All posts by Steve Cook

Positive Note 1626

October 11, 2017

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

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1626

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

This past Wednesday afternoon, October 4, at approximately 4:40 p.m., a very special and wonderful event occurred in the Coppel family.  Our son, Matt and his wife, Brielle had their third child, Norah Brielle, who entered this world weighing six pounds ten ounces, and who was twenty inches long.  Mom, Dad, and Norah came home Friday and are all doing well.  Shelley and I feel very blessed to now be the grandparents of four grandchildren (Asher seven, Eli, four, Aubrey, three and Norah).

We have an announcement from Debra Canty, President of our Sumter Chapter regarding Meet the Blind Month.  “We are joining with our national organization and observing, October as Blind Awareness Month and October 15th as White Cane Safety Day as well. Kudos to Lee and Laura Colclough-James, chairpersons for decorating the fair booth. We hosted a booth at the Sumter County Fair where we raised blind awareness in the community. We shared information, received info about people who are blind, passed out brochures, flyers, pamphlets, Kernel Books, offered bus fund tickets and a variety of complimentary candy to show our appreciation for them stopping by the fair booth to learn more about blindness.

Several chapter members will attend churches during the month to bring blind awareness to the faith based community through their attendance and church bulletins.  I will be a guest on the Good Morning Sumter radio show to share information about Blind Awareness and White Cane Safety Day as well.”

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the chapters who have already sponsored, or who are planning to sponsor, a Meet the Blind Month activity in their respective community during the month of October.  As I stated in previous Positive Note, 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, 2017, 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 2017 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, 2017, 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.

In this Positive Note we are spotlighting another active supporter of the Federation.  I am speaking of Loretta Green who is the President of the Upper Dorchester Chapter and a member of the NFB of SC Board of Directors.  Loretta Green was born in New York City and moved to South Carolina when she was 13 years old.  Loretta is married to Henry Green.  They have two sons, Henry Montrell and Andre Lashaun.  They also have seven grandchildren. Loretta has five brothers and seven sisters and she is the daughter of Alma Brown and Philip Morant.  She attended Saint George high school and furthered her education at Miller Mott Technical College.  While attending there Loretta was on the Dean’s List and President’s List.  She worked for the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs in the Dorchester School Districts Two and Four.  Loretta also worked with the Wells Fargo Mortgage Company, and currently is employed by the NFB of SC Successful Transitions team.

Loretta Green found out about the NFB from the MUSC’ low vision clinic.  She has been a part of the federation family for 10 years.  She is the President of the Upper Dorchester Chapter of the NFB of SC and is on the Board of Directors for the NFB of SC. She also resides on the South Carolina State Library Board of Directors.   She also attends Rocky Bottom Children’s Camps as a Counselor.  Loretta has attended eight national conventions and seven state conventions.  Her hobbies include cooking, travel, and spending time with her grandchildren.  She attends Saint Matthews Baptist Church in Reevesville where she is a member of the Pastor’s Eight Board.  She loves working with the youth for they are our future.  As adults we need to continue to show them how to love and respect each other.  Loretta truly is living the life she wants and sharing what she has learned with others.  Congratulations Loretta Green for a job well done!

We regret to report of the death of Harry Lee “Red” Goodwin on last Friday, October 6.  He was 90 years old.  At the time of his death he resided in Chesnee, SC.  “Red” was a widower but he was survived by seven children, nine grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.  He was a student at the SC School for the Blind for a number of years.  I knew him as I was also a student there at that time.  To the best of my knowledge I have not seen “Red” since he was in School in 1944.  Occasionally I would hear from someone who knew about his activities.  We extend sincere condolences to his family.

 

Final Thought:  Are you living the life you want?  If not, why not?

Positive Note 1625

October 4, 2017

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

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1625

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

Yesterday, October 3, I had the pleasure of attending and participating in a day long workshop entitled “Insight into Blindness; A Celebration of Blindness Awareness Month” sponsored by the SC Talking Book Services.  Robbie Copp, Director of Advocacy and Community Access; ABLE SC, discussed the ADA and Accommodation.  I along with Shannon Cook and Cali Sandel participated on a panel entitled “Blindness Sensitivity and Service Animal Etiquette “.  The keynote speaker for the workshop was Erica Powell, Inspirational Professional Speaker, Disability Advocate, and EQUIP Coordinator; ABLE SC.  Many of you may remember Ms. Powell speaking at our 2016 State Wide Seminar on her experiences as a blind cheerleader for Clemson University.  The last agenda item of the day was a presentation by Steve Cook entitled “JAWS and Computer Accessibility”.  The NFB of SC and NFB of SC Successful Transitions were two of the many exhibitors who were present at the workshop.  Hats off to Kaitlyn Hodges, staff member of the SC Talking Book Services, for doing an excellent job planning and conducting this very worthwhile event.

We have an announcement from Loretta Green, President of the Upper Dorchester County Chapter, regarding her chapter’s activity for Meet the Blind Month.  “The Upper Dorchester Chapter will sponsor their annual walkathon on Saturday, October 7 at 9 AM at the Woodland High School track field.  We are asking for five dollars for every half mile walked.  Our goal is to walk 2 miles.   Anyone interested in pledging or participating in the walk please contact Loretta Green, chapter president.”  We also have an announcement from   Lenora Robertson, President of the Rock Hill Chapter regarding her chapter’s activities for Meet the Blind Month.  “The Rock Hill Chapter kicked off Meet the Blind Month Saturday evening, September 30, by participating in “Dancing with the Stars”. The chapter also plans to sell World’s Finest Chocolate bars, and they will hold a pancake breakfast at Fatz Café on Saturday morning, October 14.  I believe hosting a Meet the Blind Month activity in your community is extremely important and this is why I take time to share this type of information with all of you in the Positive Note.

I apologize for not reporting who won the Fun Day ticket raffle held on September 2, during the Fun Day Festival held at Rocky Bottom.  Jim Carter, a friend of the Rock Hill Chapter, won $50 as he sold the winning ticket to his five month old granddaughter.  The Carter family donated their $550 winnings to the Rock Hill Chapter van fund.

