Palmetto Blind – Fall 2016

The Palmetto Blind

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


60th Annual NFB of SC Convention, First in Myrtle Beach



Left to Right: President Frank Coppel and Shelley Coppel with NFB Treasurer Jeanie Massey as Ellen Taylor looks on.



Raising Expectations


FALL 2016

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

The PALMETTO BLIND is the voice of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina and is available free of charge to any blind individual or member in large print, Braille online or in a digital format from the SC Talking Book Services. Other subscribers are encouraged. If readers desire to do so, donations to cover the annual subscription cost of $10.00 per year may be made payable to the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina and sent to: Valerie Warrington, Treasurer, National Federation of the Blind of SC, 119 S. Kilbourne Rd., Columbia, SC 29205

Braille or large print copies may be retained for personal libraries.

Giving A Dream

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

Seize the Future

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

chrHelping the NFB of SC fulfill its mission

chrRealizing income tax savings through a charitable donation

chrMaking capital gain tax savings on contributions of appreciated assets

chrProviding retained payments for the life of a donor or beneficiary

chrEliminating or lowering federal estate tax in certain situations

chrReducing estate settlement costs

NFB of SC programs are dynamic:

chrMaking the study of literacy and technology a real possibility for blind children and adults

chrProviding hope and training for seniors losing vision

chrPromoting state and local programs to help blind people become first class citizens

chrEducating the public about blind people’s true potential

chrAdvancing technology helpful to the blind

chrCreating a state and national library on the progress of blindness

chrTraining and inspiring professionals working with the blind

chrProviding critical information to parents of blind children


chrMentoring blind job seekers. Your gift makes you a partner in the NFB of SC dream. For further information or assistance, contact the NFB of SC, 119 S. Kilbourne Rd., Columbia, SC 29205. 803-254-3777 or the Holiday Cheer! To make your tax deductible donation, go to and click on the donation link.


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


Table of Contents


Celebrating Valentine’s With the NFB Family & Friends By Debra Canty

Commission for the Blind Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Conway Chapter Receives $500 to Assist with NFB of SC Convention Attendees

Upstate Annual Seminar

National Federation of the Blind 2016 Convention A Huge Success! By Frank Coppel

Rocky Bottom Labor Day Weekend Fun Day Festival Successful By Donald C. Capps

Salem Lions Publicize New Laundry Facilities at Rocky Bottom

NFB of SC 60th Annual Convention First Ever Held in Myrtle Beach

Governor Nikki Haley Issues White Cane Safety Day Proclamation

From the President’s Desk by Frank Coppel

2016 Children’s Camp ‑‑ DARE to Succeed By Jennifer Bazer

From the Desk of the NFB of SC President Emeritus & RBRCCB Chairman Emeritus By Dr. Donald C. Capps

From the Editor’s Desk by David Houck

Final Thought




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


Celebrating Valentine’s With the NFB Family & Friends


By Debra Canty

It was Mid-February on a brisk cool Friday evening with temperatures in the low forties. The National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina (NFB of SC), Fundraising Committee hosted our “First Sweetheart’s Dance” on Friday, February 12, 2016 at the Federation Center. There were almost sixty in attendance with chapter members from Belvedere, Columbia, Greenville, Lee, Spartanburg and Sumter Chapters. The committee engaged in several conference calls to discuss and plan the event to help secure funds for operating the Center.

Kudos to Clifton Reaves a former (NFB) scholarship recipient who gave of his time and talent to provide the music for the evening.

The atmosphere was warm and the room was adorned with eight tables covered with red and pink tablecloths with a dozen Mylar balloons bunched together, ascending as centerpieces with two-heart shaped weights. The welcome table was surrounded with a huge red and white Mylar floating balloon with a gorgeous vase on the table with lots of goodies for Valentine’s Day.

We dressed to impress and red was the dominant color worn for the evening to show LOVE for the season of Cupid. The dinner was catered and we dined, danced and some even won a door prize to add to the fun filled evening of conversation and laughter. We received a donation from a local business and it was presented from Tanisha Woodson at the event.

We appreciate the chapters and supporters for coming together and raising funds to help improve the quality of life for the blind and sight impaired.

So, live the life you want, blindness is not what holds us back!

We look forward to your participation for the Second Annual Sweetheart’s Dance next year.

Sweetheart Dance comments:

Melanie Torrance writes: “It was lovely and Debra did a great job. Everyone also looked wonderful. Dancing per a great DJ selection was so much fun. I’m so glad I went. Thanks to everyone who spent the extra time to pull this together!”

Steve and Shannon Cook wrote: “The Sweetheart Dance, held at the Federation Center last night was a great event. Steve and I enjoyed ourselves. We got to visit with members from Greenville, Sumter, Spartanburg, Lee and Columbia. The menu was awesome. The Center was decorated so nicely. Thanks to Debra Canty’s future daughter-in-law Ms. Wilson for her beautiful job with the decorations. It was a very well put together event. For those who did not get to attend, we hope you will make plans to do so the next time we have a similar event. Thanks too to Cliffton Reeves, a former scholarship recipient, who was our DJ. There were many door prizes given out too. The event itself is a testament to Debra Canty’s ability to excel at event planning. She is the perfect person to head up the Fundraising Committee for the NFB of SC. Several of us serve on that committee and are proud to see how well the evening turned out.”


