Positive Notes

1705

 

April 17, 2019

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

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1705

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

The NFB of SC will again be sponsoring a BELL Academy program which this year will be held at the Federation Center of the Blind from July 22, to August 2, 2019. I am pleased to announce Tracy Spittle, a teacher of the visually impaired (TVI) and a member of our Columbia Chapter, will be heading up the program this year along with a volunteer team consisting of Shelley Coppel, Frank Coppel, Thom Spittle, Isaiah Nelson, and Tori Diamond. Instead of individuals traveling to our National Center in Baltimore to receive training in administering the BELL Program as has been required in previous years, trainers were sent out to a variety of locations throughout the country this year to provide this much needed training. This past weekend, April 12-13, we were very fortunate to have Krystal Guillory, the state coordinator of the BELL Academy in Louisiana, to come to South Carolina to provide this training at the Federation Center. Although the training was very intensive, I believe all of us who participated this weekend came away with a greater understanding as to what to expect implementing such a vital and important program as the BELL Academy.

You can now begin to make your hotel reservations for the 2019 NFB of SC State Convention which will be held at the Marriott Hotel in Columbia August 9-11. Room rates are very affordable. Rates for this year’s convention are $112 per night for up to four in a room. In addition to the room rates there will be a tax, which at present is 14 percent. The deadline to make reservations will be July 15, 2019. There will also be a limited number of rooms available for the $112 rate Thursday, August 8, for those individuals wanting to arrive to the hotel a day prior to the official start of the convention. If you pay in advance, your reservation will be guaranteed: however, you will not have to pay as long as you arrive by 6:00 p.m. Any amount you pay, of course, will be applied toward your bill. The Marriott Hotel has given the NFB of SC a block of rooms to reserve until July 15. If you wait until after July 15, to make your hotel reservation, the hotel may not have an available room for you and you will not be eligible for the convention room rate of $112. You can make your room reservations by calling the Marriott toll free reservation telephone number (800) 593-6465 or (803) 771-7000 and inform the reservationist you are reserving a room for the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina state convention. At this year’s state convention, , we will be celebrating the seventy-fifth anniversary of our organization. We are planning special activities throughout the weekend to commemorate this wonderful milestone. We are expecting a large turnout for this convention so you may want to make your hotel reservations early. This will be a very special and historic convention you do not want to miss!

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.

Happy Easter to all of you. This week we are spotlighting a new staff member who has been working with the Federation Center of the Blind as our Special Projects Coordinator beginning in 2019. I am speaking of Dondra Bible, Ashton Bible’s wife and Ed Bible’s daughter-in-law. Dondra was born in South Carolina and raised in Swansea, SC. She earned her high school diploma from Swansea High and attended some college at Midlands Technical College. Dondra Bible met Ashton while working. He and Dondra started talking through a mutual friend and never stopped, and the rest is as they say is “history”. Ashton and Dondra have been happily married for almost nine years now. He is a beloved husband and currently works security for a local nuclear power plant.

Dondra has been working in Office Administration for over ten years now. She has a varied background working with an animal shelter, with financial institutions, in human resources, accounting, payroll, and at a law firm.

Dondra was introduced to the lifestyle of a blind person when she started dating Ashton and met his dad, Ed Bible. Before that as a sighted person she imagined that with this disability, you would be extremely limited with most daily life. As she got to know Ed, Dondra realized that blindness did not define him at all. His is in fact the most charismatic person she knows and is very passionate about life. Her journey with getting to know him has proven that a blind person can do anything that they set their mind to and that they should never give up or let anyone bring them down.

Dondra enjoys many things but especially loves animals. She is a cat lover most of all! She also enjoys jigsaw puzzles, dancing, playing the piano, and spending time with her husband. She volunteered at Pets Incorporated to assist animals in many ways and her home church is Covenant Baptist Church in West Columbia, SC.

As you can see, Dondra Bible has a varied background, has a good philosophy about blindness and already she has been a great help in developing marketing materials for the federation and Rocky Bottom and she assists the Center Board Chairman Ed Bible and the Center Executive Director David Houck in their federation duties to a great extent. Let’s give Dondra Bible a warm welcome to our federation family!

 

Final Thought:   While we are young we have much energy and as we get older we gather together much wisdom.

1704

 

April 10, 2019

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

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1704

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

This past Saturday, April 6, the spring meetings of the RBRCCB and the NFB of SC Board of Directors were held at the Federation Center of the Blind. A good turnout of board members and visitors were present at the meetings. It was great to have our former state President, Parnell Diggs, with us on Saturday as he has recently moved back to South Carolina and is now residing in Charleston.

The RBRCCB Board of Directors and the NFB of SC Board of Directors spent a great deal of time discussing during their meetings on Saturday, our participation in the Midlands Gives fund raising program.

What is Midlands Gives?

Hosted by Central Carolina Community Foundation, Midlands Gives is an 18-hour online giving event that brings the region together as one community, raising money and awareness for local nonprofits in 11 Midlands counties.

When is Midlands Gives?

Midlands Gives will take place online on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, from 6:00 am to 11:59:59 p.m. Eastern Time.

How does it work?

Central Carolina Community Foundation has set up an online giving platform at MidlandsGives.org with searchable profiles of participating nonprofits. All donations will be processed through this website, which allows nonprofits and donors to track the giving on May 7th via the site’s leaderboards.

If you would like to donate to Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center, click on the below link. https://www.midlandsgives.org/rockybottom. If you would like to donate to the National Federation of the Blind of SC (NFB of SC), click on the below:

https://www.midlandsgives.org/NFBOFSC.

If you would like to donate to the NFB of SC please do so, however, this year we want to concentrate heavily on raising funds to meet the ongoing needs at Rocky Bottom. Again this year, Jennifer Bazer and staff from the Successful Transitions program will be stationed in several locations around the Columbia area (downtown East Bay Deli on Main St., Crossing Deli in Northeast Columbia and the West Columbia Chick-fil-a on Augusta Rd.) on May 7, to raise funds through Midland Gives to assist Rocky Bottom. If you would like to assist Jennifer and the staff of Successful Transitions at one of these locations, you can contact Jennifer Bazer at (803) 960-9977 for further information. If you are uncomfortable using a computer to make a donation or do not have one, you can come by or call the Federation Center, (803) 254-3777 on Tuesday, May 7, and we will assist you with your donation. We will also be having a “watch party” with refreshments at the Federation Center on May 7, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for those individuals who would like to make a donation to Rocky Bottom through Midland Gives. We will be especially working hard to raise the most unique contributions between 12 noon and 1:00 p.m. The non-profit organization who receives the most unique contributions during this hour will also receive an additional $2,500 for their group. Also, the six state board district and state wide divisions will be competing among themselves to see who can secure the most unique contributions for Rocky Bottom. A trophy will be presented to the district or division who secures the highest number of unique contributions during Midlands Gives on May 7. I am asking all chapter presidents to please work closely with your district board representative and share this information with your members. I strongly encourage all of us to make a concerted effort to spread this information to local businesses, neighbors, friends, and family and help to financially support Rocky Bottom and the NFB of SC with this wonderful fund raising opportunity!

If you would like further information regarding what additional topics were discussed at either board meeting, pleas checkout each set of board minutes which will appear on the NFB of SC and the Rocky Bottom websites in the very near future.

Finally, I am sad to report William “Six” Branch, a charter member of the Upper Dorchester County chapter passed away on Saturday, April 6. “Six”, as he was affectionalty called by friends, was an easy going and fun loving individual who appeared to have a very positive outlook on life. All of us in our Federation family need to keep “Six” and his 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.

Virtually everybody is aware that U.S. Senator Ernest F. Hollings passed away over the weekend. He was 97. I knew Sen. Hollings for several decades. He was a strong supporter of the federation. The first I remember his attending a federation function occurred at the Carolina Hotel on Assembly Street. Sen. Hollings was the distinguished guest but there were other outstanding individuals including other NFB leaders. Sen. Hollings served several terms in the US Senate and this is where we got to know him best. Some of us may remember that Sen. Hollings led the fight in the Senate to make sure that the airlines did not discriminate against blind passengers in seating arrangements. Initially there was not a lot of support for this position but as time went by, Sen. Hollings stood with the NFB which resulted in the airlines having to treat all blind passengers like anyone else. Throughout many years I attended the Washington Seminars I had the privilege of visiting Sen. Hollings office. He became comfortable with my doing research in his library. Sen. Hollings was born and raised in the Charleston area and consequentially he developed a strong Charleston brogue. Some of his colleagues teased him about this, stating he was the only Senator that did not speak English. Personally I didn’t think his Charleston brogue was that pronounced but I enjoyed hearing him talk. I will always be indebted to Sen. Hollings for his unswerving support of programs for the blind. Needless to say he served his office with distinction. He will always be remembered for his many accomplishments on behalf of the nation’s blind.

 

Final Thought:   Longevity of service denotes a great legacy.

1703

 

April 3, 2019

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

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1703

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

Kudos to the mission’s team from Mt. Hebron Methodist Church in West Columbia which included Ed Bible, his wife Julie and David Bundy for all of their hard work at Rocky Bottom this past weekend. As many of you know, the chapel, the fence leading to the pond and boardwalk were severely damaged by fallen trees this winter. It is my understanding much needed repairs were made to the fence and boardwalk around the back of the chapel. Also, gutters on Osterneck Cottage were cleaned out as well as the water system’s holding tank was repainted to comply with DEHEC regulations. Mt. Hebron’s mission’s team has been volunteering their time at Rocky Bottom since 2016 and their efforts are deeply appreciated by all of us.

We have an announcement from Shannon Cook, Chairperson of the NFB of SC scholarship committee. “The NFB of SC 2019 Scholarship application has now been posted at www.nfbofsc.org under the Scholarship link. Please share with your network.”

If you have not done so already, please make your reservations for the upcoming 2019 Las Vegas National Convention. The date of this year’s national convention will be July 7, to July 12, 2019 and will be held at the beautiful Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Unlike in years past, the same enviable rate of $99 per night applies to singles and doubles as well as triples and quads. Hotel and sales taxes are 13.38 percent and 8.25 percent, respectively. The resort fee (normally $37 a night) will be waived for NFB convention attendees. However, fees for internet access, local and toll-free calls, and fitness center access may apply. To make reservations for the 2019 convention, you can call the hotel at 877-632-9001. The hotel 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. It is important to note, the hotel will charge against your card a $400 deposit to cover incidentals during the time you are staying at the hotel. This deposit will be credited back partially or in full to your card soon after you check-out from the hotel. If a reservation is cancelled before Friday, June 1, half of the deposit will be returned. Otherwise refunds will not be made. It is my understanding room reservations for the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino are going quickly, so I suggest you make your room reservations soon.

This is a reminder national convention Preregistration Opened March 1, Online. Preregistration will be available from March 1 to May 31, 2019. Additionally, registration will be available on site in Las Vegas. When purchased online by May 31, the preregistration fee for convention is $25 ($30 on site) and the cost of a banquet ticket is $70 ($75 on site). For more information regarding preregistration and other details, please visit https://nfb.org/get-involved/national-convention. Please note all preregistration and banquet sales are final.

I am very sad to report Teena Adams, a member of the Columbia chapter, passed away this past Saturday evening. Teena served on the Columbia chapter board in 2009 and prior to serious health complications as a result of diabetes, she participated in all aspects of chapter activities. She was a very caring individual who was extremely committed to do all she could to improve the quality of life of blind people. All of us in the Federation family need to keep Teena and her family in our thoughts and prayers.

Finally, I look forward to seeing many of you Saturday April 6, for the RBRCCB board of directors meeting which will begin at 10:00 a.m. and the NFB of SC board of directors meeting which will begin at 1:00 p.m. There will be much to discuss at both meetings. These meetings are open to the membership, and all Federation members are welcome to come Saturday and actively participate in both meetings.

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 is April Fools Day – No joke! This is Monday, April first, and to the best of my knowledge, April fools pranks are still performed. When I was young, April fools was “big” as we liked to play tricks on others. For many years, however, I have not kept up with April Fools Day. I know that in bygone years I observed that occasionally things happened such as chairs being pulled from behind others.

Notwithstanding April Fool’s Day, this is a very nice time of Spring and the flowers are magnificent I’m told. Our live-in caregiver Debbie Manning was so impressed with the Dogwoods and Azaleas. Yesterday, Sunday, she got a camera and took pictures of the beautiful Spring time flowers.

Here in the Columbia Chapter we are in the peak of the sale of barbecue tickets for the 66th annual barbecue. The three canvas nights will begin very soon. We have a good relationship with our Center neighborhood. For many years I canvased and enjoyed it but Father Time caught up with me and now I don’t. It is important to me to devote as much time as possible in the barbecue as some of the proceeds are used to assist members to attend the NFB national convention early in July. By far the largest ticket sale was from a local firm who bought 70 tickets for $700 and gave the balance of $300, making a total of $1,000. No other sale is as much as than that amount. I’m proud of Columbia which respects the federation and is willing to participate. I hope I will continue selling barbecue tickets each year and for several more years. Chapter members share in the cost of having food prepared for those who have participated in the canvas. This is a nice gesture.

Finally I am not participating in April Fool’s Day although this part of the Positive Note is being dictated on Monday, April first.

 

Final Thought: April Fool’s Day – Sometimes he fool is not the one who is pranked but the one who pulls the prank.

1702

 

March 27, 2019

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

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1702

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

Saturday evening, March 23, I traveled to Bishopville where I had the pleasure of attending the Black and White Banquet hosted by the Lee County Chapter of the NFB of SC. Approximately 100 individuals were in attendance and they were treated to a wonderful meal as well as great musical entertainment provided by Tina Holmes, a member of the Columbia Chapter, and others. Debra Canty, 2nd vice president of the NFB of SC, Derique Simon, board member of the SC Association of Blind Students, and Loretta Green, 1st district board member of the NFB of SC, along with her husband, Henry, spoke during the evening. All of these individuals made excellent presentations as they openly discussed with the audience how they dealt with their blindness and how the National Federation of the Blind has played an important role in their lives. Not only was the banquet successful in raising a great deal of funds for the chapter, but it also educated the sighted individuals in the audience to the philosophy and the programs of the NFB of SC. Linda Dizzly, the Lee County chapter President, did an outstanding job organizing and planning this event. Linda is commended for all of her hard work to make this banquet a tremendous success.

Just a friendly reminder the Spring meetings of the Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind Board of Directors and the NFB of SC Board of Directors will be held at the Federation Center of the Blind on Saturday, April 6, 2019. The RBRCCB Board of Directors meeting will begin promptly at 10:00 a.m. and will adjourn at 12:00 noon. The NFB of SC Board of Directors meeting will begin promptly 1:00 p.m. and adjourn at 4:00 p.m. There will be much to discuss a both meetings, and so I would like to strongly encourage Federation members who are not on either board to come Saturday and actively participate in the meetings.

We have an announcement from Debra Canty, President of the Sumter chapter. “The Sumter chapter will have chicken and pork BBQ sandwiches available for sale April 6, at the RBRCCB and NFB of SC board of directors meetings. The BBQ chicken sandwich will sell for $5 and the pork BBQ sandwich will sell for $6. All sandwiches must be paid upon delivery on Saturday, April 6 at the Federation Center. We gladly accept cash or checks made payable to: NFB Sumter Chapter as well. If you are interested in purchasing a BBQ sandwich, please contact Debra Canty at (803)775-5792 or email her at debra.canty@frontier.com to place your order. Orders must be placed by Monday, April1, no later than 12:00 noon. Drinks and chips will be provided by the NFB of SC and Rocky Bottom. The Sumter chapter has conducted this event for many years as proceeds from this fund raiser helps to financially assist chapter members to attend the national convention.”

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.

Today our spotlight falls on a longtime Associate member of the Columbia Chapter. John Barry Chavis, or “Barry,” as he is known, was born in Orangeburg County in 1946.   He moved to West Columbia in third grade and then to Columbia where he attended the public schools, graduating from Columbia High School. Barry is a member of the Beaver Creek Indian tribe which is located in Sally, SC (Orangeburg County). Barry researched a 50 year history of the Beaver Creek tribe including its ancestors. He is a Chief Elder and was a former Chief.

While Barry lived in Columbia, he grew up around the corner from longtime Columbia Chapter federationists Reba and MacDonald Hancock (now deceased) and spent much time with their son and daughter, Fred and Donna. That’s how he found out about the federation, joining the Columbia Chapter in 1964 and taking his first trip to Rocky Bottom in 1966. Barry worked many annual Columbia Chapter barbecues, drove the van to pick up members for meetings and barbecue canvas nights, lettered the chapter vans, etc. He drove Frank Coppel to various statewide chapter meetings. He also built the original conference room table in the Center’s board room and now works at the Federation Center doing renovation projects among other things. Barry worked closely with Don and Betty Capps at Rocky Bottom over the years. He built the board room table in the Conference Center board room, did building and outdoor signage and it seems that every time Barry was found at Rocky Bottom he was repairing or fixing something which needed attention. Barry worked many Labor Day Fun Day Festivals, about eight Senior Blind Camps and even was at the 2018 NFB Senior Blind retreat which accommodated blind seniors from several states. Barry Chavis received several NFB of SC awards including the Associate Member of the Year Award, Distinguished Service Award and Presidential Citation. He has also received an award from Rocky Bottom for his service to the camp over the years. In fact, Barry Chavis has served on the RBRCCB Advisory Board for six years. Barry has attended about five state conventions but in 1969 Barry presented a sculpted bust of Dr. Jacobus tenBroek (NFB Founder) to the 1969 Columbia NFB national convention. Barry’s hobbies include, you guessed it, woodworking, painting drawing and design. These talents he has used in abundance benefitting the federation in many ways over the years. Barry continues to work at the Federation Center as he is a multi-talented and capable Center employee who still volunteers his time wherever he is needed. Let’s salute Barry Chavis for all his hard work and dedication on behalf of the blind.

 

Final Thought: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery; today is a gift, that’s why we call it the present” – Bill Keene

1701

 

March 20, 2019

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

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1701

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who attended the 2019 Leadership Seminar sponsored by the NFB of SC this past Saturday. Approximately seventy-five people were in attendance at the seminar representing the entire state from Greenville to Charleston. The morning session began with a brief discussion of my thoughts regarding the seven “R’s of good leadership”. The next agenda item was presented by Salena Black who discussed with the audience the importance of effective communication in an organizational setting. The last agenda item of the morning was “Programs offered by Protection and Advocacy” and it was presented by David Zoellner, Managing Attorney for P&A. Mr. Zoellner primarily discussed the changes in the Client Assistance Program (CAP) during the past few years. Many thanks goes to Isaiah Nelson, Lorreta Green, Jennifer Bazer and the Successful Transitions Program for covering the expense of the lunch. The afternoon session primarily dealt with fund raising proposals to assist Rocky Bottom and the NFB of SC. Loretta Green, District one Board member, presented Rocky Bottom $825 from contributions raised by chapters in her district. These chapters were Charleston, Grand Strand, Conway, Upper Dorchester, and Georgetown. Mrs. Green stated the goal of her district was to raise $1,000. To accomplish this goal, the audience quickly raised an additional $200, making the final total raised for Rocky Bottom by District One chapters $1,025. Loretta challenged the other district board members to encourage their chapters to raise money for Rocky Bottom. The audience also heard from Valerie Warrington regarding Midland Gives which will take place on May 7. This will be another great way for our state wide membership to support Rocky Bottom. It was suggested each state board district and state wide divisions compete among themselves to see who can secure the most unique contributions for Rocky Bottom. A trophy will be presented to the district or division who secures the highest number of unique contributions during Midlands Gives on May 7. The remainder of the afternoon dealt with the importance of signing up businesses who will consider being a sponsor for our state convention which will be held August 9-11. A sample sponsorship letter was read and each individual was given a copy of this letter in their packet of information distributed during the seminar. The remaining portion of the afternoon was spent discussing chapter issues such as chapter fund raising and ways to recruit new members.

We have an announcement from Debra Canty, President of the Sumter Chapter. “Hello Federation Family! The Spring meetings of the Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind Board of Directors and the NFB of SC Board of Directors will be held at the Federation Center of the Blind on Saturday, April 6, 2019. This is an excellent opportunity to share with the Federation Family. Please let me know if you are interested in ordering a 5-dollar barbecue chicken or a 6-dollar pork sandwich.

Sumter Chapter, National Federation of the Blind, 14th Annual BBQ Fundraiser, Saturday, April 6, 2019, $6.00 BBQ Pork Sandwich, $5.00 BBQ Chicken Sandwich (Leg Quarter). All sandwiches must be paid upon delivery on Saturday, April 6 at the Federation Center. We gladly accept cash or checks made payable to: NFB Sumter Chapter as well. These proceeds will assist NFB members and volunteers to attend the national convention this summer as well. Mega thanks for supporting the Sumter Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind 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.

The spotlight this week falls upon another NFB of SC Associate member. If it were not for our many sighted members who support the work of the blind, it would be much more difficult to accomplish our many successes in the federation. Helen Burriss is an Associate member of the Anderson Chapter and is married to Carey Burris, a longtime voting member of the Anderson Chapter. Born and raised on a cotton farm in Anderson County, Helen Burriss knew how to plow and raise cotton. She attended the public schools of Anderson. Following her schooling, she did housekeeping work before going on to work in the Anderson Hospital and later at NHC Home Health Care for 35 years. She met and dated Carey Burriss for some time before they got married. On December 23, 2019 they will celebrate 30 years of marriage. Since Helen was raised on a cotton farm and Carey was a Clemson University Horticulturalist, they were a great fit as a couple. Working with Carey over the years she became knowledgeable about blindness and began working in the Anderson Chapter. Back in the days when Jimmie (deceased) and Jenny Smith were leaders in the Anderson Chapter, Helen Burriss would sell a lot of candy for the chapter while working at NHC. In fact, Jimmie Smith gave her a plaque for her steady candy sales. Helen liked working with Carey, especially when they were visiting and recruiting new members. Over the years, Helen worked with Demetrius Williford’s mother trying to recruit him into the Anderson Chapter. Demetrius not only joined the chapter (as we spotlighted him a few weeks ago) but he is now the new Anderson Chapter President. One of Helen Burris hobbies is cleaning. Whenever the chapter would go to Rocky Bottom, Helen would spend much of her time cleaning wherever it was needed. As many of you know, Carey heads up the annual Walk-A-Thons and Helen works with that project as well as with Anderson Chapter yard sales. Helen and Carey attended many state conventions but Helen dropped off after experiencing neck surgery. They are members of Open Arms Outreach Church in Anderson. Helen says they try not to miss a chapter meeting and they try to be of service in any way they can. Let’s salute Helen Burriss and Carey too for their long years of service in helping the blind to live the life they want.

 

Final Thought: Spring has arrived this week…so spring into action!

