11 Positive Note)


Shelley and I had a wonderful time attending the 2018 NFB national convention. This was my thirty-sixth convention and this year’s convention ranked high on my list as one of the best conventions I have had the pleasure of attending. Approximately 2,500 federationists and visitors were in attendance during this year’s festivities in Orlando, Florida.   South Carolina was proud to have seventy-nine delegates registered placing us in ninth place in the overall attendance which I feel was a pretty good turnout considering the fact we did not charter a bus. Included in our delegation to help put us in 9th place, were 16 students and 11 staff from our Successful Transitions program. They were in attendance during a significant part of the general sessions, and enthusiastically participated in activities such as Rooky Roundup, Youth Track activities, and National Association of Blind Student meetings. The convention had many outstanding presentations which dealt primarily with the need to have accessible technology as well as presentations from a member of congress, a former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, and inspiring stories of blind individuals who succeeded in transforming their dreams into reality. During the general sessions there was a great deal of enthusiasm and energy which was felt throughout the ballroom. Of course, President Riccobono’s Presidential Report and Banquet address were outstanding. President Riccobono’s banquet speech Sunday evening emphasized the importance of diversity to our movement and he enlightened the audience regarding the major role blind women have played in shaping the history of our organization.   The highlight of the convention as always is the Banquet. The NFB handed out thirty scholarships and these young men and women were extremely impressive. Many thanks goes to Tiffiny Mitchell and all of the volunteers who helped to man the South Carolina table in the Exhibit Hall during the convention. I am pleased to announce our efforts in the Exhibit Hall raised over eight hundred dollars for the NFB of SC. The NFB national convention at times reminds me of a large family reunion and for Shelley and I it was wonderful to reconnect and visit with friends we have not seen for a long period of time.


Picture Captions:

President Coppel addresses NFB convention at Roll Call of States

Lee County Chapter President Linda Dizzley reviews 3D Photo Works Exhibit

NFB of SC Delegation Ranks 9th in NFB convention attendance!



62nd Annual NFB of SC Convention A Huge Success!


The August 10-12 NFB of SC state convention was held at the Columbia Marriott with 170 registered delegates attending. Many checked in on Thursday, in order not to miss a thing. For the first time the Exhibit Hall opened early at 10:00 a.m. on Friday morning. Convention participants could get their registration packets and stroll over the exhibit tables which included Sprint Vision Accessibility (a convention silver sponsor), SC Assistive Technology Program, Vanda Pharmaceuticals, VFO (formerly Freedom Scientific) Industries of the Blind, SC Commission for the Blind, Talking Book Services, the State Treasurer’s Office SC ABLE Savings Program, the Lee and Sumter Chapters, Senior Division and the RBRCCB and NFB of SC literature tables. Darlene Houck worked diligently at the Registration table handing out name tags and print or braille agendas. There was something for everyone!


Picture Captions:

Registration & Literature Table

SC Assistive Technology

Commission for the Blind

Sumter Chapter

Senior Division

Silver Sponsor – Sprint


Talking Book Services

Industries of the Blind


Friday afternoon consisted of several important specialized meetings. The NFB of SC Board of Directors meeting took place with around 50 attendees. President Coppel announced that the 2019 NFB of SC convention will celebrate our 75th anniversary which will be a special event. Hotels in Columbia, Spartanburg, Greenville and other locations will be looked at for 2019. A committee was set up to seek convention sponsors in order to help defray the ever growing costs associated with conventions. The 2019 NFB convention will be held in Las Vegas, NV at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Again much research will go into getting members to the convention as cheaply as possible. Airline flights are being looked into. Bus Funds raised will be split with the Las Vegas convention delegates from the NFB of SC. We also want to increase membership in rural areas by setting up a member-at-large chapter. Also, by next year’s state convention we will vote to remove the classification of Associate membership into one class of member. Sighted members will be able to vote and hold any office except for President or Vice President. The organization will strive to maintain a majority of blind members. The board discussed the possibility of posting board minutes on our web site. Action regarding this matter will be discussed at the Christmas Board Retreat in December. Our next NFB of SC board meeting will take place the weekend of November 30 to December 2 in the afternoon of December 1 at the Rocky Bottom Christmas Board Retreat.

Billy and Loretta Eubanks celebrated their 50th anniversary at the Robert Mills Carriage House Friday afternoon. President Shelley Coppel presided over the Senior Division meeting which discussed plans for the NFB National Senior Division Retreat at Rocky Bottom this fall. The Resolutions Committee passed a resolution concerning the Commission for the Blind Governing Board’s vacant positions and the number of blind serving on the board. The full resolution is printed later in this article. Thom Spittle, the new President of the Computer Science and Technology Division held their meeting as there were approximately 20 people that attended. This was a great opportunity for affiliate members to get to know the talented individuals behind such things as the and websites, the NFB Newsline content administrator, and the team that posts on social media on behalf of the NFB of SC. The CSTD rolled out a new program called CSTD Helpline. It gives an opportunity for NFB affiliate members to get the technical help they are looking for. They can do this by calling 803-402-3526, leaving a message with their question and contact information, and someone from the CSTD will call them back within 24 hours. We added 3 new members to the Division during this event. We are looking to help distribute the valuable information about NFB of SC programs through the above websites and through the ListServe which anyone can join by visiting, search for NFB of SC, and fill out a short form.