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 we are pleased to spotlight another excellent chapter President in the Positive Note, namely Constance Miller, President of our Belvedere Chapter.  You will recall a few years ago when RBRCCB began to raise funds for the new mattresses and box springs in the Ellenburg Lodge bedrooms that Constance Miller and the Belvedere Chapter members were the first to chip in, raising $500 toward this worthy project.  The Belvedere Chapter has always loved and supported Rocky Bottom over the years.  Constance Miller was raised in Augusta, Georgia, and graduated from Westside High School in 1981.  She had worked in retail for many years. When she lost her driving privileges due to Retinitis Pigmentosa, a co-worker from another job recommended that she apply for Housekeeping at University Hospital so that she could move to the downtown area of Augusta, and be within walking distance of her job, and public transportation. Constance applied and eventually was hired for employment with the hospital.  It was during this time she met her husband, Carey Miller, and with great support from him, family and friends, she went through adjustment with blindness training, eventually graduating from Augusta State University in 1999.

Constance Miller moved to North Augusta in 2000, and met Mrs. Kaney, who was then President of our Belvedere Chapter, and she encouraged Constance to join.  Constance also started to work with the Older Blind Program at the SC Commission for the Blind in 2001. She learned many valuable lessons in the Older Blind Program and through the Belvedere Chapter. She left the Belvedere Chapter in 2004 and left the Commission in 2005.

Her husband Carey has two sons, Kevin is married to Tomasina and they live in New Ellenton, SC.  Tomasina has helped our Chapter from time to time with fundraisers.  Carey’s other son is Jason, and his wife is Robin, they live in Seneca, SC.  Jason had served in the Army Reserves for many years.  Carey and Constance have enjoyed their travels throughout the United States and have met many people along the way. They both enjoy photography and helping out wherever they could. They support the NFB, as well as community organizations.

Throughout all of this time, Mrs. Kaney maintained contact with Constance and Carey, demonstrating and talking about the benefits of coming back to the NFB.  Constance and Carey both joined in 2013.  They went to the National Convention this year, and it was a blessing to see so many Federationists in one area, with great enthusiasm and independence, as well as relying upon each other for support. They also attended the State Convention in Greenville, and listened to our dedicated members and keynote speakers informing us of what is going on with our Federation and the other opportunities that are available to us. Taking note that we must continue to build membership to get the word out about the NFB, we cannot be individual chapters without continuing the movement and being a part of the State and National. We discussed the need to continue to support Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center as well.

Carey and Constance attend Grace United Methodist Church in North Augusta, SC. This is the church her husband grew up in and they were married in 2004. During their last NFB Belvedere Christmas gathering the chapter attended our church for “Return to Bethlehem”. A joyful time indeed.  At this writing Constance Miller says there are times when she reflects back on who our past chapter presidents have been, and all of our members.  She is truly in awe of them, and of their dedication through the years to the NFB of SC and the Belvedere Chapter.  Yes, like the rest of our fellow Federationisst she is still learning, and that’s the best mode to be in!!!!

 

Final Thought:  When was the last time you spoke to a blind person about the Federation and how they can learn to “Live the life they want?’

Positive Note 1624

September 27, 2017
Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others
From:  Frank Coppel, President
Positive Note 1624
Greetings Fellow Federationists:

With October 1, just around the corner, I hope many of our chapters have Meet the Blind Month events already planned.
Last week I reported the Belvedere Chapter will be holding a Meet the blind Month activity sometime in October.
Constance Miller, President of the Belvedere Chapter, sent the Federation Center the following announcement, “the Belvedere Chapter will hold a white cane awareness walk on Saturday, October 14, 2017 from 10am to 12 p.m.
We will meet at the North Augusta Activities Center, 100 Riverview Drive and walk the Greenway.”  I hope to hear from other chapters regarding your Meet the Blind Month activity, and I will share this information in the Positive Note.

I am beginning to formulate committees for 2017/2018.
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.
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, Youth Recruitment committee, Scholarship committee, Public Relations committee, Finance committee, Braille Literacy committee, Fund Raising committee, Grants 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 Isaiah Nelson.
“The meeting of the Alumni of the SC School for the Blind will be held the weekend of October 20 thru 21, 2017.
The meeting will be held on Saturday, October 21, 2017 at 8:30 a.m. in the cafeteria located in Robertson Hall.
I am asking that all members be present and on time.

For those members from the Columbia area who will be riding up to Spartanburg on Friday evening, the van will be departing at three o’clock p.m.
You should arrive at the Federation Center located at 119 S. Kilbourne Rd., Columbia SC  29205 no later than 2:30 p.m.
The total cost of the trip is forty ($40.00) dollars per person which will include transportation as well as registration.
Each person will be responsible for your overnight stay at the Quality Inn Suites and all of your meals.
The telephone number for the Quality Inn is:  864-542-0333.
Those of you living in the Columbia area who will be attending please give me a call to verify that you will be attending the meeting for transportation purposes.
You may reach me at 803-413-2434.”
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.

One of the hardest working members of the NFB of SC is Isaiah Nelson.
Thus, we are pleased to spotlight Ike as he is affectionately called.
He was born in Georgetown and grew up there.
He is married to Stephanie and he has seven brothers and three sisters and one daughter, Talelah.
His beloved mother is still living and his father passed away last November and they raised their big family with love.
Last Thursday, September 21 the Cumberland AME Church in Georgetown, the Nelson’s family church, burnt to the ground when it was struck by lightning.
Ike attended SCSDB beginning in 1969 and completed his education in 1975.
From 1975 to 1988 Ike worked with the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Spartanburg.
Also, during that period of time Ike worked at night for the School.
As you can see, there’s not a lazy bone in Ike’s body.
After 1988, Ike worked a year at McDonald’s in Columbia after which he received on-the-job training in the BEP program of the Commission for the Blind.
For the past 20 years Ike has been a vending facility operator in the Richland County Judicial Center located on Main Street.
Because of his outstanding and friendly manner, Ike is well liked at the Judicial Center as well as with others.
Recently he retired from the BEP Program but remains busier than ever.
He has held and continues to serve in several different positions in the Federation.
Ike has served as President of the Columbia Chapter as well as First Vice President and currently is the Second Vice President of the chapter.
Ike is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Federation Center.
Also, Ike is a member of the Board of Directors of the NFB of SC.
Additionally, he is President of the SC Blind Alumni Association.
He has been a member of the NFB of SC for about 28 years and has attended some 28 state conventions.
Ike is also proud that he has attended some 27 national conventions.
He also is a good cook and no one cooks spaghetti like Ike.
Ike is in charge of preparing the monthly meals for the Columbia Chapter, he prepares the Statewide Seminar luncheons, and he does lunch for the Federation Center board meetings.
Asked why he joined the Federation, he replies that he observed the spirit and togetherness of Federation members which impressed him.
He states that he learned very early that the NFB of SC has a lot of influence and remembers that blind vendors were greatly benefitted when the NFB of SC successfully filed litigation against the legislature and others who had illegally reinstated set-aside fees, later having to return these set-aside fees to blind vendors as the Federation proved that the earlier withholding of set-aside fees was illegal.
Ike enjoys bowling, watching wrestling and he loves Rocky Bottom and serving his fellow blind.
Congratulations to Ike who works hard and makes a difference in the lives of blind South Carolinians.

