Positive Notes

1744

 

January 15, 2020

Memo To: Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1744

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

The 2020 convention of the National Federation of the Blind will take place in Houston, Texas, July 14 to July 19, at the Hilton Americas-Houston hotel, 1600 Lamar Street, Houston, TX 77010. Make your room reservation as soon as possible with the Hilton Americas-Houston. Call 1-800-236-2905 to reserve your room in the main hotel. If you wish to stay in our overflow hotel, the Marriott Marquis Houston, the number to call is 1-877-688-4323. The 2020 room rate at our main hotel is $105 per night and applies to singles and doubles as well as triples and quads. Hotel and sales taxes in Houston are 13.38 percent and 8.25 percent, respectively. The rate for the overflow Marriott Marquis is slightly higher at $119. As with our main hotel, hotel and sales taxes are additional, and the nightly rate covers up to four in a room. Both hotels will take a deposit of the first night’s room rate for each room and will require a credit card or a personal check. If you use a credit card, the deposit will be charged against your card immediately. If a reservation is cancelled before Friday, June 1, 2020, half of the deposit will be returned. Otherwise refunds will not be made. Rooms will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations may be made before June 1, 2020, assuming that rooms are still available. After that time the hotels will not hold our room block for the convention. In other words, you should get your reservation in soon. Both hotels offer complimentary in-room wireless internet (though the Marriott requires a free-to-establish Marriott Bonvoy account) and fitness center access for all guests. All rooms are furnished with mini refrigerators along with many of the usual amenities such as in-room safes, irons and ironing boards, and hair dryers. After the day’s events, you can get your swim on at either hotel. The Hilton has an indoor pool on the 23rd floor, while the Marriott features an outdoor pool adjacent to its Texas-shaped lazy river pool. Both hotels have several on-premise dining outlets with a broad range of additional options within a short walk from the front door. The schedule for the 2020 convention is:

 

Tuesday, July 14 Seminar Day

Wednesday, July 15 Registration and Resolutions Day

Thursday, July 16 Board Meeting and Division Day

Friday, July 17 Opening Session

Saturday, July 18 Business Session

Sunday, July 19 Banquet Day and Adjournment

 

Please do not forget to purchase your tickets to attend the fifth annual Sweetheart dance sponsored by the NFB of SC which will be held on Saturday, February 15, 2020 at the Federation Center of the Blind from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The evening promises to be a fun and enjoyable experience with a professionally catered dinner, door prizes, music and dancing. Tickets to this event will be $25 per person and all proceeds will go to the NFB of SC. Please make checks payable to NFB of SC and mail to: NFB of SC, 119 S. Kilbourne Road, Columbia, SC 29205. Please note the memo line for Sweethearts Dance. Deadline to purchase tickets is Wednesday, February 5, 2020. In the past, members, chapters, and divisions have been very generous donating door prizes for this special event. Door prize Contributions can include gift cards, cash or assembled gift baskets. Please contact Jennifer Bazer at 803-960-9977 or jhipp25@sc.rr.com if you would like to contribute a door prize.   If you have any questions regarding this fundraising event, please contact Debra Canty, Sweetheart dance Chairperson, at 803-775-5792 or via email at debra.canty@frontier.com.

If you have not done so already, I strongly encourage you to pay your $10 state dues as soon as possible as the deadline to receive dues is January31, 2020. When you submit your $10 state dues, it is extremely important you provide accurate contact information such as, name, address, phone number and email address if applicable. These things do change and if we do not have accurate information, we and our national office cannot keep you up to date on what’s going on. Our national office is requiring each state affiliate to submit a spread sheet listing members and their contact information. Once the national office receives this information, members listed on the spread sheet will receive a membership medallion which will signify you as a member of the NFB.

We have an announcement from Cayte Mendez, Chairperson of the NFB national scholarship committee. “Every year, the National Federation of the Blind awards more than $120,000 to blind scholars across the fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico in recognition of their achievements and professional aspirations. The scholarship program is our commitment to academic excellence and leadership among blind students, and each winner is awarded on the basis of academic excellence, community service, and leadership. The application process opened Friday, November 1. Review the scholarship application checklist and the scholarship program FAQs. Share this opportunity that invests in the future of blind people. Learn about the eligibility and requirements of the 2020 scholarship program.” I would hope many of our students from South Carolina are taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity and are applying for one of these national scholarships.

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.

 

Final Thought:   Transforming our dreams into reality: “Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and accomplished the impossible.”

1743

 

January 8, 2020

Memo To: Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1743

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

I want to thank all of you who attended the 50th annual Statewide Seminar this past Saturday. Just prior to the start of the seminar, you could feel the energy and enthusiasm permeating throughout the meeting hall. 155 Federationists from across the state were in attendance. I was told every seat in the room was nearly filled when the Seminar was called to order at 10:00 a.m. All three heads of agencies who provide services to the blind, Zunaira Wasif, Director of Consumer Services of the SC Commission for the Blind, Dr. Paige McCraw, President of the SC School for the Deaf and Blind, and Kristin White, Director of Talking Book Services of SC, gave presentations.

Thom Spittle did an excellent job as auctioneer as we raised $1,000 for Rocky Bottom. This is probably one of the highest totals we have earned from the statewide seminar auction, and I want to thank each of you who donated an auction item or who financially contributed to Rocky Bottom during the day. At the NFB of SC Board of Directors meeting, which was held during the two hour lunch break, the Board elected Frank Coppel to serve as the official delegate and Debra Canty to serve as alternate delegate to the NFB National Convention in Houston, Texas. Since there appears to be a lack of interest to charter a bus to Houston, the board voted to equally disperse the monies raised from the sale of bus tickets to those individuals who will be attending the convention. The requirements to receive a stipend are as follows; the individual must be a dues paying member of the NFB of SC, must have sold bus tickets, and must register for the convention. The stipends will be distributed the first day of the general sessions which will be Friday morning, July 17. The board discussed the 2020 state convention which will be held at the North Charleston Marriott August 21-23. The cost of a room will be $115 per night. There will be an additional 14 percent tax added to each room. The board also voted to increase preregistration for this year’s state convention to $85 for adults, $55 for college students and $25 for children under the age of eighteen.

During the RBRCCB board of Directors meeting, the board voted to move the 2020 Fun Day Festival to Saturday, May 2.

During the afternoon session of the seminar, the audience heard excellent reports from Rocky Bottom and the Federation Center. Jennifer Bazer did an excellent job reporting on the progress of the Successful Transition program and the audience heard from two students, Matthew Duffell Hoffman and Derique Simon who participated in a Mentoring program recently held at the SC Commission for the Blind.

During the afternoon session, it was announced the NFB of SC will again host a state picnic on Saturday afternoon, May 30, from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Saluda Shoals state park in Columbia. Tiffiny Mitchell is again in charge of this year’s state picnic. If you need further information or have any questions regarding the picnic, you can contact Tiffiny Mitchell at (803) 603-2098. Also during the afternoon session of the seminar, the “100/100 club” (100 people contributing $100) was established in an effort to raise $10,000 to purchase a much needed freezer and refrigerator for the commercial kitchen in the conference center at Rocky Bottom. Since the NFB of SC Seniors Division spearheaded this fund raising project during the fall senior camp in October, checks need to be payable to the NFB of SC seniors division. Thus far, $2,300 in cash and pledges have been raised. Let’s keep the momentum going and let’s try to raise the remainder of the money by Friday, February 28.

Congratulations to Annie Johnson from Cheraw, SC who was the seller of the winning bus ticket and to Richard Johnson from Cheraw who purchased the winning ticket. Also, congratulations to the Columbia Chapter for selling 908 Houston national convention tickets and finishing in first place. The Cherokee County Chapter finished second selling 256 bus tickets and the Rock Hill Chapter finished third selling 205 tickets. A grand total of 2,869 tickets were sold.

I want to take this opportunity thank Isaiah Nelson and his group of volunteers for preparing and serving a delicious lunch. I am very pleased to announce this was the first time the NFB of SC has ever streamed the state wide seminar and I would like to thank Thom Spittle and Steve Cook for their efforts in this area. Finally, I want to especially thank David Houck for all of his hard work prior to the Seminar and all day Saturday to ensure the meeting was a success.

We have an announcement from Debra Canty, NFB of SC Fund Raising Chairperson. “You are cordially invited by the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina…

What: 5th Annual Sweethearts Dance. When: Saturday, February 15, 2020. Where: The Federation Center, 119 S. Kilbourne Road, Columbia, SC 29205. Time: 5:00 p.m.—9:00 p.m. Dress Attire: Dressy Casual. Ticket Donation: $25.00 by-February 5.   Please make checks payable to (NFB of SC) and mail to: The Federation Center, C/O Sweethearts Dance, 119 S. Kilbourne Road, Columbia, SC 29205. All Sweethearts Dance Tickets donations must reach The Federation Center by February 5. Contact the Federation Center or Debra Canty. Mega thanks for your past support and we look forward to you attending on Saturday, February 15, 2020 at 5 p.m.”

National Federation of the Blind members, blind or sighted, who have not yet attended an NFB National Convention because of lack of funding are eligible to apply for the Kenneth Jernigan Convention Scholarship. Applications are now open. Applicants will submit contact, Federation, and mentor information as well as answer a few essay questions. Deadline to apply is April 15, 2020. Further details regarding the KJ national convention scholarships can be found in the January issue of the Braille Monitor.

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.

 

Final Thought:   Transforming our dreams into reality: “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”

1742

 

December 31, 2019

Memo To: Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1742

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

Happy New Year! I hope all of you had a wonderful Holiday season and are now ready to begin 2020 with a great deal of enthusiasm and energy. Although we were successful in the NFB of SC in 2019 in such areas as, finishing eighth place in attendance with 102 members in Las Vegas at our 2019 national convention, celebrating our 75th Anniversary as an organization at our state convention in August, and hosting our second consecutive national senior’s retreat at Rocky Bottom, I believe 2020 will present the NFB of SC with many challenges and I know many accomplishments.

If you have not notified the Federation Center as to whether you are planning to attend the Statewide Seminar on January 4, please do so as soon as possible. This will help us to determine the amount of food to purchase for lunch. The seminar will begin promptly at 10:00 a.m. and will adjourn at approximately 4:00 p.m. During the lunch break, the NFB of SC and the RBRCCB Board of Directors will be holding their first quarter meetings in the board room of the Federation Center. These are open meetings and members are invited to participate. We will be conducting an auction throughout the day to raise money for Rocky Bottom. Be sure to bring items for the auction such as, cakes, pies, cookies, gift baskets, and electronics. Also, please continue to sell your Houston national convention bus tickets. The drawing will take place at the conclusion of the Seminar. The winning ticket will receive $300, the seller of the winning ticket will receive $100 and the chapter selling the most tickets will receive $300. It looks like we will have a large turnout of federationists attending this year’s seminar. I would encourage you to come early if you would like a good seat.

We have an announcement from Shelley Coppel, President of our Seniors Division. “Happy New Year from the NFB of SC Seniors Division! The Seniors Division will be selling raffle tickets on Saturday, January 4, during the Statewide seminar. The prize is a Black and Decker talking toaster oven valued at $379. The drawing will take place the weekend of the 2020 state convention in North Charleston. Tickets will cost $5 for one ticket and $10 for three tickets. You do not have to be present to win. I would like to encourage all chapters to participate. Let’s support the NFB of SC Seniors division!”