Picture Captions:

Friday Evening Reception & “Chocolate Chip” Band


The Friday evening Reception was a real hit as the room filled to capacity and the Chocolate Chip band we had in Myrtle Beach a few years ago was again playing for our Reception. Following was a Student Division organizing meeting. Thursday, there was a getting to know you event among themselves with icebreakers and Saturday, they had a “meet the students” drop-in with music and fellowship. New officers elected were President: AJ McFadden, Vice President: Andrena Sampson, Secretary: Neel Sheth, Treasurer: Matthew Duffell-Hoffman, and Board Member: Derique Simon.

Saturday morning brought about a lot of excitement about the day’s full events. Lenora Robertson, Door Prize Chairperson and Ellen Taylor got the session off to a good start by giving away $100 cash which was won by Anna Price, one of our scholarship recipients. Thanks goes out to all who participated in giving door prizes which were distributed throughout the convention. Greenville Chapter President JW Smith followed the gaveling of the morning session to order by President Frank Coppel, by opening in prayer. Columbia Chapter President Tiffiny Mitchell gave a warm welcome to the statewide delegation which was followed up by an equally heartwarming response by Lee Chapter President Linda Dizzley. After giving convention arrangements and other announcements by President Frank Coppel, our NFB national representative, President of the NFB of DC and a member of the NFB Board of Directors, Shawn Galloway, presented the National Report. Much NFB information is available on the website as the Presidential Report, Braille Monitor, etc. The 2019 NFB convention will be in Las Vegas, Neveda July 7-12 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. National legislative issues were discussed as can be read in the Washington Seminar article in the most recent Palmetto Blind. Online accessibility remains a challenge to overcome but we are making progress. Thirty state affiliates had a BELL (Braille Enrichment in Literacy and Learning) Programs. The NFB is looking for feedback on those with guide dogs using Uber.


Picture Captions:

Tiffiny Mitchell

Linda Dizzley

Shawn Gallaway


Shaking up the agenda, Shannon Cook introduced the 2018 Scholarship Recipients who were Anna Price, a Junior at Erskine College majoring in Bible and Psychology in Christian Education; Abbagayle Keown, a Bob Jones University Freshman majoring in Special Education specializing in speech pathology; and Sarah Massengale, a Junior in Public Relations at USC. You will note that sixteen students and eleven staff members with the NFB of SC Successful Transitions Program headed up by Jennifer Bazer attended the convention and were very active in many of the convention agenda items and events.

Next on the agenda was the SC ABLE Savings Program delivered by Karen Crider, ABLE Program Manager who followed brief remarks by the SC State Treasurer Curtis Loftis who requested we search our names under the Unclaimed Property section to see if the state of South Carolina owes you any money. Ms. Crider expounded upon the ABLE Savings Program which allows you not to lose your SSI or Medicare by saving money for certain qualified purposes which better your quality of life. While there are certain limitations, this savings plan can help many who are under government assistance still be able to save for the future. You may contact Karen Crider at 803-734-0735 to find out more or visit the state Treasurer’s web site. David Houck also has information at the Federation Center of the Blind.


Picture Captions:

Shannon Cook and Scholarship Class

SC State Treasurer, Curtis Loftis

Karen Crider


Next, Marty McKenzie, Statewide Vision Consultant in the Office of Special Education Services gave an update from the SC Department of Education. The American Printing House now requires parental permission to list K-12 children which affects state funding. Only 710 legally blind children are currently registered. South Carolina is only one of a few states to have a Teacher of the Visually Impaired heading up the SC Instructional Resource Center. South Carolina opted to transcribe braille and instruct the new Unified English Braille Code and Nemeth Codes for Math. At USC Upstate Dr. Tina Hertzberg operates the Teachers of the Visually Impaired Program which is successful and offers instruction in Orientation and Mobility Certification, a much needed shortage in South Carolina and in other states.

Sandy Knowles, Director of SC Talking Book Services addressed the audience concerning events at TBS. At 5:00 p.m. on October 18, Michael Hingson who escaped from the 78th floor when the World Trade Center building was hit on 9-11, will tell of his experience with his guide dog leading the way out. His book, “Thunder Dog” relates this experience. A well written tribute to Ruby Bryant was posted in the latest edition of the TBS magazine. She served on the TBS Advisory Council. It is now easier to register for BARD, the next generation of talking book players will have wireless access and most likely voice activated user interface.

Steve Cook, NFB Newsline Coordinator for South Carolina explained the many ways Newsline can be utilized from newspapers and magazines to TV listings and job listings, not to mention a variety of information on the NFB of SC. There were several questions from the audience. To sign up for Newsline, you can contact Steve Cook at 803-898-8788.

President Frank Coppel’s Presidential Report capped off the morning session. The question he asked all of us to think about was, “Why do you need the Federation and why does the Federation need you?” Frank Coppel answered this question as he reviewed the progress of his own life and his Federation involvement. He reviewed the many activities of the NFB of SC thus far this year. We placed 8th with 79 SC delegates at the NFB Orlando Convention. Succssful Transitions involved staff and students in events such as the Washington Seminar, Louisanna Center for the Blind, the NFB national and this week’s NFB of SC state conventions. The students represented themselves well. Aside from Fun Day coming up Labor Day weekend and Senior Camp coming up in a month, a national Senior Division Training Program will take place in October. A Legislative Day at the State House will take place next year to get the Governor and the Senate to fill vacant SCCB Board positions and place another blind person in one of the three vacant positions. Also in 2019, the NFB Convention will be held in Las Vegas, NV and the state convention will be our 75th anniversary convention! Big plans are now being made for both conventions. Our goals include increased Public Relations and social media presence, strengthening local chapters, establish a member-at-large chapter for those in rural areas and to allow associate members to vote and hold office except for President and Vice President. The organization will strive to maintain its majority of blind members. The Saturday morning session was adjourned with much to look forward to and to think about regarding federation activities and our involvement in it.