1700

 

March 13, 2019

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

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1700

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

Happy ST. Patrick’s Day! I am pleased to announce we have approximately ninety people who are planning to attend the NFB of SC’s Leadership seminar this Saturday at the Federation Center of the Blind. I am extremely grateful for the wonderful response we have received from our membership thus far, and it is quite evident from this overwhelming response our members are very interested in continuing these type of seminars. Tiffiny Mitchell, President of the Columbia chapter, tells me the chapter will be selling bagels, yogurt, and a drink for $5 from 9:00 to 9:45. Come early Saturday morning and support the Columbia chapter!

We have an announcement from Shelley Coppel, President of our Senior Division. “Greetings from the Senior Division! Again, we will be starting up conference calls for this spring. The first one will be held on March 26, at 4:00 p.m. eastern time. The topic will be a guest speaker from the National Senior Division Camp held last year at Rocky Bottom. This should be an informative discussion of how lives are changed when presented the opportunity for individual training in the discovery method of alternative techniques for daily living and mobility. The conference call number is as follows: 1-515-603-3166; access code:759633 pound. Again the time for the call is 4:00 p.m. eastern time.”

The Spring meetings of the Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind Board of Directors and the NFB of SC Board of Directors will be held at the Federation Center of the Blind on Saturday, April 6, 2019. The RBRCCB Board of Directors meeting will begin promptly at 10:00 a.m. and will adjourn at 12:00 noon. The NFB of SC Board of Directors meeting will begin promptly 1:00 p.m. and adjourn at 4:00 p.m. I look forward to having all board members in attendance and I strongly encourage all Federation members to come and to actively participate in the meeting.

Congratulations-Debra Canty, President of the NFB Sumter Chapter and Second Vice-President of the NFB of South Carolina…The YWCA of the Upper Lowlands has chosen Debra Canty as the recipient of the Humanitarian Award. She will receive   the award on Saturday evening, March 16, 2019. “The Humanitarian Award is presented to the individual who dedicates time to fighting indifference, intolerance and injustice. This person exudes kindness, benevolence and sympathy to all human beings.” I believe we can all agree the award Debra is receiving Saturday evening from the YMC is well deserved!

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.

Thousands of anniversaries of all descriptions are celebrated every day across the land. Recently President Coppel reminded us that the 75th anniversary of the NFB of SC will soon be celebrated in August at the state convention. This Wednesday, March 13, 2019 is the 60th anniversary of our moving into our current residence. It was on Friday, March 13, 1959 that we moved into our current residence. During this 60 year occurrence many wonderful things happened. However, of all the decades over the 60 years, there is one decade that impresses me more than others. It was the decade of the 1950’s. Both of our children were born during the 1950’s, Craig in 1955 and Beth in 1958. Both our children have college degrees. We also built two houses during the 50’s. Betty and I began to plan our lives. The first four years, the period between June of 1949 and 1953, we first lived in a two room apartment. The rent was $47.50 per month. We were thrifty and also believed in saving. During these four years we saved enough money to buy our first house in 1953. We lived in this house until March 13, 1959. The house was small but nice.   During these six years we had saved enough to build a second house.   I was kidded by my friends who implied that we hadn’t had any children during these six years and that I “couldn’t cut the mustard.” Betty helped design the house including her decision to use old brick. Over a period of time we purchased several other pieces of property. When Craig was about three he accompanied us to a state convention. When we stopped at a motel he said to the manager, “Do you have a rocker-my mommy rocks me to sleep every night.” and the manager replied, “Son, you won’t need a rocker tonight.” By the way, Craig still has this rocking chair. I joined the Columbia Chapter in 1953 and the state organization in 1956. We attended our first NFB national convention in 1956 in San Francisco. The first barbecue was held in Columbia in 1954. In 1958, $300 of barbecue funds were set aside to use for building a Center. This became a reality three years later in 1961. Our first trip to Rocky Bottom was in 1958. Had Betty lived for six more months, we would be celebrating our 70th wedding anniversary on June 25, which happened in 1949.

Final Thought: It’s the last Positive Note before Spring and today we have reached a milestone 1,700 consecutive weeks of Positive Notes, beginning on August 22,1986!

1699

 

March 6, 2019

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

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1699

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

Please continue to contact David Houck at the Federation Center of the Blind either by phone or by email, if you are planning to attend the Leadership Seminar which will be held on Saturday, March 16, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. We need to have this information by Wednesday, March 13, in order for us to have an accurate head count for lunch which is free of charge. We are expecting a good turnout to be present for the seminar as we already have approximately fifty people to sign up thus far.

We have an announcement from Chris Danielsen, Director of Public Relations, of the NFB. “Dear Fellow Federationists: It’s hard to believe, but the annual National Convention of the National Federation of the Blind is only a little over four months away. We look forward to seeing everyone at the beautiful Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas from July 7 to July 12, 2019!

We wanted to let you know that preregistration for the convention is now open. You can preregister from March 1 to May 31, 2019 at convention.nfb.org https://convention.nfb.org/. The cost to register for the national convention is currently $25 and the cost of a banquet ticket is $70. After May 31, preregistration will close, and you will need to register on site at the convention. See you in Las Vegas!

On Friday morning, March 1, the Federation Center staff hosted Dr. Julian Brinkley, an Assistant Professor at Clemson University‘s School of Computing, and his students who were taking a class on Inclusive Design and Accessible Technology. The morning consisted of excellent presentations made by Jeff Bazer, Thom Spittle, and Jim Jackson regarding the benefits and variety of assistive technology that is available to the blind. The staff answered many questions regarding the assistive technology demonstrated and answered many questions regarding blindness in general. Ed Bible, Chairman of the Federation Center’s board, is to be commended for taking the initiative to establish a working relationship with Dr. Brinkley who prior to coming to South Carolina worked closely with our Florida affiliate and the NFB national office in the area of technology accessibility.

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 we are spotlighting a chapter President in his first year of being in this position. I am speaking of Demetrius Williford, President of the Anderson Chapter. Demetrius was born and raised in Anderson and attended the Anderson public schools. He had a close knit family which was very supportive as he was raised by his mother. He has two older sisters and a daughter.   When he turned 15 years old he worked in the Quincy’s Steak House in Anderson. After graduating from high school, Demetrius enrolled at Spartanburg Tech where he majored in business management focusing in marketing. While at Spartanburg Tech he stayed at SCSDB and was employed as a tutor for the high school students. He enrolled in the Business Enterprise Program in 2013 and he has been operating the I-85 North Vending facility for the last six years.

Demetrius has known Carey Burriss of the Anderson Chapter most of his life and respects him very much. Carey invited him to join the chapter four years ago. Demetrius Williford has now attended three state conventions and three NFB national conventions. He is getting married to Kimberly Banks on June 29 and they will be attending the NFB Las Vegas convention in July. As stated before, Demetrius is in his first year as Anderson Chapter President and is getting into the swing of things. President Frank Coppel was just at their most recent Anderson Chapter meeting and Demetrius says he wants to help out wherever he can in the federation. His hobby is listening to talking books and he plans to be involved in a church ministry soon. Demetrius wants more members to attend federation meetings and he is looking to take a group of members to the NFB National Center in the not too distant future. Let’s salute Demetrius Williford who has stepped up to the plate as a leader in the federation.

 

Final Thought: March 14 is known as “Pi Day” for 3.14…as a never ending division figure (Example Pi X radius squared equals the circumference of a circle). Some have also called it “Pie Day” and encourage people to make and share in their favorite pies.

1698

 

February 27, 2019

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

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1698

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

On Monday evening of this week, I had the pleasure of attending the monthly meeting of the Anderson chapter of the NFB of SC. Approximately twenty people were in attendance at the meeting and recently elected chapter President, Demetrius Williord, did an excellent job presiding over the meeting. It was great to see longtime leaders of the Anderson Chapter, Jenny Smith, Cary and Helen Burris as well as others at the meeting. I spoke to the chapter members on upcoming activities such as the Leadership Seminar, National Convention, and the 2019 NFB of SC State Convention where we will be celebrating the seventy-fifth anniversary of our organization. I also discussed the status of Rocky Bottom and thanked the group for their generous contribution of $500 to the camp.

This is a friendly reminder on Saturday, March 16, 2019 the NFB of SC will be hosting a Leadership Seminar at the Federation Center of the Blind from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Lunch will be provided. All members are encouraged to attend and there will be no charge for the seminar. Come and learn about the importance of effective communication, the role and purpose of Protection and Advocacy, developing good fund raising skills, and any general chapter issues you would like to discuss. If you are planning to attend the seminar, please notify David Houck at the Federation Center of the Blind either by reply card, phone (803-254-3777) or email (nfbsc@sc.rr.com) no later than March 13. We need to have this information so that we can have an accurate head count for lunch.

You can now begin to make your reservations for the upcoming 2019 Las Vegas National Convention. The date of this year’s national convention will be July 7, to July 12, 2019 and will be held at the beautiful Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Unlike in years past, the same enviable rate of $99 per night applies to singles and doubles as well as triples and quads. Hotel and sales taxes are 13.38 percent and 8.25 percent, respectively. The resort fee (normally $37 a night) will be waived for NFB convention attendees. However, fees for internet access, local and toll-free calls, and fitness center access may apply. To make reservations for the 2019 convention, you can call the hotel at 877-632-9001. The hotel 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, half of the deposit will be returned. Otherwise refunds will not be made.

The Kenneth Jernigan Scholarship Committee is now accepting applications for the 2019 National convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Jernigan scholarship program is sponsored by the NFB and is designed to financially assist first time attendees to attend the NFB National convention. To apply, you must complete the necessary paperwork with a letter of recommendation from your state president and submit this information to the Jernigan Scholarship committee by April 15, 2019. If you are selected, you will be notified by the committee by May 15, 2019. For more information, please read the article in the December issue of the Braille Monitor which describes the process in more detail. You can also go to https://www.nfb.org/get-involved/national-convention/kenneth-jernigan-convention-scholarship.

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 this week’s Positive Note we are spotlighting a member of the Spartanburg Chapter. She is active in the chapter and does much more to help others. Melinda Tant was born in Marshall, North Carolina in Madison County but she was raised in Spartanburg. She attended the public schools in Spartanburg and graduated from Spartanburg High School. While in high school she liked to write speeches for extra credit and since she grew up on a farm, she also liked growing plants in school. She also liked to sew and continued to do so until she lost sight later on. After high school she attended and graduated from Piedmont Beauty School, becoming a cosmetologist. Cosmetology seemed to run in the family as well. Her mom and dad were married for 62 years. She has two brothers. She also has two daughters, six grandchildren and is about to get her 6th great-grandchild. Married to Milton Tant since 2006, they will celebrate their 13th anniversary on April 23.

Melinda Tant took some training programs at the SC School for the Deaf and Blind after becoming legally blind and heard about the federation through the School. Belinda Banks, the current Spartanburg Chapter President invited Melinda to join the chapter in 1997. Among the NFB conventions she attended included Louisville, Dallas twice, Detroit and Atlanta. Since joining the federation she attended every NFB of SC convention. In the Spartanburg Chapter she helped sell cookbooks and enough coupon books to purchase a new chapter van. Her hobbies include taking care of her great-grandchildren, watching out for her husband Milton, and volunteering in the nursing home where he resides with other patients living there. She also helps take care of her mother who has Alzheimer’s. Melinda is both multi-talented and active in the federation and in other areas. Let’s salute Melinda Tant for all that she does.

 

Final Thought: This is not leap year, but if you were born on February 29, your birthday would fall once every four years! How old would you be if this were so for you?

1697

 

February 20, 2019
Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others
From:  Frank Coppel, President
Positive Note 1697
Greetings Fellow Federationists:

On Saturday evening, February 16, Shelley and I had a wonderful time attending the fourth annual Sweetheart Dance sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina.  Approximately 53 individuals were in attendance and it was very apparent everyone enjoyed all the festivities of the evening.  The Federation Center was beautifully decorated with alternating white and pink tablecloths as well as a balloon bouquet on each table.  Individuals enjoyed a delicious dinner after which time people appeared to be having fun listening to the music, dancing or just talking with each other.  Many great door prizes were handed out which greatly enhanced to the festivities of the evening.  I am very proud to announce $1,000 in net proceeds was raised for the NFB of SC which met our goal for the evening.  As this was a fund raiser for the state affiliate, I would like to recognize those state board members and leaders who were present for this event.  They were Second Vice President, Debra Canty, Secretary, Shannon Cook, first district board member, Loretta Green, second district board member, Steve Cook, fifth district board member, Linda Dizzley and member-at-large board member Ed Bible.  Also in attendance were David Houck, Director of the Federation Center of the Blind and Jennifer Bazer, Director of Successful Transitions.  I would like to thank Kerry “Butch” Thompson, an associate member of the Sumter chapter, for doing an excellent job providing the music for the evening.  Thanks also goes to Jennifer Bazer for securing a variety of door prizes for the evening and updating attendees of upcoming events in the NFB of SC.  A very special thank you goes to Debra Canty, our Fundraising Chairperson and her committee for putting together this event.  Many kudos for a job well done!
We have an announcement from Shannon Cook.  “On February 23rd, there will be a work day at the Federation Center of the Blind (119 S. Kilbourne Rd., Columbia, SC 29205) to prepare the building for upcoming painting and upgrades being done.  We are asking for any and all of you who are able to come out on that day to help with removing wall paper, sanding, general cleaning, etc.  You should dress in work clothes that will get dirty and good work/tennis shoes. If you have buckets, sponges, dish soap, brushes, etc. to use for the projects, please bring those with you.  Sandpaper and spackle will be provided. Also, if anyone has a hand held steamer, that would be a great advantage when loosening and removing wall paper.
The center will be open beginning around 8:30 a.m. and work will begin then.  Please circulate this message to youth groups, Scouts, other volunteer organizations, or any other group or individual who may be able to pitch in a helping hand.  Lunch will be provided!  If you need more information, please call the Federation Center at 254-3777.  This will be a fun group activity. Come join us!”
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.
The weekly spotlight program in the Positive Note is much appreciated by those we spotlight as well as by our Positive Note readers.  I trust that their experiences will encourage you to step out as they have to accomplish great things.  This week we are spotlighting one of our Federation Center Assistive Technology Instructors who also happens to be the new President of the Darlington County Chapter of the NFB of SC.  I am speaking of Garrett Mosley who was born and raised in Bethune, South Carolina.  Garrett graduated from North Central High School in 2003. Years later, after adjustment to blindness training, he attended and graduated from Columbia International University in 2013.  Garrett’s wife Danielle and he were married in 2015. She teaches 4th grade in a local elementary school. Garrett is the son of Keith and Daisy Mosley. Garrett has two younger brothers, Everett and Landon Mosley.
Garrett Mosley is one of four Federation Center Assistive Technology Instructors, teaching JAWS, or Voiceover on iPhone.  He is certified in all technologies that he instructs his blind students in.  His classes are performed virtually over the internet in most cases but he can perform home evaluations as well.  Garrett states, “It’s a very convenient setup for students. It’s also an easy commute for me. They can learn from home, on their schedule. I like to use real life examples of websites, and apps that I use, to help them see how technology can give them more independence.”
Garrett Mosley became involved in the federation as different friends invited him to participate. “I started getting more involved in 2017 when I noticed how much the NFB does and how helpful the organization is for blind people.”  Garrett reports that, “The Darlington Chapter of the NFB of SC is going well. I just got a call from someone last week wanting to meet with us. Our chapter is looking forward to doing some fundraising to help out.”  Last year’s state convention was Garrett’s first, and he really enjoyed it, although he has not yet attended a national one.  Asked about his hobbies, Garrett replies that, “I enjoy reading, both BARD books and articles on the internet. I also listen to YouTube a lot since you can learn just about anything there.”  Garrett currently attends Soul’s Harbor Pentecostal Holiness Church. He is a Lion’s Club member in the Darlington chapter, and he looks forward to their working together to help our community.  As you can see, Garrett is living the life he wants while helping many other blind South Carolinians to do the same.

Final Thought:  “This year I did something different.  Instead of celebrating the first day of a birthday, I celebrated the last day of being a year younger.”

1696

 

February 13, 2019
Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others
From:  Frank Coppel, President
Positive Note 1696
Greetings Fellow Federationists:

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Speaking of Valentine’s Day, I hope to see many of you at the fourth annual Sweetheart Dance which will be held at the Federation Center of the Blind on Saturday, February 16, from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.  The evening promises to be a fun and enjoyable experience with a catered dinner, door prizes, music and dancing.  Tickets to this event will only be $25 per person.  Please make checks payable to the NFB of SC and please note the memo line for Sweethearts Dance.  You can purchase your tickets for the dance at the door Saturday evening; however, if you are planning to do this, we ask that you contact David Houck at (803) 254-3777 prior to the event to confirm your reservation.  Please contact Jennifer Bazer at (803) 960-9977 or at 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, NFB of SC fundraising Chairperson, at 803-775-5792 or via email at debra.canty@frontier.com.  Remember, this is a fund raiser for the NFB of SC so let’s do all we can to support our state affiliate and have a large turnout this Saturday evening.
On Saturday, March 16, 2019 the NFB of SC will host a Leadership Seminar at the Federation Center of the Blind from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Lunch will be provided.  All members are encouraged to attend and there will be no charge for the seminar.  Come and learn about the importance of effective communication, the role and purpose of Protection and Advocacy, developing good fund raising skills, and any general chapter issues you would like to discuss.  If you are planning to attend the seminar, please notify David Houck at the Federation Center of the Blind either by reply card, phone (803-254-377) or email (nfbsc@sc.rr.com) no later than March 13.  We need to have this information so that we can have an accurate head count for lunch.
You can now begin to make your hotel reservations for the 2019 NFB of SC State Convention which will be held at the Marriott Hotel in Columbia August 9-11.  Room rates are very affordable.  Rates for this year’s convention are $112 per night for up to four in a room.  In addition to the room rates there will be a tax, which at present is 14 percent.  The deadline to make reservations will be July 15, 2019.  There will also be a limited number of rooms available for the $112 rate on Thursday, August 8, for those individuals wanting to arrive to the hotel a day prior to the official start of the convention.  You can make your room reservations by calling the Marriott toll free reservation telephone number (800) 593-6465 or (803) 771-7000 and inform the reservationist you are reserving a room for the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina state convention.  At this year’s state convention, , we will be celebrating the seventy-fifth anniversary of our organization.  We are planning activities throughout the weekend to commemorate this wonderful milestone.  We are expecting a large turnout for this convention so you may want to make your hotel reservations early.  This will be a very special and historic convention you do not want to miss!
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.
Ralph M. Ellenburg, Sr. of Easley is a wonderful friend.  Recently we received a telephone call advising us that Ralph Ellenburg wanted to see and visit with me in Columbia.  If you don’t know Mr. Ellenburg, you can’t be familiar with Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind.  Last Thursday, February 7 we held a meeting in the board room of the Federation Center of the Blind.  We both expressed our mutual friendship spanning 40 years.  In early 1980 we began to secure as many Advisory Board members as possible.  Dot Hudson was the daughter of Mrs. Hudson who was blind and lived in Easley.  She was consulted and advised me that if we could possibly get Mr. Ellenburg to accept a position on our Advisory Board, this would be a giant step forward.  However, I was given little encouragement but managed to contact Mr. Ellenburg at that time to enlist his board participation.  I was jubilant that Mr. Ellenburg agreed to serve.  By the way, Mr. Ellenburg and I have something in common – we both have reached our 90th birthday with Mr. Ellenburg having reached his 97th birthday.  We both are pretty alert and appreciate our longevity.  One of the visits that Mr. Ellenburg and I made was to an Easley business to request their assistance.  Before arriving at the business Ralph and I discussed our request in raising $75,000 needed to renovate the historic chapel that was housed on the former 4H Club camp property.  I suggested we ask for $25,000 but this was immediately rejected as Ralph felt we needed to ask for the entire amount of $75,000.  In speaking to the President of the business Ralph asked for the $75,000 which was promptly approved by the business executive.  This certainly demonstrated that Ralph Ellenburg could get the job done.  For a number of years Ralph served as Chairman of the Advisory Board of RBRCCB.  However, due to illness, Ralph stepped down a few years ago.  He also set up an Endowment Fund for RBRCCB which has served the camp well over the years.  Ralph was not only generous in his financial giving but he also made other types of contributions.  It was not uncommon for Ralph to be in Rocky Bottom to make repairs on equipment which he determined needed immediate handling.  Ralph would call on professional plumbers, etc., that could handle larger situations and he could make equipment purchases at a large discount to RBRCCB.  Ralph was extremely helpful in raising money to erect the Conference Center which was dedicated in July 1991.  It was determined that there was a need for a new overnight accommodation. Since Ralph had given much of his time, energy and resources, it was decided to name this new facility the “Ralph M. Ellenburg, Sr. Lodge.”  I recall there was a board meeting in which Ralph explained that about $50,000 was needed to complete the funding for the new Ellenburg Lodge.  There were about ten attending the board meeting and Ralph suggested if these ten people gave $5,000 each, this would complete the funding.  The ten rooms were named in honor or memory by these ten contributors.  At the conclusion of the Ellenburg Lodge construction a chandler was hung from the ceiling.  When my wife Betty saw it she explained it needed to be a high quality chandler.  Ralph suggested the sum would be higher but Betty felt it was needed for such a fine facility.  Ralph agreed and the matter was taken care of.  In May of 1999 the Ralph M. Ellenburg Sr. Lodge was dedicated which has continuously served the blind for 20 years now.  It is the most requested facility of all our facilities by those visiting RBRCCB.  A large sign was also erected in front of the Lodge which bears Ralph Ellenburg’s name.

Final Thought:  Thursday is Valentine’s Day – Give the gift of love and kindness.