 

Final Thought:  “Living the life you want” includes assisting others to live the lives they want too.

 

Positive Note 1623

September 20, 2017

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

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1623

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

Hello from Rocky Bottom where the 2017 Fall session of Senior Camp is in full swing.  Twenty-three seniors from all corners of the state arrived at Rocky Bottom on Sunday afternoon.  The weather this week has been perfect and the seniors have enjoyed activities such as walks, BINGO, group discussions, individualized blindness skills training, a trip to Aunt Sue’s, and visiting with each other on the deck of the Conference Center.  As usual, Lenora Robertson and her “food crew” have done an outstanding job and most of us probably have gained a few pounds during camp this past week.

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 our chapters are planning activities in their respective communities to promote this worthwhile event.  Thus far, I am aware the Columbia Chapter is planning a “step It Up walk” on Saturday morning, October 14.  The walk will take place at the Drew Wellness Walkers Track on Harden St.  Registration begins at 8:30 and the walk begins at 9 a.m.  Cost to walk is $20.  Also, I am aware the Belvedere chapter is planning to hold a White Cane Walk sometime during the month of October.  Let me know if your chapter will be having a Meet the Blind Month activity and I will be glad to share this information in the Positive Note.

During the next few days, all of you should be receiving your 2018 Orlando National Convention bus tickets.  Let’s do all we can to raise the approximate $7,500 which will be needed to charter one bus to the National Convention in Orlando.  As we have done previously, bus tickets will cost $1.  Remember, the buyer of the winning ticket which will be drawn on January 6, 2018 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.

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.

We are pleased to spotlight in this week’s Positive Note an individual who we first met when she was only eleven or twelve years old. I was then recruiting area blind individuals during the early years of the Cherokee County Chapter.  I’m referring to Jamie Allison who is the very bright President of the Cherokee County Chapter of the NFB of SC.  She was raised in Gaffney and has lived there all her life.  She was the first blind student to be mainstreamed in the Cherokee County public schools and graduated from Gaffney High School.  Jamie continued her education at Limestone College where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in K-12 Arts Education.  She was also listed in Who’s Who in Colleges and Universities.  Jamie began teaching at the SC School for the Blind which lasted for 15 years.  However, it was not long after she began teaching that she received her Master’s degree in Arts Administration from Winthrop University.  Over the past four years Jamie Allison was the lead instructor in the South Carolina BELL Academy and she is now working with the Successful Transitions program as a team member.  Jamie and her mother first met with me when she was about eleven or twelve and was recruited into the newly formed Cherokee County Chapter.  Since that time she has served as chapter Secretary, Vice President and President.  Jamie is also a member of the Board of Directors of the NFB of SC.  Jamie has attended at least 15 state conventions and two national conventions, not to mention Rocky Bottom Board Retreats.  Being oriented toward the arts, she has interests in drawing, painting, playing the drums, and dance classes.  Her attitude is always upbeat and positive.  She is truly living the life she wants.

 

Final Thought:  Education in a good blindness philosophy and training in the unique skills of braille, cane travel and adaptive technology creates independence among blind seniors, enhancing their quality of life and volunteer capacity to share what they have learned with other blind people.

Positive Note 1622

September 13, 2017

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

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1622

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

Before we turn our attention to other Federation activities which will be occurring this fall, I would like to share with you the breakdown of the total revenues and net proceeds for the Fun Day Festival which was held at Rocky Bottom Labor Day weekend.  We will list the activity, the Fun Day 2017 amount and the Fun Day 2016 amount with the amount of change:  Bingo 68.00, 93.00, +25.00; UNO Tournament 50.00, 50.00, 0; RB Hat & T-shirts                 128.00, 188.00, -60.00; Country Store 111.00, 37.00, +74.00; Yard Sale 176.25, 159.00, +17.25; Cotton Candy/Snow Cones/Popcorn 66.00, 0, +66.00. Week-end Food Sales 1,210.00, 1,120.00, +90.00; Saturday Lunch Only 195.00, 390.00, -195.00; Bounce Houses 130.00, 0, +130.00; Fun Day Tickets 2,885.00, 3,560.00, -675.00; Auction 2,141.00, 1,188.00, +953.00; Fun Day Donations 50.00, 225.00, -175.00; Total Revenue 7,210.25, 7,090.00, +120.25.  Total Expenses 3,028.15, 2,597.12, +431.03; Net Proceeds 4,182.10, 4,492.88, -310.78.

We have an announcement from Linda Dizzley, President of our Lee County chapter.  “Candy Fundraiser:  As you may be aware, I am able to make chocolate candies in two (2) different sizes (business card size and a large bar size) with the NFB Logo on them.  I am also able to make, chocolate covered pretzels in different colors or a combination of colors and praying hands lollipop or a pretzel, as well as bite size chocolate packets without the logo on but it does say Thank You.  The bars come in crispy crunch, almond and a cookie crunch. As Blind Awareness Month approaches, during the month of October, this would be a great time to promote the National Federation of the Blind as well as raise money for your chapter/division or give away to show your appreciation. If you would like to place an order for chocolate bars, please give me a call.  We ask that all orders be placed at least seven (7) days in advance in order for processing and to get it delivered to you in time for our event.