When you submit your $10 state dues, it is imperative you provide accurate contact information such as, name, address, phone number and email address if applicable. These things do change and if we do not have accurate information, we cannot keep you up to date on what’s going on. Our national office is requiring each state affiliate to submit a list of members and their contact information by March 1, 2020. The deadline for NFB of SC state dues is January 31.

2020 promises to be an exciting and busy year in the NFB of SC. It will be great to kick off the new year with a large crowd of enthusiastic federationists at this year’s state wide seminar. Shelley and I look forward to seeing many of you on Saturday, January 4!

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.

Final Thought:   Transforming our dreams into reality: What are you planning and doing to prepare for a successful 2020?

1741

 

December 23, 2019

Memo To: Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1741

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

We have an announcement from the December issue of the Braille Monitor regarding the 2020 NFB National convention. “It has been nearly fifty years since the largest gathering of the organized blind has convened in Houston, Texas, and our return in 2020 will be an event not to be missed. The Hilton Americas-Houston hotel (1600 Lamar Street, Houston, TX 77010) will serve as our convention headquarters hotel. Situated in the heart of downtown Houston across the street from the beautiful twelve-acre Discovery Green Park, the Hilton Americas is an ideal location for our annual event. Ballrooms, breakout space, and sleeping rooms are all stacked in the same tower housed on a single city block, simplifying navigation and minimizing travel distances. In-room internet is complimentary to all attendees as is access to the health club and swimming pool on the 23rd floor. There is an array of dining options on the hotel’s lobby level (including a Starbucks for those of you requiring a caffeine fix) and many more choices within easy walking distance from the Hilton’s front door.

The nightly rate at the Hilton Americas-Houston is $105 for singles, doubles, triples, and quads. In addition, the sales tax rate is 8.25 percent, and the hotel occupancy tax rate is 17 percent. To book your room for the 2020 convention, call 1-800-236-2905 after January 1. For each room, the hotel will take a deposit of the first night’s room rate and taxes and will require a credit card or a personal check. If you use a credit card, the deposit will be charged against your card immediately. If a reservation is cancelled before Monday, June 1, 2020, half of the deposit will be returned. Otherwise refunds will not be made.

We have also secured overflow space at the wonderful Marriott Marquis Houston. The Marriott is only a three-block walk directly across Discovery Green, or attendees can walk entirely indoors through the George R. Brown convention center, connecting both hotels on the second level. You will find many of the same amenities at the Marriott as well as a Texas-shaped lazy river pool. The room rate at the Marriott Marquis is a slightly higher $119 per night for singles, doubles, triples, and quads. To book a room, call 1-877-688-4323 after January 1. The same deposit and cancellation policies apply.

The 2020 convention of the National Federation of the Blind will be a truly exciting and memorable event, with an unparalleled program and rededication to the goals and work of our movement. Please note that the convention dates, July 14 through July 19, are later than those originally announced this past summer in Las Vegas.”

If you have not notified the Federation Center as to whether you are planning to attend the Statewide Seminar on January 4, please do so as soon as possible. This will help us to determine the amount of food to purchase for lunch. Remember we will be conducting an auction throughout the day to raise money for Rocky Bottom. Be sure to bring items for the auction such as, cakes, pies, cookies, gift baskets, and electronics. Also, please continue to sell your Houston Texas national convention bus tickets. If you have not done so already, please mail your ticket stubs and money to the Federation Center or bring them with you to the Seminar on Saturday, January 4. The drawing will take place at the conclusion of the Seminar. The winning ticket will receive $300, the seller of the winning ticket will receive $100 and the chapter selling the most tickets will receive $300.

It is not too early to begin submitting your state dues of $10 for 2020 to the state office (Federation Center). You can either mail your dues to the State Office or bring them with you to the Seminar on January 4. When you submit your dues, please provide current contact information such as, name, address, phone number and email address if applicable. These things do change and if we do not have accurate information, we cannot keep you up to date on what’s going on. As I wrote in the Positive Note last week, our national office is requiring each state affiliate to submit a list of members and their contact information by January 15, 2020. The deadline to submit your NFB of SC state dues is January 31, 2020, so why wait!

The Christmas season is a very beautiful and special time of the year. I especially enjoy listening to Christmas music, being with family and friends, eating wonderful food, and watching our six grandchildren opening their gifts on Christmas morning. Shelley and I would like to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and let’s all of us remember the “Reason for the Season”.

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.

 

Final Thought:   Transforming our dreams into reality: Don’t let hindsight be 2020 – It starts next Wednesday!

1739

 

December 11, 2019

Memo To: Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1739

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

The 40th annual Christmas Board Retreat held at Rocky Bottom this past weekend was extremely busy as many of us participated in two board meetings on Saturday (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 2020 edition of Children’s camp will be held June 6-13. The dates for the 2020 Senior Camps will be May 17-21 and the fall senior camp is tentatively scheduled for October 18-22.

Ed Bible, Vice Chairman of the RBRCCB Board of Directors, gave an extensive report regarding the overall operations of the camp. Mr. Bible stated there has been a great deal of work done regarding the infrastructure of our facilities at Rocky Bottom. Mr. Bible recognized Ted Brewer and Carl Halverson from the Salem Lions Club who were in attendance at our meeting for their contributions and hard work during the past year to upgrade our facilities. Mr. Bible also recognized many other individuals, church groups, and civic organizations who have volunteered their services in the area of building and ground maintenance during the past year. One of the groups that was spotlighted was the missions team from Mt. Hebron Methodist Church in West Columbia who came to Rocky Bottom October 17-19 and did extensive work in the Conference Center, Osterneck Cottage and the pump house. Mr. Bible pointed out that much work still needs to be done in Osterneck Cottage, the Conference Center, Lawton Hall, and the pond. The missions team from Mt. Hebron is scheduled to return to Rocky Bottom in late March with a much larger group of people to work on these much needed projects. The board had an extensive discussion regarding the need to raise much needed funds for Rocky Bottom. Jennifer Bazer, fundraising chair for Rocky Bottom and Valerie Warrington reported two grants were written this fall. It was reported to the board that a marketing consultant has been hired to assist us with the Rocky Bottom website as well as utilizing social media more effectively as a marketing tool. The board discussed ideas as to how we can significantly improve the overall proceeds for the camp at the Fun Day Festival scheduled for 2020. Suggestions were made to look at the feasibility of changing the date of the Festival to October or sometime in the spring. This will be further discussed and finalized at the first quarter board meeting in January.

During the NFB of SC State Board meeting, a variety of topics were discussed. David Houck Federation Center of the Blind Director, gave an excellent report. It was reported the Center has expanded its assistive technology training programs this past year. It was also reported the Federation Center is continuing to undergo much needed renovations as funding is made available. 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 as it is now entering its fourth year of existence.

The 2020 Washington Seminar was discussed and will officially begin with the “great gathering in” meeting 5:00 p.m. on Monday, February 10. Room rates for the Washington Seminar are $198 per night plus a 14.95 percent room tax. Please call the Holiday Inn Capitol (877) 572-6951 and referencing booking code N2F to make your reservation. All reservations must be made by January 8. If you have questions regarding the Washington Seminar, please call me at (803) 796-8662.

The board discussed the possibility of chartering a bus to the 2020 national convention in Houston Texas. Depending upon bus ticket sales and the interest demonstrated by the membership, a final decision regarding this matter will be made at the Statewide Seminar on January 4.

For the first time in 22 years, the 2020 NFB of SC state convention will be held in Charleston at the North Charleston Marriott Hotel the weekend of August 21-23. Further details regarding the 2020 state convention will be discussed at the statewide seminar on January 4.

The board also discussed the upcoming NFB of SC cruise scheduled for November 14-19, 2020. The cruise will depart from Charleston on the “Sunshine” Carnival Cruise line and travel to the Bahamas. Thus far, we have 58 people and 28 cabins signed up for the cruise. Remember, this is a fund raiser for the NFB of SC. For all booking questions and to make payments please contact:

Elizabeth Harvey, Travel Consultant

(803) 767-6897 cell phone

To mail payments please send them to:

Elizabeth Harvey

300 Westridge Rd.

Elgin, SC 29045

 

Saturday evening was spent celebrating the Christmas season with caroling, exchanging of gifts, and sampling a variety of delicious desserts. Thanks to everyone who contributed items for the gift bags which will be distributed to residents of a small assistive living facility in Pickens.

I want to take this opportunity to especially thank Lenora Robertson and her “food crew” for all of their hard work preparing the delicious meals throughout the weekend. I also would like to thank each of you who attended Rocky Bottom this weekend for making the Christmas Board Retreat an extremely enjoyable and pleasant experience for Shelley and myself.

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.

 

Final Thought:   Transforming our dreams into reality: Some people mistake life’s problems as dreadful experiences instead of as opportunities where we can shine.

1738

 

December 3, 2019

Memo To: Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1738

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

I am writing this edition of the Positive Note earlier than usual in order that you may receive it prior to the Christmas Board Retreat which will be held this weekend, December 6-8, at Rocky Bottom. Saturday, December 7, promises to be a very busy day. We will kick things off Saturday morning with the Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind Board of Directors meeting at 9:30, followed by the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina Board of Directors meeting which will begin at 2:00 p.m. We will have our holiday dinner at 6:30 Saturday evening and immediately afterwards we will gather around the Christmas tree and celebrate the Christmas season as we sing carols, exchange gifts, fellowship, and sample a variety of delicious desserts which I am certain many of you are planning to bring. If you wish to participate in the Christmas gift exchange Saturday evening, ladies will need to bring a ladies’ gift and men will need to bring a men’s gift. I am asking Julie Bible and Dianna Singleton to be responsible for the distribution of the Christmas gifts Saturday evening. The schedule for meals throughout the weekend are as follows: Saturday morning breakfast will be served at 8:30 a.m., lunch at 1:00 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday morning we will have a continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m.