Picture Captions:

Marty McKenzie

Sandy Knowles

Steve Cook

NFBSC Pres. Frank Coppel


The Luncheon got underway as David Houck gave the invocation. Debra Canty was the Mistress of Ceremonies and she did a superb job of presiding over the Luncheon, welcoming everyone and introducing the head table. Our keynote Luncheon speaker was former Clemson Cheerleader and professional national speaker Erika Powell who spoke on the topic, “Excel at You.” This is accomplished by realizing your (1) self-awareness concerning yourself and your blindness, (2) promoting advocacy skills in public awareness of your blindness and making positive instruction in overcoming myths and misconceptions about blindness and (3) utilizing disability pride by not being ashamed of your blindness by educating others about blindness skills and capabilities. Erika Powell made an excellent PSA for the NFB of SC which was viewed at the Columbia Fireflies Baseball game and can be used for local and statewide media purposes. Following Erika’s speech President Coppel presented the Distinguished Service Award to Dr. Marvin Efron for his decades of service in the area of low vision at the Commission for the Blind as well as his service on the Commission’s Advisory Council and the Federation Center’s Advisory Board.


Picture Captions:

Debra Canty

Erika Powell

Luncheon audience

Dr. Marvin Efron


The Saturday afternoon session got underway with the Federation Center report given by David Houck, Executive Director and Ed Bible, Trustee Board Chairman. Computer training is expanding at the Center with four blind instructors teaching a greater number of students on-site and virtually, in Microsoft Suites, JAWS, Zoomtext, Zoomtext Fusion and Guide. We are expanding training into other areas such as cell phone usage, etc. and we are now instructing blinded veterans again. We have hosted and attended a number of events thus far this year from the Statewide Seminar, Sweetheart Dance, Leadership Seminar, Technology Expo, SCCB Braille Challenge, VISION Summit, to the NFB National Center trip and this weekend’s convention. We are looking for blind technology instructors who can be certified to teach as our services expand. Barry Chavis works at the Center doing much needed renovations which will expand our service to the blind. We have been able to assist with funding Federation projects on a local, statewide, and national level. As Ed Bible put it, “We want to look for ways to serve you.” The Computer Science Division established a Tech Helpline at 803-402-3526 to answer your technology questions.

Page McCraw, President of the SC School for the Deaf and the Blind reported on progress of the School’s programs. While teachers go back to School Monday to get ready for their students, educational accountability rates among the students range from 93 to 100% in various categories. New playgrounds have been completed. The School for the Blind is in the process of infrastructure updating. The Lee Correctional Center Braille Production produced 168,000 braille pages last year. 582 children were served last year and the Columbia Outreach office is at capacity while the Charleston Outreach Center is growing.

Kyle Walker, Director of Consumer Services at the SC Commission for the Blind stated his appreciation for the NFB of SC and the Successful Transitions Program. A new adjustment to blindness to work experience program begins in September. Training is customized to the consumer’s employment goals. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) courses are working with NASA personnel. Career BOOST is working well with Successful Transitions being the only one in the state offering all five aspects of training including college tours.


Picture Captions:

Ed & Julie Bible

Page McCraw

Kyle Walker


The Rocky Bottom report was shared by a few presenters. Ed Bible stated RBRCCB has some infrastructure challenges but they are being accomplished through federation and community volunteer involvement. HVAC units have been replaced and internet service is established. Many blind people have been served. Shelley Coppel is excited about Senior Camp and a national Senior Division Training week in October. This training includes white cane travel, shopping, braille literacy, home management and low tech devices. Jennifer Bazer was excited about this year’s Children’s Camp in June. The theme for the 22 children was “Be all you can be.” Basics include the annual mountain climb, a marshmallow roast and the Talent Show. DNR brought in a live reptile exhibit. Successful Transitions programs were incorporated into the week long camp. Children’s camp raises its own funding each year and needs your assistance. RBRCCB Chairman Frank Coppel reported on the upcoming Labor Day Fun Day Festival and encouraged everyone to attend and to sell their Fun Day tickets.

A student panel discussion was made entitled “Live the Life You Want.” Adrena Sampson, AJ McFadden, Matthew Duffell-Hoffman, Derique Simon and Neel Sheth answered a volley of questions which expounded how each got to where they are today by overcoming obstacles of blindness and their hopes for the future. Following this panel discussion, a Talent Showcase was participated in by over a dozen people, showing off their various talents. Each received a certificate in print and braille and a NFB lapel pin.


Picture Captions:

L-R Shelley Coppel & Jennifer Bazer

Student Panel

Talent Showcase Entrants


The Banquet Saturday evening began at 7:00 p.m. sharp. Dorothy Barksdale gave the invocation. After head table introductions, our NFB National Representative, Shawn Callaway, NFB Board member and President of the NFB of DC was introduced as our Banquet keynote speaker. Mr. Callaway first acknowledged Dr. & Mrs. Capps for their influence in work with the blind as well as Parnell Diggs, Debra Canty, Ed Bible, Dorothy Barksdale, and Frank and Shelley Coppel. Losing sight in a shooting, it took some time to adjust to being blind. He resisted joining the Federation for a long time but found out that the Federation could have gotten him further along faster in his educational and career goals. He moved from Washington DC to attend the Workfoorce Technology Center in Baltimore where he received his blindness skills. He then attended the University of Maryland where he found that the Federation would have provided the support to overcome myths and misconceptions from college staff concerning his educational accommodations. Later he compared the Civil Rights Movement to the plight of the blind which was resisted by some. His success today was a result of eventual Federation involvement which earlier would have made life so much easier.