If you would like an order sheet made up for your chapter or if you have any questions or for further information, please don’t hesitate to give me a call at (803) 459-4585.”

On Saturday, September 16, Shelley and I along with our staff of volunteers will be traveling to Rocky Bottom to make final preparations for the Fall edition of Senior Camp which will be held from September 17-21.  Shelley and I enjoy directing Senior Camp a great deal and we always look forward spending time at Rocky Bottom with these individuals.

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’m sure that most of you remember what you were doing and where you were when the World Trade Center buildings were attacked on September 11, 2001.  I was in the Baptist Hospital in Columbia recovering from back surgery on that unforgettable day.  Our daughter Beth had come to Columbia to assist us and told the nurse’s aide not to tell me about the Trade Center “bombing” but she would do that.  The nurse’s aide disobeyed Beth and told me about the bombing before Beth had an opportunity to do so.  The nurse’s aide would not forget the tongue lashing Beth gave her.  Our son Craig was living and working in New York City when the bombing occurred.  He worked about 25 blocks away from the bombing.  He recalls how frightened everyone was including himself when the first bombing occurred.  But the second bombing which occurred about two and one-half hours later was absolutely terrifying.  Craig remembers that as soon as the second attack occurred he immediately stated that this was the beginning of the war on terror.  Normally Craig rode the subway to work but there was no transportation available so he walked the 25 blocks (or two and one-half miles) to his apartment.  Betty and I were very concerned and for several hours we had no word from Craig.  Finally there was phone service and he called us about 2:00 p.m. assuring us that he was all right.  Craig recalls many people who frantically searched for their loved ones who were lost.  Craig stated that many had the option of jumping from the top of the Trade Center or sustaining fatal burns or injuries.  He said that he will never forget the terrible incident that involved hundreds jumping to their deaths with bodies lining the streets below.  Several held hands as they jumped from the tower.  For some time Craig said there was a terrible smell in the atmosphere.  Firemen and policemen lost their lives trying to assist those who were hopelessly trapped inside the building.  There were a lot of brave people in this tragic event.  Let’s hope and pray we never again experience such a tragedy.  Let’s never forget 9-11-01 as most of us feel the country will never be the same.

 

Final Thought:  Following any great loss it is good to take stock of things, count your blessings and have faith and courage to re-establish your life’s goals again.

Positive Note 1621

September 7, 2017

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

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1621

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.  Although the turnout was good, we 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.  Although there are some issues we need to definitely address for next year, I truly believe the 36th annual Fun Day Festival was very successful.  Many thanks go to Lenora Robertson, Ellen Taylor, Glenda Culick and the rest of the “Food Crew” for preparing outstanding meals throughout the weekend.  I would like to especially thank Valerie and Larry Warrington, and Libby Farr for their willingness to help where ever needed.  I would also like to recognize Alma Lee Doyle, Elouise Hunt, David and Darleen Houck, Linda Bible, Jennifer Bazer and her staff 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 take ownership and be proud we have such a unique facility in South Carolina.

We have an announcement from Isaiah Nelson, President of the Alumni of the SC School for the Blind.  “The meeting of the alumni of the SC school for the blind will be held the weekend of October 20-21, 2017.  The meeting will be held on Saturday, October 21, 2017 at 8:30 a.m. in the cafeteria located in Robertson hall.  I am asking that all members be present and on time.

Those members from the Columbia area who will be riding up to Spartanburg on Friday evening, the van will be departing at 3:00 p.m.  You should arrive at the federation center located at 119 S. Kilbourne Rd., Columbia SC  29205 no later than 2:30 p.m.

The total cost of the trip is forty ($40.00) dollars per person which will include transportation as well as registration.  Each person will be responsible for your overnight stay at the Quality Inn and Suites ($110 per room per night’s stay) and for all of your meals.  The telephone number for the Quality Inn is:  864-542-0333.  Please make your reservations no later than September 20, 2017.

Those of you living in the Columbia area who will be attending please give me a call to verify that you will be attending the meeting for transportation purposes.  You may reach me at 803-413-2434.  Thanking you in advance, I am.  Ike nelson, President.  PS:  Also, if you have any questions in regards to the above listed information, feel free to contact me at the above given number.”

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 very much appreciate President Coppel’s changing the issuance of the Positive Note by one day as the telephone was out on Wednesday.  As I read Frank’s Positive Note I realized just how fortunate we are in having Rocky Bottom but also how much we were missing the 36th annual Fun Day Festival.  From preliminary reports this looks like it was a very successful Fun Day Festival.

Throughout the years Betty was very much involved by both Presidents Jernigan and Maurer as they utilized Betty’s talents.  For many years, both Presidents Jernigan and Maurer had Betty sit at the speaker’s table at the NFB convention Banquet as everyone knew Betty had an impeccable reputation and would handle the drawing of door prizes with absolute honesty.  At the 1977 Jacobus tenBroek Award presentation I was the recipient of this highest award but in going to the podium I had Betty accompany me as I wanted to demonstrate nationally just what Betty means to me.  In the earliest days of the federation Betty operated a messy mimeograph machine to get out mailings.  She also drove me nationally.

To all of you attending the Fun Day Festival it was apparent this was the first time in 36 years that we missed this event.  It was apparent that something very serious kept us away.  Since this occurred I felt it appropriate to bring our statewide membership up to date.  At a routine examination in May of 2012 Betty’s illness was diagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease.  It was hardly noticed but the condition, hardly detectable but five years later this has changed.  Her ability to remember is virtually gone.  However, in the Spring of 2013 I secured part-time services of caregivers but this service in my opinion, was very inadequate and the charges were exorbitant I felt.  Thus after a year we had a full-time, live-in caregiver for four years who is a “Godsend.”  Full-time attention is essential as Betty would wander away.  We don’t know what lies in the future, as no one does, but I can assure you of one thing, both of us love each other as we take it one day at a time.