Picture Captions:

Clifton Reeves, Blind DJ, Banquet and Dance participants


Commission for the Blind Celebrates 50th Anniversary

(Editor’s Note: This article includes excerpts from the May11 Positive Note by NFB of SC President Frank Coppel and President Emeritus Dr. Donald C. Capps)

NFB of SC President Coppel’s comments:

“This past Friday evening, Shelley and I along with a few other Federationists attended the Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration dinner for the South Carolina Commission for the Blind. Approximately 100 individuals were in attendance for this special occasion. Two former Commissioners were in attendance, Dr. Fred Crawford, the first Commissioner of the Commission for the Blind and Donald Gist, who was Commissioner of the agency during the 1990`so. Ed Bible did an outstanding job as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening and all those individuals who participated on the program made excellent presentations. Dr. Capps and Marshall Tucker did an excellent job providing the audience with a historical overview and why it was imperative to establish a separate agency for the blind in 1966. I spoke to the audience of the importance of partnerships between the NFB of SC and the Commission for the Blind during the past fifty years. I spoke of the numerous times in the 1990’s and 2000’s we as an organization partnered together to maintain the agency’s autonomy. I also spoke of the important partnership we have with the agency regarding Senior Camp at Rocky Bottom and the computer classes offered a the Federation Center. I pointed out to the audience there was no doubt the blind have benefited a great deal from the services offered by the Commission for the Blind. I concluded my remarks by stating this agency will be embarking on its next fifty years of service to the blind of this state. It is imperative that all of us work together to ensure the South Carolina Commission for the Blind is an agency that will develop innovative programs designed to enable the blind to compete on terms of equality with their sighted counterparts. It also imperative that this agency raises the expectations of the blind and that it empowers the blind with the philosophy: you can live the life you want.”

NFB of SC President Emeritus Capps comments:

“The 50th anniversary celebration of the Commission for the Blind was held last Friday evening May 6. A Banquet was held at the Embassy Suites in Columbia and was a huge success. It was well attended with over 100 present to participate in this historic event. Understandably there was a large turnout of Commission staff members. However, there were several blind persons present including Frank and Shelley Coppel, Marshall and Lois Tucker, Dr. Fred L. Crawford, Lenora Robertson, Lynn Hornsby, Ed Bible, Steve and Shannon Cook, David Bundy, Steve and Wanda Sheck, David and Darlene Houck and no doubt others. It was good seeing our Rock Hill Chapter Associate member Winnie Spears whose late husband served as the chapter’s President many years ago. Frank Coppel did a good job representing the NFB of SC. Ed Bible was the Master of Ceremonies and he performed well. As we entered the Banquet Hall we were warmly greeted by Commissioner Jim Kirby. As we were leaving the Banquet Hall Mr. Kirby and I again exchanged best wishes and agreed that the 50th anniversary celebration was good for the Commission and the Federation. The keynote speaker was former state Senator Maggie Glover who was a longtime friend of the Commission and the blind. She urged the Commission to build upon its 50th anniversary with the goal of serving as many blind persons as possible. Frank Coppel introduced both Marshall Tucker and myself as we were speakers. Marshall talked about the 1964 NFB of SC convention where action was taken to authorize the Legislature to study the necessity of the blind in having their own agency. I talked about my attending the 1956 NFB convention in San Francisco which included attending a seminar for state leaders following the convention. I was disturbed to learn of the woeful inadequacies of programs for the blind in South Carolina. Lois Boltin Tucker also attended the 1956 NFB convention where she saw a braille PBX switchboard that was on exhibit. This experience resulted in Lois wanting to receive switchboard training. We asked the Division for the Blind to assist Lois in receiving this training but was denied on the basis that she was already employed albeit inadequately. Thus, it became the responsibility of the NFB of SC to assist Lois in receiving the training available only in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In October 1958 the NFB of SC with personal support for Lois, she traveled to Minneapolis and successfully completed her training. Once again the NFB of SC requested the Division for the Bl/SC Department of Public Welfare to assist Lois in seeking switchboard employment. Their rigid position had not changed as they declined to assist Lois. It was once again the responsibility of the NFB of SC to work with Lois in finding employment as a braille switchboard operator, which incidentally was the first employment of this kind in the state. In June 1959 Lois secured a job as a PBX switchboard operator. She enjoyed a long career with the Seibels Bruce Company in Columbia performing admirably as not only the company’s switchboard operator but also as the receptionist. The failure of the Division of the Blind to give any assistance whatsoever to Lois would be one of the reasons the NFB of SC undertook a major step in securing the introduction of legislation that would create a separate state agency for the state’s blind. I congratulated the Commission in their work in placing numerous blind people over the years in gainful employment with assistance to such superstars as Parnell Diggs and Chris Danielsen. Parnell was hired by the NFB in its national office in Baltimore as Director of Governmental Affairs with Chris Danielsen being employed by our national office as Director of Public Information.”


Conway Chapter Receives $500 to Assist with NFB of SC Convention Attendees

Picture Caption:

Levern Wilson receives check

When the following opportunity was noticed by the Conway Chapter, an effort was made to fill out the application as one of Horry Electric Cooperative’s 75 acts of kindness in assisting with the blind attending the October 28-30, 2016 NFB of SC Myrtle Beach Convention. Here is a little about the application process:

Horry Electric Cooperative’s 75 Acts of Kindness

To celebrate our history and our tradition of giving to the community during our 75th Anniversary celebration in 2016, we’re doing 75 Acts of Kindness with a value of up to $500 per act.

Commitment to community is a core value and part of our mission and purpose as a Cooperative. Our plan is to, on an application basis, give back to the communities we serve by performing 75 Act of Kindness using the following criteria:

As of April 1, 2016, the 75 Acts of Kindness have been completed.

We have an application review committee made up of employees who each represent the primary communities in which we serve. Throughout the year, as they review these applications and approve an individual Act of Kindness, we’ll keep you updated. The information will be published in the monthly magazine and/or through our social media outlets.