Shannon Cook gave out Scholarships as follows: Anna Price $1,125, Abbigayle Keown $1,625 and Sarah Massengale $2,125. These were a combination of several scholarship donations. The Educator of the Year was awarded by Marty McKenzie to Tracy Spittle, a Columbia Vision Teacher. The Associate Member of the Year Award was presented by Valerie Warrington to her husband Larry who had no idea of the award. David Houck presented the Donald C. Capps Award to Valerie Warrington for her hard work as Newberry Chapter President and as RBRCCB and NFB of SC Treasurer. Following such a long day, excitement was building as the Banquet Fundraiser began. Thirty minutes later approximately $10,710 in cash and pledges was raised for the NFB of SC. When the Banquet adjourned, a Nominating Committee met and others joined in the Student Division Drop In.


Picture Captions:

Larry Warrington (right)

Valerie Warrington

Dorothy Barksdale & Shelley Coppel


Sunday morning got off to a rousing start, being gaveled to order at 8:30 a.m. Dorothy Barksdale gave the Devotional and Memorial Service, recounting those who passed away during the last year and Shelley Coppel joined in the service as well. Valerie Warrington, NFB of SC and RBRCCB Treasurer read the annual reports for each organization which was accepted as read. Chapter and Division Presidents were next in presenting their accomplishments and goals. Everyone can learn much by listening to what each chapter or division is doing. President Coppel spoke about stewardship to our national program. We are doing well in the Pre Authorized Contribution (PAC) Program and $470 was raised in NFB SUN Share contributions and pledges. The Dream Makers Circle was discussed as a way to leave the NFB something after one dies. Information about this program is listed in the agenda. What follows is Resolution 2018-01 concerning SC Commission for the Blind Board participation:


Resolution 2018-01


Whereas, prior to 1966 Vocational Rehabilitation services for the blind were administered by the SC Department of Public Welfare,

And whereas, these services were extremely inadequate and deplorable which severely limited the blind’s ability to reach their fullest potential,

And whereas, in 1964, the blind strongly believed VR services desperately needed to improve, if the blind were going to compete on terms of equality with their sighted counterparts,

And whereas, at the 1964 National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina’s State Convention in Charleston a resolution was unanimously adopted which called for legislation which would establish a separate state agency responsible for providing VR services to the blind,

And whereas, after much hard work and persistence by the blind, legislation to create the South Carolina Commission for the Blind was signed into law by Governor Robert McNair on May 6, 1966,

And whereas, the law states the governing board of the South Carolina commission for the Blind will be comprised of a seven member board of commissioners representing each of the seven Congressional Districts,

And whereas, a minimum of four of its members must be legally blind,

And whereas, currently only District 1, District 2, District, 4, and District 6, have representation at this time,

And whereas, District 3, District 5, and District 7 have been vacant for a long period of time,

And whereas, only District 2, District 4 and District 6 board positions are currently held by a legally blind person,

And whereas, the number of legally blind persons serving on the South Carolina Commission of the Blind’s Board of Commissioners is below the minimum required by federal law,

And whereas, The National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina strongly believes that one or more of these vacant board positions need to be filled by qualified legally blind individuals as these individuals have a better understanding as to what programs and services are needed to enable blind consumers to reach their fullest potential,

Now therefore,

Be it resolved by the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina in Convention assembled in the City of Columbia, South Carolina, on August 12, 2018, that this organization strongly urges the Governor of South Carolina to appoint three individuals to fill the vacant positions on the Board of Commissioners of the South Carolina Commission for the Blind; and be it further resolved that a minimum of at least one of the three appointees need to be legally blind;

And be it further resolved that this organization call upon the South Carolina State Senate to confirm these appointments as quickly as possible.


Picture Caption:

Vote tally taken by Julie Bible and Henry Green while Larry Warrington collecting votes from the delegates



The final agenda item was the election of 5 officers and five board members which resulted as follows: Frank Coppel President, Lenora Robertson First Vice President, Debra Canty Second Vice President, Valerie Warrington Treasurer, Shannon Cook Secretary, Steve Cook Second District, JW Smith District 4, Garrett Mosley District 6 and the two at-large members Jamie Allison and Tiffiny Mitchell. We do express appreciation to Dorothy Barksdale for her long service on the board as Secretary and to Ronald Benjamin for his service in District 6. As the convention was gaveled to a close following a few door prizes by Lenora Robertson, everyone headed to check out of the hotel and return home to share the news about the 2018 NFB of SC Convention.

If you desire to listen to the convention online, please visit our web page at and link to the convention recordings. Our thanks goes out to Larry Warrington and the Computer Science Division for making all this possible.



By Steve Cook


Unable to read the newspaper? We have the answer! It’s as easy as dialing a phone! And it’s FREE!

NFB-NEWSLINE is a free service available to anyone who is blind, visually impaired or print-disabled. Funded by state sponsors, NFB-NEWSLINE offers over 500 publications to choose from, including thirteen national newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, thirty-two breaking news sources such as CNN, BBC and ESPN Online, seventeen international newspapers including Financial Times and Vancouver Sun, and countless state newspapers, as well as nearly seventy magazines like Family Circle, Time, Consumer Reports, Guideposts, Smithsonian and more. Here in South Carolina the Anderson Independence, Associated Press SC, Columbia State Paper, Greenville News, Myrtle Beach Sun News and Post & Courier are offered. You can also receive local information to South Carolina under the local section Option 2 from the main menu.