1695

 

February 6, 2019
Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others
From:  Frank Coppel, President
Positive Note 1695
Greetings Fellow Federationists:

Before we turn our attention to other topics in this week’s Positive Note, I would like to make one last comment regarding the 2019 Washington Seminar.  During the “great gathering in) meeting last Monday evening, President Riccobono received a live phone call from Scott LaBarre, President of our Colorado affiliate and the NFB’s representative on the negotiating team for the Marrakesh Treaty.  Scott LaBarre announced to the audience President Trump signed the treaty earlier that day.  This is a great victory for the NFB as we have been working on this treaty for many years.  The Marrakesh Treaty will enable the cross-border exchange of accessible format copies of published works, thereby vastly expanding the availability of accessible foreign language literature to blind and otherwise print disabled Americans.
The National Federation of the Blind is pleased to announce our 2019 scholarship program! We offer thirty scholarships to blind students from across the United States and Puerto Rico who will be enrolled in full-time post-secondary degree programs during the 2019-2020 school year. These scholarships range in value from $3,000 to $12,000 and will be awarded at our 2019 national convention in Las Vegas, NV. The application period began November 1, 2018, and closes at midnight EST on March 31, 2019. Go to https://nfb.org/scholarships to apply during the five-month open period, read the rules and the Submissions Checklist, complete the official 2019 Scholarship Application Form (online or in print), supply all required documents, and request and complete an interview by an NFB affiliate president. Remember, the only way to win is to apply!.
You can now begin to make your reservations for the upcoming 2019 Las Vegas National Convention.  The date of this year’s national convention will be July 7, to July 12, 2019 and will be held at the beautiful Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Unlike in years past, the same enviable rate of $99 per night applies to singles and doubles as well as triples and quads. Hotel and sales taxes are 13.38 percent and 8.25 percent, respectively. The resort fee (normally $37 a night) will be waived for NFB convention attendees. However, fees for internet access, local and toll-free calls, and fitness center access may apply.  To make reservations for the 2019 convention, you can call the hotel at 877-632-9001. The hotel 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, half of the deposit will be returned. Otherwise refunds will not be made.
The Kenneth Jernigan Scholarship committee is now accepting applications for the 2019 National convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The Jernigan scholarship program is sponsored by the NFB and is designed to financially assist first time attendees to attend the NFB National convention.  To apply, you must complete the necessary paperwork with a letter of recommendation from your state president and submit this information to the Jernigan Scholarship committee by April 15, 2019.  If you are selected, you will be notified by the committee by May 15, 2019.  For more information, please read the article in the December issue of the Braille Monitor which describes the process in more detail.
I am very sad to report Leanna Hall, a longtime member of the NFB of SC, passed away on February 5.  Miss Leanna, as she was lovingly called, was a very faithful member of the Columbia Chapter and to her church.  When given the opportunity at chapter meetings, Miss Leanna’s devotionals were always very sincere and heart felt.  Miss Leanna also was a very generous person as she supported the chapter to the best of her abilities.
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 we are spotlighting a devoted Associate member of the NFB of SC who is the husband of our Upper Dorchester County Chapter President, Loretta Green.  I am speaking of none other than Henry Green.  In April of 1966 Henry Green was born and raised in a small town called Reevesville, South Carolina. He is the oldest out of four children.  Henry graduated from St. George High School in 1984. His greatest accomplishments while there was playing on the basketball team, he was also in the drama club and he was on the track team where he tied the school record for the highest high jump bar at a state meet that was held in Columbia.
Henry Green has been married to Loretta Green for 34 years.  She is the Upper Dorchester County Chapter President of the NFB of SC. They have two boys, Henry and Andre Green who both live in Greenville, SC.  They also have seven grand kids.
Henry is a 12 year veteran from the Army and one thing they taught him was how to serve others.  He is the Praise & Worshipper Leader at UpStart Life Ministries in Branchville, SC where John Green, his brother is the Pastor.
The NFB of SC is a big part of Henry and his wife Loretta’s life.  The organization has taken them under their wings since 2007 and they have learned so much from everyone. The Leadership in the NFB of SC, Rocky Bottom, and Successful Transitions are top notch; you cannot find any better. Since joining the NFB of SC in 2007 and becoming an Associate member Henry has gone to nine State conventions and six National conventions and loved every minute of it. He is employed by Successful Transitions as a Driver/Assistant under the leadership of Jennifer Bazer. Henry Green would like to thank Dr. Capps and President Frank Coppel for this opportunity to share his story and to serve others.  God bless the NFB of SC!

Final Thought:  While “Punxsutawney Phil” in Gobbler’s Knob may have not predicted Winter to last for six more weeks but to have an early Spring up north; here in South Carolina the Dogwoods are predicted to bloom the first of March!

 

1694

 

January 30, 2019
Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others
From:  Frank Coppel, President
Positive Note 1694
Greetings Fellow Federationists:

This week more than five hundred Federationists representing 52 affiliates of the NFB gathered in Washington D.C. to discuss with their congressional delegation the legislative agenda of the nation’s blind.  The 2019 Washington Seminar officially began Monday January 28, at 5:00 p.m. with the “Great Gathering In” meeting.  President Riccobono conducted the meeting and there were other Federation officials present informing  participants on various NFB activities which will be occurring during 2019.  Tuesday January 29, was a very busy day for the South Carolina delegation as they met with our congressional delegation at various times throughout the day.  I am extremely proud to have fourteen members of our affiliate attend this year’s Washington Seminar.  The delegation this year was under the leadership of our NFB of SC First vice President, Lenora Robertson.  Other members of the delegation were Ellen Taylor, Second Vice President, Debra Canty, Dianne Singleton, NFB of SC State board member, Linda Dizzley, Director of our Successful Transitions program, Jennifer Bazer, and Pam Schexnider. We are also very proud to have seven members (Allontate Ellerbe, AJ McFadden, Olivia Taylor, Bailey Hightower, Derique Simon, Neel Sheth, and Wallace Stuckey of our SC Association of Blind Students as part of this year’s delegation.  The work done by our delegation on Capitol Hill this week only lays the ground work for passage of the three legislative initiatives which are outlined below.  All of us need to continue to contact our Congressman and Senators throughout the year to ensure passage of these three legislative initiatives.
The Access Technology Affordability Act (ATAA)
The cost of critically needed access technology is out of reach for most blind Americans.  By providing a refundable tax credit for qualifying purchases, Congress will stimulate individual procurement of this technology and promote affordability of these tools.
The Greater Accessibility and Independence through Nonvisual Access Technology (GAIN) Act
Advanced digital interfaces create barriers that prevent blind individuals from independently operating essential devices that enhance quality of life.  Congress must end the digital divide that threatens the independence of blind Americans by developing minimum accessibility requirements for such devices.
The Disability Employment Act (DEA)
An outdated approach to employment fails to adequately equip workers with disabilities for the challenges of the twenty-first century.  The Disability Employment Act will spur innovation that will increase and enhance modern employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Do not forget to purchase your tickets to attend the fourth annual Sweetheart dance sponsored by the NFB of SC which will be held on Saturday, February 16, 2019 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 catered dinner, door prizes, music and dancing.  Tickets to this event will only be $25 per person.  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 6, 2019.  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 at 803-775-5792 or via email at debra.canty@frontier.com.
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 we are spotlighting the new 2019 Charleston Chapter President Lavern Addison.  She is quite energetic and likes a challenge.  Having always resided in the Charleston area, Lavern went to the Charleston Public Schools and then attended USC in Columbia obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in Protective Services, Child Abuse and Neglect and Criminal Justice.  She applied her degree in several positions such as working in a day care center, as a disability counselor at SC Vocational Rehabilitation assisting in areas of the disabled receiving Social Security benefits, and she also did set up for security cameras in a Belk department store.  She was married for 23 years before becoming divorced in 2010.  Her daughter Jordan is a teacher in the Berkeley County School District and her son works for Fed Ex.  Each of them has obtained college degrees.  Her son-in-law is an Assistant Principal in a Summerville High School.
Lavern Addison became blind in March 2016, shortly before renewing her driver’s license.  Although she first found out about the Charleston Association for the Blind, it was her son who got her a white cane through the NFB.  It was through a local PSA spot about the NFB by Leroy Smith that she learned of the NFB of SC Charleston Chapter.  She liked it better when people spoke of what they can do instead of complaining about what they could not do.  She joined the Charleston Chapter in January 2018, watching the chapter and taking in federation information.  She took the trip to the Baltimore NFB National Center last spring and that changed everything.  She really took in all aspects of the National Center and before you know it, she was elected President of the Charleston Chapter for 2019.  The chapter is working toward doing a local TV interview in the near future.  By finding out who donated her free white cane she met Tony in Charleston and got him (and his church Pastor) involved.  Tony sang at the beginning of the Statewide Seminar.  Her hobbies include braille Scrabble and she even brailled her own deck of playing cards.  She volunteers with her women’s auxiliary and missions group, bereavement committee, and even checks in on members.  She is passionate about education and her daughter works with a scholarship program.  She says that no one will tell her what she cannot do because she is blind.  Recently she also assisted someone in finding out how to get braille certification.  Let’s salute Lavern Addison’s enthusiasm and energy in making life better for the blind in the Greater Charleston area.  She is living the life she wants!

Final Thought:  Work hard this year because next year everything will be 2020!

 

1693

 

January 23, 2019

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

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1693

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

This past Saturday, January 19, I had the pleasure of attending the monthly meeting of our Charleston chapter.  Newly elected President LaVern Addison, appears to be doing an excellent job as there were approximately twenty people in attendance.  The Charleston chapter will be attending the Leadership Seminar on March 16, and they will also be attending the 2019 NFB of SC state convention in August.  I was very pleased to hear ten members are planning to attend the NFB National Convention this summer.

You can now begin to make your reservations for the upcoming 2019 Las Vegas National Convention.  The date of this year’s national convention will be July 7, to July 12, 2019 and will be held at the beautiful Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Unlike in years past, the same enviable rate of $99 per night applies to singles and doubles as well as triples and quads. Hotel and sales taxes are 13.38 percent and 8.25 percent, respectively. The resort fee (normally $37 a night) will be waived for NFB convention attendees. However, fees for internet access, local and toll-free calls, and fitness center access may apply.  To make reservations for the 2019 convention, you can call the hotel at 877-632-9001. The hotel 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, half of the deposit will be returned. Otherwise refunds will not be made.

Schedule for 2019 NFB national convention:  Sunday, July 7, Seminar Day.  Monday, July 8, Registration and Exhibit Hall opens.  Tuesday July 9, NFB national Board meeting and division meetings.  Wednesday, July 10, Opening General session.  Thursday July 11, general session.  Friday, July 12, Banquet.

The Kenneth Jernigan Scholarship committee is now accepting applications for the 2019 National convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The Jernigan scholarship program is sponsored by the NFB and is designed to financially assist first time attendees to attend the NFB National Convention.  To apply, you must complete the necessary paperwork with a letter of recommendation from your state president and submit this information to the Jernigan Scholarship committee by April 15, 2019.  If you are selected, you will be notified by the committee by May 15, 2019.  For more information, please read the article in the December issue of the Braille Monitor which describes the process in more detail.

In last week’s Positive Note I wrote that Lorreta Green, NFB of SC District one state board member, conducted a tele-conference with chapters in her district to discuss how best to financially assist Rocky Bottom.  I failed to mention the Grand Strand chapter, led by its President Charlis Borodin, also participated in this meeting.  The Grand Strand chapter pledged $200 to assist Rocky Bottom during this meeting and I was informed by Charlis Tuesday morning that a check for this amount has already been written.

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 we are spotlighting another fine federationist from the Laurens Chapter. I am referring to Ginger Landreth. She was born Laurens where she currently resides and works.  Ginger has three grown daughters and two sons which are still at home. She also has five grandchildren that spend part of their weekends with her as she does a lot of baby-sitting!

Ginger Landreth graduated from Laurens High School in 1989. She attended Piedmont Technical College in Greenwood for an Associate’s Degree in Building Construction. She left when she was one semester short of receiving her degree due to financial reasons.  Before Ginger came to work at the Bell Federation Center of the Blind in 2006, she operated an in-home daycare facility and sat with several of the elderly in the Laurens area for twelve years.

She became involved in the Federation when she answered and ad Mr. Bob Bell placed with the SC Work Force/ Job Service. She went for the interview with him and Mrs. Doris Bell, and was hired of course.  She fell in love with her clients and the services they offered to the community immediately. It was like she was “called” to work in a field of community service.  She writes grants to the City, County, Private Organizations and the United Way, filed quarterly taxes, and helped the blind community with housing. She also had a free transportation program (as she is the driver) for all the blind and legally blind in Laurens County. Transportation needs included: Doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, and trips to the pharmacy, Dialysis, banking, funerals and anywhere a blind person needs to go. Ginger performed all office duties needed to run our Center under the direction of Robby Bell. She helped the Chapter President organize the Chapter’s monthly meetings and took our Chapter members to the State and National Conventions. She also takes Chapter members to social activities such as going out to eat, trips to the beach, trips to the zoo, fishing, to picnics, to museums and aquariums etc. She organizes (makes appointments and drives clients) to the Gift of Sight Program for the Center which pays for those who have financial needs to have an eye exam and purchase glasses. She helps to organize school screenings in partnership with The Laurens Lions Club and keeps count of the numbers of those who are screened for grant purposes. This program allows them to go into all the schools and daycares in Laurens County and screen for vision and hearing. She also helps to organize quarterly Community Health Screenings. The Bell Center and Laurens Chapter partners with the Presbyterian Pharmacy School and the Bell Federation Center Advisory Board offers these screenings free to the public. The Community Health Screenings check for vision, hearing, height, weight BMI, diabetes and cholesterol.  She has attended fifteen State Conventions and three National Conventions over the past fifteen years

Her hobbies include cooking, fishing, playing guitar, singing and spending time with her family.  She also volunteers to help children get to and from City baseball practice during the spring months and she is always on call for any blind or legally blind person 24/7.We salute Ginger Landreth for your years of dedicated work with the blind in Laurens County so that they too can “live the lives they want.”

 

Final Thought:  If you are an NFB of SC District Board Member, have a teleconference with the chapter presidents in your district or schedule a group activity to bolster enthusiasm and member participation.  Better yet, make it a point to visit each chapter in your district in 2019.

 

1692

 

January 16, 2019
Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others
From:  Frank Coppel, President
Positive Note 1692
Greetings Fellow Federationists:

Now that the 2019 state wide seminar is behind us, let’s look ahead at two of the activities which will be occurring during the next couple of months in the NFB of SC.
Please do not forget to purchase your tickets to attend the fourth annual Sweetheart dance sponsored by the NFB of SC which will be held on Saturday, February 16, 2019 at the Federation Center of the Blind from 5:00 p.m. to 9 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.  Photos of you having fun with your sweetie or a friend will be taken and can be purchased during the dance for a nominal charge.  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 6, 2019.  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
On Saturday, March 16, 2019 the NFB of SC will host a Leadership Seminar at the Federation Center of the Blind from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Lunch will be provided.  All members are encouraged to attend and there will be no charge for the seminar.  I plan to start developing a program for this seminar in the very near future.  If you have any suggestions for agenda items, please feel free to contact me at (803) 796-8662 or email me at frankcoppel@att.net.
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 2019.  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 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.
Congratulations to Loretta Green, NFB of SC District one state board member and chapters in her district (Charleston, Upper Dorchester, Georgetown, Conway) for meeting by telephone Monday evening to discuss ways to financially assist Rocky Bottom.  Loretta informed me the meeting lasted for approximately an hour and plans are to raise funds and collect needed items for Rocky Bottom.  They would like to accomplish this goal by the Leadership Seminar on March 16.  It is my understanding Isaiah Nelson, one of our NFB of SC at large board members, is also assisting with this project.
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 we are spotlighting a very busy and involved federationist who makes a difference in work with the blind.  I am speaking of Jennifer Duffell-Hoffman who was born and raised in Fairfax County, Virginia.  Her parents were Floridians. They raised her brother and her in Virginia.  Jennifer’s husband Bob was born in Erie, Pennsylvania and was raised in Buffalo, New York and Erie. Their sons Michael and Matthew were born in North Carolina and Andrew was born in Lancaster, South Carolina.  They lived in Lancaster since 2003.  Jennifer’s dad died in April of 2018.  Her mother lives two blocks from her and Jennifer’s brother and his family lives in North Carolina.
Jennifer graduated from James Madison High School in Vienna, Virginia, and from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia with a Bachelor’s in Social Work.  She worked in retail for about eight years before and during college. After college she worked at a half-way house for male nonviolent offenders, for Parks and Recreation in a before and after school care, for a county Department of Social Services as a Transportation Coordinator for Medicaid, for a community college as an Adult Education Instructor and as an instructor in English as a second language. When Michael was born in 1998 she quit working, with the very brief exceptions of working the 2000 and 2010 US Census as an Enumerator, to stay home with him.  Matthew was born in 2000 and Andrew in 2003; her intention was to return to work, but Michael was diagnosed with cone-rod dystrophy in 2005 and Matthew in 2006 and she started learning about being the mother to two blind sons with IEPs in a school not experienced in educating blind students. During those years Jennifer volunteered frequently at the grade school and for six years weekly in the library at the middle school, she spent three years helping to establish the Lancaster County Community Garden and she was the NFB BELL Academy Coordinator for four years.  In January of 2017 she applied to the Lancaster County School District and was hired as an aid in a classroom of primarily autistic middle school students. She was good at the work and enjoyed the job greatly but left when her dad required care in the last weeks of his life. She has not returned to work because Michael, her eldest, has returned home after three semesters of college. Michael has started at USC Lancaster and Jennifer is helping him to learn how to get organized and stay on track in college. She receives occasional calls from other parents of blind kids and from educators and other professionals engaged with blind students and assists them by sharing her experiences and by sharing the resources she is familiar with.
Jennifer Duffell-Hoffman had heard about the NFB previously but it was in April of 2011 when Michael and Jennifer attended the NFB Legislative Advocacy in Washington DC. In July of 2012 Matthew and Jennifer attended the NFB Project Innovation. Both times they stayed at the Jernigan Institute and both programs separated the parents from their blind children. It was with Matthew that she saw an immediate change in his self-confidence and he quickly asked to attend a National Convention, so our entire family first attended a National Convention and the NOPBC Conference in 2013.  She attended the state convention four times, in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018 and the national convention/NOPBC Conference also four times in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2018.  From 2014 to 2017 she was the State Coordinator for NFB Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning Academy in S.C. She is the parent contact for parents of blind children in S.C. Unfortunately her schedule doesn’t permit her to attend the Lancaster Chapter meetings but she has the pleasure of driving the Lancaster Chapter President, Daisy Drakeford and two to four additional members to the State Seminar annually.
As hobbies she loves watching her sons run cross country and wrestle. All three boys have been on the Lancaster High School XC team and Matthew and Andrew wrestle. She almost must list driving as a hobby, as she is the primary driver locally and long distance for my family.  She believes that the white cane and Braille, assistive technology and nonvisual skills equal independence and should be taught to blind students in our schools and that parents of blind children should push for their children to learn these skills. She also believes that blind mentors are a tremendously important part of the upbringing of a blind child and that without the NFB Bob and she could not have helped Michael and Matthew to reach their full potential. The best thing for a blind child is the Federation Family.  Let’s salute a mother who extended what she does for her blind children into an example for what parents of blind children should experience in raising their own children.
Our NFB President, Mark Riccobono included some wonderful comments on my beloved wife Betty in his Presidential Release of January 4, 2019.

Final Thought:  Try to recruit at least one new chapter member in 2019.  We could double our size in just one year!

 

1691

 

January 9, 2019
Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others
From:  Frank Coppel, President
Positive Note 1691
Greetings Fellow Federationists:

I want to thank all of you who attended the 49th annual Statewide Seminar this past Saturday.  When Shelley and I walked into the Federation Center at 9:30 Saturday morning, both of us could feel the energy and enthusiasm permeating throughout the meeting hall.  165 Federationists from across the state were in attendance which is probably one of the largest gatherings we have had for the statewide seminar in many years.  I was told every seat in the room was filled when the Seminar was called to order at 10:00 a.m.  Ed Bible did an excellent job moderating a panel discussion entitled, “How Assistive Technology has increased my independence.” The audience heard from three students, Connie Davis of Lexington, Lauren Martin of Fort Mill, and Brieanna Haney of Red Bank who discussed their experiences receiving virtual training in the use of assistive technology from the instructional staff of the Federation Center.  All three heads of agencies who provide services to the blind, Kyle Walker, Director of VR services of the SC Commission for the Blind, Dr. Paige McCraw, President of the SC School for the Deaf Blind, and Sandy Knowles, Director, of Talking Book Services gave presentations.  We wished Kyle Walker the best of luck as he will be leaving the Commission for the Blind on January 11, to accept a position with Stout University in Wisconsin.  We also wished Sandy Knowles the best of luck as she will be retiring from Talking Book Services on January 11.
Thom Spittle did an excellent job as auctioneer as we raised $765 for Rocky Bottom.  Rocky Bottom also received $141 from a 50/50 raffle conducted by Isaiah Nelson.  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 Lenora Robertson to serve as alternate delegate to the NFB National convention in Las Vegas.  The board discussed the 2019 state convention which will be held at the Columbia Marriot onn August 9-11.  The cost of a room will be $112 per night for up to four in a room.  There will be an additional 14 percent tax added to each room.  During the RBRCCB board of Directors meeting a suggestion was made to designate a specific work day at Rocky Bottom for chapters. Details and a date regarding this work day will be announced during the next few weeks.  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 several of the students who participated in a Mentoring program which was held at the Federation Center.  Congratulations to James Byers, a member of the Cherokee County chapter who was the seller of the winning ticket and his nephew Tommy who purchased the winning ticket.  Also, congratulations to the Columbia Chapter for selling 1,555 Las Vegas national convention tickets and finishing in first place.  The Sumter Chapter finished second selling 707 bus tickets and the Cherokee County Chapter finished third selling 172 tickets.  A grand total of 3,707 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 also 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 regarding the 2019 NFB of SC Sweetheart dance.  “The NFB of SC Sweethearts Dance will be hosted at the Federation Center, Saturday, February 16, 2019 from 5:00 p.m.—9:00 p.m. Tickets are $25.00 in advance. Please email, Debra Canty at (debra.canty@frontier.com) or call me at (803) 775-5792 for ticket information.
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, to start off the New Year on the right foot, we are spotlighting a longtime federation member who has made a difference in the lives of blind South Carolinians in all parts of the state.  I am speaking of Thom Spittle of Columbia.
Thom Spittle was born in Massachusetts and traveled around the country, working in Florida and California, until moving to South Carolina about 20 years ago. This is when Thom’s retinal disease, called retinitis pigmentosa started to gradually take his sight.
Thom was introduced to the National Federation of the Blind while a consumer at the South Carolina Commission for the Blind. Thom was a Chapter President in Darlington County and the Easley Chapter President, while working as the Resident Manager at Rocky Bottom. In 2010, Thom met his current wife, Tracy, and moved to Columbia in 2011, where they formed a family with step sons Jonathan and Nicholas Bundy.  Thom also has a son, Tommy, from a previous marriage.
Thom joined the Federation Center team in 2013 as a JAWS instructor, and currently holds certifications in JAWS as well as Zoomtext. Thom is starting his first term on the Columbia Chapter Board, as he was elected to the office of Treasurer at the October meeting.  At last Saturday’s January 5 Statewide Seminar Thom was the Auctioneer, raising $765 for Rocky Bottom.
As a Computer Technology Instructor, Thom has touched the lives of many blind adaptive technology students including two blind veterans he has performed evaluations for in 2018.  Placing the world at their fingertips opens new avenues of personal computing, career development and access to the outside world, helping the blind to “Live the Life They Want!”

Final Thought:  The Statewide Seminar recharges our federation batteries so use the power to make a difference!