I am extremely sad to report on November 29, 2019, at the age of 97, Ralph M Ellenburg, a true friend of the blind of this state, passed away. Mr. Ellenburg was a very special person who loved the blind and Rocky Bottom. In his honor, we are reprinting a spotlight article written by Dr. Capps which appeared in 2010 in the thanksgiving edition of the Positive Note. Dr. Capps words written In 2010 continues to reflect today our gratitude for Mr. Ellenburg’s generosity and his tireless work to benefit Rocky Bottom in any way possible. Here is what Dr. Capps wrote,

“Thanksgiving Day was set aside by our forefathers so that the working class and others might have a day of rest and for anything that might be good for a rest. Thus, for so many decades this has been a unique day of rest and relaxation. Relying on the official declaration I’m convinced that acknowledging the spectacular service of a special person is equally important and compatible with this philosophy. More than 50 years ago I was recruiting members in the Greater Greenville area. I met someone that told me Mrs. O. C. Hudson was blind and lived in Easley. She had a daughter by the name of Dorothy Hudson. It wasn’t long before Dorothy had joined the Advisory Board of Rocky Bottom and she gave special service to the program. I asked her one day if she knew anyone in the Easley area who would make an outstanding contribution to RBRCCB. She immediately stated Mr. Ralph M. Ellenburg, Sr. was the best in the county. She further stated that chances of enlisting his service on the Advisory Board was very small, explaining he was already busy. He had a leading part in the construction of the Baptist Hospital in Easley. I later learned that others had acquired his services as he was a substantial contributor to the soup kitchen that was provided for the homeless, etc. The numerous organizations he has helped are too many to mention. However, I’ve learned in a wonderful way this fine gentleman put forth tremendous effort in assisting persons with special needs. Betty and I visited with Mr. Ellenburg more than a quarter of a century ago and to our delight and gratitude he accepted my invitation to join us as an important member of our Advisory Board. Thus, I have worked very closely with him for a quarter of a century or since the mid 1980’s. A few years ago when a vacancy occurred, he was unanimously recommended by the Advisory Board to serve as Chairman. Without knowing him then as I now do, you can’t imagine the things he does including hard labor to assist RBRCCB and the blind. In the last few weeks a termite company discovered termites under the original building of Osterneck. The charge to correct this matter was considerable or more than $2,000. Ralph would have no part of this. Having never been in the “termite business,” Ralph learns quickly and has determined that he was getting rid of the termites at little or no expense. Other services over the past 25 years, although not exclusive, are as follows: repairing stoves, refrigerators, ice makers, lawn mowers, water heaters, fixing water line leaks, electrical and plumbing repairs, structural repairs, carpeting, and painting, etc. I remember his first Advisory Board attendance in the mid 1980’s and before leaving he gave me a check for $1,000 unsolicited. Our tremendous friend gave RBRCCB 5,000 shares of BB&T stock valued at $200,000. He gave well over $50,000 to the Ellenburg Lodge, completed in 1999. He secured $75,000 from Alice Manufacturing for Lawton Hall. The large and spacious Conference Center had a price tag of $600,000 and I don’t know how much he contributed but it was substantial. In the last few weeks, Mr. Ellenburg has secured contributions for the Labor Day Fun day Festival totaling about $5,000, increasing the total profits to $15,744.82, slightly more than in 2009. Additionally, Mr. Ellenburg attended our August state convention Banquet and when President Diggs opened the floor for contributions; shortly after this occurred, Mr. Ellenburg couldn’t stay quiet and took the courageous opportunity of committing ten members including himself, on the RBRCCB Advisory Board for $100 each for a total of $1,000. These funds will go to the NFB of SC and the Federation Center of the Blind. His help to RBRCCB also includes the use of his beautiful Beach Cottage in Litchfield Beach which he makes available for a one week’s stay in June to the individual making the highest bid. Mr. Ellenburg thinks nothing of the round trips from his residence to RBRCCB and back, a trip of more than 50 miles. He has been tremendously successful and the name of his business is, “Ellenburg Enterprises” which is very applicable as he does possess and largely manage his many enterprises including shopping malls and maintains houses to mention a few. Mr. Ellenburg will tell you that he didn’t finish high school but I can tell you of his tremendous service to others for six decades or more is based on his goodness and common sense, while having been blessed with a keen mind and desire to serve others. We, the blind across the state, appreciate and love Mr. Ellenburg. During this Thanksgiving season we extend our heartfelt thanks to a wonderful man, Mr. Ralph M. Ellenburg, Sr. whose service has touched the lives of many blind South Carolinians. We look forward to having Mr. and Mrs. Ellenburg at our Christmas Board Retreat. Don’t let me forget, he’s a federations being a member of the Easley Chapter. God bless Mr. Ellenburg for many more years of service to the blind as possible. You will agree that Mr. Ellenburg deserves to be in the spotlight.”

I am also sad to report that Debbie Welch, wife of Danny Welch, passed away Wednesday, November 27. Danny and Debbie were longtime members of the Columbia chapter. All of us in our Federation family need to keep the Welch family in our thoughts and prayers.

Finally, I hope all of you had a blessed Thanksgiving. We currently are expecting approximately forty people to attend the Board Retreat. Remember to check in with our Resident Manager, Linda Bible, for your room assignment Friday evening. Shelley and I look forward to seeing many of you this weekend and as always, we are looking forward to celebrating the Christmas season at Rocky Bottom with our federation family.

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.

 

Final Thought:   Transforming our dreams into reality: Now is when you are making history. What are you doing now that will be considered to be historic later?

1737

 

November 25, 2019

Memo To: Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1737

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

It appears we will have a good turnout for the 2019 Christmas Board Retreat which will be held at Rocky Bottom the weekend of December 6-8. Upon your arrival to Rocky Bottom Friday evening December 6, please stop by the Resident Manager’s apartment and Linda Bible will notify you of your room assignment for the weekend. We will do all we can to provide comfortable sleeping accommodations for everyone. We are expecting approximately thirty individuals who will be staying for the weekend and approximately forty individuals for Saturday, December 7. All of us need to be understanding and demonstrate a spirit of good will during the brief time we will be at Rocky Bottom. Breakfast on Saturday morning, December 1, will be served at 8:30, lunch at 1:00 p.m., and the Christmas dinner at 6:30 p.m. On Sunday morning, December 2, breakfast will be served at 8:30. Remember, if you wish to participate in the Christmas gift exchange Saturday evening, ladies will need to bring a ladies’ gift and men will need to bring a men’s gift. The cost of the Christmas gift should be a minimum of $10. Also, please remember to bring bake goods such as cakes and cookies so that we have a large variety of Christmas desserts to sample for our Christmas celebration Saturday evening. . I am asking each of you who are planning to attend the Christmas Board Retreat to contribute $20 which will greatly help to defray much of the cost for the food and travel for the weekend. Your support regarding this matter is greatly appreciated.

The month of December is a busy time in the NFB of SC as many chapters hold parties to celebrate the Christmas season. If you would like for me to attend your Christmas party please contact me at (803) 796-8662 or you can email me at frankcoppel@att.net and I will try to attend. Thus far, I am planning to attend the Anderson Christmas party on December 6, the Sumter chapter’s Christmas gala on December 10, the Chesterfield and Columbia Christmas parties on December12, and the Charleston Christmas party on December 14.

Finally, I want to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a very blessed and Happy Thanksgiving. Let’s take a few minutes Thursday to reflect on God’s blessings and give thanks for our families, our country, and to our organization, the National Federation of the Blind, who is working very hard to make it possible for blind people to live the life they want!

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.

 

Final Thought:   Transforming our dreams into reality: Thursday is Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for?

1736

 

November 20, 2019

Memo To: Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1736

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

I trust all of you are continuing to work extremely hard selling your 2020 Houston National Convention bus tickets. As has been the case in previous years, the cost of each ticket is $1. The drawing will be held at the conclusion of the Statewide Seminar scheduled for Saturday, January 4, 2020. The individual who purchases the winning ticket will receive $300, the seller of the winning ticket will receive $100 and the chapter who sells the most tickets will receive $300. If you are lucky and purchase bus tickets yourself, you could win a grand total of $400! We are expecting a large turnout of our members to attend the 2020 national convention in Houston, Texas (July 14-19). Let’s work very hard selling these bus tickets in order that we may be able to provide an affordable means of transportation to as many of our members as possible. At our Christmas Board Retreat at Rocky Bottom, one of the agenda items the NFB of SC Board of Directors will be discussing will be the selection of a charter bus company to provide transportation for our members to attend the 2020 national convention. In 2018, the NFB of SC sold a total of 3,707 tickets to assist members to attend the 2019 Las Vegas national convention. Although the total of 3,707 tickets sold in 2018 was good, I believe all of us in the NFB of SC are capable of “raising the bar” and selling a minimum of 5,000 bus tickets this year. If you need additional tickets, please contact David Houck at (803) 254-3777 and I am sure he will be glad to mail them to you.

We have two announcements from the November 18, President’s note book. “It is time for Santa letters. From now until December 16, parents can go online at www.nfb.org/santa-letters and fill out a request for a Braille letter from Santa. The form can also be printed and faxed to 410-685-2340 or emailed to communityrelations@nfb.org. Beginning Monday, December 2, the Braille letters from Santa will start going out to boys and girls around the country. The Braille letter will also be accompanied by a print copy (for mom and dad to read) as well as some other fun Christmastime activities. The deadline for letter requests is December 16 to ensure that a return letter in Braille is received before Christmas. For more information, visit www.nfb.org.

“Saturday, November 16, was the seventy-ninth anniversary of the founding of the National Federation of the Blind. Since 1940, we have worked collectively in a unified national organization, improving the lives of blind people throughout the country, and in some cases, the world. Along with high expectations and strong values, our structure continues to empower members of the National Federation of the Blind to live the lives we want. Consider sharing the history of the organized blind movement and invite members to read Building the Lives We Want.”

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.

 

Final Thought:   Transforming our dreams into reality: What are the dreams you want to make into reality?

1735

 

November 13, 2019

Memo To: Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1735

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

I am certain by now Board members of RBRCCB and the NFB of SC as well as Chapter and Division Presidents have received their letter regarding the Rocky Bottom Christmas Board Retreat on December 6-8. If you have not done so already, please notify the State Office as soon as possible of your intentions for attending this Retreat, in order that we may have an accurate head count to purchase food for the four meals being served (Saturday breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Sunday breakfast) as well as making the necessary sleeping accommodations. We will celebrate the Christmas season together on Saturday evening. If you would like to participate in the gift exchange, please bring a gift with a value of at least $10 to be placed under the Christmas tree. Men should bring a man’s gift, and women should bring a woman’s gift. Additionally, it would be wonderful if people would bring baked items for the Christmas party such as cookies, cakes and pies. As stated in the letter written to board members and chapter and division presidents a week or so ago, I am asking each of you who are planning to attend the Christmas Board Retreat to contribute $20 which will greatly help to defray much of the cost for the food and travel for the weekend. Your support regarding this matter is greatly appreciated.

I am confident we will have near 100 percent of our board members in attendance and we will have a wonderful time Saturday evening as we celebrate the Christmas season together.

I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for not reporting in last week’s Positive Note the death of Leon Hines Sr., who was a longtime member of the Columbia chapter. Mr. Hines was a hard worker in the chapter especially during the chapter’s annual chicken BBQ fundraiser where he always finished in the top three in ticket sales. All of us in the NFB of SC need to keep the Hines’ family in our thoughts and prayers.

I am sure many of you know my now Donald Capps, our longtime leader in the NFB of SC, passed away Wednesday night, November 6. On Monday, November 11, the funeral was held for Dr. Capps. I was very honored to be one of the pallbearers and also to make remarks during the funeral service. I have asked Parnell Diggs, the immediate past President of the NFB of SC, to share with us in this week’s Positive Note his thoughts regarding Dr. Capps.

This week’s spotlight falls on perhaps the most distinguished Federation leader South Carolina has ever produced, Dr. Donald C. Capps. But this is not to tell the story of his long life of 91 years in sequence of events from start to finish. Instead, I will use this opportunity to convey a few thoughts about Dr. Capps, the man in retrospect in 2019.

Dr. Capps absolutely, dearly loved the National Federation of the Blind. It was so connected with his life that it could not be separated from his being. He first came to the Federation in the mid 1950’swhen he was but in his 20’s. He attended his first chapter meeting at about the age of 25and his first national convention at the age of 27.

He attended his last meeting in October of 2019. In recent years, it had been increasingly difficult for Dr. Capps to attend Federation meetings due to a number of health issues. For him to get out of the house and get to the Federation Center, in October 2019 for example, required tremendous exertional effort on his part. We now know that the October meeting was to be his last, as he passed away some 27 days later.

