Positive Note 1582

December 7, 2016Memo To: Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others

From: Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1582

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

              The 36th annual Christmas Board Retreat held at Rocky Bottom this past weekend was extremely busy as many of us participated in two board meetings (RBRCCB Board of Directors which was held 9:30 a.m. and the Board of Directors of the NFB of SC which was held at 2:00 p.m.) throughout the day on Saturday. During the RBRCCB Board meeting, Donald Capps expressed his thoughts to the board regarding his new role as Chairman Emeritus. Jennifer Bazer, Director of Children’s camp, stated the 2017 edition of Children’s camp will be held June 25 to July 1. The dates for the 2017 Senior Camps will be May 21-25 and September 17-21. Ed Bible, Vice Chairman of the RBRCCB Board of Directors, discussed with the board his thoughts regarding the importance of utilizing social media as a tool to market Rocky Bottom. To this end, Mr. Bible informed the board he has arranged to have an intern, Anita Harris, who has received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Communications from Winthrop College in Rock Hill to work with RBRCCB on a part time basis beginning January 1, 2017. Miss Harris’s primary responsibility will be to update and expand our content on all of our social media outlets. The Board also discussed the need to start planning for the annual Fun Day Festival in January of 2017. To accomplish this Fund Raising committee was appointed consisting of Jennifer Bazer Chairperson, Ed Bible, Valerie Warrington, and Debra Canty. During the NFB of SC State Board meeting, a variety of topics were discussed. The Board heard reports from Debra Canty, chairperson of the Fund Raising Committee who reported the second annual Sweetheart Dance will be held February 18, 2017 at the Federation Center of the Blind. Tickets for the dance will cost $25 per person and $45 for a couple. Jamie Allison, Chairperson of the Youth Recruitment Committee discussed with the board the various strategies her committee was considering to attract families of blind children and younger individuals to the NFB of SC. Jennifer Bazer, Director of the Career Boost Program, reported to the board considering the fact the NFB of SC began this program at “ground zero” her team has made tremendous strides and she is looking forward to 2017 with a great deal of anticipation. The Board also discussed the need to expand and update our content on social media as a tool to market the NFB of SC. Anita Harris will also be assisting the NFB of SC in this area as well. The Washington Seminar was discussed and will begin on Sunday, January 29, 2017 with the “great gathering in” meeting being held on Monday, January 30, at 5:00 p.m. Room rates for the Washington Seminar are $188 per night plus a 14.5 percent room tax. Please call the Holiday Inn Capitol at (877) 572-6951 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. Due to the fact I will be attending a State Affiliate Presidents meeting in Baltimore the weekend of January 28, and January 29, the Board discussed and voted to move the Statewide Seminar to Saturday, February 4, 2017. A letter will be sent to members during the next few days with further details regarding the Statewide Seminar. The Board also had an extensive discussion regarding the 2016 State Convention in Myrtle Beach. Many members agreed the staff at the Ocean Dunes Hotel were very accommodating and that the meeting space was adequate. However, many concerns were expressed regarding the inaccessibility for wheel chairs and the condition of the room accommodations at the hotel. For these reasons, it was the consensus of the Board to investigate other possible sites for the 2017 state convention. 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 myself and Shelley. 

              Billy Eubanks, who is a member of our Columbia Chapter, would like to thank everyone in the Federation family that called, sent cards and other items, and especially kept him, Loretta, and their family in their prayers during the last couple of months. He was in the hospital and rehab for 6 weeks, and fittingly, around Thanksgiving was able to come home. He says that they have felt all of the love sent their way and words just cannot adequately express their gratitude to all. 

              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 35th annual Christmas Board Retreat was a huge success. President Coppel presided over both the RBRCCB Board of Directors meeting and the NFB of SC Board of Directors meeting flawlessly. He also handled the Saturday evening Christmas party which was enjoyed by all. As always, Lenora Robertson, First Vice President of the NFB of SC, handled the food service. She included a variety of wonderful desserts. David Huck presented the Biblical account of the birth of Jesus. We were pleased to have some three Advisory Board members who spent some time with activities including Advisory Board Chairman John Sarpy and his lovely wife Linda, long time member Barry Chavis, and Mr. Billy Singleton who attended the RBRCCB board meeting. Our resident Rocky Bottom board member Dr. Tom Bowen attended the RBRCCB board meeting as well. I enjoyed all of the activities. 

              This Wednesday, December 7, 2016 is the 75rh anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I was 13 years old attending the School for the Blind when this happened. I recall it was Sunday and I was playing football when someone dashed from the building stating that the Japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor. He also stated President Franklin D. Roosevelt was on the radio covering the attack. I immediately stopped what I was doing to listen to President Roosevelt’s unforgettable report which included the attack as “A day which will live in infamy.” The bombing referred to the USS Arizona being sunk resulting in some 1,102 of the military personnel losing their lives, entombed in the sunken ship. Little did I realize I would be standing on the Arizona Memorial some 50 years later. About 1995, I was a member of the Board of Directors of the NFB and would be attending the convention of the NFB of Hawaii. The late Dr. Floyd Matson who taught Dr. Jacobus tenBroek was my primary host for the week I was in Hawaii. There is a brief documentary of the Pearl Harbor attack before proceeding to the deck where the ship lies. The names of the military personnel who lost their lives are inscribed on the Memorial wall. In standing on the deck of the Arizona it gently rocked from side to side and it was a solemn experience which I shall never forget. Dr. Matson who was the author of the publication, “Walking Alone and Marching Together” which covered the 50th anniversary of the NFB, was my sightseeing guide during my stay in Hawaii. David Houck tells me he lived about two miles from the Arizona Memorial in Hawaii between 1965 and 1967. 

              I want to extend sincere sympathy to Isaiah “Ike” Nelson, as well as to his brother Jonathan and sister Magdalene and his other siblings who lost their father Mr. Skyler Nelson at age 97 who passed away last Wednesday, November 30. It was my honor to know Mr. Nelson who was an outstanding gentleman. We will certainly keep the Nelson family in our thoughts and prayers.

     Final Thought: History of NFB of SC Legislative Victories: #44: June 2, 2014 – S.687 – Blind Persons Right to Parent Act – Blind parents retain right to child custody whereby blindness alone cannot be a reason for discrimination against the blind parent.