1690

 

January 2, 2019
Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others
From:  Frank Coppel, President
Positive Note 1690
Greetings Fellow Federationists:

Happy New Year!  I hope all of you had a wonderful Holiday season and are now ready to begin 2019 with a great deal of enthusiasm and energy.  Although we were successful in the NFB of SC in 2018 in such areas as, reorganizing the South Carolina Association of Blind Students, revitalizing the Darlington chapter, finishing in the top ten in attendance in Orlando at our 2018 national convention, and hosting a national senior’s retreat at Rocky Bottom, I believe 2019 will present the NFB of SC with many more challenges and hopefully accomplishments.
If you have not notified the Federation Center as to whether you are planning to attend the Statewide Seminar on January 5, 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 Las Vegas national convention 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.
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 January 15, 2019.  The deadline for NFB of SC state dues is January 31.
2019 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 5!
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.
Happy New Year.  2018 is now past and we have a New Year and we have plenty of opportunity for additional service to the federation.  This includes the upcoming Statewide Seminar being held this Saturday.  Perhaps you may have wondered why a seminar has been held each year for nearly 45 years and how it got started.  The origin dates back to my many years as a Claims Adjuster for Colonial Life.  The company determined that certain seminars for management improvement were needed as I was invited to those early seminars.  The company designed these programs to improve the management of the company.  This included seminars for various departments including claims, underwriting, agents, legal, etc.  The company brought in several USC business specialists to provide for these basic needs.  Individuals in their official capacity were given training to improve service to policyholders, etc.  I recall on one occasion when Colonial brought in a speaker from UNC Chapel Hill.  Seminar forms were designed including relevant issues.  On one occasion I was given a seminar form.  There was a question asking Colonial employees as to the greatest job complaints.  I answered the question as follows:  “People.”  I was right.  It occurred to me that Colonial Life seminars could benefit the federation by having its own seminar.  This was tried and turned out to be a most successful program.  In the beginning of the federation seminars, there was a select attendance such as state and local officers.  As time went by it was determined that everyone across the state should be invited.  Some 45 years later those seminars have developed programs in which guests are invited.  Agency heads also participate in these annual seminars.  This enables the NFB of SC to cover important issues which otherwise would not be discussed.  We have fundraising, national travel plans, and reports by the state President and other officers including Rocky Bottom and the Federation Center.  There are auctions and members generously participate.  A complimentary lunch is served.  The turnout is wonderful.  Once again I want to thank you sincerely for your many expressions in memory of my beloved wife.  The living memorials have been generous including numerous communications.  These have been inspirational feelings of encouragement from my fellow federationists and others.

Final Thought:  Happy New Year!  As the church hymn says:  “I am resolved no longer to linger.”

1689

 

December 26, 2018
Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others
From:  Frank Coppel, President
Positive Note 1689
Greetings Fellow Federationists:

It is now time to begin making plans to attend the 2019 NFB national convention.  For the first time in our history, the largest annual gathering of the organized blind will be in Las Vegas, Nevada. The National Federation of the blind is excited to be hosting our convention at the beautiful Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino (3950 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, Nevada 89119). As is the case every year, the NFB has once again arranged for exceptional room rates. Unlike in years past, the same enviable rate of $99 per night applies to singles and doubles as well as triples and quads. Hotel and sales taxes are 13.38 percent and 8.25 percent, respectively. The resort fee (normally $37 a night) will be waived for NFB convention attendees. However, fees for internet access, local and toll-free calls, and fitness center access may apply. To make reservations for the 2019 convention, you can call the hotel at 877-632-7800 after January 1. The hotel 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, 2019, half of the deposit will be returned. Otherwise refunds will not be made.
If you have not notified the Federation Center as to whether you are planning to attend the Statewide Seminar on January 5, 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 Las Vegas national convention 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 5.  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 2019 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 5.  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, 2019.  The deadline for NFB of SC state dues is January 31, 2019, so why wait!
I hope Santa was good to each of you yesterday and that everyone in our Federation family had a very merry Christmas.  It was a busy time for Shelley and myself as we enjoyed spending Christmas morning with our son Matt, our daughter-in-law Brielle and their three children Asher eight, Eli five, and Norah, one.  Christmas afternoon, we enjoyed spending time with our daughter, Laura, our son-inn-law Malcolm, and their three children Aubrey, four, and with eight month old twins Hayden and Luke.  The best gift we received yesterday, was having Luke home from the hospital.  As many of you know, our grandson Luke was critically ill spending three weeks in the pediatric intensive care unit at Palmetto Richland Children’s Hospital.  Shelley and I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your phone calls, prayers, and your generous contributions to financially assist Laura and Malcolm during this extremely stressful time.  Shelley and I are extremely fortunate and blessed to be members of such a caring 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.  Joining me for comments in this Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC.  Here is Dr. Capps.
I sincerely hope that all of you had a joyous and meaningful Christmas.  It was the first time in 70 years that Betty and I were not together.  Nine days ago on Monday, December 17 Betty passed away after suffering from Alzheimer’s for several years.  While I miss her terribly, in my heart I know that Betty is better off and is in Heaven.  There was good attendance at the service on Thursday, December 20.  I appreciated the many federation members and friends who have been so kind and thoughtful.  The national office in Baltimore was represented by Mrs. Mary Ellen Jernigan at the funeral.  I want to thank each and every one of you who made a special effort to come to the church service including representatives from several different chapters.  I have received so many expressions of kindness including sympathy cards and flowers, etc.  We have already received several living memorials.  My immediate family, including three grandchildren were also present.  These included my granddaughter Laura Setters of Louisville, Michael Holdcraft of Louisville and Aaron Holdcraft of Pittsburg.  My former son-in-law, David Holdcraft of Louisville also made the long trip to attend the service.  My Pastor, Rev. Terry Smoak, presented a meaningful message.  I wanted the federation, my family members and my neighbors to serve as pall bearers.  The federation was represented by three of its members as pall bearers including David Houck, Larry Warrington and Barry Chavis.  My two grandsons, Michael and Aaron Holdcraft were also pall bearers.  My next door neighbor Bruce Walker was the sixth pall bearer.  Some 40 years ago Bob Crombie, a USC staff member from Melbourne, Australia, taught an exercise class at the Federation Center while he was in Columbia.  I received a sympathy expression from Mr. Crombie.  So many have asked me how I am doing in grieving over Betty’s loss and all I can say is that I’m doing the best that I can.  I would be remiss if I did not publicly thank my son Craig Capps for the tremendous help he has given in handling all of the many details.  He did a lot of work on the obituary column and he was responsible for arranging some of the best pictures we have of Betty.  This will be the last Positive Note for the year 2018 but I’m going to do the best I can for the New Year.

Final Thought:  From Christmas presents to a New Year full of renewal, promise and rededication.

 

1688

 

December 19, 2018
Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others
From:  Frank Coppel, President
Positive Note 1688
Greetings Fellow Federationists:

These past few days have been extremely sad in the NFB of SC as two of our members in our Federation family have gone to be with our heavenly Father.  On Saturday evening, December 15, Padgett McKenzie, a long time federation member, passed away after being seriously ill for the past three weeks.  Padgett was president of the Columbia chapter when Gail, my first wife, and I became members of the NFB of SC In the mid 1970’s.  Padgett and Emily loved Rocky Bottom, attended numerous Senior Camps, and generally supported the activities of    our affiliate.  Padgett was a valued colleague, a close friend and he will be greatly missed.  All of us in our federation family need to keep Padgett’s wife, Emily and the rest of the McKenzie family in our thoughts and prayers.
On Monday, December 16, Betty Capps, who will always be the “First Lady” of the NFB of SC, passed away after being in poor health for several years.  Mrs. Capps devotion and dedication to both Dr. Capps and to the National Federation of the Blind will always be unparalleled.  Mrs. Capps love for the NFB not only significantly impacted the lives of the blind in South Carolina but also the blind nationwide.  Mrs. Capps was a very special lady and she will be greatly missed by all of us.  Our federation family needs to keep Dr. Capps, son Craig, and the Capps family in our thoughts and prayers.
Thursday, December 13, was a very busy day as Shelley and I traveled to Pageland, SC where we attended the Chesterfield County Chapter Christmas luncheon.  Approximately 30 people were in attendance for the luncheon and it was very evident Nancy Reyes, Chapter President, is doing an outstanding job.  The chapter treated everyone to a delicious lunch and everyone enjoyed a great deal of fellowship with each other.  It was also great to see the First Vice President of the NFB of SC, Lenora Robertson and her daughter, Ellen Taylor.  Thursday evening, Shelley and I had the pleasure of attending the Columbia Chapter Christmas party.  Close to 100 people were in attendance and everyone enjoyed a delicious cover dish feast.
By now all of you should have received your Statewide Seminar Letter.  Please fill out the form at the end of the Statewide Seminar letter and return it to the State Office as soon as possible.  You can also call the State Office at (803) 254-3777 and let us know if you are planning to attend the Statewide Seminar on Saturday, January 5, 2019.  Please notify the State Office of your intentions in order that we may have an accurate count for the luncheon which will be free of charge.  For many years, we have conducted an auction throughout the day of the seminar to raise money for the Federation Center.  However, this year, all the money raised from the auction will be given to Rocky Bottom to help to offset the cost of much needed repairs at our camp.  Be sure to bring items for the auction such as, cakes, pies, cookies, gift baskets, and electronics.  Also, please continue to sell your Las Vegas National Convention tickets.  You can either mail your ticket stubs and money to the Federation Center or bring them with you to the Seminar on Saturday, January 5.  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 2019 to the state office.  It is imperative we have accurate contact information such as your name, address, phone number and email address if applicable.  This information does change from time to time and if we do not have updated information, we cannot keep you up to date on what’s going on.  Also, our national office is requiring each state affiliate to submit a list of members and their contact information by January 15, 2019.  The deadline for NFB of SC state dues is January 31, 2019, so why wait!
Yesterday morning, Rocky Bottom received a very special Christmas gift from a longtime friend and member of the NFB of SC, C.A. Gatlin who gave two significant contributions in memory of his wife, “Tootsie” Gatlin and his daughter, Tammy.
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:  Christmas snow is pure, Christmas morning is wonder, and Christmas togetherness with family is like the manger scene with Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus.

1687

 

December 12, 2018
Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others
From:  Frank Coppel, President
Positive Note 1687
Greetings Fellow Federationists:

On Saturday, December8, I traveled to Hartsville, SC for the purpose of revitalizing the Darlington County chapter of the NFB of SC.  I am very pleased to announce, Garrett Mosely, NFB of SC state board member from the sixth district and one of our assistive technology instructors at the Federation Center was elected president of the chapter.  Although the turnout was small because of the inclement weather, I feel certain under the leadership of President Mosley, the chapter will grow significantly and represent the blind well in Darlington County.
The spirit of the holiday season is very apparent throughout the NFB of SC as many chapters are holding their Christmas parties during this month.  On Friday evening, December 7, NFB of SC state Treasurer, Valerie Warrington and her husband Larry represented the state organization as they attended the Anderson Chapter Christmas party.  Valerie reported there were approximately thirteen people in attendance and she was very pleased to spend time with Jenny Smith, who along with her late husband Jimmie Smith founded the Anderson Chapter approximately forty-five  years ago.  On Saturday, December 8, David Houck, Director of the Federation Center and his wife Darleen represented the NFB of SC as they attended the Spartanburg chapter Christmas party.  David reported the Spartanburg Chapter meeting was attended by 18 members.  Milton Tant, chapter president could not be there because of the cold and rain; however, he did speak to the chapter by telephone during the meeting.
Last evening, December 11, Shelley and I had the pleasure of attending the 45th Annual Christmas Banquet Gala hosted by the Sumter Chapter.  Approximately 400 people attended this year’s banquet and Debra Canty, President of the Sumter chapter again did an excellent job presiding over the festivities.  As usual, the program for the evening was extremely impressive.  It was great to see NFB of SC leaders Loretta Green, President of the Upper Dorchester County chapter and her husband Henry, Linda Dizzly, President of the Lee County chapter, and Jennifer Bazer, Director of the Successful Transition Program at the gala as well.  Also, last evening, Ed Bible and his wife Julie represented the NFB of SC as they attended the Laurens County chapter Christmas party.  Ed stated there were 50 individuals in attendance which included members of the Laurens Lions Club and officials from the City of Laurens.  He further stated the gathering was entertained by a blue grass band and Helen McNuer did an excellent job presiding over the meeting
I am very sad to report Carolyn Bagwell, a charter member of our Laurens Chapter, passed away this past weekend.  I first met Carolyn in the late 1970’s at the Commission for the Blind where she was receiving training at the Ellen Beach Mack Rehabilitation Center.  Since that time, whenever I would see Carolyn, whether it was at the state convention or at one of the Laurens chapter meetings, she would always give me a hug.  All of us in our federation family need to keep the Bagwell family and the Laurens Chapter 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.
Christmas is just around the corner.  Actually there are only two weeks remaining from today, December 11 until Christmas.  I believe that Christmas brings out the very best in everyone.  It is a beautiful season.  The NFB of SC and its affiliates participate in the Christmas season which is consistent with the spiritual purpose of the federation.  Federation Christmas parties are in full swing.  I am sure some chapter is holding Christmas this very evening.  The Christmas Board Retreat at Ro0cky Bottom is regarded as the beginning of the Christmas season.  I remember that my first federation Christmas experience occurred in 1953.  I attended the Columbia meeting at that particular time.  I’ve seen so many federation successes in the NFB of SC.  We don’t generally think of the NFB of SC as affiliates owning and operating seven different facilities including five at Rocky Bottom consisting of the Osterneck Cottage, Oglesby Cottage, the Dr. Samuel Miller Lawton Memorial Hall, the Ellenburg Lodge and the Conference Center.  Throw in an Olympic sized swimming pool and you have quite a complex.  The sixth NFB of SC facility is the Robert R. Bell Federation Center of the Blind in Laurens.  Last, but not least, the Federation Center of the Blind in Columbia was dedicated on October 15, 1961.  These fine facilities are not for sale but they certainly add a great deal to the NFB of SC programs.  The first Christmas I remember occurred in my hometown of Mullins in 1933 when I was five years old.  We lived in a large two story plantation facility where we operated a tobacco farm.  After opening the doors that 1933 Christmas morning, my sister Loretta who was 23 months older than I, walked around the side of the house and we decided we had located Santa’s footsteps where he had entered the house.  No one could have questioned this major decision.  Both our children, Craig and Beth really enjoyed Christmas.  In 1958 Craig received an electric railroad track and train as well as a piccolo.  Both of these items are still in excellent shape and in storage in our current residence.  Craig does not want anyone to disturb the railroad and piccolo.  Beth loved her dolls.  This year let’s try to make it the best Christmas ever in the federation.

Final Thought:  Christmas is the time to think of giving to others as we see the joy in them because of your thoughtfulness.

1686

 

December 5, 2018

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

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1686

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

The 39th 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 2019 edition of Children’s camp will be held June 9, to June 16.  The dates for the 2019 Senior Camps will be May 19-23 and September 15-19.  I announced to the Board I have decided to step down as Senior Camp Director and I have asked Shelley Coppel and Shannon Cook to be co-directors of Senior camp.

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 such as repairing, termite damage, extensive mold remediation in Osterneck and other repairs.  Mr. Bible also thanked Jimmie and Frank Masters for their role in securing a $1500 contribution from the Rocky Bottom Baptist Church to repair roof leaks in Osterneck, Oblesby Cottages and the Conference Center.  Mr. Bible also recognized the individuals, church groups, and civic organizations who have volunteered their services in the area of building and ground maintenance during the past year at Rocky Bottom.  However, Mr. Bible pointed out that much work still needs to be done in Osterneck Cottage, the Conference Center, and the septic tanks.  Mr. Bible further stated Rocky Bottom is our camp and the blind need to do a better job “stepping up to the plate” and taking a more active role in the upkeep and maintenance of our facilities.  The board had an extensive discussion regarding the need to raise much needed funds for Rocky Bottom.  We discussed the Midlands Gives program which is held the first Tuesday in May as well as grant writing, and other possible fund raisers.  The board discussed the 2018 Fun Day Festival and ideas as to how we can significantly improve the overall proceeds for the camp.

During the NFB of SC State Board meeting, a variety of topics were discusd.  Debra Canty reported the fourth annual Sweetheart Dance will be held on Saturday, February 16, 2019 at the Federation Center of the Blind.  All proceeds raised from the dance will be given to the NFB of SC.  Ed Bible, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Federation Center and David Houck Federation Center of the Blind Director, gave an excellent report.  It was reported the Federation Center continues to be financially sound and the Center has expanded its assistive technology training programs this past year.  It was also reported the Federation Center is currently undergoing much needed renovations throughout the building.  The board also heard a report from Jennifer Bazer, Director of the NFB of SC Successful Transitions program.  Ms. Bazer reported the program was doing very well and that a new Mentoring component for blind students was recently added to her program.  The Washington Seminar was discussed and will begin on Sunday, January 27, 2019 with the “great gathering in” meeting being held on Monday, January 28, at 5:00 p.m.  Room rates for the Washington Seminar are $196 per night plus a 14.95 percent room tax.  Please call the Holiday Inn Capitol (877) 572-6951 and referencing booking code NB8 to make your reservation.  All reservations must be made by December 28.  If you wish to attend or have questions regarding the Washington Seminar, please call me at (803) 796-8662.  The 2019 state convention will be held in Columbia at the Marriott Hotel the weekend of August 9-11.  This will be a very specially event as we will be celebrating our 75th anniversary of our organization.

Saturday evening was spent celebrating the Christmas season with caroling, exchanging of gifts, and sampling a variety of delicious desserts.  We also recognized members of the Rocky Bottom Baptist Church for their generosity and support towards RBRCCB during this past year.  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.  Joining me for comments in this Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC.  Here is Dr. Capps.

Many of us know Trent Tedder through his association with Marty McKenzie.  As a Clarendon Chapter associate member, Trent is quite involved with not only the blind but also the hard of hearing in his work. Trent Tedder was born and raised in Florence, SC.  He currently lives in West Columbia. Trent graduated from West Oak High School in Westminster, SC. Trent’s mother, father, brother and one sister are deceased. He has two sisters that are living and he has a strong relationship with his nieces and nephews.

Trent is a Program Assistant at the SC School for the Deaf and the Blind. He has worked there for seven years. He works closely as the Statewide Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consultant, Project Magnify and the Division of Outreach in general. He previously worked in retail, manufacturing and as a pest control technician. He spent five years in the US Army as an Attach Helicopter Mechanic. He also served during Operation Desert Storm.

Trent Tedder has been an associate member of the Clarendon County NFB Chapter since 2009. He was introduced to the NFB by Marty McKenzie, the chapter president. He particularly enjoys his work with the blind and assists wherever he is needed.  Trent has attended eight state conventions and eight national conventions.

Trent works with Project Magnify which provides low vision clinics and devicse for up to thirty students statewide each year. He also completed a Literary Braille course offered from USC Upstate in 2010. He has worked as a Statewide Vision Consulted in the past. He served as APH Ex Officio Trustee Assistant from 2011 to 2018 and has attended several American Printing House for the Blind Annual Meetings.

Trent enjoys spending time with family and friends. He also enjoys cooking, watching Netflix and Hulu.  Trent attends Cornerstone Ministries in Lake City, SC, where he also runs the sound system for services and assists with Sunday School materials and bulletin productions.  Let’s salute Trent Tedder for his dedicated service to the blind and others both in and outside the federation!

 

Final Thought:  Will you be remembered by your service to others?

 

1685

 

November 27, 2018

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

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1685

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

We are 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, November 30, December 1, and December 2, at Rocky Bottom.  Saturday, December 1, 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.  Additionally, we are asking each board member and chapter president who will be attending the Board Retreat, to contribute such items as Toothbrushes, toothpaste, Kleenex, shower jell, shampoo, lady’s and men’s socks, and candy.                These will be placed in gift bags and will be donated to residents of a small assistive living facility located in Pickens and which is owned and operated by Jimmie Masters a member of the RBRCCB Advisory Board.  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.

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.

As we approach the end of 2018, I would like to remind everyone that this is a great time to pay your 2019 state dues of $10.  Article XII of the NFB of SC state Constitution states “The dues of this organization shall be $10 per year, payable during the month of January.  No person may vote who is delinquent in the payment of his/her dues.”  The dead line for submitting dues is January 31, 2019.

We have an announcement from Constance Miller, President of our Belvedere chapter.  “For the second year in a row the Belvedere Chapter will be participating in our community parade, which will be held December 2nd, at 3 p.m.  Our chapter will decorate our van and walk. We had a great time last year!  Looking forward to being among our community participants and spectators alike, meeting new people to show that blindness is not what holds us back, we can live the life we want, and have FUN!”

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

Now that the 2018 Thanksgiving holiday is history, we will be busy full-time with the Christmas season.  I wish it were possible for me to attend the annual Christmas board retreat at RBRCCB but that is not feasible.  RBRCCB is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.  The annual board retreat will once again be hosted by RBRCCB the first being before the Conference Center was constructed in 1991, as the first one was held in 1979.  Travel with me down memory lane to touch base on some of the early federation activities.  In 1953 I joined the Columbia Chapter which was known then as the Aurora Club.  The original chapter was founded by Dr. Sam M. Lawton in the summer of 1944 in Spartanburg.  The third chapter of the Aurora Club was organized in 1955 in Charleston.  Incidentally, the Columbia Chapter was established in 1947.  Dr. Lawton and I met in Charleston in 1955 and we were successful in organizing the third chapter.  The three chapters came together in Columbia in April 1956 and elected a constitution and elected state officers.  Virtually all of us have been approached by some blind person to join the Aurora Club.  I remember in the 1950’s a very nice but also very shy young lady who was a student at SCSDB when I was there in the early 1940’s.  This was Mildred Yon Kirkland who became elected as President of the Charleston Chapter.  Incidentally, a significant event had just occurred as our own Marshall Tucker has just celebrated his 95th birthday.  I believe Marshall is the only surviving charter chapter member still living.  Thank you Marshall (and your dear wife Lois) for all you have done for the blind throughout the years.  I have been thoroughly blessed by my participation in the organized blind movement throughout the years.  I have met some wonderful persons who happen to be blind.  I’m sure the average federation member would acknowledge that the NFB of SC has enhanced our well-being.  There are too many to report on everyone but I do recall at least one who got their beginning from attending the week set aside at RBRCCB for blind seniors.  I refer to Dorcas Campbell who became acquainted with the NFB of SC by attending the week long senior camp.  She then attended the Chesterfield County Chapter and helped in its development.  Ms. Campbell who just celebrated her 97th birthday recently moved to be with her son in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The Chesterfield County Chapter continues to do well as the result of Ms. Campbell’s leadership before she moved away.  I would also like to thank President Frank and Shelley Coppel for heading up the successful NFB Senior retreat hosted by the NFB Senior Division which included persons from nine states.  My thoughts will be on the Christmas Board Retreat at RBRCB this weekend and no doubt this will be an excellent event.

