Positive Note 1632

November 21, 2017

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

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1632

Greetings Fellow Federationists:


It appears we will have a good turnout for the 2017 Christmas Board Retreat which will be held at Rocky Bottom the weekend of December 1, 2, and 3.  On your arrival to Rocky Bottom Friday evening December 1, 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 over 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 2, 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 3, breakfast will be served at 8:00.  Remember, if you wish to participate in the Christmas gift exchange Saturday evening, ladies will need to bring a ladies’ gift and men will need to bring a men’s gift.  The cost of the Christmas gift should be a minimum of $10.  Also, please remember to bring bake goods such as cakes and cookies so that we have a large variety of Christmas desserts to sample during our Christmas festivities Saturday evening.

We have an announcement from Steve Cook, President of the Computer Science and Technology Division.  “The Computer Science and Technology Division of the NFB of SC will hold a drawing at the Statewide Seminar on January 6, 2018.  We are drawing for an Amazon Echo Dot.  This is a personal assistant device that allows you to speak commands, and the Dot, commonly called Alexa, will answer questions, set timers or alarms, can give you requested information, play music, and much more.  Tickets are a donation of only $2 each or 3 tickets for $5!  We will be selling between now and the seminar.  You may contact Steve Cook, CSTD president at (803) 254-0222, or (803) 260-1292 for more information or to purchase your tickets.  Good luck!”

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 and give thanks for our families, our country, and to our organization, the National Federation of the Blind, which is working very hard to improve the quality of life of blind people.

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 to all of you across the state.  The Federation played a key role in my observance of different Thanksgivings.  The first Thanksgiving I actually remember attending was observed by me at the School for the Blind in 1939.  This was good and bad for me.  In those days the School closed down for the most part with only a few students remaining who lived a distance from the School who were not able to go home.   A couple of my fellow students were nice enough to invite me to their home during Thanksgiving – the late Tommy Ingle being one of them.  Tommy’s parents lived in Greenville and it was an easy drive for them to go to the School and get Tommy and myself.  I lived in Mullins in the off season and this was a long distance to the School, requiring me to stay with a handful of students who were like myself.  I began attending Thanksgivings in the late 1950’s at the Columbia Chapter.  I recall the Columbia Chapter sponsoring a Thanksgiving dinner at a Columbia restaurant on Two Notch Road.  The first Thanksgiving dinner was held at the Federation Center in 1961.  The Center had just been dedicated a month earlier on October 15.  The late Connie Jumper and Rev. Ken Jumper were members of the Columbia Chapter.  For more than a decade now, Rev. Ken Jumper and his church, “The Church of the Harvest,” has been sponsoring a Thanksgiving dinner at the Federation Center.  The ladies of the church cooked the food and served it as well at the Center.  Not too long after the Center was dedicated there was a program enabling churches in the Columbia area to deliver food baskets to the blind and Betty and I distributed these baskets for many years with the blind being very appreciative.  I attended my first national board Thanksgiving dinner in Berkley, California hosted by the NFB Founder, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek in about 1960 with my having been elected to the national board in July of 1959.  Thanksgiving would soon affect my responsibility to be present for NFB board meetings.  By this time our two children, Craig and Beth had been born, Craig in 1955 and Beth in 1958.  It was hard for us to leave the children but we had been fortunate in securing two wonderful retired ladies known as Aunt Lela and Aunt Mattie.  These wonderful ladies lived in the Olympia section of Columbia with one living reasonably close to the Center.  When we attended national board meetings we could always count on Aunt Leia and Aunt Mattie as they were very good with the children.  When Dr. tenBroek died in March of 1968, the 1968 convention was held in Des Moines where Dr. Jernigan headed up the Iowa Commission for the Blind.  General meetings were hosted at the Iowa Commission for the Blind and NFB board meetings were held at the NFB headquarters.  Overnight accommodations were handled at hotels in the general area.  In 1978 Dr. Jernigan, after serving the Iowa Commission for the Blind for 20 years, moved to Baltimore where he established the National Center for the Blind.  I attended national board meetings for some 35 years from 1978 to 2011.  By this time I was now in my 70’s and time for retirement from my board responsibilities for the most part.  My Thanksgiving meetings were meaningful.  I am blessed to have been able to participate in many federation functions.  I hope that your Thanksgiving service this week is meaningful as well.


Final Thought:  People list things they do not discuss with family during Thanksgiving.  Spend Thanksgiving counting your blessings and giving thanks to God for his mercy and grace.