Sure enough, Levern Wilson received a call from Horry Electric stating that their application not only won but received the maximum amount of $500. Levern Wilson went by Horry Electric the next day and picked up the check. The funds are to be used in Horry County with regard to the NFB of SC Convention in October. Truly, you can’t receive if you don’t apply. We salute Horry Electric and the Conway Chapter under the leadership of President Wilson in being awarded the $500 as one of 75 acts of kindness in assisting the blind to attend this important convention.





Picture Caption:

Left to right: David Bundy, President Frank & Shelley Coppel & Dean Marchbanks

This is the first year for the Upstate Seminar which was held by the Anderson Chapter and hosted by President Dean Marchbanks. The seminar was a great success thanks to Cherokee, Greenville, Greenwood Chapters for attending. The seminar started off with President Frank Coppell giving us a look at the history of the National Federation of the Blind and what the organization’s purpose for the bl/ Visually Impaired are in the NFB. Followed by Technology Assistant at the Commission for the Blind David Bundy give us a demonstration of talking audio devices and apps and he also talked about computer software that will help the blind and visually impaired.

We will host an annual seminar each year in the Upstate the first Saturday in March. Greeenville will host it next year. The members of the Anderson Chapter were honored to be the very first chapter to host an Upstate seminar. President Dean Marchbanks and Vice President Krystal Reece asked all upstate chapters to participate in the next upstate seminar.


National Federation of the Blind 2016 Convention A Huge Success!


By Frank Coppel

(Editor’s Note: The following remarks are reprinted from Positive Notes by NFB of SC President Frank Coppel following the convention. These remarks are being reprinted for the benefit of all Palmetto Blind readers. For greater detail concerning the 2016 NFB Convention, please refer to the August/September edition of The Braille Monitor.)

Hello from Orlando, Florida where Shelley and I had a wonderful time attending the 2016 NFB national convention. This was my 34th convention and no doubt this convention ranked high on my list of best of the best conventions. We had 2,368 federationists attend this year’s convention. South Carolina was proud to have 73 delegates which I feel was a pretty good turnout. Hopefully next year we can increase the number to 100. The convention had many outstanding presentations and throughout the ballroom it was filled with a great deal of enthusiasm and energy. Of course, President Riccobono’s Presidential Report and Banquet address were outstanding.

The highlight of the convention as always is the Banquet. The NFB gave out thirty scholarships and these young men and women were extremely impressive. The highlight for me came toward the end of the Banquet when Dr. Maurer presented Jerry and Marilyn Whittle with the Jacobus tenBroek Award. Most of us know Jerry got his start in South Carolina and he made mention of that by saying, “I want to thank Mr. Capps for being my federation father,” and he had many fond wishes for Betty Capps as well. During his speech to the audience he stated, “The NFB gave my life back to me.”

I am pleased to announce that our fundraiser at our Exhibit Hall table was very successful. Debra Canty, Second Vice President of the NFB of SC and our Fundraising Chairperson reported to me that they raised $800 for the state organization. Kudos to Debra and her volunteers for doing a great job! It was also good to see Parnell Diggs who sat with us in our delegation on several occasions.

The NFB national convention at times reminds me of a large family reunion and for Shelley and me it was wonderful to reconnect and visit with friends we have not seen for a long period of time. Although I was proud of the seventy plus South Carolinians who registered for this year’s convention, it was very disappointing to me to see the extremely poor attendance from our delegation at many of the general sessions. One of the purposes of the national convention is to become more familiar with issues facing the blind on a national level and this is very difficult to do if you are not attending the meetings. On a positive note, I want to commend our bus captain, Dorothy Barksdale, and her assistants, Tiffany Mitchell and Catherine Williams for doing an outstanding job in getting our members who rode the vans to the convention. I would like to thank those individuals who rode the vans for their patience and cooperation during the trip. I plan to discuss with the State Board at the August 20, meeting ways to increase ticket sales for the 2017 national convention bus fund raiser. I believe if all of us work harder and do our fair share of selling bus tickets this Fall I truly believe we can raise the necessary funds to charter a bus rather than utilizing vans to the convention next summer.


Rocky Bottom Labor Day Weekend Fun Day Festival Successful


By Donald C. Capps

(Editor’s Note: This is being reprinted from the September 7 Positive Note for the benefit of our Palmetto Blind readers.)