 

Final Thought:  During Thanksgiving we are grateful for what we have.  During the Christmas season we share our thankfulness with others.

 

 

1684

 

November 21, 2018
Memo To: Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others
From: Frank Coppel, President
Positive Note 1684
Greetings Fellow Federationists:

It appears we will have a good turnout for the 2018 Christmas Board Retreat which will be held at Rocky Bottom the weekend of November 30, December 1, and December 2. Upon your arrival to Rocky Bottom Friday evening November 30, 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, however, we are expecting approximately forty individuals for the weekend and therefore, 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 baked goods such as cakes and cookies so that we have a large variety of Christmas desserts to sample for our Christmas celebration Saturday evening. Additionally, we are asking each board member and chapter president who will be attending the Board Retreat, to contribute such items as toothbrushes, toothpaste, Kleenex, shower jell, shampoo, lady’s and men’s socks, and candy. These will be placed in gift bags and will be donated to residents of a small assistive living facility located in Pickens which is owned and operated by Jimmie Masters a member of the RBRCCB Advisory Board.
We have an announcement from Chris Danielsen, Public Information Director of the national Federation of the Blind. “The holiday season is fast approaching. Once again, the National Federation of the Blind is helping Santa Claus send letters in Braille to young blind children across the country.
More than ten years ago, Santa asked us to be his honorary elves. Ever since, we’ve been helping him send letters in contracted Braille to blind boys and girls who are ten years old and younger in the United States. Along with the Braille letter, Santa includes a print letter so that parents who might not read Braille can follow along. He also includes a fun tactile coloring sheet.
Requests can be made from November 12, 2018, through December 14, 2018. To make a request, fill out the online form located at https://nfb.org/santa-letters. Remember, requests must be received no later than December 14 so that Santa’s letter will arrive before Christmas. We wish all of you a joyful holiday season!”
I am sad to report to all of you Mrs. Pearl Riley, who is a longtime member of the Columbia Chapter, her mother, Viola Martin passed away on Friday, November 16 and the funeral services will be held on Wednesday, November 21st at twelve noon at the Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia. Let’s make sure we keep Pearl and her family in our thoughts and prayers.
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. Joining me for comments in this Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC. Here is Dr. Capps.
Happy Thanksgiving. I’m sure all of us observe the Thanksgiving season, although in different ways. A lot of people visit their relatives during the extended Thanksgiving weekend. Our son Craig has invited us to have Thanksgiving for us this Wednesday and we are reciprocating on Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving is very important as it focuses on our many blessings which we too often take for granted. I remember my first Thanksgiving was in 1939 when I was a student at the SC School for the Blind. I remember most of the students were going home for Thanksgiving but I was among the very few who lived too far to go home as I grew up in the Mullins area. I believe there was one occasion when I was home with one of my friends at School and that was a real treat. People tend not only to give generously at Christmas time but Thanksgiving is also a time of giving. For several years now, the Harvest Church in Lexington has sponsored a Thanksgiving dinner held at the Federation Center. Every description of food is served including turkey and ham and many other delicacies. As the years run by our responsibilities develop. In 1949 Betty and I were married and for some years we looked forward to getting away from work to visit our relatives in Marion and Mullins. This changed when our responsibilities to the NFB board met every Thanksgiving in another state. I believe my first Thanksgiving to be held out of state for an NFB board meeting would be the Thanksgiving in 1959. In July of 1959, just a few months earlier, I was first elected to the NFB board and attending board meetings were very important. I remember the one in 1959 as it was our first airplane flight and we went into a storm over St. Louis, delaying our landing which seemed to be an eternity as I don’t like flying. Our children were born in the 1950’s and we did not like leaving our children back home but we secured two sisters, Aunt Lela and Aunt Mattie, who were two of the nicest sister you’ll ever meet. From 1968, the year our NFB Founder Dr. tenBroek passed away, Dr. Jernigan was elected NFB President and I was elected NFB Second Vice President. Dr. Jernigan was the Director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind and he was in that post for 20 years, 1958-1978. During that ten year period all board meetings were held in Des Monies during the Thanksgiving holiday. In 1978 Dr. Jernigan moved to Baltimore, MD where he established the NFB Center. He remained in Baltimore 20 years, 1978-1998 when he passed away. I attended all NFB board meetings from 1959-2011 when I retired. From 1978-2011, all of that time, NFB board meetings were held in Baltimore every Thanksgiving. I deeply appreciate the blessings I continue to receive from my NFB involvement on a local, statewide and national basis. In conclusion I appreciate the dedication of all our members which makes the NFB such a great organization.

Final Thought: Thanksgiving: gratitude, acknowledgment, appreciativeness, gratefulness, honor, praise, responsiveness, and acknowledgment.

 

1683

 

November 14, 2018
Memo To: Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others
From: Frank Coppel, President
Positive Note 1683
Greetings Fellow Federationists:

Friday, November 9, I had the pleasure of being the guest speaker at the first annual Donor Appreciation luncheon hosted by the Belvedere chapter of the NFB of SC. Approximately thirty to thirty-five individuals consisting of chapter members and sighted persons from the Belvedere community were in attendance. The program was excellent as it provided the audience information regarding the purpose and programs of the NFB and the NFB of SC as well as the important work the Belvedere chapter was doing to educate the surrounding community about the true nature of blindness. As stated to me in an email written to me by Constance Miller, “Events like these give message to those who do not know much about the National Federation of the Blind, and helps to build momentum. And hopefully, bring in new membership.”
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 November 30-December 2. 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.
We are also planning to invite the members of the Rocky Bottom Baptist Church to our Christmas festivities Saturday evening for the purpose of recognizing and thanking them for their generous financial support to RBRCCB this past year. Additionally, we are asking each board member and chapter president who will be attending the Board Retreat, to contribute such items as Toothbrushes, toothpaste, Kleenex, shower jell, shampoo, lady’s and men’s socks, and candy.
These will be placed in gift bags and will be donated to residents of a small assistive living facility located in Pickens and which is owned and operated by Jimmie Masters a member of the RBRCCB Advisory Board. I am confident we will have near 100 percent of our board members in attendance and we will have an excellent turnout of Chapter and Division Presidents present for the weekend.
I trust all of you are continuing to work extremely hard selling your 2019 Las Vegas National Convention tickets. As has been the case in previous years, the costs of each ticket is $1. The drawing will be held at the conclusion of the Statewide Seminar scheduled for Saturday, January 5, 2019. 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 2019 national convention in Las Vegas so Let’s work very hard selling these bus tickets in order that we may be able to provide transportation to as many of our members as possible.
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.
There are several members in the NFB of SC who are ordained ministers. In this week’s Positive Note we are featuring Rev. Charles Cauthen, age 84, who resides in Kershaw and is Chaplain of the Chesterfield County Chapter. Rev. Cauthen was born and raised in Lancaster County and attended the Lancaster County public schools. Following high school he went to work at Grace Bleachery, where they bleach cloth, for seven years. Then he took a job as a Sears’s service employee until 1960 when God called him into the ministry. He enrolled in and graduated from Fruitland Baptist Bible College in Hendersonville, NC. In 1970 he first pastored the Charlesboro Baptist Church in Charlesboro, SC. Then he pastored Bethel Baptist Church until 1977 when he moved to North Carolina where he preached at Beachland Baptist Church for 21 years, located between Monroe and Waynesboro, NC. After that he retired and moved back to South Carolina. He then pastored at Deep Creek Baptist Church in Chesterfield and he still preaches today although he lost his vision in the year 2000. He has been married to his wife Vergie for 63 years and they have three daughters, eight grandchildren and sixteen great-grandchildren. Rev. Cauthen first found out about the Federation when Cathy Thompson worked with him after losing his sight while preaching at Deep Creek. Ms. Thompson was able to secure a number of adaptive technologies for him which enables Rev. Cauthen to continue on in the ministry. The Cauthen’s first joined the Kershaw-Heath Springs Chapter when it met in the bowling alley in Kershaw. After that they joined the Chesterfield County Chapter where he remains the chapter’s Chaplain. They have attended one Columbia NFB of SC Convention. He tells me that some of the members still converse with the former Chesterfield County Chapter President Dorcas Campbell who now resides in Las Vegas and will turn 97 in December. Nancy Reyes, the new chapter President is dealing with some health issues, however, they had 13 members at their November 8 meeting and two new members joined the chapter which is still very active. When Rev. Cauthen had sight, his hobby was oil painting and he enjoyed golf. He states that his lovely wife Vergie is always faithful and supports him in his ministry as well as in service to the blind. His life’s verse comes from Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Let’s give thanksgiving for faithful members like Rev. Charles and Vergie Cauthen for their service in the ministry and to the blind.

Final Thought: Are you old enough to remember when each public school day began with the Pledge of Allegiance, a patriotic song, a short scripture reading and a prayer?

1682

 

November 7, 2018

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

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1682

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

We have two announcements from the weekly President’s Notebook of November5-9.  “After voting in the 2018 midterm election, blind and low vision voters are encouraged to complete our 2018 Blind and Low Vision Voter Experience Survey. Blind and low vision voters who cast their ballot at an early voting center, local polling place on Election Day, or by absentee ballot, should complete the survey at https://www.surveymonkeycom/r/9BBTKZP.”

“From November 1 to November 25, the national student division, with support from our national organization, is accepting applications from students who are in need of financial assistance to attend the 2019 Washington Seminar. Please distribute the below link and encourage students to apply. We need the student voice more than ever! Call Kathryn Webster at 203-273-8463 with any questions.”

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScy9KzkQGSNvmSBSSPdCobgPxtitBaR3NIax2zXhOWpv28OPA/viewform.

The NFB is now accepting applications for the national scholarship program which began this past Thursday, November 1, 2018 and will end on march 31 2019.  This annual program offers thirty scholarships worth from $3,000 to $12,000 to eligible students, from high school seniors beginning their freshman year in the fall semester of 2019, up through graduate students working on their PhD degrees. Go to www.nfb.org/scholarships for complete rules and requirements.  I would like to 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.

We have an announcement from Chris Danielsen, public information director for the National Federation of the Blind.  “The National Federation of the Blind is proud to present brand new radio public service announcements for airplay on local radio stations throughout the United States. Most of the spots are only thirty seconds long, which is usually the preferred length, but we also have a 60-second announcement featuring President Riccobono. In addition, two of the spots are in Spanish. The spots include general announcements about the NFB, as well as messages specifically targeted to parents of blind children, blind parents, and people who are experiencing vision loss but who may not yet identify as blind.  All the announcements are available for you to hear and download at https://nfb.org/psas. We have hired a contractor to distribute the announcements to radio stations across the nation. However, a personal message from an affiliate or local chapter will substantially increase the likelihood that the announcements will receive airplay. Please plan to reach out to your local stations to let them know that the National Federation of the Blind wants to reach blind people and people who are losing vision in every community.“

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 this week’s Positive Note we are highlighting Steve Cook who I am certain most of you know but are not aware of how many things he is involved in concerning serving the blind both in and out of the federation.  Steve Cook was born and raised in Lancaster, SC.

He attended attend school in the Lancaster public school system.  Steve’s mom and dad still live in Lancaster.  He had a brother two years younger than him that passed away in 1989 when he was 20 and he has a sister that also lives in Lancaster and she has two daughters and one grandson.   His youngest brother currently lives in Monroe, NC.  He and his wife just had a daughter that was born in January of this year premature.  She is doing great, Steve loves it every time they come down and he gets to see and hold her.  In the late 80’s, the Commission for the Blind found Steve Cook a job at Burger King in Lancaster.  At this time he had really good vision for someone that was legally blind.  He used to ride a moped to work every day.  In 1990 Steve had a cornea transplant and once his eye healed, he was able to drive.  He went to work for Walmart in Lancaster.  Then his vision started to become worse after his corneas rejected.  Then Steve met Shannon in 1997 at Rocky Bottom the same year he joined the NFB.  He went to the Commission for the Blind to learn JAWS and computers and was in the first Alamo class they had in the call center in 2001.  He learned about every piece of assistive technology he could get his hands on to learn how to use it.  Then he received a call from Ed Bible one day asking him if he would like to be a vampire?  He said, “please explain?” Steve went to work for the Red Cross as a person making outbound phone calls to previous donors to set them up to come in and donate blood again.  During this time Jennifer Bazer worked at the Commission teaching the Red Cross program to people in SC and across the country.  Jennifer moved to Florida and that left the Commission without a person to teach the Red Cross software to people.  Ed Bible interviewed Steve for this position and he was hired on with the Commission for the Blind.  Then he became a JAWS instructor when the Red Cross moved their call center to Atlanta and started closing some of them.  Around 2009, Steve received a promotion to his current position as an Assistive Technology Consultant.  He also wears many hats at the Commission, and one of his favorite hats is his Newsline Administrator hat for the Newsline program.  Steve Cook’s first involvement in the federation was when Martha Robertson invited him to an NFB meeting in the Rock Hill area when he lived in Lancaster.  He has attended all state conventions since 1997 with the exception of the one in 2016.  The reason he missed then is due to Shannon having a medical procedure.  He has attended approximately six National conventions.  Steve Cook has been elected to the following offices:  Computer Science president, 2010 to 2018 and currently is the first vice president; first vice president of the Columbia chapter; he was just elected to the state board this year and he is also on several statewide committees.  Steve is also involved with Rocky Bottom, NFB of SCNet, manages the NFB Face Book page, he is the Web content person for the NFB of SC website, and he promotes different functions for the NFB on social media and on the NFB list serve.  Steve Cook’s hobbies include learning new assistive technology, reading, sports, the Dallas Cowboys and the South Carolina Gamecocks, not to mention NASCAR races.  Steve and Shannon attend enjoy being involved in the NFB and Steve has had his guide dog for nine years as of this past July from Fidelco.  Few have involved themselves more fully in federation activities and philosophy, both as a volunteer and in his career in service to the blind.  We salute you Steve as well as his lovely wife Shannon Cook!

Final Thought:  Thanksgiving comes early this year on November 22 so start counting your blessings!

 

1681

 

October 31, 2018

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

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1681

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

In a couple of days, NFB of SC and RBRCCB Board members as well as chapter and division presidents should be receiving letters regarding the 2018 Christmas Board Retreat which will occur at Rocky Bottom the weekend of November 30, December 1, and December 2.  This will be a busy time since we will be holding two Board meetings beginning with the RBRCCB Board of Directors meeting Saturday, December 1, at 9:30 a.m. and ending with the NFB of SC Board meeting at 2:00 p.m.  Saturday evening will be a time for observing the Christmas season, singing carols, fellowship, and eating delicious desserts.  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 November 30.  I hope we will have a large turnout.  Make plans to be there!

I am sure all of you are working very hard to sell your $1, 2019 Las Vegas National Convention tickets.  Money raised from this fundraiser will be used to financially assist those members who will be attending the NFB national convention July 7-12, 2019 in Las Vegas.  Remember, the drawing will be held at the conclusion of the Statewide Seminar on January 5, 2019.  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.

This is an important reminder to get out tovote either in early voting or on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6. As has occurred in recent elections, there will be a blind-voter-experience survey available sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind. More details on the survey will be included in next week’s Positive Note.

We have an announcement from Isaiah Nelson.  “The third annual Thanksgiving Dinner will be held on Thursday, November 22, 2018 at the Federation Center located at 119 S. Kilbourne Road, Columbia, SC, 29201.  The time of the dinner will be 2:00 o’clock p.m.  The menu consists of:  baked turkey, baked chicken, ham, rice and gravy, dressing, mac and cheese, potato salad, green beans, lima beans, cranberry sauce, sweet potato soufflé, dinner rolls and sweet potato pie and cake.  Drinks will also be served with meals.  The cost of the meal is Fifteen ($15.00) for adults and Seven ($7.00) Dollars for children 5 thru 12 years old.

If you are planning to attend this dinner please bring your money to the Columbia chapter meeting in November.  Also, you may call Dorothy Barksdale at 803-765-1622 if you are planning to attend so that we can get an accurate number of people attending.”

Finally, according to an article written by Caroline Simon from USA TODAY, South Carolina’s favorite Halloween candy is;  Skittles (118,870 pounds), Second Favorite: Candy Corn (97,610 pounds), Third Favorite: Hot Tamales (39,738 pounds).  There you have it.  Enjoy!

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 the spotlight this week we highlight a Sumter Chapter member who has made it possible for the Sumter chapter and her chapter President and NFB of SC Second Vice President Debra Canty to be highly successful.  I am speaking of Diana Singleton.  Diana was born in Hartsville, SC and raised in Sumter, SC.  She attended Sumter High School.  She is the oldest of six children. Her parents had four girls and two boys. Her father passed in 2005 and a sister passed in July 2018. Diana has been married for 37 years. They have two children.  Their son, Dr. Tremain Singleton married La’Kia Sharda Singleton who is a Nurse Practitioner. Their daughter Crystal Gilmore who is a Registered Nurse, is married to Julius Gilmore II, a Computer Programmer. They have two beautiful granddaughters, Khloe and Juliana Gilmore.

Diana has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.  She worked at South Carolina Department of Environmental Control, in the Division of Children’s Rehabilitative Services for 30 years. She retired in May 2010.

Debra Canty and Diana Singleton have been friends since the third grade. When she became blind and later became the President of the Sumter Chapter, Diana followed and she put her to work doing a variety of things.  Diana attends chapter meetings and helps with meals as needed, spearheading our Annual Barbecue sales, helping with the Annual Sweetheart Dance to raise money for the Federation Center, helping with the Sumter Chapter Christmas Gala, and any tasks the chapter or the president requests.  She has driven to and from the Washington Seminar and once from Washington DC because the driver had a family emergency. She drove members to Rocky Bottom and state and national conventions.  She worked with the Columbia Chapter’s annual dinner sale this year, attended the Washington seminar in January and volunteered in the exhibit hall at the National and State conventions.

Her hobbies are reading, traveling and learning about other chapters.  She attends Ebenezer Presbyterian Church in Dalzell, SC.  Diana is the president of the Neighbors Reunion. The Neighbors Reunion is where neighbors come together with past and present neighbors to celebrate the whole weekend, by socializing, reconnecting and worshipping from Friday to Sunday.  Let’s congratulate Diana Singleton who has dedicated her life to the blind in the Sumter Chapter and beyond and to others in helping them to live the life they want!

We extend our deepest sympathy to Columbia Chapter member Joe Urbanek in the loss of his mother Mary Urbanek who passed away on Thursday, October 25.  Mrs. Urbanek was one of the finest people I’ve ever known.  She provided service to a number of Columbia chapter members including considerable transportation.  We first met Mrs. Urbanek many years ago when she lived in Sumter.  She will be greatly missed.

 

Final Thought:  “Skip the trick and give a treat by contributing to the NFB of SC, Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind or to the Federation Center of the Blind.  Remember, its tax deductible, so you get something out of it too!”

 

1680

 

October 24, 2018

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

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1680

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

I am pleased to announce the National Seniors Retreat held at Rocky Bottom and sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind Seniors Division this past week was a tremendous success.  Although there was excitement on Monday afternoon as a result of a horrible accident that occurred approximately 100 yards from the entrance to Rocky Bottom and which unfortunately resulted in the death of a truck driver, the overall training provided to the twelve seniors who participated in the program was well received.  As I reported last week, twelve seniors from across the country were encouraged to use their sleep shades during such training as cane travel, Braille, cooking class, 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 afternoon, we traveled to a nearby apple orchard where the seniors were asked to wear their sleep shades and utilize the 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 Liz Lewis, Shelley Coppel, Tom and Linda Anderson from Kansas, and Ruth Sager.  Other staff included Michael Hartz, Christine Filter, the nurse, Barry Chavis, Carolyn Phillips, Tiffiny Mitchell, who donated drinks for the week, and Linda Bible.  Of course, many thanks goes to Lenora Robertson, Ellen Taylor, JW and Ora Bell Smith for their outstanding work in the kitchen.  Finally, a very special thank you goes to Ruth Sager, President of the National Seniors Division, for her willingness to hold this training program at Rocky Bottom.  President Sager was pleased with the facilities at Rocky Bottom and she indicated to me she is considering to hold a similar training program for seniors in the fall of 2019.

Congratulations to the Anderson Chapter and their President Krystal Reece and member Roxie Reed for holding a very successful Meet the Blind Month activity at a shopping mall in the Anderson area on Saturday October 20.  I understand from Carey Burris members walked through the mall using their white canes.  Other members manned a table and disseminated NFB literature to the public.

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 we spotlight a valued Associate member of the NFB of SC who has made an impact on the federation.  You may recall that he won the Associate Member of the Year Award at the 2018 NFB of SC Columbia Convention this past August.  I am speaking of Larry Warrington whose lovely wife Valerie also won the Donald C. Capps Award at that same convention in August.  Larry was born in Baltimore, Maryland and he moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with his mother when he was 8. So, he has lived most of his life in SC.  Larry attended Myrtle Beach High School, and upon graduating from there, he went to Newberry College. In 1993 he graduated from Newberry with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Accounting.

At the beginning of his career Larry Warrington worked in accounting for a small construction company in Newberry, and then in 1998 he went to work with the SC Office of the State Auditor. In his time at the auditor’s office, he earned his CPA license and progressed to the position of Audit Manager.

Valerie and Larry have been married since June, 2001, though they dated a number of years before then. They met through Valerie’s cousin who worked with him at the construction company in Newberry.

Larry got involved with the Federation through Valerie. He first started by taking her to chapter meetings and it steadily progressed from there. He began providing transportation for local chapter members and assisting with local fundraisers before becoming involved at the state level. He has helped with Fun Day at Rocky Bottom and with Board Retreats. He has assisted with streaming the State Conventions and with the Midlands Gives campaigns. He also assisted Valerie with her duties as Treasurer by getting mail from the Center, taking deposits to the bank, and with data entry.  He has never been to a national convention, but he has been to 20 State Conventions, and numerous state-wide seminars.  He has helped with streaming of the SC State Conventions since 2009. Generally, this involves finding a site on which to broadcast the convention, and monitoring the broadcast during the day.

In his spare time, Larry loves to play with his daughter Alivia and watch college football. He also enjoys doing projects around the house.  With his wife Valerie being President of the Newberry Chapter and Treasurer of Rocky Bottom and the NFB of SC, they work together as a team which deserves our respect for their dedication of time, energy and resources, making a difference in the federation.

 

Final Thought:  “Braille places the world at your fingertips!”

 

1679

 

October 17, 2018

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

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1679

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 Friday, October 12, to do some last minute preparation prior to the start of the program which began on Sunday, October 14, and will conclude on Saturday, October 20.  Twelve seniors representing nine states (Utah, Oklahoma, Michigan, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, New Jersey and South Carolina) are learning blindness skills such as: cane travel, Braille, home management, organizational skills, and assistive technology.  These seniors are wearing a sleep shade 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.  Although there have been NFB groups such as the National Association of Parents of Blind  Children (NOPBC) and a group of students from the Louisiana Center for the Blind’s summer program who have conducted  similar programs in the past at Rocky Bottom, we have not had this type of training occur at our facilities for many years.  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.