NFB-NEWSLINE also offers emergency weather alerts and seven day forecasts, job listings, TV listings, retail ads and more. There are a number of access methods including touch-tone telephone, a free mobile app for iPhone, iPad and iPod, on Demand emails, a secure website, and a variety of portable players including the NLS Talking Book player and Victor Reader Stream 2nd Generation.

NFB Newsline is funded by the SC Commission for the Blind and we hope you enjoy the service! If you would like more information on NFB Newsline or to subscribe to the service, contact Steve Cook at the SC Commission for the Blind at (803) 898-8788 or




Event to Raise Money for Rocky Bottom Camp

By Jason Evans, Staff Reporter


From the Pickens County Courier, Wednesday, August 29, 2018


COUTY – Take a trip up to Rocky Bottom on Saturday for a good time that supports a great cause.

The Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind will host its annual Fun Day this Saturday, September 1from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The camp is located at 123 Hancock Road in Sunset.

“All of the money that’s raised goes back into the camp,” says Jennifer Bazer, fundraiser chair and director of the center’s children’s camp.

Fun Day will include a live auction that includes Clemson, University of South Carolina and Carolina Panthers items and a country store with homemade cookies, cakes, jewelry and more.

Visitors will be able to shop for bargains at a yard sale as well,

There will be an inflatable obstacle course, a bounce house, and a slide for the kids, as well as cotton candy and snow cones.

A barbecue lunch will be available.

The Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center is the only camp in the country owned and operated by the blind, Bazer said.

The camp was originally a 4H camp, according to Frank Coppel, Chairman of the Center’s Board of Directors and President of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina, Rocky Bottom’s parent organization.

The camp was started in the 1920’s. In 1958, Donald Capps and his wife visited the Rocky Bottom area and fell in love with the area, Coppel said.

“He always thought it would be great for the blind to own a camp,” Coppel said.

After the 4H camp closed in the 1960’s Capps went before the Pickens County Council to lease the land. The Council gave a 100 year lease.

“We took over the camp in 1978,” Coppel said.

The blind of the state can use Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind at no cost.

“They don’t have to be a member of the federation to use the camp,” Coppel said. “They just have to pay a reservation fee to hold their spot.”

Each year Rocky Bottom holds a week of camp for seniors in the spring and fall,” Bazer said.

“It’s for seniors to come and learn different things such as independence and home management,” she said. “How to cook something, how to identify your money. A lot of people who are coming may have just lost their sight.”

In addition to being a time for learning, senior camp is also a time for fun. Campers play BINGO and go on excursions to places like the farmer’s market in Brevard, NC.

“It’s not only a social thing but it’s also a time for them to be around people who are similar to them as well,” Bazer said.

Children’s camp is held for a week each summer and is open for children ages 6 to 16.

“The camp is also a chance for campers to have fun and learn things. It’s an opportunity for them to learn things like orientation and mobility,” Bazer Said. “Cane travel – How do you travel with a white cane? Braille, we incorporate braille skills as well. Home management, cooking, how do you find something when you drop it on the floor?”

Campers take part in music and art activities as well. This year they made wind chimes, bird feeders and bird houses for the camp’s garden.

“Each year the Children’s Camp donates back to the camp,” Bazer said.

The camp itself is available for rentals. It features a Conference Center, a dining hall that feeds 300, a lodge with plenty of rooms for overnight and longer stays, including a cottage with bunk beds for 30 people and a family unit with chalet style rooms.

“We rent that out throughout the year for the public,” Bazer said.

Rental fees keep the non-profit organization going, Coppel said.

“We make our money from charities, churches, civic groups and other organizations that use the facilities throughout the year,” he said.

The camp has a pool and a putt-putt course among its amenities.

“There are all kinds of things they can enjoy,” Bazer said.

She encourages the public to discover the Rocky Bottom Camp of the Blind.

“If you have never been, it’s a fantastic place to visit, she said. You are out there in nature, it’s beautiful.”

For more information on Fun Day or to donate items for the live auction country store, contact Bazer at 803-960-9977 or


37th Annual Labor Day Fun Day Festival Successful


Friday afternoon and evening, August 31, cars, pick-up trucks and vans began to arrive at Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind. The warm summer weather was perfect with few if any clouds in the sky. Saturday morning came early as Lenora Robertson, Ellen Taylor and Glenda Culick along with other kitchen crew volunteers began working on breakfast at 6:00 a.m. and did not call it a day until after 8:00 p.m. Saturday evening, September 1. As everyone came down to breakfast, they paid their $30 each to Valerie and Larry Warrington to cover all three meals on Saturday and Sunday breakfast, a real bargain! David Houck began collecting Fun Day tickets right up until the drawing after the afternoon auction. Tables were in place for the auction, yard sale, Rocky Bottom merchandise and Fun Day ticket sales. The morning was spent putting everything together. Frank Coppel celebrated his birthday on September 1 (two days after Dr. Capps celebrated his 90th birthday). We were pleased to see Diane Camp, former RBRCCB Resident Manager spend the day with us and get to greet everyone. Both Diane Camp and Linda Bible, our current Resident Manager, got to know each other.


Picture Caption:

Perfect Rocky Bottom day & past Resident Manager, Diane Camp (center) visits


By the way, I would be remiss if I did not recognize Rocky Bottom Baptist Church for their assistance in getting a few roof leaks taken care of for us. It has been a long rainy summer season at Rocky Bottom this year. A van load of people came up from Columbia and we were pleased to see JW and Ora Bell Smith from Greenville as well. All told, about 45 participants arrived on scene to take in the festivities. There were many visitors to meet and greet who stopped by during the day including some who read the article Linda Bible had placed in the Pickens Sentinel.