Positive Note 1620

August 29, 2017

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

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1620

Greetings Fellow Federationists:

 

This upcoming weekend many of us will be traveling to Rocky Bottom to attend the 36th annual Fun Day Festival.  Over 50 Federationists are planning to be at Rocky Bottom for the entire weekend with other chapters planning to come Saturday, September 2, to participate in 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 were very instrumental securing items for the auction.  Items for the auction include a National Championship football autographed by Clemson head football coach Dabbo Sweeney, a USC basketball autographed by women’s basketball head coach, Dawn Staley, two black and silver footballs autographed by the Carolina Panthers, tickets to Caro-winds and Dollywood, gift baskets, and bakery items just to name a few.  We will be selling a variety of items at our country store, yard sale items, and we will be selling RBRCCB merchandise.  If you would like to donate craft or baked items to the country store, please contact Jennifer Bazer at (803) 661-6622 or email her at jhipp25@sc.rr.com.  Outside, we will have activities for children, as well as selling cotton candy and snow cones.  Seven meals will be served throughout the weekend.  Times for meals are as follows; Saturday, September 2, breakfast 8:00, BBQ lunch 12:00, and supper 6:00 p.m.  Sunday, September 3, breakfast 8:30, lunch 1:00 and supper 6:00.  Monday, September 4, breakfast  at 8:00.  You will need to see Valerie Warrington and pay $40 for adults and $20 for children under twelve years of age to cover all seven 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 $10 for adults and $5 for children.

Reservations for room accommodations are filling up quickly and, therefore, you will need to get your reservation in now.  As always we are expecting a full house.  Reservations 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 Thursday, August 31.

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!

We need to do all we can to support Rocky Bottom.  We are expecting a large turnout from the surrounding community and there also needs to be a large Federation turnout for this very important fundraising event.

J.W. Smith, President of our Greenville chapter, would like to thank everyone for their prayers and telephone calls last week during his time of bereavement for the loss of his sister.

Finally, congratulations to Ed Bible and Julie Bible who became proud grandparents Monday, August 28, at 7:16 a.m. with the birth of their second grandchild, Sally Ann Walker, who weighed 7 pounds and 13 ounces and was 20 inches long.  Also congratulations to Dale and Pat Wolthoff, members of the Columbia Chapter, who celebrated their fortieth anniversary on Sunday, August 27.

 

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.

Not many of us can say that we have served the blind for more than 40 years in the programs of federation chapters and otherwise.  Winnifred Spears is one of those individuals who has done so.  Winnifred Spears is a longtime Associate Member of the Rock Hill Chapter who has been quite active in a number of areas as a volunteer.  She was born in Williamsburg County and began school there.  However, during World War II her family moved to Charleston as her father worked in the shipyards.  After the war, they moved between Williamsburg County and Johnsonville.  Winnifred Spears graduated from Johnsonville High School where the school’s mascot was a lightning bolt known as “the flashers.”  She then went to Columbia College and completed two years of training in Business School.  She used her educational training to work for many years doing clerical work with the Rock Hill Police Department from which she retired in 2001.  As she put it, Business School helped her achieve her Mrs. Degree as well.  Her husband, Olan or “Pee Wee” Spears worked in a funeral home.  Together they have four children, eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.  Mrs. Spears first joined the federation when there was a state convention held in Rock Hill in the 1970’s and Boy Scouts were used as assistants during the convention.  Soon after, they joined the Rock Hill Chapter.  At that time Frances Messer was President and Pee Wee was Vice President.  Pee Wee also served as chapter President for a time.  Winnifred volunteered over the years as an associate Treasurer and Secretary.  She also does chapter devotionals.  She has attended four national conventions and at least a half dozen state conventions.  Her hobbies include church as she attends the Christian Fellowship Church in Rock Hill, traveling and being a member of the OWLS – Older, Wiser, Loving Seniors.  This group of seniors likes to bowl, work with the Special Olympics, and has four parties annually.  As you can see, Winnifred Spears has led a long and active lifestyle, dedicating her life to serving the blind, other seniors, her church family and the police department in whatever way she can.  Congratulations to Winnie and we hope that you will have many more years of service to the blind.

We extend congratulations to Dr. Fred Crawford, the first Commissioner of the Commission for the Blind, who celebrates his 91st birthday on Wednesday, August 30.  I also celebrate my 89th birthday on Wednesday, August 30 and you will note that Dr. Crawford and I have the same birthdays.

 

Final Thought:  How long has it been since YOU have been to Rocky Bottom?

Palmetto Blind Spring 2017

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

Raising Expectations:
Parnell Diggs being sworn in as a Social Security Administrative Law Judge
SPRING 2017

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.
• Helping the NFB of SC fulfill its mission
• Realizing income tax savings through a charitable donation
• Making capital gain tax savings on contributions of appreciated assets
• Providing retained payments for the life of a donor or beneficiary
• Eliminating or lowering federal estate tax in certain situations
• Reducing estate settlement costs
NFB of SC programs are dynamic:
• Making the study of literacy and technology a real possibility for blind children and adults • Providing hope and training for seniors losing vision
• Promoting state and local programs to help blind people become first class citizens
• Educating the public about blind people’s true potential
• Advancing technology helpful to the blind
• Creating a state and national library on the progress of blindness
• Training and inspiring professionals working with the blind
• Providing critical information to parents of blind children
• Mentoring 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 nfbsc@sc.rr.com or nfbofsc.org.
Honors and Remembrances

Support the blind of South Carolina by Honoring or Memorializing a Loved One
Please apply my gift to:
National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina
Rocky Bottom Retreat & Conference Center of the Blind
Federation Center of the Blind
Send check payable to the one you chose, address and mail to:
(organization name)
119 S. Kilbourne Rd., Columbia, SC 29205

1. To Honor Someone Special:
I am donating $__ in honor of __ who lives at (address)
Please acknowledge me with a copy of this honorary letter:
My Name
Address
My check is enclosed. (Tax deductible)

******************************
2. OR To Memorialize Someone Special:
I am donating $__ in memory of __. Please send letter to next of kin or:__
who resides at (address).
Please acknowledge me with a copy of this memorial letter:
My Name
Address
My check is enclosed. (Tax deductible)

Thank You!

For more information regarding these organizations of the blind contact:
www.nfbofsc.org or email nfbsc@sc.rr.com or call 803-254-3777 for brochures.