We have an announcement from Steve Cook, NFB of SC Website Content Administrator. “It is time to begin thinking about upcoming events for 2019 in the NFB of SC!  If you have an event in 2019 and you would like for the information to be posted on the NFB of SC website.  Send it to 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.”

Constance Miller, President of our Belvedere Chapter says, “The Belvedere Chapter had its White Cane Awareness Walk and Meet the Blind Month activity this past Saturday, October 13th, at the North Augusta Recreation Center, from 10:00 a.m. until noon. We walked on the greenway.  We handed out NFB flyers and information on the white cane.”

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.

As all of you know, October is Meet the Blind Month and this is an important event as the blind need to do everything possible to improve relations with sighted persons.  In last week’s Positive Note we provided readers with the White Cane Safety Day Proclamation signed by Gov. Henry McMaster.  Federationists across the state are giving a lot of attention to promoting public awareness and you have my appreciation.  One of the memorable legislative initiatives I recall was the White Cane Law which was authored by our founder, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek.  Some valuable information is provided in the White Cane Law adopted by this state in the late Summer of 1972.  The preamble of the White Cane Law which is prominently displayed in the Center’s Legislative Hall of Fame states that, “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.”  The section creating the White Cane Safety Day is as follows, SECTION 43-33-50. White Cane Safety Day.   Each year, the Governor shall take suitable public notice of October fifteenth as White Cane Safety Day. He shall issue a proclamation in which:

(a) He comments upon the significance of the white cane;

(b) He calls upon the citizens of the State to observe the provisions of the White Cane Law and to take precautions necessary to the safety of the disabled;

(c) He reminds the citizens of the State of the policies with respect to the disabled herein declared and urges the citizens to cooperate in giving effect to them;

(d) He emphasizes the need of the citizens to be aware of the presence of disabled persons in the community and to keep safe and functional for the disabled the streets, highways, sidewalks, walkways, public buildings, public facilities, other public places, places of public accommodation, amusement and resort, and other places to which the public is invited, and to offer assistance to disabled persons upon appropriate occasions.”

You will note that this important legislation is the basis of equal treatment of the blind in society.  When we approached the SC General Assembly several decades ago about the White Cane Law, as I recall, there was not one vote against the bill in either the House or the Senate.  The White Cane Law created the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.  I am glad to have this opportunity of providing you with the actual language used in the statute and we are indebted to Dr. tenBroek for authoring this invaluable tool.

 

Final Thought:  “Learning new skills makes one more independent.  Sharing those skills with others makes many independent.”

 

1678

 

October 10, 2018

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

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1678

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

We have an announcement from Thom Spittle, President of the Computer Science and Technology Division.  “The Computer Science & Technology Division of the NFB of SC will be holding a workshop this Saturday, October 13, 2018, at the Federation Center of the Blind, 119 S. Kilbourne Road Columbia, SC, from 10am to noon.  This is a free workshop. This workshop will focus on the Seeing AI app for IOS, but there will be plenty of time to get help on any tech related issues you may have.  If you have any questions, or would like us to hold a spot for  you at the workshop, call 803-402-3526, and leave your name and a contact number.  See you there.”

We have an announcement from Debra Canty, President of the Sumter chapter regarding her chapter’s Meet the Blind month activities.  “The Sumter Chapter members were involved as we introduced ourselves to the community, raised blind awareness at the Sumter County Fair and was given information on other people who are blind and offer them information as well. We offered information on blindness, offered bus fund tickets, gave away candy, brochures, Braille cards, Kernel books, chapter information and we met so many people interested in our display of blind paraphernalia. Kudos to Lee and Laura James for decorating the informative fair booth on blindness. There were (30) members that attended church last Sunday, where Herbert Boykin raised blind awareness during the morning service. Another area church invited us to their Wednesday evening program and Jan Lewis demonstrated technology and shared how she lives the life she wants. We plan to be out and about in the community and especially during October observing blind awareness month.”

As state president, I appreciate those individuals and chapters who have notified me regarding their chapter’s Meet the Blind Month activity and I will continue to share this information in future Positive Notes.  As I have already stated previously, a Meet the Blind Month activity is a great way to educate the public about blindness and to recruit new members to your chapter.

Governor McMaster has proclaimed October 15, 2018, as White Cane Safety 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 the 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 Safety Day” emphasizes the need for all Americans to be aware of the presence of disabled persons 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 for the disabled; and

WHEREAS, the 2018 observance of “White Cane Safety Day” provides an opportunity for people across the Palmetto State and the nation to renew their dedication to eliminating barriers for the 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, 2018, as WHITE CANE SAFETY 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 improve access to basic services and opportunities for blind and visually impaired persons.

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.

As we approach mid-October, we continue to note that there are those who often work behind the scenes but are essential to a local chapter’s growth and progress.  In the Conway Chapter I have heard Chapter President Levern Wilson speak highly of one of his members who put the Conway Chapter on the map with area blind people.  I am speaking of Patsy Roberts.  Patsy tells me that she was born in Conway but was raised in Aynor.  By the way, Patsy attended the public schools in Aynor.  For those of you who remember the late M. B. “Red” Shaw who worked with Scout Troop 424, the Columbia Chapter and the Federation Center of the Blind for decades, will be interested to note that Patsy had Red’s son,  J. Marion Shaw as a Teacher in one of her classes.  Patsy has two brothers, one of which is deceased.  She has four children and 15 grandchildren.  Patsy has been married to Doug Roberts for fourteen years and Doug has been the Pastor of the Pee Dee Freewill Baptist Church for twenty-seven years.  Patsy is church secretary and also plays the piano.  Patsy learned of the Conway Chapter of the NFB of SC through Levern Wilson and they joined the chapter in 2007.  Patsy and Doug have attended most all of the state conventions since then and in fact have even conducted the Sunday morning Devotional and Memorial Service.  Patsy has a hobby doing public service for the Conway Chapter.  She has developed a chapter letterhead, brochures, a web site and a Facebook page.  As I remember it, once she launched the Facebook page, several area blind people contacted the Conway Chapter, not knowing before that one had existed in Conway.  She says that she helps out in any way Levern asks her to.  I know the Conway Chapter is planning their annual Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner, the details of which will be set at their October meeting.  It is quite an event to attend.  Conway is also looking forward to working another Belk Charity Days as Levern asked the Center for a tax-exempt donation letter for the upcoming fundraising event.  Let’s all salute Patsy and Doug Roberts for their dedication to the blind in the Greater Conway area and beyond!

 

Final Thought:  “This October 8 we celebrated Columbus Day as Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492.  480 years later on October 15, 1972 the Model White Cane Law was passed in South Carolina and each October 15 “White Cane Safety Day” celebrates first class treatment for all blind South Carolinians.  And 500 years after 1492 in 1992 the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed by Congress, making state White Cane Laws federally recognized.”

 

1677

 

October 3, 2018

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

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1677

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

As we begin October, Meet the Blind Month appears to be in full swing.  We have an announcement from the SC State Library’s Talking Book Services regarding a special event occurring later this month.  “The South Carolina State Library’s Talking Book Services will host an author talk by Michael Hingson for Blindness Awareness Month on October 18, 2018. Hingson, a blind survivor of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, will tell his life story and detail how he and his guide dog made it out of the Twin Towers alive. His talk begins at 6:00 p.m., with a reception opening at 5:00 p.m. and a book signing afterward.

Who is Michael Hingson?

On September 11, 2001, a blind man escaped the World Trade Center by walking down 78 flights of stairs with his guide dog. Days later, America fell in love with Mike and Roselle and the special bond that helped them both survive one of the country’s darkest days. Following the 9/11 tragedy, Michael was featured on the Larry King show five times. According to King, “Michael Hingson is an international hero honored and awarded by top organizations worldwide.” He now travels the world as a keynote and inspirational speaker who can motivate audiences to action. He has also put his experience in a book called Thunder Dog (DB 73300) which is available from us and downloadable from BARD.  This program is free and open to the public. Registration is required because seating is limited.

Date: Thursday, October 18, 2018 Time:5:00PM – 7:30PM Campus: South Carolina State Library Location: First Floor.  Limited seating is still available.  Go to the below link to register: https://statelibrary.sc.libcal.com/event/4422232.

We have two very important announcements from our national President, Mark Riccobono which appeared in this week’s President’s Notebook.  “After almost a decade of negotiations, drafting, and advocacy, the Marrakesh Treaty is closer than ever before to becoming a reality in the United States. On Tuesday September 25, 2018, at 7:19 p.m. EST, the US House of Representatives unanimously passed the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act (S. 2559). The bill will now go to the president for his signature. This is a major victory for the members of the National Federation of the Blind; because of our hard work, soon blind people all across the globe will enjoy a vast collection of accessible materials. Special thanks to Scott LaBarre who has been serving as the principal negotiator on the Federation’s behalf for all of these years. Read our press release about this tremendous development at https://nfb.org/us-house-representatives-passes-marrakesh-treaty-implementation-act.

National Federation of the Blind Night at Camden Yards:  The Orioles organization dedicated the September 18 game to the National Federation of the Blind in honor of our forty-year anniversary in Baltimore. Our members passed out Braille alphabet cards and the Orioles player and coach jerseys had the names in Braille. One of those shirts will be sent to the Baseball Hall of Fame and the rest were auctioned off, with the proceeds coming to our national office. I was honored to throw out the first pitch.”

This is a reminder there will be s second teleconference call on October 9 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss updated information regarding transportation arrangements for those additional individuals who are still interested in attending the 2019 NFB national convention in Las Vegas.  The call in number is (862) 902-0241.  The access code is 358-8716.

 

As all of you recall, Hazel Arms, a member of our Greenville Chapter and a long time Federationist, passed away on June 5, of this year.  Visitation for Hazel will be held on Sunday, October 7, from 2:00 to 2:45 p.m. with the memorial service following at 3:00.  Services will be held at the Thomas McAfee Funeral home Northwest Chapel, 6710 White Horse rd., Greenville, SC 29611.

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 we are spotlighting another longtime federationist who has served and continues to serve the blind in many ways.  I am speaking of Patricia Tuck who has resided in Greenville for the past few years.  Patricia was born in 1941 and was raised in the Jacksonville, Florida area.  She attended the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine.  Once she completed high school she continued her education at St. John’s River College (St. John’s River runs from south to north through the Jacksonville area) where she took general college courses and majored in Spanish.  After receiving her Associates degree, she attained to her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Florida in Gainesville; again majoring in Education and Spanish.  Patricia Tuck used her Spanish by working with missionaries in South America.  She then worked two years at the SC Commission for the Blind in Greenville but then achieved her Master’s degree at Western Michigan University where she studied Rehabilitation Teaching.  Following this accomplishment, Patricia Tuck again worked with the SC Commission for the Blind for over 25 years until she retired.  She did rehabilitation teaching and loved it.   After that she moved back to Florida for a time operating a Hot Chili Peppers Chihuahua Kennel where she raised and sold Chihuahuas. I recruited her and she was very active in the Greenville Chapter, holding several chapter offices including President.  Patricia was involved in growing chapter membership, legislative advocacy and she tells me she has attended most national conventions until recent years and every state convention.  This includes her tine living in Jacksonville, Florida where she served in official capacities and she even served as Secretary of the NFB’s national Deaf/Blind Division.  She has attended two senior blind camps and although she broke her leg earlier, she plans to attend the Spring Senior Camp as her leg should be well mended.  Outside the federation, Patricia is a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church which is across the street from where she lives.  She attends Sunday services, the Women’s group and is active in various church and senior events.  She is Vice President of the NFB of SC Greenville Chapter and collected three loads of items for their recent Yard Sale fundraiser.  She always wants to help wherever she can.  Let’s salute Patricia Tuck for her outstanding service to the blind and others.

 

Final Thought:  “When Autumn falls, so do the leaves, the temperatures and the sound of candy going into Halloween trick or treat bags.”

1676

 

September 26, 2018

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

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1676

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

With October 1, just around the corner, I hope many of our chapters have Meet the Blind Month events already planned.  On Saturday, October 27, the Columbia Chapter will hold a Step It Up Walk at the Drew Wellness Center at 9:00 a.m.  The cost to walk at least one mile is $20.  I hope to hear from other chapters regarding your Meet the Blind Month activity, and I will share this information in the Positive Note.

During the next few weeks, I will be formulating committees for 2018/2019.   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, Associate Member of the Year 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.

We have an announcement from Tiffiny Mitchell, chairperson of the 2019 Las Vegas National convention Transportation committee. “We will hold another conference call on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss new information regarding additional transportation opportunities to the national convention. We will be able to answer some questions also, so please be thinking of what you’d like to ask during the call.  The call in number is (862) 902-0241.  The access code is 358-8716.  To keep the background noise to a minimum, once you have entered the conference, please press *6 to mute your phone.  If you would like to make a comment press the same keys to unmute.  Also, please state your name before asking a question or making a comment.  This will help ensure that everyone can hear all comments and get the most from the information provided.  If you have any questions, feel free to give me a call at (803) 603-2098.  I look forward to talking to you soon!”

Finally, we need to continue to keep those members in our thoughts and prayers who may be encountering hardships as the result of the terrible flooding in Conway, Horry county, Georgetown, and Florence county.  If any of these members need assistance please do not hesitate to call the state office at (803) 254-3777.

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.

A cruise has been one of the nation’s most enjoyable activities.  It enables passengers to visit many places around the world.  Some of you know that David and Darlene Houck took an Alaskan cruise and land tour.  A number of our members have taken cruises leaving Charleston for the Caribbean.  Many years ago Betty and I took a cruise.  The late Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, longtime President of the NFB, disliked airplanes but liked to go on cruises.  Upon hearing that Betty and I were celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary in 1989, Dr. Jernigan invited us to join him on a cruise.  He made reservations on the QEII (Queen Elizabeth II) securing discounts, etc.  We departed from New York City Harbor and several days later we landed at South Hampton, England where we spent the next several days.  The QEII is an enormous ship.  However, because of its age I believe it is no longer in use.  While on the QEII I enjoyed fabulous food and great entertainment.  Several different orchestras played during the evening hours which I enjoyed.  I even made up Rotary on the QEII, meeting other Rotarians from around the world who were also making up Rotary.  I enjoyed spending time on the huge deck.  The ladies enjoyed shopping.  This unforgettable cruise was not without incident.  While in the North Atlantic Ocean, a vicious storm shook the gigantic QEII.  Passengers were asked to return to their respective cabins.  During the storm I happened to be in the dining room and I observed the storm was causing the cabinets to open wide with the dishes flying everywhere.  I was glad when the storm was over.  On the cruise Dr. Jernigan learned of the loss of property by several of our members because of Hurricane Hugo which also occurred in 1989.  Soon thereafter we received a $10,000 check from the national office arranged by Dr. Jernigan.  In late 1989 we held a board meeting at Rocky Bottom which was used to distribute these funds to blind persons affected by Hurricane Hugo.  It is my understanding that President Mark Riccobono is putting together a fund to assist blind persons who were affected by Hurricane Florence.  The NFB is a very caring organization and I’m proud to be a member.

 

Final Thought:  “Never be afraid of learning something new; you might find it easier than you thought.”

 

1675

 

September 19, 2018

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

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1675

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

Since 2015, during the third week in September, I have been dictating the Positive Note from Rocky Bottom where Shelley and I would normally be directing the fall session of senior camp.  However, due to travel and uncertain weather conditions this past weekend caused by Hurricane Florence, a decision was made Thursday afternoon, September 6, by the Commission for the Blind and RBRCCB to cancel the fall senior camp.  Monday, I contacted chapter presidents along the coast to determine if they were safe or needed any assistance as a result of the hurricane.  I was informed although most of them lost power anywhere from 15 to 26 hours, their damage from the storm was minimal and power had been restored by Sunday evening or Monday morning.  Our Federation family needs to continue to keep our members living on the coast in our thoughts and prayers as this part of the state may encounter issues as a result of potential flooding.  We also need to especially keep those individuals living in North Carolina who have experienced hardship from the storm in our thoughts and prayers as well.

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.

I have been told by Tiffiny Mitchell, Chairperson of the 2019 Las Vegas national convention transportation committee, we have fulfilled our obligation of securing twenty seats for the current contract with American Airlines.  In an effort to maximize the largest possible turnout of South Carolinians wanting to attend the Las Vegas national convention, I have asked Tiffiny to continue to monitor on a weekly basis American Airlines’ nonstop group rate airfare from Charlotte to Las Vegas.  Remember, as with this current contract, a minimum of ten people are needed to qualify for a group rate.  Once a new contract is signed, individuals will again have two weeks to make a $50 deposit to reserve and hold their seat.  If you are interested in attending the 2019 National convention but were unable to sign up for this current contract, I would encourage you to contact Tiffiny Mitchell at (803) 603-2098.  I would also strongly encourage chapter presidents and others to share this very important information with all of your members.

During the next few days or so, all of you should be receiving your 2019 Las Vegas national Convention tickets.  Let’s do all we can to raise the necessary funds to financially assist as many of our members as possible to attend the National Convention in Las Vegas.  As we have done previously, tickets will cost $1.  Remember, the winner of the winning ticket which will be drawn on January 5, 2019 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.

I am sadden to report Jan Crosby, a member of our Columbia chapter, brother, William age 63, passed away unexpectedly Monday, September 17.  All of us in our Federation family need to keep Jan and her family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

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 we are spotlighting a valued Associate member.  Our Associate members do everything they can to support the blind and the federation in many ways locally, statewide and nationally.  Without their kind assistance, many of us might be hard pressed to get some things accomplished.  This week we are spotlighting the wife of JW Smith, our Greenville Chapter President, Mrs. Ora Bell Smith.  Born and raised in Laurens County, Ora Bell attended public school there as well, completing her education at Bryson High School.  She later moved to Greenville.  She was raised by her grandparents on a farm where they raised chickens and hogs as well as vegetables and potatoes.  You can imagine the canning of vegetables and making of jams like blackberry preserves.  Ora Bell became a good cook and has used this talent among others extensively.  September 1, 2018 marked JW and Ora Bell Smith’s 28th wedding anniversary.  JW had a degenerative eye disease but that never bothered Ora Bell.  They have 8 children, 25 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and 5 great-great-grandchildren.  I am sure that their family reunions are quiet large gatherings.  JW and Ora Bell have attended 5 national NFB conventions and every state convention since they joined in 2001.  Ora Bell drives the van for the Greenville Chapter and Senior Camps.  She also cooks for the chapter, works as part of the kitchen crew at Senior Camps, RBRCCB Fun Day weekends, and the Rocky Bottom Christmas Board Retreats.  She also helps the chapter Treasurer and in any other way she can be of service.  Her hobbies include baking cakes and cookies and sewing.  The Smith’s attend Old Shady Oak Baptist Church in Simpsonville where Ora Bell likes to cook for church events.  I have heard that Ora Bell’s vanilla cake which David and Darlene Houck won at the Center auction was very delicious and did not last long.  Let’s salute Ora Bell Smith for her help to President JW Smith, the Greenville Chapter, Senior Campers, Rocky Bottom visitors and guests and to others like her church and extended family members for all her hard work and love in doing all that she accomplishes.

 

Final Thought:  “Have white cane will travel.  Got Braille?  Have good blindness skills, will live well.  Got Federation spirit, you will go far and help others to do so.”

 

1674

September 12, 2018

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

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1674

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 Festival which occurred at Rocky Bottom on September 1.  Considering the limited time we had to plan for this event, we were able to raise approximately $4,000 in net proceeds.  We were able to sell 694 tickets state wide and after paying out $850 in prize money we were able to clear $2,620 in Fun Day tickets sales.  Frank Loza, of the Belvedere chapter won the $550 as he bought the winning ticket two hours prior to the drawing.  The Columbia chapter won $300 for finishing first place selling 131 tickets, Linda Bible, the resident manager of Rocky Bottom, finished second place selling 80 tickets, Sumter chapter finished third selling 70 tickets, and Rock hill chapter finished fourth selling 66 tickets.  The auction was very successful as we were able to raise $1,346.

I am sure most of you have heard by now, that the 2019 NFB National Convention will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Mandalay Resort hotel next year from July 7-12, 2019.  At the NFB of SC Board of Directors meeting held during the state convention, I appointed a committee chaired by Tiffiny Mitchell to investigate ways how the state organization could best financially assist our members to attend the 2019 National convention.  Thursday evening, September 6, a teleconference meeting was held and Tiffiny presented the following information to the more than twenty people who were on the conference call.  The date we will be flying to Las Vegas will be Saturday, July 6, 2019 and we will be returning from Las Vegas on Saturday, July 13, 2019.  Currently, the group rate for a round trip, nonstop ticket on American Airlines from Charlotte to Las Vegas is $439 which includes taxes and fees.  A minimum of ten people are needed to qualify for a group rate.  Because seats on flights were going quickly, Tiffiny felt we needed to sign a contract with American Airlines as soon as possible.  For this reason, she is planning to sign a contract with American Airlines on September 21, 2018.  Once Tiffiny signs a contract, individuals will have fourteen days to make a $50 deposit to reserve and hold their seat.  The deadline to pay your $50 deposit is October 5, 2018.  Airline tickets must be paid in full ($439) to American Airlines no later than June 6, 2019.  To assist members financially, the NFB of SC will provide transportation to qualified individuals from Columbia to the Charlotte airport and from the Las Vegas airport to the hotel.  If you want further information regarding these arrangements, feel free to contact Tiffiny Mitchell at (803) 603-2098.  Let’s do all we can to have a maximum turnout of South Carolinians in Las Vegas next year for our national convention!

We have an announcement from Isaiah Nelson, president of the SC School for the blind Alumni Association.  “Greetings!  Those of you who would be interested in going to Spartanburg on Saturday, October 20, 2018 to assist  in developing future plans for activities and programs for the SC School for the Blind, I would like to take this time to invite you to a planning meeting. The cost of the trip will be fifty ($50) dollars which includes your dues, lunch and gas.  The van will be leaving from the federation center at 8:00 a.m. on the above-given date.  All monies should be paid no later than Thursday, October 11, 2018.  If you have any questions or interested in this meeting, feel free to contact me at (803) 413-2434.”

Finally, I would like to say to all of our chapters and members who are located on the coast and who are in the path of Hurricane Florence, you are in our thoughts and prayers.  If you need any assistance, please do not hesitate to call on us.

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.