The 2016 Labor Day Fun Day Festival was a good success. Our profits this year were more than $1,238 greater than in 2015. This year’s profit was $7,549 as the 2015 profit was $6,310.40. I’m grateful to all of you who helped to make this year’s Fun Day a good success. While there were a few members who cancelled during the last week, there were some 45 members present. The participation was statewide with Alma Lee Doyle and Pat and Donnie Mincey from Loris and Loretta and Henry Green from Upper Dorchester who drove a great distance even in a tropical storm to be part of our annual Fun Day. The following is a breakdown of the proceeds which also involves proceeds of 2015 which gives us information as to the more than $1,200 profit this year: Fun Day tickets $3,560 and $1,920 in 2015; Auction $1,350 and $877 in 2015; Weekend Food $1,180 and $1,120 in 2015; Labor Day Food sales $390 and $371 in 2015; T-shirt sales, etc. $242 and $130 in 2015; Yard Sale $159 and $43 in 2015; Old Country Store $37 and $89.40 in 2015; BINGO $93 and $60 in 2015; Food Donations $320 and $500 in 2015; Neal McJunkin Benefit Concert $130; and Other Donations $88 in 2016 and $1,200 in 2015. Our thanks to our granddaughter Laura Setters and her family for making an $88 contribution to RBRCCB in honor of my 88th birthday. You will note there was an increase in just about every category. Throughout the years Blue Ridge Electric has been good about providing a TV for the auction. About the middle of last week we were informed that once again Blue Ridge Electric would contribute a 42 inch flat screen TV and it would be delivered on Friday, September 2 but this did not happen. However, I got a telephone call this Tuesday morning from a Blue Ridge Electric official who profusely apologized for failure to deliver the TV. He stated he had the TV to be delivered on Friday but explained that he got very busy and simply forgot to make the delivery. He could not have been more gracious and stated he would make the delivery this Tuesday. It was decided by the gathering that the TV would be auctioned off during the state convention in Myrtle Beach. Incidentally, the 42inch flat screen TV has been delivered to us at Rocky Bottom. Our thanks to state President Frank Coppel for his assistance. This will add to the auction proceeds as well as to the total profits. We cannot recognize each and every member who helped, however, here is some information you will enjoy reading. The following are the Fun Day ticket winners: Oueeny Smith is the 8 year old granddaughter of Roy and Josephine Smith, President of our Charleston Chapter. Queeny won the $500 as the purchaser and Roy Smith won $50 as the seller of the winning ticket. The Columbia Chapter sold 174 Fun Day tickets and won the $300 for their chapter’s treasury. The Loris Chapter placed second, selling 100 tickets and the Rock Hill Chapter placed third, selling 65 tickets. Our appreciation to Jeff Bazer of our Columbia Chapter who did an excellent job as our auctioneer. The black and silver signed Carolina Panthers football was auctioned off for $250. Valerie Warrington secured the Panthers football. Our appreciation to Lenora Robertson and her kitchen crew once again for handling the food service and preparing the meals. I’m pleased that this year’s $5 Fun Day ticket sales exceeded last year’s sales by $3,730. Our members worked harder than last year. David Houck worked very closely with those selling tickets and deserves credit for much of its success. The first benefit concert was a marginal success. The band headed up by Neal McJunkin was excellent. The annual Labor Day Fun Day Festival was a success because of our members’ participation. There was a lot of fun and fellowship with a great deal of congeniality.

Picture Captions:


Neil McJunkin Concert

Yard Sale, Old Country Store & T-shirts, etc.


Salem Lions Publicize New Laundry Facilities at Rocky Bottom

Picture Caption:

Pictured here are Brooke Rivers, President Ted Brewer, Treasurer Carl Halvorsen, and Vice President Jack Ackerman.

(Editor’s Note: This article is appearing in the Lions National Newsletter. We are sharing it with Palmetto Blind readers, recognizing their hard work on behalf of the blind of South Carolina)


Our ongoing support of the Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind extended to upgrading their laundry facilities during July and August. It had become difficult for Resident Manager Brooke Rivers to clean 52 sets of sheets and towels needed to prepare for full occupancy. The washers and dryers in three of their buildings were old and inadequate to handle that volume in a short period of time and the laundry needs of guests, so it was Salem Lions to the rescue.

A small but determined group led by Ed Nichols included Jack Ackerman, Don

Gallian and Ted Brewer, along with laundry advice when choosing machines from Lynne Gallian and Bekah Brewer. We found a valuable ally in Seneca Sears Owner/Operator Jason Graham who gave the Lions a generous discount on three new washer/dryer sets. He also delivered and installed the new machines with some help from the Lions on August 3rd. In addition Jason donated enough detergent for 1200 loads of washing. Awesome!!!

These new machines will be a huge help on laundry days for Brooke and also will be used by guests who need fresh clothes during their stay. Thanks to the Salem Lions Board of Directors for approving this project to serve the blind citizens of South Carolina.


NFB of SC 60th Annual Convention First Ever Held in Myrtle Beach

It was a great weekend for the 60th annual convention of the NFB of SC during October 28-30 at the Ocean Dunes Hotel in Myrtle Beach. Many began arriving on Thursday the 27th and there were a grand total of 175 delegates in attendance. By Friday, October 28 at 1:00 p.m. events began to transpire as convention registration and the exhibit hall with several exhibitors representing state agencies, technology vendors, chapters and divisions of the NFB of SC and others displayed their services and wares. Of particular note was the sale of NFB of SC blue T-shirts bearing the new NFB logo on a beach scene on the front with “Raising Expectations” in print and braille on back. Darlene Houck did a great job handling important Registration duties.

Picture Captions:

James Nelson

Charlis Borodin

LeVern Wilson

JW Smith

Several divisional meetings, a BELL-X Workshop a White Cane Walk A Thon Committee and a Resolutions Committee met throughout the afternoon leading up to the Reception. The evening Reception featured refreshments and a live band for shagging on the beach and the room was decorated beautifully.

Picture Captions:

Convention delegation

President Frank Coppel

NFB Rep. Jeanie Massey

President Frank Coppel gaveled the convention to order promptly at 9:00 a.m. and the Saturday morning session featured a $100 door prize which was won by Dorcas Campbell, President of the Chesterfield County Chapter. Lenora Robertson and Ellen Taylor did a fantastic job collecting and calling out door prizes throughout the convention. James Nelson, Georgetown Chapter President, opened the session in prayer which was followed by announcements and greetings from host chapter presidents Charlis Borodin of the Grand Strand Chapter and Levern Wilson of the Conway Chapter. A warm response was given by JW Smith, President of our Greenville Chapter. Our National NFB Representative, Jeanie Massey, NFB Treasurer, presented her National Report. She spoke concerning her adjustment to blindness and how NFB President Mark Riccobono gave her challenging leadership roles which provided her with confidence and further opportunities to serve. The change in the Whozit logo to the current one we use today was to point to our future and to provide a sense of community. Our One Minute Message and slogan, “Live the life you want,” is designed to let those outside the federation know how we view ourselves as an organized movement. Next year’s Orlando NFB convention is scheduled for July 10-15, 2017. National legislative issues were discussed on minimum wages for the blind, accessibility to international books, accessible instructional materials for higher education, and military space availablity transport for blinded veterans. The myriad services of the Jernigan Institute were also addressed.