It was not always physically difficult for Dr. Capps to attend meetings. At the age of 27, he and Mrs. Capps traveled cross country by car to attend the San Francisco convention in 1956. There he met Dr. tenBroek (then President and Founder of the NFB) and Kenneth Jernigan who would become one of Dr. Capp’s best friends until Dr. Jernigan’s death in 1998. Within ten years of attending his first national convention, Dr. Capps had begun working on initiatives that many of us now take for granted. For example, the Federation Center was dedicated in 1961, when Dr. Capps was 33 years old. Dr. Capps saw the need to improve programs for the blind in South Carolina. The person who was running the Division for the Blind which was in the South Carolina Department of Public Welfare said that, “That young Don Capps had better watch his step.” But Dr. Capps was not to be deterred. Along with his brother-in-law Gene Rogers, Dr. Capps wrote the legislation creating the SC Commission for the Blind, which was established in May of 1966. At that time Dr. Capps was 37 years old. Over the next five decades, Dr. Capps continued to work tirelessly on initiatives that would improve the quality of life for blind people across the nation and around the world. You do not have to be a longtime member of the Federation to know of the dozens of bills enacted in South Carolina in which Dr. Capps played an essential part.

Dr. Capps was about 50 years of age when we established what was then Rocky Bottom Camp of the Blind (later Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind). Dr. Capps was about 55 when , in his wisdom, he was responsible for hiring a young aspiring professional, David Houck, and these two gentlemen worked closely together for the next 36 years.

I could easily work this into a book, but there will be other opportunities to talk about the life of Dr. Capps, so I will end my remarks by telling you one more thing that you should know about Dr. Capps. He believed in young people and the importance of bringing youth into the Federation. At his funeral, Dan Frye articulately shared memories of his childhood, having met Dr. Capps when Dan was about 13. Dr. Capps while attending a Columbia Chapter membership banquet in April of 1989 was the first person to approach me, shake my hand, and welcome me to the Federation Center on that fateful evening. I was a 20 year old student at the University of South Carolina, and Dr. Capps (at the age of 60) had already enjoyed a successful career of nearly four decades at Colonial Life and Accident Insurance Company. Dr. Capps had retired from Colonial Life just a few years before. He was involved in the work of the Federation on a full-time basis, spending many hours each day working to improve the quality of life of his blind brothers and sisters. He never missed an opportunity to lead a blind person to the Federation, but this was especially true when it came to young blind people. There are Federation leaders in South Carolina and across the nation who came to be part of the Federation after being recruited by Dr. Capps. He will be known as one of the greatest chapter organizers and membership recruiters that the Federation has ever known.

From the age of 25 to the age of 91, Dr. Capps gave every ounce of energy he could muster to the work of the National Federation of the Blind. I hope that others will follow the example set by Donald Capps on giving of our time, energy and talent to this big program of work with the blind. But the bar set by Dr. Capps is very high, as 66 years of dedicated service is a long time to spend in the furtherance of any cause. But from what I have learned from Dr. Capps in my 30 years of working with him, I think it would be safe to make the following estimation. Dr. Capps would be pleased with those who commit to work with the National Federation of the Blind if they would simply do their fair share and then some.

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.

 

Final Thought:   Transforming our dreams into reality: A unique leader in the federation, Dr. Donald C. Capps touched the lives of thousands of blind people in Columbia, South Carolina, the nation and the world. He will be remembered as a builder of local chapters, state affiliates, Founder of the Federation Center of the Blind in 1961 and Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind in 1979 as well as a master recruiter of blind people into the Federation.

 

1734

 

November 6, 2019

Memo To: Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1734

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

We have two announcements from the October 28, President’s Notebook. “The 2020 National Convention of the National Federation of the Blind will be held July 14-19 in Houston, Texas. While the convention was originally planned for two weeks earlier, (June 30-July 5) the Federation agreed to move its convention to accommodate activities in the city of Houston. We believe this change will further enhance the program, exhibits, and dynamic content provided at America’s civil rights and resource convention of blind people and their families. More information regarding convention arrangements will be published in the December issue of the Braille Monitor.”

“Note from Cayte Mendez, Chairperson of the NFB national scholarship committee: Every year, the National Federation of the Blind awards more than $120,000 to blind scholars across the fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico in recognition of their achievements and professional aspirations. The scholarship program is our commitment to academic excellence and leadership among blind students, and each winner is awarded on the basis of academic excellence, community service, and leadership. The application process opened Friday, November 1. Review the scholarship application checklist and the scholarship program FAQs. Share this opportunity that invests in the future of blind people. Learn about the eligibility and requirements of the 2020 scholarship program.”

I am sure All of us in the NFB of SC can remember the feeling of excitement and pride at the 2019 national convention in Las Vegas when Derique Simon receive a NFB national scholarship. I would like to again strongly encourage many of our students from South Carolina to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity and take the time to apply for one of these national scholarships.

I am sad to report Dr. Marvin Efron, a longtime supporter of the NFB of SC and a true friend of the blind, passed away on Friday, November 1. Dr. Efron served for many years on the Advisory Board of the Federation Center of the blind as well as serving for many years on the South Carolina Talking book Services Consumer Advisory Council. Dr. Efron has been involved with the South Carolina Commission for the Blind‘s low vision clinic for more than thirty years and his work in this field has greatly benefited thousands of blind South Carolinians. All of us in our federation family need to keep the Efron family in our thoughts and prayers.

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.

 

Final Thought:   Transforming our dreams into reality: Those who are willing to try and not give up find out years later that they succeeded far beyond that they originally thought was possible.

 

1733

 

October 30, 2019

Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1733

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

During last week’s fall Senior Camp, the seniors were asked to consider starting a fund to replace the commercial freezer and refrigerator in the Conference Center kitchen.  There was a great deal of generosity demonstrated as the twenty seniors who attended last week’s camp along with volunteer staff immediately reached into their pockets and raised $541 in a very brief period of time.  Both the freezer and refrigerator are approximately 28 years old as they were purchased when the Conference Center first opened in 1991.  During the past year or so, Rocky Bottom has had to make extensive repairs on both pieces of equipment to where it has reached the point of being impractical to continue paying for costly repairs as parts for these appliances are obsolete.  The estimated cost to replace the commercial freezer and refrigerator is approximately $10,000.  As we approach the holiday season, it is my hope chapters, divisions, members and friends will follow the example of these senior camp participants and we will be able to raise the monies necessary to replace this much needed kitchen equipment.

In a few days, NFB of SC and RBRCCB Board members will be receiving letters regarding the 2019 Christmas Board Retreat which will occur at Rocky Bottom the weekend of December 6, December 7, and December 8.  Saturday, December 7, will be a busy day as we will again be holding two Board meetings beginning with the RBRCCB Board of Directors meeting which will start at 9:30 a.m. and with the NFB of SC Board of Directors meeting which will start at 2:00 p.m.  Saturday evening will be a time for observing the Christmas season, singing carols, exchanging presents, eating delicious desserts and fellowship. If you are planning to attend, please contact the Federation Center (803) 254-3777 or return the reply card enclosed with your letter in order for us to have an accurate head count for meals.  If you cannot attend, please contact me at (803) 796-8662 or email me at frankcoppel@att.net prior to December 6.  Please make your reservations as soon as possible as sleeping accommodations will be limited due to a group renting Osterneck Cottage during this same weekend.

I am positive all of you are working very hard to sell your $1 national convention bus fund tickets.  Money raised from this fundraiser will be used to charter a bus for those individuals to attend the 2020 NFB national convention in Houston Texas.  Remember, the drawing will be held at the conclusion of the Statewide Seminar on January 4, 2020.  The individual who purchases the winning ticket will receive $300, the seller of the winning ticket will receive $100 and the chapter who sells the most tickets will receive $300.  Chartering a bus will provide many of our members a more affordable means of transportation to attend the national convention.  It will cost approximately $11,500 to $12,000 to charter one bus.  It is imperative all of us make a concerted effort to sell as many tickets as possible to raise the necessary funds to accomplish this goal.

We have an announcement from Isaiah Nelson.  “I will be hosting the fourth annual Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday, November 28, 2019 at the Federation Center located at 119 S. Kilbourne Road, Columbia, SC, 29205.  The time of the dinner will be 2:00 p.m.  The cost of the meal will be $15.00 per person. Please arrive before 1:50 p.m.  Menu Includes:  Turkey, ribs, ham, Mac N’ Cheese, mixed vegetables, mashed potatoes, lima beans, potato salad, corn-on-the-cob, Cakes & Pies, Tea & Lemonade.   Contact Isaiah Nelson to reserve your spot at 803-413-2434.”

We have an announcement from the President’s Notebook from the week of October 14-18.  “The American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults and National Federation of the Blind announce the 2019-2020 nationwide Braille Readers are Leaders contest for children and adults. K-12 students and adults learning Braille across the U.S. compete to read the most Braille pages, going up against other participants in similar contest categories for seven weeks. Registration opens November 1, 2019 and the contest will be from December 1, 2019 to January 18, 2020. It isn’t too early to start getting ready for the contest. One way to prepare is by getting books from ShareBraille.org”

On Monday of this week, David Houck was informed by Dr. Capp’s son, Craig, that Dr. Capps had been admitted to the hospital this past weekend because of serious health issues.  At this time, all of us in our federation family need to keep Dr. Capps and Craig in our thoughts and prayers.

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.

 

Final Thought:   Transforming our dreams into reality:  Focus on the future – It is a blank canvas replete with opportunities and possibilities!

 

1732

 

October 23, 2019

Memo To: Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1732

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

This week at Rocky Bottom, twenty seniors from throughout the state are participating in the 2019 fall edition of Senior camp. The seniors have enjoyed activities such as walks, BINGO, group discussions, an ice cream social, individualized blindness skills training, and visiting with each other on the deck of the Conference Center. As usual, Lenora Robertson and her “food crew” are doing an outstanding job and most of the campers and staff will more than likely gained a few pounds. Of course, Senior camp is under the able leadership of Shelley Coppel and Shannon Cook and I know these ladies are doing an outstanding job this week. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our Belvedere chapter for allowing us to again use their van during Senior camp.

On October 17, 18, and 19, a missions team from Mt. Hebron United Methodist Church spent a very productive work weekend at Rocky Bottom. The missions team worked in areas such as replacing the damaged wood around the front door of Osterneck Cottage repairing the Conference Center commercial kitchen floor, replacing light bulbs in various buildings, power washing sidewalks and buildings, repairing the back wall of the pump house, and organizing closets just to name a few. Throughout the weekend it was amazing to watch the efficiency, organization, and effort put forth by the missions team. Many thanks go to Jennifer Bazer, who was primarily responsible for coordinating the mission project, and also Ed Bible, Vice Chairman of the RBRCCB Board of Directors, his wife, Julie, and David Bundy for all of their efforts in making this weekend a tremendous success. Also, many thanks to Barry Chavis, a member of the Advisory Board of RBRCCB, for all of his hard work during the weekend. . It is safe to say, the much needed repairs done by the Mt. Hebron missions team saved Rocky Bottom thousands of dollars in repair costs. It is extremely evident the members of the missions team loved Rocky Bottom and are willing to do whatever they can to make RBRCCB a more beautiful place.