Table of Contents
Page

5 Longtime Greenville Chapter Member, Ruth Jordan Passes

7 Washington Seminar – Hard Work and Great Progress By Frank Coppel

9 47th Annual Statewide Seminar Highly Successful

12 A Festive Valentine’s Evening… By, Debra Canty

14 Over 60 Attend the March 4 Upstate Seminar! By Frank Coppel

15 NFB of SC 2017 Greenville Convention Details

16 Comments on Feeling My Way into Blindness By Donald Capps

17 Organization Helps Visually Impaired Citizens By Anna Brown

19 Rocky Bottom is Alive and Well By Frank Coppel

21 From the President’s Desk By RBRCCB Chairman Frank Coppel

23 From the Desk of the President Emeritus By Dr. Donald C. Capps

25 Successful Transitions: Lessons Involving Future Endeavors By Jennifer Bazer

27 Rocky Bottom Children’s Camp 2017—SOAR in Strength By Jennifer Bazer

28 From the Editor’s Desk By David Houck

29 Final Thought

One MINUTE MESSAGE:

“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.”
Longtime Greenville Chapter Member, Ruth Jordan Passes

(Editor’s Note: Ruth Jordan was a highly valued Associate member of the Greenville Chapter. Even before she joined the Greenville Chapter, she was instrumental in the development of the Library of the Conference Center at RBRCCB. This is revealed in a reprint of a 2009 Spotlight article published in the Positive Note. This Library was named the Carrie Lee Cox Memorial Library in memory of her mother who was a blind braille reader.)

Ruth Ellen Cox Jordan passed away on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at the age of 89. She was a longtime and valued Associate member of the Greenville Chapter of the NFB of SC. In fact, as a retired educator, an annual scholarship has been given in her name from the Greenville Chapter. Born in Pickens County, she was the daughter of the late Rev. John M. Cox and Carrie Cox King. A retired educator, she also taught piano lessons for free. An annual scholarship was given by the Grenville Chapter at the state conventions of the NFB of SC named in her honor. Current Greenville Chapter President and NFB of SC and Federation Center board member JW Smith, stated that Ruth Jordan was an active Associate member, participating in all areas of the chapter’s activities, filling in wherever she could. She participated in fundraisers and the attended the annual Fun Day Festivals at RBRCCB. Below is a reprint of the October 7, 2009 Positive Note Spotlight article by Dr. Donald Capps concerning more background on Ruth Jordan:
“It was just about the last thing I expected. An article on the beginning of RBRCCB was carried in the Greenville News about 27 years ago describing a new program for the state’s blind. Shortly after this article was published, I received a letter from Mrs. Ruth Jordan of Greenville which included a check for $1,000 made payable to this new state facility. The author of this gift and letter explained she had a mother who was blind for 25 years. Her mother was Mrs. Carrie Lee Cox and Mrs. Jordan wanted to give a living memorial in memory of her mother and also wanted to help in a program conducted for blind students and their parents. The NFB of SC state convention in 1982 was held in the Clemson House located on the campus of Clemson University. Because of her sensitivity and unprecedented gift which resulted from an article appearing in the Greenville News, we extended an invitation to Mrs. Jordan to be our Banquet guest at our 1982 NFB of SC convention. She accepted and as we had agreed to do so, we both arrived in the Banquet Hall about 15 minutes before the beginning of the Banquet. This memorable event occurred 27 years ago. However, Mrs. Jordan has continued to make contributions to both RBRCCB and the NFB of SC. For example, with Mrs. Jordan having taught school for 60 years, she is a noted educator. We suggested to Mrs. Jordan that she might like to contribute to the Dr. Sheila S. Breitweiser Scholarship as Mrs. Breitweiser was an educator and an administrator for 11 years at the SC School for the Deaf and the Blind. Mrs. Jordan promptly sent a check for $100 which is about 10% of the scholarship. In the late 1980’s, RBRCCB officials made plans to erect an administration building. We approached Mrs. Jordan with our plan to name the library in the new facility in memory of Mrs. Carrie Lee Cox who was blind and a school teacher. This project was completed in July 1991 when the dedication of the facility was held. Some 500 persons filled the Jack Garrett Memorial Dining Hall to capacity featuring standing room only. The late Governor Carroll Campbell was the featured speaker. Mrs. Jordan stood at the entrance of the Carrie Lee Cox Memorial Library and greeted hundreds who had the opportunity to see this special room for the first time including a large picture of Mrs. Carrie Lee Cox. About 10 years ago Mrs. Jordan wrote to us and suggested that we contact Mrs. Maxine Bock who was the administrator of the Bock Foundation in Chicago. Following her husband’s death, Mrs. Bock moved to Columbia and as Mrs. Jordan suggested, I contacted Mrs. Bock who met us at the Federation Center. She carefully listened to our proposal which consisted of financial assistance to renovate the Federation Center. Mrs. Jordan knew what she was talking about as Mrs. Bock promptly issued a grant of $50,000 to cover the renovations. The Board Room in the Federation Center is named in honor and in memory of Mrs. Bock who passed away a few years ago. Shortly thereafter, I requested Dr. Breitweiser, President of SCSDB to contact Mrs., Bock for assistance to the School. Shortly thereafter, the Voss Center at the School was created because of a large grant made by Mrs. Bock. Three years ago Mrs. Jordan joined the Greenville Chapter of the NFB of SC and is enjoying her membership. For the first time, Mrs. Jordan attended the Fun Day Festival at RBRCCB this year on Monday, September 7. Asked about her well-being, Mrs. Jordan stated she had just visited her Ophthalmologist and was told her eyes had not changed one bit since she was examined one year ago. She also quickly snapped that, “I feel good.” We sincerely trust that this highly intelligent and charming lady will be with us for many years to come for there’s no one who adequately measures up to this special lady. It’s an honor to spotlight this special lady who is both a very good friend and benefactor.”