Picture Captions:

Kyle Walker

Dr. Page McCraw

Christine Marbalot

Kyle Walker, Division Director, Consumer Services for the Commission for the Blind spoke on behalf of the Commissioner, Jim Kirby, discussed the statewide assessment survey, the 2017 Science, Engineering, Technology and Math (STEM) Program, the BOOST Program contract with the NFB of SC to assist blind students transitioning from school to work, all of which are also designed to raise expectations among the blind. SC School for the Deaf and the Blind President Dr. Page McCraw stated that the School served 555 students last year and 1,511 students statewide. The Braille production center is producing braille textbooks by inmates in the prison system, the School’s Museum has been reopened, Technology Olympics for students, and the NFB of SC BELL Academy hosted at the School by Jennifer Duffell-Hoffman and Jami Allison. The next program item featured a panel on Raising Expectations in the Workplace. Christine Mabalot reported on her work with Verizon Wireless as a Customer Service Specialist and she recommended that in order to stand out in your work, find one thing you can improve on your job and master it well, then take on another.

Picture captions:

Christopher Breece

Peter Smith

Ed Bible

The second panelist, Christopher Breece the Director of Information Technology at the Commission for the Blind, stated that technology access brings the world to the blind through computer training. The third panelist was Peter Smith, a Harvard graduate who works with John Hancock Financial Services and currently serves as board Chairman on the Commission for the Blind’s Board of Commissioners expounded that he has learned to raise expectations on both a physical level as well as in technology access. He has participated in Boston Marathons and tandem bicycling, etc. Punctuality and networking breed success and success breeds success. He recently underwent additional computer JAWS training at the Federation Center to hone his technical skills. The final Saturday morning session program item was President Coppel’s Presidential Report. You can imagine upon receiving the news in June 2015 that President Diggs was taking a position as Director of Governmental Affairs at the NFB and that Mr. Diggs wanted Mr. Coppel to succeed him as NFB of SC President, this was full of life changing challenges. After all, Shelly “would have to accept this potential position as well as I. After being elected to the presidency at the 2015 state convention, both Shelley and I were all in. It was soon learned that the NFB of SC must meet some pressing goals which included meeting finances through fundraising, membership growth (especially in younger blind members), keep down complacency through raising expectations, developing the Career BOOST contract with the Commission and the Federation. “Many of these objectives have already been put into place as we move forward in raising our expectations. We have our work cut out for us but we are up to the task. By working together, we will continue to grow stronger as a movement.”

Picture Captions:

Jennifer Bazer

Sandy Knowles

Debra Canty

The Luncheon was packed. David Houck gave the invocation and the head table was introduced. Building new relationships was the theme during the luncheon as Ed Bible, Director of Training and Employment at the Commission for the Blind explained the development of the Career BOOST Program for the transition of high school blind students into work. Kyle Walker expounded on the career path to success which included job consulting, work based learning experiences, education consultation, workplace readiness and training and self-advocacy. Jennifer Bazer, leading the Career BOOST project between the NFB of SC and the Commission, emphasized the blind students need the means by which to make money through their career. She requested the convention delegates to assist in making blind student referrals to the Career BOOST Program.

Picture Captions:

Denise Pensmith

David H. Zoellner

David Bundy

The afternoon session began with Sandy Knowles, Director of Talking Book Services giving her report. There has been an increase in accessibility to talking books, digital access has expanded, TBS patronage has grown to over 5,000 South Carolinians. Building renovations are continuing and there is a digital technology “petting zoo” for hands on access. This was followed by Vice Chairman Frank Coppel giving a Rocky Bottom Report. He explained to the delegates that due to health concerns and age, the Capps were not able to be present as this was the first state convention they have ever missed. Both the success of Senior Camps and the Fun Day Festival (which raised $9,700) was discussed. The need and means to raise funding was also extolled. Jennifer Bazer, Director of Children’s Camp, described in detail the success of this year’s camp with its activities and reported that the 2017 Children’s Camp is scheduled for June 25 to July 1. Since the Fun Day auction missed bidding on a flat screen TV which was received after Fun Day, it was auctioned off during the Rocky Bottom report with the highest bid coming from Cheryl Mott-Sims of the Lee County Chapter who bid $200. Fun Day proceeds now total $9,900! Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Federation Center of the Blind, Debra Canty addressed the convention, stressing that we all need to pitch in to assist the operation of the Center. David Houck, Executive Director of the Federation Center of the Blind reported that computer training continues with Courtney Rone and Peter Smith receiving training this year in addition to some virtual training utilizing other blind instructors. He thanked the membership for their financial assistance during the “summer slump” and explained the restoration of the Administrative Assistant’s office is underway after an intoxicated driver struck the Center in September. The Center is glad to host the Career BOOST Program and the Palmetto Blind will be put together shortly following the state convention. A panel discussion on knowing your rights was presented including Denise Pensmith Director of the Client Assistance Program requesting that you call when there exists an issue between you and your Commission counselor. David H. Zoellner, Managing Attorney with Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc. stated they can help with issues concerning SSI issues, ADA violations and with accessible voting issues. The final panelist was our NFB national representative Jeanie Massey who expounded on the resources that the NFB has regarding your rights as a blind person, legislative issues, legal representation, etc. With a vast history of standing up for the rights of blind people, the NFB is one of the premier resources available regarding these civil rights issues. David Bundy presented the 2016 NFB of SC Scholarship Class which included Justin Preston, a Criminal Justice Major at USC Upstate, Anna Price, a Psychology Major at Erskine College who wants to work with Veterans with PTSAID, and Jay Thompkins, a Music Education Major at USC Upstate. Following this presentation, the remainder of the afternoon session was taken up with chapter and division reports, an important means by which chapters and divisions can learn from each other.