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. Joining me for comments in this Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC. Here is Dr. Capps.

This week our spotlight turns to a blind lady in the federation who does many things for the blind, especially for blind children. I am speaking of Tracy Spittle of Columbia. Tracy grew up in Lake City, South Carolina. Since there were no programs for the blind in Lake City, she was transported to Florence, where she attended School. She graduated from South Florence High School in 1992. It was also during this year that she was first introduced to the National Federation of the Blind. Tracy attended a couple of meetings of the Florence chapter. After graduation, she attended Newberry College where she received a Bachelor’s degree in History. She then continued her education at the University of South Carolina, Columbia where she earned her Master’s in Special Education/Vision. Before she even graduated, she was approached by Richland School District One. They were in need of a teacher of the Visually Impaired, and Tracy jumped at the chance. The next stage of her life saw her married and building a family. Tracy is the proud Mom to Jonathan and Nicholas Bundy.

2010 ushered in the beginnings of yet another era in her life. She moved from West Columbia where she had lived since 1996 to Columbia. She bought her first home and also remarried in 2012. While life is always changing, a few things remain the same. She is always learning, helping others, raising her children, teaching children, and taking part in the National Federation of the Blind. She enjoys the opportunities that the National Federation of the Blind affords me to learn from others, share her knowledge, and fellowship. Tracy Spittle was also in charge of the 2019 BELL (Braille Enrichment in Literacy and Learning) Academy which was held for two weeks at the Federation Center of the Blind in July. Let’s give Tracy Spittle a big salute for changing the lives of blind children!

 

Final Thought:   Transforming our dreams into reality: Shoot for the Moon – 24 Americans astronauts have made it already!

1731

 

October 15, 2019

Memo To: Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1731

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

After visiting family and friends for the past ten days in Oregon and Colorado, it was good to return home to South Carolina on October 11. On Thursday, October 10, Shelley and I were treated to approximately three inches of snow and a daytime high temperature of 28 degrees. When we flew out of Denver the next day the temperature was a balmy 19 degrees. Although we had a wonderful time attending a family wedding and being with family and friends, it is great to be home in the sunny, warm South!

On Saturday, October 12, Shelley and I along with Columbia chapter members Dorothy Barksdale, Mary Peters, Jesse Burgess, Isaiah and Anthony Nelson traveled to Greenville to participate in the Greenville Chapter’s Meet the Blind Month activity. The activity consisted of a mile and three quarter White Cane walk, a BBQ lunch, raffle and door prizes. Each participant was given a bag filled with goodies and NFB literature. Approximately thirty people were in attendance. Congratulations to the Greenville chapter for a job well done as it was evident a great deal of effort and planning was done for this event.

Governor McMaster has proclaimed October 15, 2019, as White Cane Day. Below, is his proclamation.

 

State of South Carolina Governor’s Proclamation

 

Whereas, the white cane is a simple yet effective tool of independence that contributes to the self-sufficiency of individuals who are blind and visually impaired and symbolizes their ability to achieve a full and independent life and their capacity to work productively in competitive employment; and

Whereas, the white cane is a symbol of dignity and determination as well as a tangible reminder that individuals with impaired eyesight are able to go, to move, to be, to compete and to contribute with all others in society and to lead full, independent and productive lives; and

Whereas, established by the National Federation of the Blind, the annual observance of “White Cane Day” emphasizes the need for all Americans to be aware of the presence of persons with disabilities in our communities and to work together to keep the streets, highways, sidewalks, walkways, public buildings and facilities, and places of public accommodation, amusement, and resort safe and functional to the disability community; and

Whereas, the 2019 observance of “White Cane Day” provides an opportunity for people across the Palmetto State and the nation to renew their dedication to eliminating barriers for persons who are blind and visually impaired and to recognize their value as individuals, employees, and productive members of our communities.

Now, therefore, I, Henry McMaster, Governor of the Great State of South Carolina, do hereby proclaim October 15, 2019 as

 

WHITE CANE DAY

 

Throughout the state and encourage all South Carolinians to show respect for those who carry the white cane, to honor their many achievements, and to reaffirm our commitment to improving access to basic services and opportunities for persons who are blind and visually impaired.

Seal of the state of South Carolina

Henry McMaster, Governor

State of South Carolina

 

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. Joining me for comments in this Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC. Here is Dr. Capps.

Upon entering the Federation Center for the chapter meeting last Thursday, October 10, I detected a wonderful aroma from inside. As we took our seats I soon found out the reason for this wonderful aroma. I noticed that the two plates placed in front of me included one plate full of grits – that’s correct – I tried the grits and they were wonderful. Then I examined the other dish. I found it contained a feast. There were scrambled eggs, sausage patties, and a biscuit and to top it all off, the dessert consisted of cherry cobbler. Incidentally, you could eat as much as you wanted participating in this magnificent breakfast meal. For this month’s special meal the charge was $10 instead of the usual $6 dinner charge. Ike Nelson headed up the kitchen committee and he was helped by several members who prepared and served the meal. Nowadays it’s probably unusual to have the same thing for breakfast and supper. I will not forget this particular meal which was enjoyed by all. When I was growing up in Marion County, my mother served the same thing for breakfast and dinner and I had this so frequently. We started serving dinner by the Columbia Chapter at the Federation Center several decades ago. For many years the Telephone Pioneers served the monthly meal for the chapter. In more recent times, however, Isaiah Nelson and his volunteers include members like Catherine Williams and Gloria Washington. I’m convinced that meals served at meetings improve attendance and interest. Other business held at this meeting included election of chapter board members. The 2020 Board of Directors is as follows: President Tiffiny Mitchell, First Vice President Isaiah Nelson, Second Vice President Jennifer Bazer, Secretary Dorothy Barksdale, Treasurer Thom Spittle, and the two at-large board members are Steve Cook and Mike Sutton. P.S.: We welcome back the Coppel’s who returned from their travels in Oregon and Colorado. You were missed!

 

Final Thought:   Transforming our dreams into reality: White Cane Safety Day Proclamation – Spread the word!

1730

 

October 9, 2019

Memo To: Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1730

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

During the next few weeks, I will be formulating committees for 2019/2020.   If you wish to serve on a committee or Chair a committee, please let me know and I will try very hard to accommodate you in regards to your expressed interests. Also, if you would like to know the purpose and function of a particular committee, you can call me at (803) 796-8662 or you can email me at frankcoppel@att.net. NFB of SC committees are extremely important as they carry out the business of the Federation between Conventions and Board meetings. The list of committees are as follows; Legislative committee, Resolutions committee, membership committee, Scholarship committee, Public Relations committee, social media committee, Finance committee, Braille Literacy committee, Fund Raising committee, White Cane Walk-a-thon committee, Donald C. Capps Award Committee, Employer of the Year Award Committee, Educator of the Year Award Committee, PAC Plan (pre-authorized contribution plan) committee, and Sun Shares (Shares unlimited NFB) committee.

It is time to begin thinking about upcoming events for 2020 in the NFB of SC! If you have an event in 2020 and you would like for the information to be posted on the NFB of SC website. Send it to Steve Cook, NFB of SC Website Content Administrator, me at steve.cook@nfbofsc.org. This is a great way to bring in people to the NFB and let them know about local events in your area! Be sure to include as much information for the event as possible.

By now, all of you should have received and I know are selling your 2020 Houston bus fund tickets. Let’s do all we can to raise the necessary funds to charter a bus so that as many of our members as possible will be able attend the 2020 national convention in Houston Texas. As we have done previously, tickets will cost $1. Remember, the winner of the winning ticket which will be drawn on January 4, 2020 at the Statewide Seminar will win $300, the seller of the winning ticket will receive $100, and the Chapter selling the most tickets will win $300.

Belvedere Chapter President Constance Miller reports, “The Belvedere Chapter will have a Meet the Blind Month, and White Cane Awareness Walk on October 12th. We will meet from 10 am until noon. We will have a table set up with information regarding the NFB of SC. This walk will be near the North Augusta Greenway Recreational area, and Soccer Complex.”

The Anderson Chapter President Demetrius Williford announces their Meet the Blind Month activity: “Hello everyone! I wanted to inform you all of our Meet the Blind Month which will be taking place on October 19, 2019 at the Anderson Mall at 3131 North Main Street. We will start walking around 12p.m until 2p.m. The items we will be selling are T-shirts with the N.F.B logo on it. These shirts will cost $15. We will have literature and other various items to give out to the individuals that may be interested in our event. If you all would like to join us you can call Demetrius Williford President of the Anderson chapter. My phone number is 864-328-8177, and my email Address is Santez1981@gmail.com.” Let’s hear from more chapters about your Meet the Blind Month activity in October!

 

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. Joining me for comments in this Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC. Here is Dr. Capps.

In last week’s Positive Note special initiatives in the White Cane program were emphasized. This is the 33rd anniversary of the Positive Note program of the NFB of SC. The first issue was distributed on August 22, 1986. Our records show that since 1866, 1,730 consecutive Positive Notes have been distributed. Webster’s dictionary defines the word positive as, “confident in opinion or assertion.” Webster’s dictionary defines the word note as, “a brief record of something written down to assist the memory or for future reference.”   New Positive Note readers are apt to wonder how this publication got its title, “Positive Note.” It’s simple. Throughout the years the NFB of SC and its officials concentrated on the positive. However, it seemed to some of us that the 1980’s were not always as positive as it could be and that could be improved upon. During these 33 years the Positive Note program has existed I have contributed to the majority of these Positive Notes. It’s been worth the time and effort that goes into the weekly Positive Note. Several NFB of SC leaders have participated in this weekly program. Judge Parnell Diggs was state president for 15 years and the records show that he covered the weekly Positive Note during that period of time. President Frank Coppel has been the primary editor of the Positive Note for several years and he does a good job. I was impressed with a particular weekly Positive Note by Frank Coppel as he described the first national senior blind program which was conducted at Rocky Bottom. The Positive Note covers a variety of federation activity on a local, statewide and national level. The statewide membership utilizes the program. During the past 33 years the theme of the Positive Note is to promote positive aspects of the federation. State and national conventions and Rocky Bottom activities are constantly being covered. Sometimes even an individual member is spotlighted. Thirty-three years later I continue to participate in the weekly Positive Note and I hope to keep on doing so. From time to time members contact me to say that they enjoy the Positive Note. I want to show that Positive Notes were established to promote positive activity and stay away from any negative involvement. Take a moment to remember our Rocky Bottom and federation programs. I know that the state and Rocky Bottom boards met in 1986 and were called upon to help support a special fund to purchase badly needed bunk beds as the current ones at that time were dilapidated and unsafe. This fund developed and amounted to $733 and subsequently we purchased the new bunk beds. The first of each week, Executive Director David Houck knows he is going to help prepare the Positive Note that generally becomes available by Wednesday of each week. Hundreds of Positive Notes are distributed across the state and our readers look forward to reading the Positive Note. It is obvious that our decision 33 years ago to establish the weekly Positive Note has been very beneficial to the blind.

 

Final Thought:   Transforming our dreams into reality: Meet the Blind Month – Go thou and do likewise.

1729

 

October 2, 2019

Memo To: Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1729

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

Hello from Portland, Oregon where we are currently visiting with Shelley’s sister and later this week we will be attending a family wedding on Saturday, October 5. It feels like fall in Portland as the day time temperature is expected to reach 59 and the night time temperature is expected to be 46.