Washington Seminar – Hard Work and Great Progress
By Frank Coppel

Editor’s Note: Reprinted from Positive Notes 1589 & 1590)

On Saturday, afternoon January 28, I traveled to Baltimore, Maryland to participate in a State Presidents Seminar which is being held at our Jernigan Institute. At the conclusion of that meeting, I traveled on Monday, January 30, to Washington D.C. to join the South Carolina delegation as well as a large number of Federationists from across the country to participate in the 2017 Washington Seminar. The other members of the South Carolina delegation who are traveling to our Nation’s Capital Sunday, January 29, are Shelley Coppel, NFB of SC First Vice President, Lenora Robertson, Ellen Taylor, NFB of SC Second Vice President, Debra Canty, Diana Singleton, NFB of SC Board member, Ed Bible and his wife Julie, and NFB of SC Student Division President, Alexus Blanding. Because of a severe winter snow storm last year, we were unable to send anyone to the Washington Seminar. I am extremely proud of the size of this year’s South Carolina delegation. The four legislative initiatives which are being presented to the U.S. Congress next week are as follows:
The Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education (AIM HE) Act
Electronic instructional materials have replaced traditional methods of learning in postsecondary education, but the overwhelming majority of ebooks, courseware, web content, and other technologies are inaccessible to students with print disabilities. The law requires equal access in the classroom but fails to provide direction to schools for the way it applies to technology. AIM HE creates voluntary accessibility guidelines for educational technology to improve blind students’ access to course material, stimulate the market, and reduce litigation for schools.
The Access Technology Affordability Act
Currently, blind Americans rely on scarce sources of funding to acquire access technology. By providing a refundable tax credit for qualifying access technology purchases, Congress can stimulate individual procurement of access technology and promote affordability of these tools for blind Americans.
Appropriation to the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) for the Purchase of Refreshable Braille Devices
Established in 1931, the NLS provides its patrons with accessible format copies of printed works. With the latest innovations in refreshable Braille, it is now easier than ever before to put Braille into the hands of more Blind people. A one-time appropriation to the NLS will save money and lead to the proliferation of critically needed Braille material for blind Americans.
The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled
Despite the ability to convert print books into accessible formats like Braille, large print, audio, and digital copies, millions of blind and otherwise print-disabled Americans are excluded from accessing 95 percent of published works. The Marrakesh Treaty calls for contracting parties to provide, in their national copyright laws, for a limitation or exception that allows for the reproduction, distribution, and cross-border exchange of accessible works.
These priorities will remove obstacles to employment, education, and access to published works. We scheduled our appointments on Tuesday January, 31, with our South Carolina Congressional delegation to discuss these four very important initiatives.
I along with more than five hundred Federationists representing 52 affiliates of the NFB gathered for the purpose of descending on Capitol Hill to discuss with their congressional delegation the legislative agenda of the nation’s blind. The 2017 Washington Seminar officially begins Monday January 30, at 5:00 p.m. with the “Great Gathering In” meeting. President Riccobono will conduct the meeting and there were be other Federation officials present informing participants on various NFB activities occurring during 2017. Tuesday January 31, was a very busy day for the South Carolina delegation as we met with our congressional delegation at various times throughout the day. Also, on Tuesday from noon to 1:00 there was a Don’t DenyAim High: Rally to Fight for Equal Access in the Classroom. Tuesday evening a Congressional reception was held from 5:00 to 7:00 in the Derksen Senate Building. This week the work we did on Capitol Hill will lay the ground work for passage of the four legislative initiatives which were outlined above. All of us need to continue to contact our Congressman and Senators throughout the year to ensure passage of these four legislative initiatives.