President Coppel’s figures on the Fun Day Festival are most impressive.  We appreciate the extensive work which was done on the Fun Day Festival.  There’s another funding program which greatly benefits all three entities, the NFB of SC, the Federation Center and Rocky Bottom.  This is known as the “Living Memorial Program.”  At about the same time the Fun Day Festival came into being in the early 1980’s, the living memorial program was also established.  Bill Richardson who served on the Advisory Board of the Federation Center, approached me about creating a federation living memorial program.  He provided us with a copy of a living memorial form he had used elsewhere and all we needed to do for the Federation Center was changing the wording on the form.  Not long thereafter we received a contribution from a contributor who wanted to assist the federation by remembering a loved one who had passed away.  Throughout the years this program grew.  Today it’s not unusual to receive more than one living memorial each week.  My granddaughter, Laura Setters who lives in Louisville, recently sent a living memorial for her dear mother and my daughter, Beth Holdcraft, whose portrait is displayed prominently in the board room at Rocky Bottom.  Laura explained that the $90 contribution was to go for the 90 years of my life.  Incidentally, a record breaking number of greetings about my birthday were received.  Living memorials for the federation come from persons in all walks of life.  Federationists also participate in the living memorial program.  Recently we received numerous living memorials given in memory of Mary Maness, a member of the Union Chapter.  These memorials were generous and raised funds in excess of $300.  A number of years ago, Ben Rushton, a member of the Edgefield County Chapter, who lost his sight in an automobile accident.  His wife divorced him because of his loss of sight and she also wanted custody of their children.  Frank Coppel went to the court hearing and Frank was very persuasive.  The judge granted custody of the children to Ben Rushton.  Recently Ben passed away.  Memorials in his memory were received from contributors from throughout the state, as far as from Charleston.  I hope that members from throughout the state will participate in this program when the situation presents itself.  We must support our statewide programs and this is an excellent way of doing so.

As I dictate this Positive Note Tuesday we are concerned about the reports we are receiving from the weather bureau regarding Hurricane Florence.  I hope all of you remain safe.  I vividly recall Hurricane Hugo which occurred in September 1989 as I was attending a board meeting of the SC School for the Deaf and Blind.  We agreed to spend the night at the School and I recall Betty and I stayed in the Walker Hall apartment.  I liked everything except the twin beds.  Late that night I woke up and thought I heard a person talking but it turned out to be my dear wife who had her small radio and she was playing it under the cover.  When I asked about it she said she was trying to get Hurricane Hugo news from Columbia.  We did receive damage to our property but our next door neighbor had serious damage to his roof as a large tree fell across his roof.  Let’s all keep everyone in our thoughts and prayers.

 

Final Thought:  “Thought without action is meaningless.  Action without thought is reckless.”

1673

 

September 5, 2018

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

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1673

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.  When considering the fact plans for Fun Day did not begin in earnest until after July 15, the turnout for this event was good as approximately 45 federationists attended the festivities on Saturday, September 1.  All of us need to work harder to attract more of the public to attend as well as 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.  All things considered, I truly believe the 37th annual Fun Day Festival was successful.  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 Darleen Houck, Linda Bible, 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.

We have an announcement from Tiffiny Mitchell, Chairperson of the 2019 NFB national convention transportation committee.  “By now, just about everyone has heard that the 2019 NFB National Convention will be held in Las Vegas next year from July 7-12.  Our committee is preparing to find out approximately how many in SC plan to attend and use the transportation arranged by the state organization.  We will hold a conference call on Thursday, September 6, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.  We are asking that you call in to find out more information about transportation arrangements thus far. We will be able to answer some questions also, so please be thinking of what you’d like to ask during the call.  The call in number is (862) 902-0241.  The access code is 358-8716.  To keep the background noise to a minimum, once you have entered the conference, please press *6 to mute your phone.  If you would like to make a comment press the same keys to unmute.  Also, please state your name before asking a question or making a comment.  This will help ensure that everyone can hear all comments and get the most from the information provided.  If you have any questions, feel free to give me a call at (803) 603-2098.  I look forward to talking to you soon!”

We have an announcement from Thom Spittle, president of the Computer Science and Technology Division. “Hi Everyone. The Computer Science Technology Division will be holding a training workshop and help session on Saturday, September 15, 2018. At the Federation Center of the Blind, 119 S. Kilbourne Rd., Columbia, SC 29205, from 10am to Noon.  This session will cover the Seeing AI app for iPhones.  There will also be a help session for those of you who need help getting started, or with a specific problem with your device.  If you would like to attend, please email Thom Spittle at thom3of5@gmail.com, or call the CSTD Helpline at 803-402-3526, and leave your name and that you would like to attend.  If you would like to help with the workshop, please contact Thom Spittle in one of the above ways.  As always, if you have any Workshop suggestions, or need help, call the Helpline at 803-402-3526.”

I am extremely sad to report to all of you, Ruth Weeks, a charter member of our state organization passed away on Saturday September 1, at 10:00a.m.  “Miss Ruth” as she was affectionately known by many of our members, was one of a small group of blind individuals who came together with their leader, Dr. Samuel M. Lawton, to form the Aurora Club of the Blind in Spartanburg, SC in 1944.  As you recall during the presidential report at our state convention, I stated next year will mark the seventy-fifth anniversary for this organization and I recognized Ruth Weeks who was present at the convention as being the only living charter member. Funeral Services will be held at 2 on Wednesday, September 05, 2018 at Una First Freewill Baptist Church with Rev. Kenneth Cash officiating. Interment will be at Good Shepherd Memorial Park.  I know Ruth Weeks will be greatly missed and all of us in our federation family need to keep her family and friends 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.

This week we are saddened to report the passing of our charter NFB of SC member Ruth Weeks of Spartanburg.  The following is her obituary from the Spartanburg Herald Journal:

“Cowpens, SC– Ruth Weeks, 99, passed away on Saturday, September 01, 2018. She was the daughter of the late Clara Crosby Weeks. She was a member of Una First Freewill Baptist Church and worked at Spartanburg County Courthouse for twenty-eight years.

Survivors include a niece, Mary Stone of the home; two nephews, Don Adams of Inman and Joseph Adams of Spartanburg; many great nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by a sister, Rosie Adams; a brother, Bill Crosby.

The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 on Tuesday, September 04, 2018 at Stribling Funeral Home. Funeral Services will be held at 2 on Wednesday, September 05, 2018 at Una First Freewill Baptist Church with Rev. Kenneth Cash officiating. Interment will be at Good Shepherd Memorial Park.

The family is at the home of Don and Lucille Adams, 103 Conifer Road Inman 29349.

The following is my spotlight article on Ruth Weeks which was published in the Positive Note in 2009:

“A very special lady, Ruth Weeks of Spartanburg, truly deserves to be in the “spotlight.”  Ruth will celebrate her 90th birthday in July.  Born in Kershaw, most of her life was spent in Spartanburg.  At age seven in 1926, Ruth enrolled in the School for the Blind.  Herbert Hoover was President and she remembers the 1929 Great Depression.  At School Ruth was recognized for her singing talents.  To the best of my knowledge Ruth is the only living charter member of the Federation, then known as the Aurora Club.  She was present in 1944 when our founder, Dr. Sam Lawton arranged for the first gathering of the blind in Spartanburg.  In the 1920’s and 1930’s when Ruth was in School, there were no televisions, computers, cell phones, microwave ovens, or stereo technology but there was one very valuable program featuring Braille literacy.  When Ruth entered the School in 1926, there were not many automobiles on the road except for the Model T Ford which many of us remember.  Having been a member of the federation for 65 years (1944 – 2009), Ruth only missed a few meetings of the Spartanburg Chapter.  She has attended most of the state conventions and was honored for her years of service in August of 2000 receiving the NFB of SC Presidential Citation and was further honored with a standing ovation from the Banquet audience.  As previously stated, there were very few jobs available to Ruth during her long career but she did assist in jury selections in the courthouse as all prospective jurors were drawn by Ruth.  Ruth is an avid reader and fully utilized Braille when she started School in 1926.  One of Ruth’s favorite activities is attending Senior Blind Week at RBRCCB.  She let me know that she wants to attend Senior Camp this year as well.  Congratulations to Ruth Weeks who has been blessed in living a very long life, making many hundreds of friends both in the federation and in other places.”

Ruth was very special and will be missed.  Our thoughts and prayers are with her friends, family and the members of the Spartanburg Chapter.  As many of you are aware, Ruth Weeks did attend the August 2018 NFB of SC convention in Columbia.

 

Final Thought:  “Longevity with a purpose touches the lives of many.”

1672

 

August 28, 2018

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

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1672

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

This upcoming weekend many of us will be traveling to Rocky Bottom to attend the 37th annual Fun Day Festival.  Over 45 Federationists are planning to be at Rocky Bottom on Saturday, September 1, 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 who have been very instrumental in securing items for the auction.  Items for the auction include a photograph signed by Clemson head football coach Dabbo Sweeney, a black and silver football autographed by the Carolina Panthers, tickets to River Bank Zoo, Wonderworks in Myrtle Beach and Dollywood, gift baskets, and 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, September 1, breakfast 8:30, lunch 12:00, and supper 6:00 p.m.  Sunday, September 2, breakfast 8:30.  You will need to see Valerie 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 $8 for adults and $4 for children.

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!  Please mail your ticket stubs and money to the Federation Center no later than Thursday, August 30 or bring your stubs and money to Rocky Bottom on Saturday, September 1, and give them to David Houck.

We need to do all we can to support Rocky Bottom.  There needs to be a large Federation turnout for this very important fundraising event.

We have an announcement from Tiffiny Mitchell, Chairperson of the 2019 NFB national convention transportation committee.  “By now, just about everyone has heard that the 2019 NFB National Convention will be held in Las Vegas next year from July 7-12.  Our committee is preparing to find out approximately how many in SC plan to attend and use the transportation arranged by the state organization.  We will hold a conference call on Thursday, September 6, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.  We are asking that you call in to find out more information about transportation arrangements thus far. We will be able to answer some questions also, so please be thinking of what you’d like to ask during the call.  The call in number is (862) 902-0241.  The access code is 358-8716.  To keep the background noise to a minimum, once you have entered the conference, please press *6 to mute your phone.  If you would like to make a comment press the same keys to unmute.  Also, please state your name before asking a question or making a comment.  This will help ensure that everyone can hear all comments and get the most from the information provided.  If you have any questions, feel free to give me a call at (803) 603-2098.  I look forward to talking to you soon!”  Finally, I know many of you would like to join Shelley and I in wishing Dr. Capps a very happy ninetieth birthday as he will be celebrating this special occasion on Thursday, August 30.

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.

Two weeks ago I gave a short history of the Osterneck Cottage.  I realized a couple of days later I did not include the screened in porch when Osterneck was being expanded.  Throughout the years many of us have enjoyed the screened in porch which overlooks Chimney Top Creek.  This creek provides an outstanding acoustical sound as the waters cascade over the rocks in the creek.  The porch also features several high back type chairs which provide much enjoyment.  I have spent many hours occupying one of these chairs enjoying the creek.  The porch opens into the dining hall and dining room.  The porch also provides an outside exit down a flight of stairs.  No doubt some of you will enjoy the screened in porch at this week’s Fun Day.

About ten years after Osterneck was completed, the Conference Center was dedicated in July 1991.  Some 500 persons from throughout the area attended the dedication of the center in July 1991.  It was the largest gathering to date in the area. The Conference Center has a deck which is nice but it is not enclosed but it is enjoyed just the same.  The Conference Center deck is used for open air gatherings and live music, etc.  Because the Conference Center is much larger than the rest of the facilities, it afforded an opportunity for many blind people to contribute to the center.  Some 300 dining room chairs were needed to accommodate seating.  The late LP Armstrong-Garrett who was an associate member, owned and operated General Sales of Columbia and ordered the 300 chairs.  These dining room chairs are still in use.  They are of high quality.  We paid $45 per chair but the retail price was $75.  There is an area on each chair providing for the installation of a name plate.  Most of these 300 chairs were purchased by the blind.  When a blind person made a contribution new plates were engraved with the person’s name and were sent from Columbia to Rocky Bottom.  No doubt many have their name plates on the chairs.  The late Vern Freeman of the Salem Lions Club installed the name plates as they were delivered to him.  Mr. Freeman would set a day aside to travel from Salem to Rocky Bottom to meticulously install each and every name plate.  There were other contributions.  The late Odell Austin, former President of the Orangeburg Chapter loved Rocky Bottom.  He also took pride in his business dealings.  One evening when several were present, Odell was talking about his business success and I approached him about giving a substantial contribution accompanied by his name in a prominent place in the center.  After the meeting that day Odell agreed to make a contribution of $10,000.  To the best of my knowledge this is the largest contribution to the center by a blind person.  Incidentally, the most expensive item for the new center was the commercial kitchen which was valued at $75,000.  Mrs. Garrett who had helped with the chairs also got the commercial kitchen at a substantial discount.  Some blind persons and others also made substantial contributions having their name placed on different rooms in the center.  Once again, for the second straight year we have been unable to participate in the Fun Day weekend but we wish much success in this most important occasion.  Meanwhile I’ll celebrate a special day in my life as I will have my 90th birthday take place this Thursday, August 30.  A lifelong friend has invited me out to dinner and this is appreciated as well as other greetings, cards, etc.

 

Final Thought:   “Sinful pleasures will make you worthless.  Holiness will make you priceless.”

1671

 

August 22, 2018

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

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1671

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

Before we turn our attention to the Fun Day Festival at Rocky Bottom on September 1, Shelley Coppel has an announcement regarding the 2018 state convention.  “Greetings!  I want to give a big shout-out to everyone who participated in the talent showcase at our state convention.  It takes a certain gumption to get in front of folks and entertain!!!  From the students, to us more mature folks, the range and level of talents displayed was truly wonderful!  Thank you again, let’s do it again!!!”

As I have been reporting during the last few weeks in the Positive Note, the thirty-seventh annual Rocky Bottom Fun Day Festival will take place Labor Day weekend, August 31-September 2.  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 and reserve a room at Rocky Bottom as soon as possible.  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, September 1, and breakfast on Sunday morning, September 2.  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 $8 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 148 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!  I would like to thank Lenora Robertson and her “food crew” (Ellen Taylor and Glenda Culick) for all of their hard work preparing menus for the Fun Day weekend.  I would also like to thank Tiffiny Mitchell who has agreed along with the assistance of others in donating soft drinks and water for the weekend.

We have an announcement from Jennifer Bazer.  “Hello NFB of SC Family!  Fun Day at Rocky Bottom will be held Saturday, September 1.  One of the highlights of Fun Day is the auction which is always fun and can be hilarious at times.  Please consider donating new items including, but not limited to: gift cards, electronics, homemade cakes and pies, jewelry and more. Even if you feel your item is small, we are grateful for the contribution as we can make gift baskets of small items to make a great auction item.  Please contact Jennifer Bazer if you would like to donate an item at 803-960-9977 or jhipp25@sc.rr.com.  Thank you for your continued support of Rocky Bottom!”

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 we spotlight the spouse of a hard working federationist who in her own right works just as hard as her husband in support of the blind locally, statewide and nationally.  I am speaking of Ed Bible’s lovely wife Julie Bible.

Julie was born in Concord, NH and was the oldest of five children being the only girl.  Her father was in the Air Force and she and her brothers grew up in the military moving around the country attending many schools.  One of the places they were stationed when Julie was a baby was Greenville, SC. They lived overseas and she started school in Okinawa.  The last place they were stationed before her father retired was in Rome, NY where she attended her last two years of high school at Rome Free Academy.  One of her young brothers was deaf and it was a challenge communicating, but she and he became close.  She met Ed during her Junior year in high school who was the first blind person she ever met.  He was a Senior and also grew up in the Air Force.  They rode the bus together. He asked her to read to him for one of his subjects during study hall.  He went on to college and Julie went to USC after graduating (Utica School of Commerce) and trained to be a medical secretary.  They lost touch for a while, until he came home from college on break and looked her up.  They started dating and got married right before his senior year at Syracuse University.  Julie got a job at Syracuse University working at the college infirmary for four years and then worked at an extended care facility doing medical transcription, until they moved to South Carolina in 1978, after Ed’s father retired from the Air Force and moved back to South Carolina where they were from and where Ed was born.

After arriving in SC, they stayed with Ed’s parents until Ed found a job in Columbia.  They moved there and bought a house and Julie went to work for Bankers Trust of SC and stayed there over 20 years (now Bank of America).  Then she went to work for Richland School District One as a secretary in Special Education for 14 years, retiring 3 ½ years ago.  They’ve been married for 45 years, had two children, Jennifer and Ashton.  They have two grandchildren, Sally turning 1 year old and Ethan, age 6.

In 1985 they became friends with Frank and Gail Copped, after Ed went to work at the SC Commission for the Blind.  Frank and Gail were involved with the NFB and because of them Julie and Ed became involved.  They attended their first National Convention in Chicago in 1988.  Since then they have attended most national conventions and almost every state convention.

Julie has helped with the annual Columbia Chapter BBQ for over twenty years as the hostess and getting out the BBQ deliveries, has driven van loads of people to Rocky Bottom, statewide picnics, and other events.  She has taken groups of people to Washington, D.C. on more than one occasion for the Washington Seminar. She is a member of Mt. Hebron United Methodist Church in West Columbia and has been on mission trips with them to Rocky Bottom to do repairs.  She loves helping others whenever the need arises. She was awarded Associate Member of the Year in 2007.  In her spare time she enjoys gardening and spending time with her grandchildren.  During the Labor Day weekend Ed and Julie will be attending an NFB National Leadership Seminar.  Let’s salute Julie for her many years of service to the blind.

 

Final Thought:   “Sharing is a great gift.  One size fits all and it is easy to exchange.”

1670

 

August 16, 2018

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

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1670

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

This past weekend, the sixty-second annual State Convention of the NFB of SC was held in Columbia and from all indications it was extremely successful. 170 individuals attended this year’s convention which began Friday afternoon with the meeting of the NFB of SC Board of Directors and other division and committee meetings. Hats off to Tiffiny Mitchell and the Columbia Chapter for doing a great job as host chapter of this year’s convention and getting the festivities of the weekend off to a resounding start with an excellent reception Friday evening. This year we were honored to have Shawn Callaway, member of the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind and the NFB affiliate president of the District of Columbia, as our National Representative. Mr. Callaway gave a thorough National report and his banquet address Saturday evening was outstanding. The NFB of SC recognized Valerie Warrington of Newberry, as the recipient of the Donald C. Capps Award, Tracy Spittle of Columbia as the recipient of the Educator of the Year Award and Larry Warrington, of Newberry as the recipient of the Associate Member of the Year Award. The NFB of SC also recognized Dr. Marvin Efron, a longtime friend, for his many years of dedication and commitment providing quality low vision services to the blind of the state as he was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award. Another highlight of the banquet was the awarding of scholarships totaling over $5,000 to three outstanding college students. I also like to thank the membership of the NFB of SC for their awesome generosity which was demonstrated during the Banquet fundraiser. We were able to quickly raise over $9,600 which will be used to promote the programs of the NFB of SC. Elections were held Sunday morning and the following individuals were elected as officers; president, Frank Coppel, first vice president, Lenora Robertson, second vice president, Debra Canty, secretary, Shannon Cook, and treasurer, Valerie Warrington. Individuals elected to board positions were; District two, Steve Cook, of Columbia, District four, JW Smith, of Greenville , District six, Garrett Mosely of Darlington, and the two members-at-large Jamie Allison of Cherokee and Tiffiny Mitchell of Columbia. One of the most exciting aspects of this convention was the large contingent of students who were in attendance. Their energy and enthusiasm was felt by everyone throughout the weekend. I am extremely proud to announce the NFB of SC has a new addition to our Federation family as he South Carolina Association of Blind Students was organized Friday evening. As all of you know, many details need to be considered when planning and presiding over a state convention. I would like to thank David Houck who did a great job coordinating registration, the exhibit hall, and taking care of many other details of the convention. Finally, I would like to thank Director Jennifer Bazer and the staff of Successful Transitions who were very instrumental assisting students to the convention as well as organizing our new division.

In approximately two weeks, we will be holding the annual Fun Day Festival during the Labor Day weekend (August31-September 2). Four meals will be served including three on Saturday, September 1, and breakfast on Sunday morning, September 2. The board voted to charge $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 only attending the Fun Day Festival Saturday will need to pay Valerie and Larry Warrington $8 for lunch. Room reservations for the weekend are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. If you need to make a reservation for the Fun Day weekend, you can call the Federation Center (803) 254-3777 or call me (803) 796-8662 no later than August 24. I hope you are selling your $5 Fun Day tickets as this contributes to the profits. 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! We need to bring new items for the auction which will take place on Saturday afternoon September 1, starting at 1:30 p.m. Let’s have a great turnout for the Fun Day Festival as Rocky Bottom very much needs our financial support.

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.

Information I have received concerning last weekend’s NFB of SC convention was unquestionably an outstanding event. Congratulations to President Frank Coppel and others who put together a very good agenda. Also I want to congratulate David Houck and the home office on their usual convention activity. Now we turn our attention to the annual Rocky Bottom Labor Day Fun Day Festival which is just around the corner or two weeks from now. I trust that we will have a great turnout for the Fun Day Festival which needs our support. Let’s review a little history. We acquired the Rocky Bottom property from Pickens County in October 1978. We promised to develop this old 4-H Club Camp to Pickens County and we have done just that. The late Jerry Whittle was the first Rocky Bottom Resident Manager who provided this service without charge. Jerry stayed in what is now known as room 5 in Osterneck Cottage. While Jerry was Resident Manager, room 5 became known as the “Oconee Room” because Jerry was from that area. Incidentally, several years ago Rocky Bottom hosted political events with politicians using what is now the Conference Center. Among political leaders using Rocky Bottom was Lyndon Banes Johnson who was Vice President at that time. Others included Sen. Strom Thurman and Gov. Carroll Campbell who gave the dedication speech in July 1991 when the beautiful new Conference Center facility was completed. When we acquired the property in the fall of 1978, no facility was deemed livable. The only building that offered promise was then known as the Chastain Cottage but it had not been used in a long time. It was necessary to have a well drilled for water and this was coordinated with a Greenville well drilling business. When the Conference Center was built it was necessary to have another well drilled. In early 1979 several of us went up in January when it was freezing cold. We did what we could to improve the cottage as we were raising funds as early as 1979 as we recognized we needed to expand the cottage. Following the success of the statewide fundraiser, we concentrated on a much larger attempt to provide rest rooms and a downstairs Resident Manager’s apartment, and a Dining Hall which would accommodate up to 60. Osterneck Cottage was named after a blind gentleman, David Osterneck who contributed the first $5,000. Mr. Osterneck who was from Myrtle Beach and in Columbia receiving training at the Commission, attended a Columbia Chapter meeting and after hearing a presentation of this project, Mr. Osterneck promptly made his financial commitment. The first Federation board meeting held at Rocky Bottom was in December of 1980 where the board met and was accommodated. The first Fun Day Festival was held on October 24, 1981 where 400 attended, netting a profit of $1,259.72. Hopefully this gives you some interesting information.