Picture Caption:

Lunch being prepared by kitchen crew and served to Fun Day participants


Lunch time got things under way with hot dogs, bratwursts smothered in peppers and onions, and all the fixings. Thanks to Jimmy Masters and other community residents, they did a fine job grilling. Once everyone had their fill of fine food, the auction began.


Picture Captions:

Barry Chavis (left) speaks to Jeff Bazer, Auctioneer & the auction begins


Jeff Bazer performed well as auctioneer and much funding was made as such items as an autographed Carolina Panthers football, a signed portrait of the Clemson Tigers Head Football Coach Dabo Sweeny and other such items as gift baskets, fresh baked goods, “a house of cards,” and even an HDTV set provided by Blue Ridge Electric brought in good bids from the audience. The auction was very successful as we were able to raise $1,346.   Once the auction ended it was time for the Fun Day ticket drawing. RBRCCB Chairman Frank Coppel selected longtime Belvedere Chapter member Essie Kaney to do the drawing. An estimated 667 tickets were sold and after Essie swished the tickets around, one was selected and wouldn’t you know it, Belvedere Chapter member Frank Loza won the drawing receiving $550 as he bought his own ticket! Frank Loza was a worthy winner as he was near death at the beginning of the year but was able to receive a much needed liver transplant and he was able to spend the Fun Day weekend at Rocky Bottom. Everyone awaited the winning chapter to be announced for selling the most Fun Day tickets. It turned out to be the Columbia Chapter which sold 131 tickets and received $300 for its chapter treasury. But I must say that Linda Bible who on her own sold 80 Fun Day tickets. She beat out Sumter in second place with 70 sold and Rock Hill in third place with 66 sold! Considering the limited time we had to plan for this event, we were able to raise approximately $4,000 in net proceeds.

Following a wonderful spaghetti dinner, some went on to play Uno until late in the evening. Others retired to the Conference Center deck to enjoy the setting sun and the cool of the evening. It was a wonderful day. To top it all off, both the Clemson Tigers and the USC Gamecocks handily won their respective football games.


Picture Caption:

Belvedere Chapter member Frank Loza wins $550 in ticket drawing


Sunday morning welcomed everyone to a continental breakfast, hot coffee and juice. The kitchen crew wrapped everything up for the return trip home and some who stayed the weekend did not return until Monday, enjoying the peace and quiet of the rural mountainous setting a while longer.

We were saddened to report the passing of a charter member of the NFB of SC, Ruth Weeks of our Spartanburg Chapter. She recently attended the NFB of SC Columbia Convention in August. She was 99 years old and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go with her family and friends and the Spartanburg Chapter members of the NFB of SC.


The Gem of Rocky Bottom

By Shelley Coppel


On October 14, 2018, a group of approximately 23 staff and students, these were seniors, enthusiastically descended upon Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind, for a week of amazing training. The National Senior Division partnered with the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina, to offer a first rate training for a segment of our population who otherwise don’t have an opportunity for specific skills training for loss of vision.

We recruited 7 individuals as staff, to include, Frank and Shelley Coppel of South Carolina, Tom and Linda Anderson from Kansas, Liz Lewis and Michael Hartz from North Carolina, and Ruth Sager from Maryland-National Senior Division President. We also recruited the assistance of Christine Filter, a registered nurse who has served us for many years as our camp health nurse, a kitchen crew like non other headed up by Lenora Robertson, Ellen Taylor, Ora Bell and JW Smith, and several volunteers. We needed drivers as well, since we needed a golf cart to take us up and down the steep hill from one of the sleeping lodges which also has a kitchen most resembling that which you would have in your home. This served as our training kitchen.

Other classes that we offered were: cane travel, organizational skills, Braille, IOS training, and a discussion group where we discussed the effects of vision loss on our lives. As we settled in the first evening,

We discussed the schedule, were introduced to each other, found out where we each would reside for the week, and had a wonderful meal for our weary, excited guests!   They represented nine states, and ranged in age from the mid 40’s, to 87.

Monday morning began with a hot breakfast for nourishment to begin our rigorous schedule. Sleep shades were passed out along with long white canes. Our classes lasted one and a half hours in length and we planned four classes in a day. Everyone participated in all of the classes. As the week progressed, folks were using their shades voluntarily and showing good cane skills as they navigated the paths, found their class sites, went grocery shopping, navigated an apple orchard, and found a pond where great stories were swapped over a great fishing experience. Every afternoon, we ended our day with a discussion time. We talked about the successes of our day, answered questions about the tough business of losing vision and how to deal with this personally as well as how to advocate for ourselves, and bring those closest to us into an understanding of the kinds of help we really need, or when it is best to struggle through the issue to find our own alternatives. On Thursday evening, we made a bon fire and roasted marshmallows to eat s’mores. Perfect ending for a week of great achievement.

Two of the students completed the Braille alphabet including numbers, and punctuation.

Many thanks to the National Senior Division for coming to South Carolina and utilizing our facilities at our beloved Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind.   We look forward to many more opportunities to be of service to other state affiliates and national divisions of the National Federation of the Blind.