Picture Captions:

Justin Preston

Anna Price

Jay Thompkins- left

The Saturday evening Banquet is the highlight of the convention. Following Dorothy Barksdale’s fine invocation, Michael Fusco and David Monk with Carolinas Wealth Management spoke for a few minutes on how wills, life insurance and estate planning can assist the NFB of SC in its future funding. Our NFB national representative, Jeanie Massey, also President of the NFB of Oklahoma, gave an inspiring Banquet speech. Losing sight as an adult, adjusting to blindness was not easy. However, it was a blind federNiast who gave her a white cane and also taught her how to apply makeup, although she used to work for Este Lauder. She went on to receive a Masters in Counseling Psychology and became a licensed professional counselor and clinical supervisor. Blindness was not an issue in achieving these goals. The NFB taught her to “stand up, step up and rise together.” We must have the will to prepare to win and to go the extra mile. The Associate Member of the Year Award was presented by NFB of SC Treasurer Valerie Warrington to Columbia Chapter member Jonathan Nelson for his service in providing transportation and in many other ways to the Federation. David Houck presented the Donald C. Capps Award along with a crisp $100 bill to Chesterfield County Chapter President Dorcas Campbell who is very active in the Federation and is only 94 years young. Scholarships were presented as follows: Justin Preston $1,250, Anna Price $1,600 and Jay Thompkins $2,500 which included the Federation Center Kline Scholarship. Following these program items, a Banquet fundraiser for the NFB of SC and the Federation Center of the Blind was held and in a short time raised $7,410 in cash and pledges from convention delegates. Pledges should be paid by December 31. The day ended with much excitement and enthusiasm.

Picture Captions:

Johnathan Nelson & Valerie Warrington

Dorcas Campbell

Sunday morning’s session got off to a start as we remember all the federation members who passed since last year. Doug and Patsy Roberts did a fine job with the memorial and devotional service. NFB of SC and RBRCCB Treasurer, Valerie Warrington read the respective financial reports which were approved as read. The remainder of chapter and division reports were heard at this time. Our stewardship to the NFB nationally was discussed with the tenBroek Fund, PAC Plan and SUN Shares. A collection of 36 SUN Shares for $360 was made on the spot. Elections were held and the following were elected to the NFB of SC Board of Directors: President Frank Coppel, First Vice President Lenora Robertson, Second Vice President Debra Canty, Secretary Dorothy Barksdale, Treasurer Valerie Warrington, Second District Shannon Cook of Columbia, Fourth District JW Smith of Greenville, Sixth District Ronald Benjamin of Florence and At-Large members Jami Allison of Cherokee and Loretta Green of Upper Dorchester. Our thanks go to Marty McKenzie for his service on the Board of Directors. Also, thanks goes out to Larry Warrington for live streaming the convention which you can listen to at Following the convention, the Rocky Bottom Board of Directors met and elected the following officers and directors: Chairman Frank Coppel, Vice Chairman Ed Bible, Secretary Dorothy Barksdale, Treasurer Valerie Warrington, Chairman Emeritus Donald C. Capps; board members David Houck, Lenora Robertson, Dr. Tom Bowen, Jennifer Bazer and Debra Canty. The following are resolutions passed unanimously by the convention on Sunday morning:


Resolution 2016-01

Whereas, Lexington Medical Center is one of the largest and busiest hospitals in the midlands area; and

Whereas, Lexington Medical Center as do other hospitals in the state, has policies which allow and encourage family members of a patient to stay with a patient and assist them as needed; and

Whereas, as recently as October 15, 2016, a blind spouse was informed by hospital staff “she could not stay alone with her husband of forty eight years of marriage simply because she was blind; and

Whereas, she was further informed by hospital staff she could not stay with her husband unless she was accompanied by a sighted attendant, and

Whereas, when staff was questioned regarding this policy, the staff stated “this was written policy designed to maintain the safety of a person with a disability”; and

Whereas, this was a humiliating experience because the spouse has been a homemaker taking care of all of the responsibilities of cleaning a home, cooking meals every day, shopping, etc.; was employed; raised a son, and has helped in raising two grandchildren; and

Whereas the National Federation of the Blind knows that agencies, hospitals, airlines, etc. hide behind the phrase “for safety reasons”, when in reality, this action is discriminatory against people with disabilities;

Now therefore, Be it Resolved by the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina in Convention assembled in the city of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on October 30, 2016, that this organization condemn and deplore the attitudes and demeaning policy directed toward blind individuals; and

Be it Further Resolved that hospital officials meet with members of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina to participate in Sensitivity Training for all staff regarding how to interact with blind patients and visitors of the Lexington Medical Center; and

Be it Further Resolved that a copy of this resolution be submitted to the South Carolina Hospital Association for distribution to hospitals statewide and to each member of the Lexington Medical Center’s Board of Directors.


Resolution 2016 ‑‑ 02

Whereas, in 1996 a Proviso, strongly supported by the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina, was passed in the General Appropriations Bill to provide $50,000 to the University of South Carolina to retain the Chair for the Vision Teacher Program; and

Whereas, in 2000 a proviso was passed through the General Assembly moving the Vision Teacher Program from the University of South Carolina ‑‑Columbia campus to the University of South Carolina comSpartanburg campus; and

Whereas, the $50,000 annual provision has not increased since the inception of the Vision Teacher Program in 1996; and

Whereas, orientation, mobility, and continuing braille education is not currently part of the Vision Teacher Program in South Carolina; and

Whereas, it is estimated that an additional $50,000 annually will be needed to the expand the Vision Teacher Program to include orientation, mobility, and continuing braille education; and

Whereas, the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina understands the value of these skills and know they are essential components of the Vision Teacher Program.

