Positive Note 1633

November 28, 2017

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

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1633

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, December 1, 2, and 3, at Rocky Bottom.  Saturday, December 2, 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 Diana Singleton to be responsible for the distribution of the Christmas gifts Saturday evening.  The schedule for meals throughout the weekend are as follows; Saturday morning breakfast will be served at 8:30 a.m., lunch at 1:00 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday morning we will have a continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m.

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.  At this time, Shelley and I have been invited to the Sumter Christmas banquet On December 12, the Cherokee County Christmas party on December 14, and the Chesterfield County luncheon on December 15.

As we approach the end of 2017, I would like to remind everyone that this is a great time to pay your 2018 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, 2018.

I am sad to report Dr. Dennis Abdella, a longtime friend of the blind passed away Friday morning, November 24.  Dr. Abdella worked at the South Carolina Commission for the Blind for approximately 28 years (1973 until 2001) where he established a horticulture vocational training program and where he was very successful placing blind consumers throughout the state in this field of work.  Dr. Abdella, who was known as “Doc”, by the blind and staff of the Commission of the Blind, was very passionate about his work and was always willing to provide assistance to students even after these students graduated from his program and were placed in employment.  At the 2011 State convention banquet in Columbia, Dennis Abdella was recognized by the NFB of SC for his many years of dedicated service to the blind of South Carolina as he was the recipient of the Distinguish Service Award, the highest award given to a sighted individual outside the organization.  Dr. Abdella was a colleague and a true friend and I along with many other blind individuals will miss him a great deal.

Finally, I hope all of you had a blessed Thanksgiving.  We currently are expecting over forty people to attend the Board Retreat. Remember to check in with our Resident manager, Linda Bible, for your room assignment Friday evening.  I look forward to seeing many of you this weekend and celebrating the Christmas season at Rocky Bottom with my 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 Thanksgiving is behind us, we turn our attention to the Christmas season.  In the Federation, we think of the annual Christmas Board Retreat as the official beginning of the Christmas season.  According to President Coppel there will be about a 40 member Federation family at the Christmas Board Retreat meeting.  Federationists from across the state will be attending.  We are fortunate in having our own facilities to handle both rooms and food service because of dedicated members.  Our first Christmas Board Retreat was in December of 1980 as that was the time Osterneck Cottage was completed for use.  The next overnight accommodation was the Oglesby Cottage.  That is a good story arising out of the construction of the Oglesby Cottage.  In the Federation it is our policy to go out of our way to treat each other with the utmost respect and understanding.  The following is a perfect case.  The 1983 state convention was held in Columbia.  Bob Oglesby was a longtime NFB of SC leader and served in high offices.  He was a candidate for First Vice President at the 1983 convention but fell slightly short of victory.  He was so disappointed that his wife Pearl told me that as soon as he arrived back home in Spartanburg he went immediately to bed.  Pending his extreme reaction I attempted to do something to encourage him and at the same time help the Federation.  I managed to get a speaking engagement at a Spartanburg Chapter meeting and told the Spartanburg Chapter members that if they would vote to give $5,000 toward the construction of the cottage, we would name it the Robert Lee Oglesby Cottage.  They voted unanimously to do so.  Bob was so pleased that he secured thousands of dollars of construction materials which assisted us in Oglesby Cottage being built.  Thus, this was the successful beginning of this much appreciated mountain chalet.  The use of this facility is still popular.  Seven years later in July of 1991 we celebrated the dedication of the Conference Center.  During its construction an associate member in the Upstate questioned the wisdom of building the Conference Center.  I assured her it would ultimately be of great use to this program.  Oddly enough this same party wanted the job as Executive Director but understandably her request was declined.  This week we will be celebrating the 26th annual Christmas Board Retreat in the Conference Center.  Not only are the blind utilizing these facilities but different groups are also enjoying its use.  We’re thankful in having our own excellent facilities.  I haven’t missed a Christmas Board Retreat since its beginning and I trust that I will be present this weekend.


Final Thought:  As Christmas approaches we share the season’s greetings with many others including federationists, family and friends.