Picture Captions:

Cooking Class



Braille Literacy


Discussion Groups

Planning Sessions


Rocky Bottom hosts 39th Annual Christmas Board Retreat

By Frank Coppel


The 39th annual Christmas Board Retreat was held at Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind November 30-December 2, 2018. The nearly forty individuals who attended the retreat experienced a rainy weekend which made the atmosphere outside very damp and cold, but this weather event encouraged a more cozy, and warm atmosphere inside! The weekend was extremely busy as many of us participated in two board meetings on Saturday, December 1, starting with the RBRCCB Board of Directors meeting which was held 9:30 a.m. and the meeting of the Board of Directors of the NFB of SC which was held at 2:00 p.m. The 2019 edition of Children’s camp will be held June 9, to June 16. The dates for the 2019 Senior Camps will be May 19-23 and September 15-19.

The RBRCCB board had an extensive discussion regarding the overall operations of the camp. There has been a great deal of work done regarding the infrastructure of our facilities at Rocky Bottom such as repairing, termite damage, extensive mold remediation in Osterneck and other repairs. The board recognized the individuals, church groups, and civic organizations who have volunteered their services in the area of building and ground maintenance during the past year. However, much work still needs to be done in Osterneck Cottage, the flooring in the two restrooms in the conference center, and the septic tank system throughout the camp. The board also had a great deal of discussion regarding the need to raise much needed funds for Rocky Bottom. We discussed the Midlands Gives program which is held the first Tuesday in May as well as grant writing, and other possible fund raisers.

During the NFB of SC State Board meeting, a variety of topics were discuss. ED Bible, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Federation Center and David Houck Federation Center of the Blind Director, gave an excellent report. It was reported the Federation Center continues to be financially sound and the Center has expanded its assistive technology training programs this past year. It was also reported the Federation Center is currently undergoing much needed renovations throughout the building. The board also heard a report from Jennifer Bazer, Director of the NFB of SC Successful Transitions program. Ms. Bazer reported the program was doing very well and that a new Mentoring component for blind students was recently added to her program. The 49th annual State wide Seminar will be held at the Federation Center of the Blind on Saturday, January 5 2019. The NFB Washington Seminar will be held from January 27-30. The fourth annual Sweetheart Dance will be held on Saturday evening, February 16, 2019 at the Federation Center of the Blind. All proceeds raised from the dance will be given to the NFB of SC. Another Leadership Seminar will be held at the Federation Center on March 16. The 2019 state convention will be held in Columbia at the Marriott Hotel the weekend of August 9-11. This will be a very specially event as we will be celebrating our 75th anniversary of our organization.

Saturday evening was spent celebrating the Christmas season with caroling, exchanging of gifts, and sampling a variety of delicious desserts. We all enjoyed the beautiful devotional given by David Houck as he gave his thoughts and read the Christmas Story. Shelley Coppel and Dale Wolthoff did an excellent job leading in the singing of the carols and the Rocky Bottom choir sang another great rendition of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. We were also very honored to have with us Saturday evening the Pastor and several members of the Rocky Bottom Baptist church as we recognized them for their generous contribution of $1500 which helped greatly to repair leaks in the roofs of the Conference Center, Osterneck Cottage, and Oglesby Cottage. As a Christmas project this year, the individuals who attended the Retreat contributed items for gift bags which were distributed to residents of a local assistive living facility in Pickens.

We really do have a wonderful Federation extended family in the Rocky Bottom community. I hope the activities of the Christmas Board Retreat allows all of us the opportunity to reflect on what we have accomplished during the past year at Rocky Bottom and the NFB of SC, but more importantly what we need to do as a Federation family working together in 2019 as we continue to work hard improving and expanding all of our programs and facilities in the NFB of SC.


Picture Captions:

Former Resident Manager, Janice Taylor

Pastor Chris Owen, Rocky Bottom Baptist Church

Chairman Coppel presents Christmas gift to Linda Bible

Chairman Coppel introduces Jimmy Masters

Ed Bible addresses Board Retreat participants


From the President’s Desk

By Frank Coppel


Happy holidays! The spirit of the holiday season is very apparent throughout the NFB of SC as many chapters are holding their Christmas parties during the month of December. Chapter Christmas parties play an important role as it provides an excellent opportunity for chapter leaders to invite perspective members and visitors to their Christmas festivities and introduces them to the NFB of SC.

I believe 2018 has been a good year for the NFB of SC, Rocky Bottom and the Federation Center. As we come to the end of 2018, let’s review some of the highlights of this past year.

In January of this year, the NFB of SC brought fourteen members to Washington D.C. to participate in the Washington Seminar. Not only did we have nine state officers and bboard members attend the seminar, but we were proud to have for the first time four high school students and staff from our Successful Transitions Program.

In March, we conducted a day long Leadership Seminar at the Federation Center. Over eighty participants attended the seminar, and learned a great deal about the history of the NFB and the NFB of SC, consumer’s rights and responsibilities who were receiving services from the SC Commission for the Blind, Social Security, as well as other important topics related to chapter operations.

During the first weekend in April approximately fifty South Carolina federationists travelled to Baltimore to visit our National Center. This was the first time for many of our members to attend the Jernigan Institute and I believe they learned a great deal regarding programs offered by the National Federation of the Blind, Legislative issues, and they received a huge helping of NFB philosophy.

In May, 50 Federationists attended the Columbia Fire Flies’ minor league baseball game. It was Community Organization night at the ball park and the NFB of SC was the featured organization. We were able to distribute a great deal of NFB literature and Braille alphabet cards to individuals attending the game. Thom Spittle did an outstanding job throwing out the ceremonial first pitch and we had an excellent 60 second video PSA announcement appearing on the score board prior to the start of the game as well as three excellent 30 second PSA announcements which were announced at various times between innings. You can view the sixty second PSA announcement on our website

In July, many of us travelled to Orlando, Florida to participate in the NFB National Convention. The NFB of SC was very proud to have seventy-nine South Carolinians attend this year’s convention placing us in the top ten in attendance. The NFB of SC was also very proud to have sixteen students and eleven staff members of our Successful Transitions program in attendance at this convention.