Now therefore, be it Resolved by the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina in convention assembled in the city of Myrtle Beach South Carolina, on this 30th day of October 2016, that this organization work with the General Assembly to increase the annual proviso from $50,000 to $100,000; and

Be it further Resolved that the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina work with the University of South Carolina ‑‑Spartanburg campus to expand the Vision Teacher program to include orientation, mobility, and continuing braille training and certification.


Governor Nikki Haley Issues White Cane Safety Day 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 by allowing them to navigate through their environment safely, avoiding physical barriers and hazards; 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, and to compete 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 2016 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.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Nikki R. Haley, Governor of the great State of South Carolina, do hereby proclaim October 15, 2016, 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 improving access to basic services for blind and visually impaired persons.



From the President’s Desk


By Frank Coppel

As we approach the end of 2016, let’s quickly review what has occurred during the past nine months in the NFB of SC. In the area of fund raising, we were able to raise $8,300. This consisted of $500 (NFB of SC coffee thermoses) $1,100 (the first annual Sweet heart dance) $3000 (sponsorships for state convention) $800 (items sold at National Convention) $300 (NFB of SC t-shirts) $2,600 (NFB of SC’s portion thus far of the banquet fund raiser). In the area of membership growth, we reorganized the Cedar Springs Chapter of the NFB of SC and created a Youth Recruitment committee, Chaired by Jamie Allison, whose primary purpose is to attract and encourage young people to participate in our organization. On October 28-30 the NFB of SC for the first time ever held its sixtieth annual State Convention in Myrtle Beach. Approximately 175 individuals were in attendance and a majority of the feedback has been positive.

On September 15, 2016 the NFB of SC signed a contract in the amount of $180,000 for each of the next two years with the South Carolina Commission for the Blind. This grant would enable the NFB of SC to provide services for blind youth ages thirteen to twenty-one to transition from school to the world of work. I have asked Jennifer Bazer to serve as Director of this project and she has already assembled an outstanding team of Federationists who are doing an excellent job throughout the state. I am very excited about this grant as it can greatly benefit the blind youth of this state as well as the NFB of SC.

As we head into 2017, I would like to remind everyone of the State-wide Seminar which will be held at the Federation Center of the Blind on February 4, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Also, I would like to remind all of you to continue to sell your 2017 National Convention bus tickets. The convention again will be held in Orlando Florida. Remember, bus tickets this year are $2 for one ticket and $5 for three tickets. The drawing will occur at the conclusion of the Statewide Seminar on February 4. The winner of the ticket selected will receive $300, the seller of the winning ticket will receive $100, and the Chapter selling the most tickets will receive $300. Also, this is a great time to go ahead and submit your 2017 state dues of $10 to the State Office. When you submit your state dues, please provide current contact information such as, address, phone number and email address if you have one. These things do change and if we do not have updated information, we cannot keep you up to date on what’s going on. The deadline for dues is January 31 2017,

2017 promises to be very busy but an exciting year as we continue to strengthen our Federation Family and improve the quality of life of blind people. By all of us working hard and working together, we can continue to change what it means to be blind in South Carolina!


2016 Children’s Camp ‑‑

DARE to Succeed


By Jennifer Bazer

Picture Captions:

Children’s Art Project

Atop Sassafras Mt. at 3,550 feet


Children’s Camp at Rocky Bottom was held July 17-23 2016 with 18 campers and 25 volunteers. The week of fun started on Sunday with a slip-n-slide along with a cook-out and homemade churned ice cream. Other exciting activities included the annual climb up Sassafras Mountain, kayaking at Table Rock state park and roasting marshmallows and sores. During the week, campers participated in various classes of orientation and mobility, home management, art, music, outdoor recreation and swimming. The week ended with the annual talent show on Friday night where campers delighted the audience with singing, dancing, comedy, drama skits, and poetry and prose readings.

The 2016 theme for Children’s camp was DARE to Succeed—determination, attitude, ready and energized. Each day, the focus was on one of the four motivational words and how that word helped them be successful. Each word was spotlighted through skits, music, personal stories, and group discussions. On arrival, campers were given logo ware items reflective of the theme including: a tote bag, water bottle, stress ball, and rubber bracelet. The highlight was the t-shirts with DARE to Suceed written in print and Braille on the back of the shirts.

The director, Jennifer Bazer, is excited to announce camp dates for 2017 will be June 25-July 1 which will not conflict with the Teen program at the Commission for the Blind, the Bell Academy, or Camp Leo! Look for camp applications in February to secure your spot for 2017. If you are passionate about children and youth who are blind, hard-working, driven, energetic, and a self-starter, Jennifer is seeking volunteers and junior counselors for 2017.

The camp is free of charge to children and youth who are blind between the ages of 6-16. All counselors and junior counselors are blind and all team members are volunteers. If you have questions about the camp or wish to make an in-kind or monetary donation to Children’s camp, please contact Jennifer Bazer at or 803-661-6622.


From the Desk of the NFB of SC President Emeritus


& RBRCCB Chairman Emeritus


By Dr. Donald C. Capps

(Editor’s Note: I requested Dr. Capps to write the following article demonstrating his decades of service, experience and devotion to the blind for our Palmetto Blind readers)

Webster defines “Chairman” as follows, “the presiding officer of a meeting, committee, board, or the administrative head.” “Emeritus” is defined as follows, “retired or honorably discharged from active professional duty, but retaining the title of one’s office or position:”

I first met Dr. Kenneth Jernigan in 1955. He had come to South Carolina for the purpose of establishing an affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind. An educator, Dr. Jernigan taught at the School for the Blind in Nashville, Tennessee for some four or five years before traveling to South Carolina in 1955.