As we begin the month of October, I hope many of our chapters have Meet the Blind Month activities already planned. Meet the Blind month is an extremely important time of the year, as it provides our members the opportunity to educate the public of the programs and services offered by the National Federation of the Blind. Meet the Blind Month activities can also be used as a recruitment tool to introduce blind individuals to our organization.

I hope many of our chapters are planning to join the Greenville Chapter as they will be holding a meet the blind day and white cane walk at Lake Conestee Nature Park in Mauldin, SC. When: October 12, 2019 – 10:00-2:00. Where: Lake Conestee Nature Park. Purpose: To inform the community and visually impaired citizens of the NFB local chapters and other resources in the upstate. The meet the blind and white cane walk will allow the community to interact with the blind in our community to foster relationships and understanding of the needs and abilities of our visually impaired community.

Activities: Meet the blind, registration, informational tables. Walk starts at 11:00. We will walk through the park and end at the White Pines Shelter in the park for a barbecue lunch, live music, raffle and door prizes. All money raised will benefit the Greenville Chapter to continue their work. Advanced Ticket Cost: $15.00 per person included lunch. Tickets at the event are $18.00. Event Organizers: Crystal and John Knope – (864)908-8068, ckkvangogh@att.net. Phillip Outland- (864)534-2877. President: J.W. Smith- (864) 269-0004.

We also have an announcement from Debra Canty, President of the Sumter chapter of the NFB of SC. “The National Federation of the Blind celebrates Meet the Blind Month and Blind Awareness Month every October. Throughout the month, we conduct a variety of outreach activities that create opportunities for sighted people to meet blind people in their local area. One of these events is held at the Sumter County Fair in the exhibit hall where blind paraphernalia is demonstrated, info is given, donations are received, and many fairgoers meet a person who happens to be blind. Many of these activities includes faith base, social and cultural events within the community.”

It looks as though the Greenville and Sumter chapters are holding excellent activities to promote Meet the Blind Month. I hope to hear from other chapters regarding your Meet the Blind Month activity, and I will share this information in the Positive Note.

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. Joining me for comments in this Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC. Here is Dr. Capps.

Beginning on October 1 the NFB sponsors Meet the Blind Month and October 15 is known as White Cane Safety Day. It’s appropriate that we give this wonderful program some history. We were first introduced to the White Cane Program while attending the NFB Convention in San Francisco in July of 1956. In those days the name of the program was called White Cane Week which was held between May 1 and 15. Upon returning to Columbia I was successful in getting radio stations like WNOK to broadcast the prominent speech by our NFB Founder, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek entitled, “Within the Grace of God.” Soon thereafter we began to work on the White Cane Week Program for 1957. Mailing lists were obtained and we organized a statewide mailing campaign. We got the White Cane material together which included a signed endorsement from George Bell Timmerman. A lot went into the program. The Secretarial Association pitched in and helped with the letters and addressing envelopes. Stuffing parties for the White Cane letters were held in our home. The mailing went to prospects located primarily in Columbia, Spartanburg and Charleston as this was the extent of our chapters at that time. The White Cane letters accomplished two things, one was to educate the public about blindness and the other was to raise much needed funding. The opening of responses were enjoyed at state board meetings as each response was opened.

Another historical beginning was when the NFB of SC approached the legislature in 1972 which resulted in the passage of the Model White Cane Law in South Carolina. The preamble states: “It is the policy of this State to encourage and enable the blind, the visually handicapped, and the otherwise physically disabled to participate fully in the social and economic life of the State and to engage in remunerative employment.” It further states the rights of blind persons in the use of a white cane or guide dog, driver’s responsibility when seeing a blind person using a cane or guide dog in crossing streets, A blind person is to be treated as an able bodied person in all areas of conveyance, access to public buildings, access to employment, etc. The legislature wanted to waive any damage done by guide dogs but these dogs are an extension of the blind person and the blind preferred to take on responsibility for controlling their dogs. The Governor is also to proclaim October 15 annually as “White Cane Safety Day” and extoll the White Cane Law provisions to the public in the state. This law is featured in the Legislative Hall of Fame in the Federation Center’s conference room.

For many years now David Houck our Executive Director has had so many things to work on as our programs have grown over the years but he is doing an excellent job. Lack of space prohibits greater documentation of the history of the white cane program but as Meet the Blind Month goes on in October I am certain we will be hearing much from our chapters across the state concerning Meet the Blind Month activities as President Coppel mentioned above regarding the Greenville and Sumter Chapters.

 

Final Thought:   Transforming our dreams into reality: Challenge yourself – you are more capable than you think.

1728

September 25, 2019

Memo To: Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1728

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

I am pleased to announce the second annual National Senior’s Retreat held at Rocky Bottom and sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind Seniors Division this past week was a tremendous success. The overall training provided to the thirteen seniors who participated in the program was well received. As I reported last week, thirteen seniors from across the country were encouraged to use their learning shades during such training as cane travel at Rocky Bottom and in the town of Brevard, Braille, cooking class, grilling on a charcoal grill, IOS training, and other independent living activities. Each afternoon, seniors participated in a group discussion designed to assist individuals to cope more effectively with their visual loss and to answer questions related to blindness issues. On Thursday, we traveled to a nearby apple orchard where the seniors were asked to wear their sleep shades and utilize their cane skills they learned during the week. Friday afternoon, closing ceremonies were held and each participant received a Braille/print certificate designed by Tracy Spittle which recognized their accomplishments during the program. I would like to take this time to thank everyone who contributed in any way to make this program a huge success. I would like to recognize the instructional staff which consisted of Shelley and Frank Coppel, Frank Loza, Wayne Marshall from Atlanta, GA., Shelley Duffy from Columbus, OH., and Ruth Sager from Baltimore, MD. Other staff included Liz Lewis and Michael Hartz who were instrumental in gathering a variety of materials prior to the Retreat as well as providing transportation when needed, Barry Chavis and Carolyn Phillips who assisted in the kitchen and who performed many other duties as needed, and of course, our Resident Manager, Linda Bible. Many thanks goes to Lenora Robertson and the rest of her “food crew”: Ellen Taylor, Glenda Culick, Jw and Ora Bell Smith for their outstanding work in the kitchen. I would also like to recognize Ted Brewer, from the Salem Lions Club for organizing Lions Clubs in the upstate to assist us in providing transportation for our seniors to and from the Greenville/Spartanburg airport. Finally, a very special thank you goes to Ruth Sager, President of the National Seniors Division, for her willingness to again hold this training program at Rocky Bottom. Plans are already underway to hold the third annual National Seniors Retreat in the fall of 2020.

Finally, I will be out of state from Tuesday, October 1, to Friday, October 11, as Shelley and I will be attending a family wedding in Bend, Oregon and later traveling to Denver, Colorado to visit friends and family. If anything should arise that needs immediate attention, please contact the Federation Center as I will be checking in periodically for messages.

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. Joining me for comments in this Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC. Here is Dr. Capps.

I want to share with you some information occurring years ago which remains interesting. I first attended a Federation chapter meeting (known as the Aurora Club at that time) in August of 1953. My brother Earl who was President of the Columbia Chapter that year talked me into joining the chapter then and now. Four months later in 1953 I was elected President of the chapter. At that time there were two chapters, one located in Spartanburg which began in 1944 and the other located in Columbia which began in 1947. These two chapters supported each other. There was no state constitution and therefore, there was technically no state organization until years later. Dr. Sam Lawton, the organization’s Founder and myself traveled to Charleston in 1955 for the purpose of organizing a chapter there and at the same time, work on a state constitution. It was necessary to finalize a statewide organization which requires a constitutional convention. The Constitutional Convention was held in April of 1956 in Columbia at the YWCA. There was a good turnout from all three chapters. The convention members adopted the proposed constitution, elected state officers and board members. The first state convention was held in April 1957 at Charleston’s Ft. Sumter Hotel. Meanwhile the Columbia Chapter had purchased an old run down school bus for $250. The bus was used to provide transportation for members to travel to meetings in Columbia which was satisfactory. However the Charleston trip was too much for the old bus and it broke down en route to the first state convention. When it arrived the convention had already begun which was not an auspicious beginning. During this convention time was made for a worthwhile activity. There was considerable excitement about taking a trip to Ft. Sumter where the Civil War started. Everyone had a great time. The Charleston Post and Courier newspaper covered the Ft. Sumter voyage. In the following day’s edition there was a huge headline, “Blind Go Sight Seeing.” There was one other Charleston experience I recall. The NFB Founder, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, a year or so later, was scheduled to travel from his home in California to Charleston. The plane Dr. tenBroek was traveling in experienced mechanical difficulty in Virginia, preventing him from getting to Charleston to attend the convention. Due to this we had no banquet speaker and it was too late to secure one. As state President I was the main person responsible for this unfortunate development. My public speaking in those days was limited to say the least. After much soul searching, I decided to do the best I could in making the speech. The primary subject concentrated on “success.” No one walked out on my banquet speech to the best of my knowledge but I was glad when it was over. I do recall at that convention, Sen. John Long of Union was there to be honored and his remarks were encouraging to me.

 

Final Thought:   Transforming our dreams into reality: Always look for opportunities. Opportunities make us learn and grow. Seek success and learn from failure – either way you will be stronger.

1727

 

September 18, 2019

Memo To: Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1727

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

Hello from Rocky Bottom where Shelley and I are participating in a week long training program for seniors sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind Seniors Division. Shelley and I traveled to Rocky Bottom on Saturday, September 14, to do some last minute preparation prior to the start of the program which began on Sunday, September, 15, and will conclude on Saturday, September 21. Thirteen seniors representing nine states (Michigan, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, and Tennessee) are learning blindness skills such as: cane travel, Braille, home management, organizational skills, and assistive technology. These seniors are wearing learning shades while learning these skills and they are participating in daily group discussions which are designed to reinforce appropriate choices when encountering a variety of blindness issues. This is the second consecutive year a training program of this type is being offered at Rocky Bottom and the NFB of SC is very excited and honored to host such a program to blind seniors from across the country again this year. It is my hope this important program occurring this week will lead to other national divisions and state affiliates of the NFB to utilize Rocky Bottom for workshops, meetings and future training programs.

On Thursday, September 5, President Riccobono sent out an email to state presidents which reads as follows: “Dear Affiliate Presidents,

Yesterday a popular morning radio show called Breakfast Club attacked the capacity of blind people to supervise children. We know perpetuating misconceptions like that harms our community, particularly the rights of blind parents. Below is the link to the episode. For reference, it’s a topic that is ongoing throughout the episode.

https://www.iheart.com/podcast/the-breakfast-club-24992238/episode/blind-babysitter-8881600/?campid=homepage_featured_shows&pname=0&cid=%2Fpodcasts%2F

We cannot let them use their public forum to jeopardize the rights of blind parents and their families. They have millions of subscribers and followers. They say they are willing to learn, so let’s educate them.

Let them know how blind people care for children, particularly if you are a blind parent. Connect with them on social media (@breakfastclubam) or call 800-585-1051.”

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. Joining me for comments in this Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC. Here is Dr. Capps.