 

Final Thought:   To live the life you want is to realize it is all about “we: and not just about “me”.

 

1669

 

August 6, 2018

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

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1669

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

This coming weekend, August 10, 11 & 12, many of us will be attending the sixty-second annual State Convention of the NFB of SC. The State Office has been extremely busy during the past few weeks producing print and Braille agendas, Braille menus, name tags, and handling many other details for the convention. If you want a sneak preview of the agenda, it has been posted on the NFB of SC list serve, web site, and Newsline. I would encourage you to please check out the exhibits this year after you register and pick up your convention packets. A few of the exhibitors we will have this year are VFO (formerly Freedom Scientific), the SC Assistive Technology program, and Sprint Vision Accessibility. The theme for the convention this year is “you can live the life you want”. As we have done in past years, we will be conducting our annual banquet fundraiser Saturday evening, August 11, to help fund the NFB of SC. We need individuals as well as chapters and divisions to step up and contribute during the banquet which will greatly help to fund our state organization. We will have door prize drawings throughout the convention as usual. Lenora Robertson of Rock Hill is the Chairperson of the Door Prize Committee. All door prizes should be given to Lenora soon after you arrive to the State Convention. As we have done for many years, we will be conducting a memorial service and devotion Sunday Morning of the Convention.   Please give Dorothy Barksdale names of individuals in your chapter who have passed away since last year’s state convention. You can reach Dorothy by calling (803) 765-1622 or emailing her at dcbarksdale@bellsouth.net.

We have an announcement from Shelley Coppel. “Greetings! I would like to request that all participants for the Talent Show contact me at the Senior Division table in the exhibit hall as early in the day Friday as possible. I want to be certain that everything is properly coordinated! I would also appreciate the help of anyone who would like to volunteer time at the Senior Division table where we will be selling jewelry. Thank you and I will look forward to seeing all seniors at our meeting at 5 p.m. Friday afternoon in Palmetto I.

We have an announcement from Thom Spittle, the newly elected President of the Computer Science and Technology Division. “The Computer Science & Technology Division of the NFB of South Carolina will be holding an open house on Friday, August 10th at the State Convention from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in room Capital I. Please drop in and see what is new with the CSTD. We have some new things coming up and you won’t want to miss them. This open house is for all state members.”

I’m saddened to report the passing of Patricia Warrington, the mother of Larry Warrington of our Newberry Chapter. Let’s keep the Warrington family in our thoughts and prayers during this time.

The 2018 NFB of SC convention promises to be one of the best ever and I am looking forward to seeing many of you this weekend.

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.

All of us in this big program of service to the blind under the banner of the NFB of SC are excited as our state convention is now upon us. While our health conditions and other circumstances prevent us from attending the convention, all of you across the state will be in our thoughts and prayers. The NFB of SC got its beginning in April of 1956 as there was a statewide meeting held in Columbia at the YWCA where a constitution was adopted and officers and board members were elected. At that time there were three local organizations in Spartanburg, Columbia and Charleston. Three months later in July 1956 it was my good fortune to attend the NFB national convention in San Francisco. I learned a lot. At that convention banquet, Dr. tenBroek, our national President presented me with a charter for the NFB of SC. A special seminar following the convention was conducted by Dr. tenBroek who presided over the meeting. In 1956 some 1,800 blind persons received monthly income then known as Aid to the Needy Blind (ANB), but for a long time the program has been known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI). South Carolina’s blind were nearly at the bottom of this national program. Upon my return to Columbia, my fellow members joined me to correct this inequity. In doing so we learned that hundreds of thousands of dollars of state funds restricted to ANB were in fact diverted to raises for other officials. We threatened litigation if the state funds were not returned to the blind as required by law. By now I had been threatened by agency officials but I wasn’t deterred. I recall our Founder, Dr. Samuel Miller Lawton joined me in making our presentation to the Ways and Means Committee. Our federation attorney, Eugene F. Rogers provided us with legal advice. Soon thereafter these funds were distributed to the needy blind of the state. I don’t think this would ever have occurred if I did not attend the 1956 national convention. Attending the national convention took me away from my job for three weeks and I’m still grateful to my employer, Colonial Life, for going the extra mile in support of this work. President Coppel and his fellow officers have put together an excellent agenda and this will be an outstanding convention. It will be our pleasure to participate in the Saturday banquet proceedings in which we will be able to help fund this program at this special occasion. I’m confident our members will respond. Today, 62 years later, state programs for the blind are much better and we’re grateful for support from different directions.

 

Final Thought:   “NFB and NFB of SC Conventions are like a battery recharger that helps you live the life you want.”.”

1668

 

August 1, 2018

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

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1668

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

Here are a few friendly reminders regarding this year’s state convention which is only nine days away.

  1. Please do not forget to come and participate in the NFB of SC Board of Directors meeting which will be held on Friday afternoon, August 10, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Capital I.
  2. Of course, Lenora Robertson of Rock Hill is the Chairperson of the Door Prize Committee. All door prizes ($5 or more) should be given to Lenora soon after you arrive at the State Convention.
  3. Please continue to consider how much you and your chapter would like to financially give to the banquet fundraiser Saturday evening which will greatly help to strengthen the NFB of SC.
  4. I have again asked Dorothy Barksdale to be responsible for the Memorial service which is usually held on Sunday morning at the convention. Please send Dorothy the names of those members who passed away since last year’s state convention. Dorothy can be reached at (803) 765-1622 or you can email her at dcbarksdale@bellsouth.net
  5. The deadline to pay your $80 preregistration fee is August 3, which is only couple of days away. Please mail your $80 preregistration fee for this year’s State Convention to the Federation Center of the Blind, 119 S. Kilbourne Rd. Columbia, SC 29205. All preregistration fees are nonrefundable and nontransferable. If you wait until after the deadline of August 3, the registration will increase to $100.
  6. This year, the exhibit area will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Friday, August 10. Please make an effort to visit the exhibit area and let the exhibitors know you appreciate their participation in our convention.
  7. Openings still remain if you would like to participate Saturday afternoon, in the “NFB has talent showcase”. All talent is welcome! If you would like to participate, please call Shelley Coppel at (803) 796-8662 or email her at frankandshelley51@gmail.com.

The end of summer is always a busy time in the NFB of SC. Three weeks after the conclusion of the state convention, federationists from across the state will be traveling to RBRCCB on August 31, to participate in the Fun Day Festival. Most of us will be arriving on Friday evening, August 31. Four meals will be served including three on Saturday, September 1, and breakfast on Sunday morning, September 2. The board voted to charge $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 only attending the Fun Day Festival Saturday will need to pay Valerie and Larry Warrington $8 for lunch. Room reservations for the weekend are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. If you need to make a reservation for the Fun Day weekend, you can call the Federation Center (803) 254-3777 or call me (803) 796-8662 no later than August 24. I hope that you are selling your $5 Fun Day tickets as this contributes to the profits. 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! We need to bring new items for the auction which will take place on Saturday afternoon September 1, starting at 1:30 p.m. Let’s have a great turnout for the Fun Day Festival as Rocky Bottom very much needs our financial support.

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.

Last week public television did a 60th year documentary on Ted Williams. It is genuinely believed that Mr. Williams was the greatest baseball hitter of all time. His entire career was with the Boston Red Sox. At the present time all-time greats include such players as Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, etc. The 1958 NFB convention was held in Boston, MA. Four delegates from the NFB of SC attended the 1958 convention. They included Lois Boltin Tucker, the late John Cooley of the Spartanburg Chapter, and Billy Potter with my being the fourth attendee. Betty was unable to make the trip as she was only a month away from giving birth to our second child. Her physician was correct as Beth was born on August 7, 1958. The four of us boarded the train in Columbia and a strange incident occurred shortly after boarding the train as the conductor insisted he take me to the rest room. After this went on for an excessive time, I finally told the conductor my problem was blindness and I do not have any kidney ailment. I also told him I knew the way to the rest room. To this day I do not what caused him to pester me. Upon our arrival to the convention hotel we discovered that none other than Ted Williams resided in the same hotel. He was not outgoing but he was polite. By the way, Mr. Williams was a loyal American, participating for a total of five years in World War II and the North Korean War. I managed to shake his hand in the hotel lobby. I had the good fortune of attending a baseball game in historic Fenway Park participated in by the Red Sox team. This was my third NFB convention. The first two being in San Francisco and New Orleans. I recall the issue of creating a limited number of terms in the NFB constitution. I supported the administration who did not support limited terms and I spoke supporting unlimited terms. The administration’s position won by a large margin. Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, NFB Founder, gave me my first assignment, placing me on a special study committee in West Virginia called for by the Governor and carried out by the NFB. This special team lasted a week, affecting my work situation and having to find someone to take care of the children as Betty did all of the driving as we visited several blind West Virginians. The 1959 convention, held in Santa Fe, was when I received my second national assignment. Much to my surprise, I was not only elected to the national board but I was also elected to the Second Vice President’s office. You will note that my participation in the 1958 NFB convention was followed by further development in the national organization. It all got its beginning 60 years ago in Boston which is also a famously historical American city. Ironically enough, the Boston Red Sox now features a star outfielder who attended and played baseball from the Gamecocks who is Jackie Bradley, Jr.

 

1667

 

July 25, 2018

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

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1667

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

I am very pleased to announce Shawn Callaway will be our national representative for this year’s state convention. Shawn serves on the National Board of Directors of the NFB and he is the President of the Washington D.C. affiliate. Shawn will do a great job as national representative, and he will add a great deal to our convention.

There are only nine days remaining (August 3) to pay your $80 preregistration fee for the 2018 NFB of SC state convention which will be held at the Columbia Marriott Hotel the weekend of August 10-12. The $80 preregistration fee will cover the Friday evening reception, the Saturday luncheon and the Saturday evening banquet as well as a continental breakfast Saturday and Sunday morning. Please send your $80 preregistration fee to the Federation Center of the Blind, 119 S. Kilbourne Rd. Columbia, SC 29205. We are offering a discount for families with children regarding the preregistration fee. Parents will pay the $80 preregistration fee and each child eighteen years of age or younger will pay $20. We are also offering a discount to college students in the amount of $50 during the preregistration period. After August 3, the registration fee will increase to $100.

This year, the exhibit area will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Friday, August 10. Please make an effort to visit the exhibit area and let the exhibitors know you appreciate their participation in our convention. Everyone is welcome to attend the NFB of SC Board of Directors meeting which will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon, August 10. The reception Friday evening promises to be a great deal of fun. The theme for the reception will be “Marti Gras night” and there will be live music, food and dancing. Let the good times roll! The last agenda item on Saturday afternoon of the convention will be the first annual “NFB Has talent Showcase”. All talent is welcomed! This should be a lot of fun as we will have judges and prizes for the most talented acts. If you wish to participate, you can contact Shelley Coppel at (803) 796-8662 or you can email her at frankandshelley51@gmail.com no later than August 1.

As I reported last week in the Positive Note, we will be holding the annual Fun Day Festival during the Labor Day weekend (August31 – September 2). Four meals will be served including three on Saturday, September 1, and breakfast on Sunday morning, September 2. The board voted to charge $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 only attending the Fun Day Festival Saturday will need to pay Valerie and Larry Warrington $8 for lunch. Room reservations for the weekend are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. If you need to make a reservation for the Fun Day weekend, you can call the Federation Center (803) 254-3777 or call me (803) 796-8662 no later than August 24. I hope that you are selling your $5 Fun Day tickets as this contributes to the profits. 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! We need to bring new items for the auction which will take place on Saturday afternoon September 1, starting at 1:30 p.m. Let’s have a great turnout for the Fun Day Festival as Rocky Bottom very much needs our financial support.

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 we are spotlighting one of our more musical members. In fact, there are many musical members like Parnell Diggs who plays guitar and sings, Sarah Massengale who has sung at many events including NFB of SC conventions RBRCCB special events, and baseball games singing the National Anthem, Jim Jackson who is Minister of Music in his church, and Marty McKenzie who plays an excellent piano. These are only a few. Today we are spotlighting Doug Hudson who likes to play the Saxophone and the Piano and likes to sing. Born and raised in Bishopville, Doug attended K-6th grade at SCSDB and 7th grade through 12th at Sumter High School. He then received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at USC. For the past three decades Doug Hudson has guided many listeners on eight or nine area radio stations to their destinations safely as he did their radio station traffic reports. Doug has also worked part-time in various vending concession stands, performed light assembly line work and was a bell ringer for the Salvation Army. Using his musical talents, Doug Hudson played and sang both solo as well as in a variety of bands. His musical performances included a wide range of styles from gospel to country and western, rock and roll, disco and beach music. He has played and sang in a variety of churches as well. In 1974 Doug first joined the Sumter Chapter where he was its Vice President for a few years. Then he moved to Columbia where he joined the Columbia Chapter. He is active in the chapter’s annual barbecues and promotes the federation wherever he can. He attended the 1974 Chicago NFB convention and eight NFB of SC conventions over the years. His hobbies include singing, swimming and bowling. He once served as the Minister of Music at Grace Nazarene Church and he now attends the Shepherd Nazarene Church in Lexington. He still sings and plays in many area churches. Let’s salute Doug Hudson this week as someone who “lives the life he wants” in a variety of ways.

 

Final Thought:   “In good times and bad, we know that people give because you meet needs, not because you have needs.” – Kay Sprinkel Grace

 

1686

 

December 5, 2018

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

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1686

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

The 39th 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 2019 edition of Children’s camp will be held June 9, to June 16.  The dates for the 2019 Senior Camps will be May 19-23 and September 15-19.  I announced to the Board I have decided to step down as Senior Camp Director and I have asked Shelley Coppel and Shannon Cook to be co-directors of Senior camp.

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 such as repairing, termite damage, extensive mold remediation in Osterneck and other repairs.  Mr. Bible also thanked Jimmie and Frank Masters for their role in securing a $1500 contribution from the Rocky Bottom Baptist Church to repair roof leaks in Osterneck, Oblesby Cottages and the Conference Center.  Mr. Bible also recognized the individuals, church groups, and civic organizations who have volunteered their services in the area of building and ground maintenance during the past year at Rocky Bottom.  However, Mr. Bible pointed out that much work still needs to be done in Osterneck Cottage, the Conference Center, and the septic tanks.  Mr. Bible further stated Rocky Bottom is our camp and the blind need to do a better job “stepping up to the plate” and taking a more active role in the upkeep and maintenance of our facilities.  The board had an extensive discussion regarding the need to raise much needed funds for Rocky Bottom.  We discussed the Midlands Gives program which is held the first Tuesday in May as well as grant writing, and other possible fund raisers.  The board discussed the 2018 Fun Day Festival and ideas as to how we can significantly improve the overall proceeds for the camp.

During the NFB of SC State Board meeting, a variety of topics were discusd.  Debra Canty reported the fourth annual Sweetheart Dance will be held on Saturday, February 16, 2019 at the Federation Center of the Blind.  All proceeds raised from the dance will be given to the NFB of SC.  Ed Bible, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Federation Center and David Houck Federation Center of the Blind Director, gave an excellent report.  It was reported the Federation Center continues to be financially sound and the Center has expanded its assistive technology training programs this past year.  It was also reported the Federation Center is currently undergoing much needed renovations throughout the building.  The board also heard a report from Jennifer Bazer, Director of the NFB of SC Successful Transitions program.  Ms. Bazer reported the program was doing very well and that a new Mentoring component for blind students was recently added to her program.  The Washington Seminar was discussed and will begin on Sunday, January 27, 2019 with the “great gathering in” meeting being held on Monday, January 28, at 5:00 p.m.  Room rates for the Washington Seminar are $196 per night plus a 14.95 percent room tax.  Please call the Holiday Inn Capitol (877) 572-6951 and referencing booking code NB8 to make your reservation.  All reservations must be made by December 28.  If you wish to attend or have questions regarding the Washington Seminar, please call me at (803) 796-8662.  The 2019 state convention will be held in Columbia at the Marriott Hotel the weekend of August 9-11.  This will be a very specially event as we will be celebrating our 75th anniversary of our organization.

Saturday evening was spent celebrating the Christmas season with caroling, exchanging of gifts, and sampling a variety of delicious desserts.  We also recognized members of the Rocky Bottom Baptist Church for their generosity and support towards RBRCCB during this past year.  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.  Joining me for comments in this Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC.  Here is Dr. Capps.

Many of us know Trent Tedder through his association with Marty McKenzie.  As a Clarendon Chapter associate member, Trent is quite involved with not only the blind but also the hard of hearing in his work. Trent Tedder was born and raised in Florence, SC.  He currently lives in West Columbia. Trent graduated from West Oak High School in Westminster, SC. Trent’s mother, father, brother and one sister are deceased. He has two sisters that are living and he has a strong relationship with his nieces and nephews.

Trent is a Program Assistant at the SC School for the Deaf and the Blind. He has worked there for seven years. He works closely as the Statewide Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consultant, Project Magnify and the Division of Outreach in general. He previously worked in retail, manufacturing and as a pest control technician. He spent five years in the US Army as an Attach Helicopter Mechanic. He also served during Operation Desert Storm.

Trent Tedder has been an associate member of the Clarendon County NFB Chapter since 2009. He was introduced to the NFB by Marty McKenzie, the chapter president. He particularly enjoys his work with the blind and assists wherever he is needed.  Trent has attended eight state conventions and eight national conventions.

Trent works with Project Magnify which provides low vision clinics and devicse for up to thirty students statewide each year. He also completed a Literary Braille course offered from USC Upstate in 2010. He has worked as a Statewide Vision Consulted in the past. He served as APH Ex Officio Trustee Assistant from 2011 to 2018 and has attended several American Printing House for the Blind Annual Meetings.

Trent enjoys spending time with family and friends. He also enjoys cooking, watching Netflix and Hulu.  Trent attends Cornerstone Ministries in Lake City, SC, where he also runs the sound system for services and assists with Sunday School materials and bulletin productions.  Let’s salute Trent Tedder for his dedicated service to the blind and others both in and outside the federation!

 

Final Thought:  Will you be remembered by your service to others?

1686

 

December 5, 2018

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

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1686

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

The 39th 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 2019 edition of Children’s camp will be held June 9, to June 16.  The dates for the 2019 Senior Camps will be May 19-23 and September 15-19.  I announced to the Board I have decided to step down as Senior Camp Director and I have asked Shelley Coppel and Shannon Cook to be co-directors of Senior camp.

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 such as repairing, termite damage, extensive mold remediation in Osterneck and other repairs.  Mr. Bible also thanked Jimmie and Frank Masters for their role in securing a $1500 contribution from the Rocky Bottom Baptist Church to repair roof leaks in Osterneck, Oblesby Cottages and the Conference Center.  Mr. Bible also recognized the individuals, church groups, and civic organizations who have volunteered their services in the area of building and ground maintenance during the past year at Rocky Bottom.  However, Mr. Bible pointed out that much work still needs to be done in Osterneck Cottage, the Conference Center, and the septic tanks.  Mr. Bible further stated Rocky Bottom is our camp and the blind need to do a better job “stepping up to the plate” and taking a more active role in the upkeep and maintenance of our facilities.  The board had an extensive discussion regarding the need to raise much needed funds for Rocky Bottom.  We discussed the Midlands Gives program which is held the first Tuesday in May as well as grant writing, and other possible fund raisers.  The board discussed the 2018 Fun Day Festival and ideas as to how we can significantly improve the overall proceeds for the camp.

During the NFB of SC State Board meeting, a variety of topics were discusd.  Debra Canty reported the fourth annual Sweetheart Dance will be held on Saturday, February 16, 2019 at the Federation Center of the Blind.  All proceeds raised from the dance will be given to the NFB of SC.  Ed Bible, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Federation Center and David Houck Federation Center of the Blind Director, gave an excellent report.  It was reported the Federation Center continues to be financially sound and the Center has expanded its assistive technology training programs this past year.  It was also reported the Federation Center is currently undergoing much needed renovations throughout the building.  The board also heard a report from Jennifer Bazer, Director of the NFB of SC Successful Transitions program.  Ms. Bazer reported the program was doing very well and that a new Mentoring component for blind students was recently added to her program.  The Washington Seminar was discussed and will begin on Sunday, January 27, 2019 with the “great gathering in” meeting being held on Monday, January 28, at 5:00 p.m.  Room rates for the Washington Seminar are $196 per night plus a 14.95 percent room tax.  Please call the Holiday Inn Capitol (877) 572-6951 and referencing booking code NB8 to make your reservation.  All reservations must be made by December 28.  If you wish to attend or have questions regarding the Washington Seminar, please call me at (803) 796-8662.  The 2019 state convention will be held in Columbia at the Marriott Hotel the weekend of August 9-11.  This will be a very specially event as we will be celebrating our 75th anniversary of our organization.

Saturday evening was spent celebrating the Christmas season with caroling, exchanging of gifts, and sampling a variety of delicious desserts.  We also recognized members of the Rocky Bottom Baptist Church for their generosity and support towards RBRCCB during this past year.  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.  Joining me for comments in this Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC.  Here is Dr. Capps.

Many of us know Trent Tedder through his association with Marty McKenzie.  As a Clarendon Chapter associate member, Trent is quite involved with not only the blind but also the hard of hearing in his work. Trent Tedder was born and raised in Florence, SC.  He currently lives in West Columbia. Trent graduated from West Oak High School in Westminster, SC. Trent’s mother, father, brother and one sister are deceased. He has two sisters that are living and he has a strong relationship with his nieces and nephews.

Trent is a Program Assistant at the SC School for the Deaf and the Blind. He has worked there for seven years. He works closely as the Statewide Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consultant, Project Magnify and the Division of Outreach in general. He previously worked in retail, manufacturing and as a pest control technician. He spent five years in the US Army as an Attach Helicopter Mechanic. He also served during Operation Desert Storm.

Trent Tedder has been an associate member of the Clarendon County NFB Chapter since 2009. He was introduced to the NFB by Marty McKenzie, the chapter president. He particularly enjoys his work with the blind and assists wherever he is needed.  Trent has attended eight state conventions and eight national conventions.

Trent works with Project Magnify which provides low vision clinics and devicse for up to thirty students statewide each year. He also completed a Literary Braille course offered from USC Upstate in 2010. He has worked as a Statewide Vision Consulted in the past. He served as APH Ex Officio Trustee Assistant from 2011 to 2018 and has attended several American Printing House for the Blind Annual Meetings.

Trent enjoys spending time with family and friends. He also enjoys cooking, watching Netflix and Hulu.  Trent attends Cornerstone Ministries in Lake City, SC, where he also runs the sound system for services and assists with Sunday School materials and bulletin productions.  Let’s salute Trent Tedder for his dedicated service to the blind and others both in and outside the federation!

 

Final Thought:  Will you be remembered by your service to others?