The Aurora Club of the Blind then consisted of chapters in Spartanburg and Columbia which were organized in 1944 under the leadership of its Founder, Dr. Samuel Miller Lawton. My introduction with the organized blind commenced in August of 1953. My brother Earl who was also blind obviously felt that if he could get me to a chapter meeting, he would be successful in my joining the Columbia Aurora Club. His strategy worked. My brother invited me to speak at the August meeting, and while I did not realize it at that time since I had resisted for some time, the invitation to speak was actually due to earlier pride in staying away from my fellow blind. In 1954 I became President of the Columbia Club and agreed to serve after only five months of chapter participation.

Dr. Jernigan used this earlier involvement to convince me that I should head up a state organization. In April of 1956 there was a statewide gathering of the blind with three chapters, Spartanburg, Columbia and Charleston. Once again I answered the call to serve as the President of the SC Aurora Club of the Blind which ultimately changed its name to the NFB of SC.

In July 1956, I traveled to the NFB National Convention held in San Francisco where I met many prominent leaders including Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, the Founder of the NFB. The prominent convention agenda was replete with presentations based on the purpose of the Federation including its philosophy and goals. The convention Banquet address was presented by Dr. tenBroek and was entitled, “Within the Grace of God,” which left an indelible impression upon me. Following the convention I decided to attend a week long seminar which dealt with various programs including laws, rehabilitation and welfare.

Perhaps more than anything else I had become wholly committed and devoted in my service to the blind. It didn’t take me too long to learn that as the leader of the state organization it would not be just “peaches and cream” as there were those, having been in work professionally with the blind for many years, who inflicted their wrath upon me. I recall the Chief of the Division of the Blind told my friends that, “I had better watch my step.” This threat had the effect of increasing my involvement in work with the blind. Ten years later in 1966, we would be heading up a campaign to eliminate the Division for the Blind and to create a separate agency, the Commission for the Blind. We would celebrate the 50th anniversary in May of 2016 of the SC Commission for the Blind. I was at the May 6, 2016 Commission Banquet as I was called upon for some comments. Thus, my brother’s invitation to speak to the Columbia Chapter 63 years ago proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that my involvement with my many wonderful friends in work with the blind in South Carolina was worthwhile throughout the decades.

At the August 2000 state convention I stepped down as state President but I did not step away from my service to the state’s blind. The 2000 state convention adopted a motion to confer upon me the title of President Emeritus.

Sixteen years later at the state convention of the NFB of SC, the RBRCCB Board of Directors made a motion resulting in my being made Chairman Emeritus of Rocky Bottom. As Chairman of the Board of Directors of RBRCCB for some 33 years, I was also its Founder, as RBRCCB was established in 1978. As in the case of being President Emeritus of the NFB of SC, I stepped down as RBRCCB Chairman but did not step away. As Chairman Emeritus it provided me the capacity to serve in a limited role.

Let me express to my friends on a local, state and national level my genuine appreciation for the opportunity of serving the blind during these past 63 years.


From the Editor’s Desk


By David Houck

2016 has been quite a year as evidenced by the articles contained in this issue of the Palmetto Blind. The NFB of SC’s 60th annual convention slogan of “Raising Expectations” sets the tone for 2017. Everyone did a great job in raising over $7,000 at the convention Banquet fundraiser for the NFB of SC and the Federation Center of the Blind. At this writing we are looking forward to the December 2-4, 2016 Christmas Board Retreat at RBRCCB. Although Dr. Donald Capps has stepped down as Chairman of the RBRCCB Board of Directors, he is not stepping away as he assumes the position of Chairman Emeritus of RBRCCB. His decades of experience are helpful in the transition of Frank Coppel taking over as Chairman. Ed Bible was elected as RBRCCB Vice Chairman and he will also benefit both Chairman Coppel and the Board in the smooth function of day to day operations.

After the auto accident on September 24 in which the Center’s offices were damaged, restoration is underway and should be complete by the time you receive this issue. We are also looking to erect a barrier to keep further damage to our facilities from occurring in the future.

It is vital that 2017 Orlando Bus Fund tickets be sold in greater quantities than before as we really want to charter a bus to Orlando for the July 10-15, 2017 national NFB convention. The drawing will take place on Saturday, February 4 during the Statewide Seminar. Also by the time of the February 4, 2017 Seminar, be certain to have your chapter officers, voting and associate members information as well as state dues of $10 per dues paid member turned in. Bring auction items for the Federation Center auction ‑‑ gift baskets, gift cards and baked items are always a hit! It is also a good idea to mark your 2017 calendar for Saturday, February 18 for the second annual Sweetheart Dance at the Federation Center in Columbia. Federation Center Board Chairman Debra Canty does a great job with this event. Watch your weekly Positive Note for more details!

Finally, consider how you can be of greater assistance in raising your expectations in work with the blind locally, statewide and nationally. Set some obtainable goals and even a goal which seems harder to reach. It will amaze you what you can accomplish, even more that you ever dreamed possible! See you at the January 28 Statewide Seminar.





“My parents helped me to understand that being different from everyone else could be tremendously positive, provided the differences were based on excellence and achievement. I came to believe that, if I were only good enough at everything I tried, people would forget I was blind and treat me like everyone else.”

‑‑‑‑ Kenneth Jernigan, __Like Cats & _Dogs


The National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina gratefully accepts gifts, living memorials, grants, bequests, stocks and wills. As a 501(cgggg3) tax exempt organization, your gift is tax deductible.