I note that the 2020 NFB convention will be held in Houston, Texas. The 1971 NFB convention was held in Houston and it was the first time the NFB of SC sponsored its first bus trip which enhanced our national convention attendance. Some years ago, my nephew (my sister’s son) graduated from Mullins High School and later graduated from Vanderbilt Law School in Nashville. Upon graduation my nephew was offered a very attractive position with a prominent law firm in Houston and to the best of my knowledge, he continues to practice law in Houston. I believe the 2020 NFB convention will be a good one. While I was fortunate to be present in 1971, this will not be the case in 2020. The national office is very careful in selecting the NFB convention sites. In this Positive Note I know that some of you would like to know the locations of the NFB conventions throughout the years. Some of the convention cities are as follows: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver, Santa Fe, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Des Moines, Minneapolis, Miami, Orlando, Chicago, Detroit, New York City, Louisville, Nashville, Boston, Baltimore, Atlanta, Columbia, SC, Charlotte, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Washington, DC, and there may be others but this is a pretty good listing. Some conventions have been located in the same location throughout the years. Perhaps in next week’s Positive Note I will have other NFB convention cities. Also in the future we might list the different state conventions held throughout South Carolina. I realize that many have traveled to several of these NFB conventions but there may be newer NFB members who do not fall into this category.

 

Final Thought:   Transforming our dreams into reality: When others put up barriers to success for blind persons, we must react quickly to prevent them from not turning our dreams into reality.

1726

 

September 11, 2019

Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1726

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

Before we turn our attention to other activities in the NFB of SC, I would like to share with you numbers regarding the Fun Day which occurred at Rocky Bottom on August 31.  We were able to raise $5,034.69 in gross proceeds.  Fun Day Lunch $290.00, Fun Day food for weekend $750.00, Fun Day Tickets $2,555.00, T-shirts $92.00, Fun Day Yard Sale 82.69.00, Fun Day Auction $1,265.00.

It is time to turn our attention toward Meet the Blind Month which is held during the month of October.  This is an extremely important event, because it provides our members the opportunity to educate the public of the programs and services offered by the National Federation of the Blind.  Meet the Blind Month activities can also be used as a recruitment tool to introduce blind individuals to our organization.  It is my hope many of our chapters and divisions are planning activities in their respective communities to promote this worthwhile event.  Let me know if your chapter or division will be having a Meet the Blind Month activity and I will be glad to share this information in the Positive Note.  If you are still looking for ideas for the month, a recommendation is to focus on web and technology accessibility. Here are some ideas: demonstrate accessibility and the tools used for daily activities using an iPhone or computer at a public library, a local event, or a school; or plan a presentation to a local business such as a bank. If you aren’t comfortable with a technology demonstration, plan an event in your local community to talk about blindness and the NFB philosophy. There is still time to order materials from the Independence Market such as Braille alphabet cards.

During the next two weeks or so, all of you should be receiving your 2020 Houston bus fund tickets.  Let’s do all we can to raise the necessary funds to charter a bus so that as many of our members as possible will be able attend the 2020 national convention in Houston Texas.  As we have done previously, tickets will cost $1.  Remember, the winner of the winning ticket which will be drawn on January 4, 2020 at the Statewide Seminar will win $300, the seller of the winning ticket will receive $100, and the Chapter selling the most tickets will win $300.

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.  Joining me for comments in this Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC.  Here is Dr. Capps.

An adequate hotel facility is essential to accommodate a federation convention.  For some 30 years I have worked with hotels in South Carolina to be sure that each facility could accommodate NFB of SC conventions.  On three or four occasions, however, we did hold NFB of SC conventions on another site.  I specifically recall utilizing Clemson University for an NFB of SC convention some 40 years ago or about 1980.  Although Clemson went all out to assist the NFB of SC, there were situations where they were not able to provide such things as telephone service from room to room.  During that particular convention university officials told me that they would like to see me.  I immediately went to the lobby and a very attractive African-American lady greeted me.  She had read in the Greenville News that the NFB of SC convention was being held at Clemson University and she had an interest in our work with the blind.  Her interest was for a good reason.  She reported that her mother was blind and had been a teacher.  I’m referring to none other than the late Ruth Jordan.  This meeting resulted in Mrs. Jordan combined with a foundation proving to be of tremendous financial assistance to the Federation Center of the Blind and to Rocky Bottom.  Ruth Jordan introduced Maxine Bock and her foundation to the federation in this regard.  On more than one occasion Mrs. Jordan made a contribution of $100 without being solicited.  We wanted to especially honor Mrs. Jordan’s mother.  Shortly after the convention, Mrs. Jordan traveled to Rocky Bottom so that she could see what was being done to develop this unique program.  Mrs. Jordan passed a few years ago.  We offered to name one of the Conference Center rooms the “Carrie Lee Cox Memorial Library” in her mother’s honor.  Mrs. Jordan was responsible for contributions to federation programs.  We also set up a meeting with Mrs. Jordan in Spartanburg where we had an excellent experience which resulted in a significant contribution to the School for the Blind.  Mrs. Jordan was a school teacher.  I believe Mrs. Jordan joined the Greenville Chapter which resulted in her being responsible for the chapter’s annual scholarship for the blind in that area.  I’m glad there were no telephones in the Clemson University rooms as otherwise we would never have met Mrs. Jordan.

 

Final Thought:   Transforming our dreams into reality:  Don’t just be a spectator.  Get involved with your local chapter or division.  Fundraise for Rocky Bottom, the NFB of SC and the NFB.  Transforming dreams into reality requires your active participation!

1725

 

September 4, 2019
Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others
From:  Frank Coppel, President
Positive Note 1725
Greetings Fellow Federationists:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who attended and volunteered their services at the Fun Day Festival held at Rocky Bottom this past Labor Day weekend.  The turnout for this event was good as approximately 55 federationists attended the festivities on Saturday, August 31.  All of us need to work harder to attract more of the public to attend as well as to encourage more of our members to sell their Fun Day tickets and to attend the Fun Day festivities.  The weather this weekend was spectacular and everyone appeared to have a great time enjoying each other’s company and raising money for Rocky Bottom.  Next week I will share with you the breakdown of the proceeds regarding this year’s Fun Day festival.  Many thanks go to Lenora Robertson, Ellen Taylor, Glenda Ulick and the rest of the “Food Crew” for preparing four outstanding meals Saturday and Sunday morning.  I would like to especially thank Valerie and Larry Warrington, their niece, Haily, and Libby Farr for helping where ever needed.  I would also like to recognize David and Darlene Houck, Isaiah and John Nelson, Linda Bible, and Jennifer Bazer for their assistance on Saturday as well as Jeff Baser who did a great job handling the duties of auctioneer.  RBRCCB is an extremely important and vital program of the NFB of SC and all of us as members need to work diligently and creatively in the years to come to increase the amount of monies raised during the Fun Day Festival.  As I have stated many times, Rocky Bottom belongs to all of us.  We need to work “as one team with one goal” and be proud we have such a unique facility in South Carolina.
I have been informed by Isaiah Nelson he is currently planning a trip to the Biltmore House and Estate the weekend of December13-15 2019.  This will be a wonderful time of the year to visit the Biltmore House and Estates as it will be beautifully decorated for the Christmas season.  The cost will be $80 for adults and $40 for children under the age of twelve.  This price will include the tour of the Biltmore House, winery, and lunch on Saturday December 14.  Overnight accommodations will be available at Rocky Bottom the evenings of Friday, December 13, and Saturday, December 14.  If you plan to stay at Rocky Bottom there will be an additional $20 charge.  Isaiah Nelson states he will accept half of the payment by September 27, and the final payment no later than October 25.  For further information regarding this statewide outing, you can contact Isaiah Nelson at (803) 413-2434.
All of you by now should have received the letter regarding the details for the NFB of SC five night cruise to the Bahamas which is schedule to occur November 14-19 2020.  We will be departing from Charleston on Saturday, November 14 on the Carnival Cruise line Sunshine.  I am told there has been a great deal of interest regarding the cruise by our travel consultant, Elizabeth Harvey, so I would encourage you to go ahead and book your cabin as soon as possible.  I would like to point out that if you book your cabin now, you have a year to pay for your cruise as the deadline for your final payment is not due until September 8, 2020.  This will be a wonderful opportunity to have fun as an organization and to raise funds for the NFB of SC.  For all booking questions and to make payments please contact:   Elizabeth Harvey, Travel Consultant, (803)767-6897, cell phone or email at elizabeth@twosisterstravelco.com.  To mail payments please send them to:
Elizabeth Harvey
300 Westridge Rd.
Elgin, SC 29045
For payments, Ms. Harvey can accept credit/debit cards over the phone or check/money order via mail.  Please let Ms. Harvey know if you have any questions.
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.  Joining me for comments in this Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC.  Here is Dr. Capps.
Over the weekend just about every discussion included Hurricane Dorian headed this way.  While I’m glad Hurricane Dorian over Labor Day weekend did not target the Fun Day Festival at RBRCCB, we should all keep in our thoughts and prayers those being affected by the hurricane.  Information received indicates that the Fun Day Festival was an outstanding success.  Our thanks go out to the chapters and individuals who sold Fun Day tickets as this always enhances the profits statewide.  In my thoughts, I remanence about the bygone Fun Day Festival era.  In the 1980’s we did not have a Conference Center which we have enjoyed since 1991.  During the 80’s the Fun Day Festival was conducted outdoors utilizing a house trailer which was designed for the sale of food, etc.  Tents were also used.  Participants enjoyed the outdoor activity utilizing the Old Dining Hall.  Speaking of the Old Dining Hall, just one thing, we found this old building to be on the Historical Registry.  The Historical Society got wind that we were going to demolish the old facility in order to construct a new and modern building.  The society contacted us about this and we managed to satisfy the society by promising to use some of the wood in the new building.  We placed some of the wood from the Old Dining Hall around the fireplace in the dining room in the new Conference Center.  From the beginning we were fortunate to have the support of the neighborhood in discussing the kind of Fun Day we would have.  Our longtime neighbors, now deceased, Flora and Gus Ross, participated in the festival and helped make it a success.  The Labor Day Fun Day Festival has given funding tremendously and we have greatly benefitted from the proceeds which finances this program for the blind.  The years have gone by and many who have helped in the past, including many blind members, are no longer with us.  It’s good that our members recognize the importance of the Labor Day Fun Day Festival as we need as much positive assistance as possible.  After attending most of these festivals I would be remiss if I did not let you know that physically I cannot attend as I have in previous years.  Let me thank all of you for a job well done.

Final Thought:   Transforming our dreams into reality:  Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind would not exist except for Dr. Capps’ authorized payment of an insurance claim which led to a visit to Rocky Bottom, obtaining the property in 1979, constructing several facilities and amenities leading up to our 40th year of service to the blind.  Many hands were involved, volunteering many hours and giving sacrificially.