The 2018 state convention was held at the Columbia Marriott the weekend of August 10-12 and from the feedback received it was a huge success. We had 170 people register for the convention which was substantially larger than the 2017 convention in Greenville. I was also extremely pleased to see us reorganize the SC Association of Blind Students during the convention.

Although the Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind has had to deal with a financial strain this year as result of extensive repairs to all of the buildings, Children’s Camp which was held June 9-16 was a tremendous success. Twenty-two children ranging in ages from 6-14 years of age had great fun participating in a variety of camp activities including an onsite reptile demonstration by DNR. During October 14-20 Rocky Bottom was honored to host the first annual National Seniors Retreat sponsored by the National Seniors Division of the NFB. Twelve seniors representing nine states (Utah, Oklahoma, Michigan, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, New Jersey, and South Carolina) spent the week learning blindness skills in a variety of areas. Further details of this training can be found in another article of this edition of the Palmetto Blind.

As a past Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Federation Center of the blind, I am very pleased to see the continued progress being made in expanding our assistive technology programs and in the extensive renovations that is currently being done at the center.

2019 promises to be an extremely busy and exciting year in the NFB of SC, Rocky Bottom, and the Federation Center. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I look forward to kicking off the new year with the state-wide Seminar, which will be held January 5, in Columbia and I hope we will have a large crowd of federationists in attendance.


From the Editor

By David Houck


It has been a busy year with many opportunities for learning and experience.

Renovation of the Federation Center continues under the direction of Ed Bible, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. We emptied out what is now the new computer training room. A new storage unit will take care of items we need to keep on hand. The lounge area office has been renovated as an office for Jennifer Bazer, Director of the highly acclaimed Successful Transitions program. Successful Transitions has been innovative in bringing blind high school age students into their career path or continuing educational goals. Barry Chavis was hired in June 2018 to take care of many of our renovation projects. As you all know, Barry is multi-talented.   Both our computer training rooms now have LED lighting which can be dimmed for those who have light sensitivity. The office hallway was repainted after the old wallpaper was taken down. The kitchen area has been spruced up with new lighting and a hand soap dispenser and hand towel dispenser. The oldest part of the Center which was constructed in 1961 has had all the two-prong plugs replaced with three-prong plugs which are also grounded. Much more needs to be done in the kitchen, meeting hall and in other places. You may notice the difference each time you visit the Federation Center.

Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind is doing well as we eliminated problem areas in the Osterneck Cottage, received much volunteer help from several church groups such as Mt. Hebron United Methodist Church in Lexington and Rocky Bottom Baptist Church in the Rocky Bottom Community. We are honored to have several church and civic groups, like the Lions of Salem, Easley and Inman who contribute of their time, energy and resources on behalf of the statewide blind we serve at RBRCCB. The national NFB Senior Blind Division held a week of camp this fall which included participants from nine states. Shelley Coppel did a great job in Directing this session with the NFB Senior Blind Division.

We are excited about the New Year as the Statewide Seminar preparations are underway. NFB of SC President Frank Coppel is making plans for an event you will not want to miss on January 5 at the annual Statewide Seminar. Will you be the winner of the Las Vegas ticket drawing at the end of the day? Don’t forget to bring auction items to bid on for the Federation Center fundraiser at the Statewide Seminar as well. The Las Vegas NFB Convention in July has a lot of interest which has been generated. Tiffiny Mitchell is doing a great job finding the best airfare rates and signing people up to go. President Coppel will have details soon on our 75th Anniversary NFB Convention. It will be one to remember! Mark your calendar too for the February 16, 2019 Sweetheart Dance. Debra Canty goes into a lot of detail to prepare the food, music and door prizes.

If you are interested in adaptive computer training either on-site at the Federation Center or virtually over a secured internet connection, our computer instructors can teach Windows, Microsoft Office functions and i-phone or i-pad instruction. We instruct using JAWS speech, Zoomtext print enlargement, and Guide for the older blind. We also teach Google Doc for your i-phone and i-pad. All our instructors are blind and are certified in what they are training. Interested? Contact the Federation Center to find out how we can help you.

Whether it be the Statewide Seminar, Leadership Seminar, NFB or NFB of SC Conventions, Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind Senior Camp, Children’s Camp or chapter visits, Federation Center computer training or Successful Transitions program, etc., we only need one thing to make it all better and more exciting – YOUR participation and support!


Final Thought:


The Legend of the Candy Cane


Many years ago, a candy maker wanted to make a candy at Christmas time that would serve as a witness to his Christian faith. He wanted to incorporate several symbols for the birth, ministry and death of Jesus.

He began with a stick of pure white hard candy. The white symbolized the virgin birth and the sinless life of Jesus.

He made the candy hard to symbolize that Jesus is the solid rock and the foundation of the church. The firmness also represents the promises of God.

The candy maker made the candy in the form of a “J” to represent the name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Savior. He thought it could also represent the staff of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

The candy maker then added red stripes. He used three small stripes to show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received, by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ on the cross so that we could be forgiven and have the promise of eternal life.

The large red stripe also represents one God. The three thin red stripe represents the Trinity – The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The flavor of mint is similar to hyssop. In Old Testament times, hyssop was associated with purification and sacrifice. It was also used at the cross as they gave Jesus a drink of vinegar before He gave up the Ghost.