1724

 

August 27, 2019
Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others
From:  Frank Coppel, President
Positive Note 1724
Greetings Fellow Federationists:

This weekend many of us will be traveling to Rocky Bottom to attend the 38th annual Fun Day Festival.  Over 45 Federationists are planning to be at Rocky Bottom on Saturday, August 31, to participate in all the festivities.  One of my favorite activities during Fun Day is the auction which will take place Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.  Many thanks go to Jennifer Bazer and Valerie Warrington as both of these individuals have been very instrumental in securing items for the auction.  Items for the auction include a black and silver football autographed by the Carolina Panthers, a TV donated by Blue Ridge Electric , a variety of gift baskets, and scrumptious homemade bakery items just to name a few.  We will be selling yard sale items and we will also be selling RBRCCB merchandise.  .  Four meals will be served throughout the weekend.  Times for meals are as follows: Saturday, August 31, breakfast 8:30, lunch 12:00, and supper 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, September 1, breakfast 8:30.  You will need to see Valerie and Larry Warrington and pay $30 for adults and $15 for children under twelve years of age to cover all four meals including the lunch on Saturday.  Those individuals who are attending the Fun Day Festival Saturday and who are only eating lunch will need to pay Valerie and Larry Warrington $10 for adults.
It is extremely important we all do what we can to sell as many $5 Fun Day tickets as possible as this greatly contributes to the overall profits of the festival.  Remember, the winning ticket drawn will yield $50 to the seller and $500 to the buyer or $550 if you bought your own ticket.  The chapter selling the most tickets will receive $300 for its treasury!  Thus far, we have received Fun Day ticket money and stubs from the Aiken chapter, Anderson chapter, Chesterfield chapter, Columbia chapter, Greenwood Chapter, and the Hilton Head chapter.  It would be great if we can hear from many of our other chapters as funds raised from the Fun Day tickets sales will provide much needed financial support for our facilities and programs at Rocky Bottom.  Please mail your ticket stubs and money to the Federation Center no later than Friday, August 30, or better yet, bring your stubs and money to Rocky Bottom on Saturday, August 31, and give them to David Houck.
It would be awesome to have a large Federation turnout for this very important fundraising event.
Jennifer Duffell-Hoffman, the South Carolina Parents of Blind Children president, has created a closed group for South Carolina Parents of Blind Children and is asking that NFB of SC members join the group and publish and share the group with families of blind and low vision children in South Carolina. Families can also reach Jennifer privately at jaduffell@yahoo.com or 803-287-5391.
I am very sad to report Mrs. Doris Bell, a longtime Federationist and a member of the Laurens chapter of the NFB of SC passed away on Wednesday, August 21.  Doris and her husband Bob were instrumental in organizing the Laurens Chapter as well as building and directing the Robert R. Bell center located in Laurens.  Doris also assisted Bob a great deal when Bob was state president from 1982 to 1986 and when he was Chairman of RBRCCB from 1986 to 2000.  It is very clear Doris loved Rocky Bottom as a portion of her head stone is made from a rock taken from Rocky Bottom.  During the mid-1980’s, Doris and Bob Bell played a major role in my federation walk as they strongly encouraged and mentored me in becoming a leader in this organization.  Let’s all of us in our federation family keep the Bell family in our thoughts and prayers.
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.  Joining me for comments in this Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC.  Here is Dr. Capps.
August is a special month as many of my friends and family celebrates birthdays.  Several federationists have birthdays in August.  I was touched in a special way this time with a homemade chocolate cake given to me by my longtime friends Scott and Edna Johnson.  I don’t recall this ever happening in the past.  Dr. Fred Crawford and myself celebrate the same birthday, August 30, which occurs this Friday.  Fred will be 93 and I will be 91.  Lois Tucker celebrates her birthday on August 17, only about two weeks before mine.  Our state President Frank Coppel celebrates his birthday one day after August on September 1.  My mother’s birthday was on August 29, one day before mine.  Our daughter Beth was born on August 7 and my brother-in-law, Attorney Gene Rogers was also born in August.  My caregiver Debbie Manning had her birthday on Sunday, August 25.  I’m sure there are others I am overlooking.  I believe that almost all of us are looking forward to when the Fun Day Festival gets underway on August 31.
For several decades it was my pleasure to work with Doris Bell in the federation as her husband Bob was state President and headed up the Bell Federation Center of the Blind in Laurens for many years.  I would be remiss if I did not express my deepest sympathy to Bell family members including the sons of Doris, Robby and Mark.  Their distinguished years of service will be greatly missed.  I’m sorry I was prevented from attending the funeral as I am unable to travel that distance.  However, several NFB of SC members did attend including state President Frank Coppel, Ed & Julie Bible, Parnell Diggs who sang “Others,” David and Darlene Houck, Laurens Chapter President Helen McNuer and the Bell Center Secretary Ginger Landreth to name a few.
A good turnout at Rocky Bottom is expected this weekend for the Fun Day Festival.  I was blessed to have attended this annual event for many years.  Special food service is provided by Lenora Robertson and her kitchen crew.  I trust that Fun Day ticket sales and the Auction sale will bring in much needed funding for Rocky Bottom.

Final Thought:   Transforming our dreams into reality:  Remembering the late Bob and Doris Bell of Laurens who dedicated their lives for the cause of the blind and others.

 

1723

 

August 21, 2019
Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others
From:  Frank Coppel, President
Positive Note 1723
Greetings Fellow Federationists:

As I have been reporting during the last few weeks in the Positive Note, the thirty-eighth annual Rocky Bottom Fun Day Festival will take place Labor Day weekend, August 30-September 1.  If you would like to make a reservation for the weekend you can contact me at (803) 796-8662 or call the Federation Center at (803) 254-3777.  We have already begun to receive requests for sleeping accommodations, so I would strongly encourage you to call me or the Federation Center and reserve a room at Rocky Bottom as soon as possible.  We need to have your reservation no later than Tuesday, August 27.  This information is extremely important as we need an accurate head count as to the amount of food we need to purchase for the weekend.  Four meals will be served including three on Saturday, August 31, and breakfast on Sunday morning, September 1.  Adults will be charged $30 and children will be charged $15 under twelve years of age to cover all four meals including the lunch on Saturday.  Those individuals who are only attending the Fun Day Festival Saturday will need to pay Valerie and Larry Warrington $10 for lunch.  I hope you are continuing to sell your $5 Fun Day tickets as this greatly contributes to the overall profits of the Fun Day Festival.  Remember, the seller of the winning ticket will receive $50 and $500 to the buyer of the winning ticket.  If you purchase your own ticket, you will receive $550.  The chapter selling the most tickets will receive $300 for its treasury!  Thus far, we have only sold 130 tickets statewide.  I know we can do much better, so let’s get busy and do what we can to sell as many tickets as possible during the next ten days!  We also need to bring new items for the auction which will take place on Saturday afternoon August 31, at 12:00 noon.  Let’s have a great turnout for the Fun Day Festival as Rocky Bottom very much needs our financial support!
We have an announcement from Shannon Cook, Chairperson of our NFB of SC Scholarship committee.  “On behalf of the 2019 NFB of SC Scholarship Committee, we would like to extend heart-felt congratulations to the three scholarship winners.  Sarah Massengale, 3rd place, was awarded $675.  Matthew Duffell-Hoffman, 2nd place, was awarded $1,125. Casey Eubanks, 1st place, was awarded $1,725. We also want to thank the chapters who contributed to the scholarships, including Belvedere, Chesterfield, Columbia, Grand Strand, Greenville, and Sumter.  Additional thanks go to the donors of the Dr. Sheila Breitweiser scholarship, and the Bernard Kline scholarship provided by the Federation Center. The Cherokee Chapter opted to give their scholarship to Clinton Davis at a separate meeting, but we did not want to go without congratulating him as well.  If anyone has any suggestions for our committee, we welcome the input.  Thanks also go to the scholarship committee members whose experience and expertise have helped to improve the standards by which our winners are chosen.“
A few weeks prior to this year’s state convention a request for a Proclamation acknowledging the seventy fifth anniversary of the NFB of SC was submitted to the Governor’s office with the intention of it being  presented and read during the opening session of our convention.  Although we did not receive the Proclamation in time for the state convention, we appreciate the Governor’s Office honoring our request with a proclamation celebrating our seventy five years of service to the blind of this state.  Here is the Proclamation;
State of South Carolina
Governor’s Proclamation

Whereas, established in 1944, the South Carolina Aurora Club of the Blind became a vehicle for collective action to promote the economic, social and spiritual well-being of blind South Carolinians; and
Whereas, in its charter as a statewide organization with chapters in Spartanburg, Columbia and Charleston, the Aurora Club became an affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind in 1956 and began doing business as the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina; and
Whereas, over the past 75 years, the Federation’s advocacy has led to the enactment of over 40 pieces of legislation, including the creation of the South Carolina Commission for the Blind, the adoption of the Model White Cane Law guaranteeing blind South Carolinians the right to access public roads and facilities in the state, the adoption of the South Carolina Blind Persons Right to Parent Act, and has improved the quality of life for blind South Carolinians; and
Whereas, through its local chapters and statewide divisions, the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina has provided economic, social and spiritual enrichment to blind South Carolinians on an individual basis; and
Whereas, the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina is holding its Diamond Anniversary Convention during the weekend of August 9-11in the city of Columbia, South Carolina.
Now, therefore, I Henry McMaster, Governor of the Great State of South Carolina, do hereby proclaim August 9-11as
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND OF SOUTH CAROLINA
75th ANNIVERSARY WEEKEND
Throughout the state and encourage all South Carolinians to congratulate the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina and its members on the 75 years of work, both individually and collectively, to improve the quality of life of blind individuals in the Palmetto State.
Henry McMaster, Governor, State of South Carolina

I am saddened to report that Mary McNeil, a longtime member of the Columbia Chapter passed away on Saturday, August 17.  The Federation family should keep Mary McNeil’s friends and family in our thoughts and prayers.
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.  Joining me for comments in this Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC.  Here is Dr. Capps.
Recently I read the book on the Titanic which was supposed to be unsinkable.  However, in 1912 the Titanic was struck by an iceberg which resulted in some 1,500 passengers and crew perishing.  Only some 700 managed to survive.  No doubt this was the greatest tragedy of its type.  In 1989 Betty and celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary and we booked a voyage on the QE II.  In 1989 on the QE II voyage we ran into a storm in the North Atlantic which resulted in the QE II being slightly damaged with beds other things including dishes and silverware being moved around.  As I read this book, that experience reminded me once again of our 1989 incident.  A year earlier in 1988, we traveled by air to Madrid, Spain to attend the meeting of the World Blind Union.  I learned that the Rotary Club was closed in Madrid by the dictator Franco because he felt the Rotarians would oppose his side of the Spanish civil war.  Incidentally, Rotarians met on the QE II and some of the members from around the world I found to be very interesting.  In 1992 I was privileged to attend the World Blind Union in Cairo, Egypt.  We were concerned with the taxi drivers taking us completely out of the way as I talked with the driver as best as I could.  Later at the hotel the manager advised us there were others who also had been taken advantage of by taxi drivers.  The five-star hotel was very nice and we enjoyed the dining area.  After returning home there was a report that a day after we left the hotel, criminals invaded the dining room holding several exactly where we were seated.  Following the World Blind Union meeting in Cairo we traveled to Tel Aviv, Israel which is just a short trip by air.  We took a cab from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to spend a few days there which we enjoyed.  We stayed in a hotel just across the street from the King David Hotel which we did not use because of the expense.  We did attend a Rotary meeting at the King David Hotel which we found interesting.  The speaker was giving a 30 minute speech on the importance of the Golan Heights explaining its importance to Israel.  A gentleman from Texas was present and very kindly kept me up to date on what the speaker was discussing.  I’ve enjoyed our trip but it was good to get back home.

Final Thought:   Transforming our dreams into reality:  “Your mind is like a parachute – it only works when it’s open.”e