47th Annual Statewide Seminar Highly Successful

As the Saturday, February 4, 2017 Statewide Seminar was being gaveled to order at 10:00 a.m. sharp, the Federation Center of the Blind’s meeting hall was already filled to capacity. Isaiah Nelson had been working for the past two days preparing the luncheon being served at noon. President Coppel welcomed the large gathering and recited the One Minute Message. This was followed by the Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance. Columbia Chapter President Tiffiny Mitchell welcomed the seminar participants and spoke about upcoming chapter events. Center Executive Director David Houck greeted everyone and directed the membership as to where to find the literature table, turn in dues, bus tickets, etc. Speaking of Orlando Bus Tickets, Lenora Robertson encouraged everyone to turn in their tickets before the drawing at the end of the day. Thom Spittle spoke about the Auction as there was a variety of items ranging from gift baskets to cakes and food items and even a two night, three day stay at a Myrtle Beach Hotel obtained courtesy of Juanita Frink and the Conway Chapter. By the end of the day, $900 was raised from Auction sales for the Federation Center of the Blind. There were also several drawings going on as well as sales of T-shirts, coffee thermoses, soap, etc. by the NFB of SC and various chapters and divisions. Debra Canty also sold tickets to the second annual Sweetheart Dance on February 18 to raise funds for the Federation Center. The podium mike was passed around so that everyone present could state their name and the chapter they represent.
Commissioner Jim Kirby of the Commission for the Blind introduced Kyle Walker who reported on progress at the Commission. The Commission has been hiring new counselors and is looking at the Rehabilitation Center’s curriculum including GED services, cane travel and job placement for the blind. New 3D printers will be used for training and job placement or self-employment. The Commission is proud of its three Career BOOST providers including the NFB of SC which Jennifer Bazer will report on later. The Commission also will hire a consultant to advise those on Social Security and Medicare who are returning to work about their benefit changes as they receive increased income.
Scott Falcone, Director of the South Carolina Outreach Centers for the SC School for the Deaf and the Blind, addressed the audience concerning the SC School for the Deaf and the Blind. Additional funding was received for early childhood intervention for those six and under. Braille production at the Lee County Correctional Facility is ever expanding with 32,664 pages of braille and 4,017 pages of tactile production in 2016. Construction continues on the School’s Spartanburg campus and Summer Camps as well as the 4th annual NFB of SC Bell Academy which will take place this summer. The School’s master development plan is being updated to accommodate changes in programs and facilities needs for the future. Finally, outreach programs are growing rapidly as well.
Two prominent Upper Dorchester Chapter President Loretta Green and Sumter Chapter member Gary Engle, spoke on “Why I am a Federationist.” The audience enjoyed their presentations. Following this, the meeting broke for lunch as Isaiah Nelson and his kitchen crew had prepared hot vegetable soup, chicken salad sandwiches, cookies and drinks for everyone. There was also a board meeting of the NFB of SC during the luncheon. Ed Bible and Alexus Blanding spoke about their first Washington Seminar trip. Since Orlando Bus Fund ticket sales are one-third the cost to charter a bus, it was decided to equally divide the funds by the total number of those who got their way to the NFB Convention and registered and these funds would be dispensed by participants coming to Frank Coppel during the Friday convention session. The NFB Convention Delegate will be Frank Coppel and the Alternate Delegate will be Debra Canty. President Coppel reported that he learned much at the NFB State Affiliate President’s Seminar on chapter growth and membership development. We have narrowed down our state convention location to two hotels in Columbia, one in North Charleston and one in the Folly Beach area. A final decision and date will be set by the end of February.
During the afternoon session, Sandy Knowles, SC talking Book Services Director reported that Katlyn Hodges recently had a baby girl. Katlyn works at TBS. There are 5,000 to 6,000 Talking Book patrons in South Carolina with 700 new users, 1,000 BARD users and a circulation of 230,000 books in 2016. The Assistive Technology “Petting Zoo” is a traveling assistive technology hands-on exhibit. By the way, Talking Book Services is thinking of expanding their summer reading program for children into an additional adult version. Be watching for more details!
The Rocky Bottom Report was hosted by Chairman Frank Coppel. The new mattresses, box springs and mattress covers in the Ellenburg Lodge look and feel great. Other facilities beds will be looked at in the near future. Shelley Coppel reported that there will be a Southeast Regional training week for blind seniors at Rocky Bottom the second week in October. Chairman Coppel was excited to report that NFB President Riccobono wants to use Rocky Bottom for a training base for youth and adults. If we are going to take on these regional and national responsibilities, we need to take ownership of our facilities and get up there and take care of our property. More chapters also need to contribute financially to RBRCCB. Vice Chairman Ed Bible reported on the various people and groups which will be working at Rocky Bottom including Linda Bell, Mt. Hebron United Methodist Church, Boy Scouts Indian Waters Council, Liberty Lions Club, etc. Children’s Camp Director Jennifer Bazer reported that Summer Children’s Camo is scheduled for June 23 to July 1. Senior Blind Camp weeks will be May 21-25 and September 13 to 17.
Loretta Green announced a trip to the NFB National Center August 4-6, 2017. Reservations are first-come, first served on the 54 passenger bus leaving Columbia at 8:00 a.m. August 4, returning 8:00 a.m. from Baltimore on August 6 with activities and tours all day Saturday. The trip costs $100 per person. Pay Isaiah Nelson. Linda Dizzley is holding bowling for the blind on March 25 followed by a fellowship dinner and she also makes her own chocolate candies for sale. President Coppel announced the second annual Upstate Leadership Seminar to be held March 4 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Walker Hall at SCSDB. Those attending need to get $10 per person to JW Smith, Greenville Chapter President.
Jennifer Bazer reported on NFB of SC Career BOOST mentoring program transitioning blind high school students from school to their educational and career goals. This program is in its implementation and expansion phase. As its Director, Jennifer Bazer has regional coordinators in the Upstate, Midlands ad Low Country and is looking for additional qualified mentors. If you are interested in mentoring, contact Jennifer Bazer at 803-252-5655.
David Houck, Center Director, announced that Computer training in the number of students has expanded, virtual training opens up new aspects of computer training off-site from the Federation Center and we are seeking new qualified virtual trainers statewide instructing adaptive computer technology. In spite of our offices being demolished last September by an auto accident, we did not skip a beat in services and restored the offices by Thanksgiving. It is to be noted that Career BOOST, the Cedar Springs Chapter, annual Children’s camps and monthly free white cane letters, all of these are designed to acquaint a younger generation of blind people with the Federation and recruit them into our local chapters. A poll of the audience found few attending the seminar to be under the age of thirty. We need a new generation of blind people to perpetuate the NFB of SC.
After the final Auction items were sold and chapter and divisional drawings were made, it was time for the Orlando bus ticket drawing. There was $3,761 in tickets sold and the Columbia Chapter won $300 by coming in first-pace, selling $1,128 in tickets, Sumter was second with $524 in sales and Rock Hill third with $414. The seller of the winning ticket drawn was Tiffiny Mitchell who won $100 and the buyer of the winning ticket was Anthony Doyle who won $300. The meeting adjourned with a number of members staying a while to fellowship with members they may not see again until the state convention later this year.

A Festive Valentine’s Evening…
By, Debra Canty

(Editor’s Note: Debra Canty is the Second Vice President of the NFB of SC and the Chairperson of the Fundraising Committee of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina.)

On Saturday, February 18th the temperature’s peek was 76 degrees on the afternoon of the 2nd Annual Sweethearts Dance and by the end of the evening it was a nice 56 degrees. The National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina (NFB of SC), Fundraising Committee hosted our “Second Annual Sweetheart’s Dance” at the Federation Center in Columbia.
As you entered, there were two balloon columns that stood 6 feet tall, one to the far left and one to the far right. They were swirled in pink, white and red latex balloons. The balloon columns were topped with large open heart red Mylar balloons which were perfect for taking memorable pictures on mobile devices and Facebook.
We paid very close attention to all the details beginning with covering the 8 guest tables with white, pink and red rectangle table cloths. There were also 8 jumbo twenty-four inch latex balloons in alternating colors of red and pink in the center of each table on a “Happy Valentine’s Day” heart center piece. Keeping the jumbo balloons secured were silver fringe and red sparkle heart tinsel tied from the bottom of the balloon to the red shiny table weights.
There were 50 in attendance including chapter presidents such as Tiffany Mitchell, Columbia Chapter, Linda Dizzley, Lee County Chapter, Debra Canty, Sumter Chapter, Loretta Green, Upper Dorchester Some of their members as well.
The event was opened with a welcome from yours truly, a scripture from Judy L. Simon, the invocation from Dorothy C. Barksdale and remarks from Frank Coppel.
Kudos to the Federation Center for providing the venue, David Houck for ticket transactions, Tanisha & Corey Gibbons for the beautiful decorations, Jennifer Bazer for the many wonderful door prizes, Sedric Heard for the music provided for dancing and James Green for a delicious dinner which consisted of roast beef, seasoned center-cut pork chops, brown rice with gravy, mixed vegetables, dinner rolls, apple cobbler, lemonade, tea and water.
The cheerful servers were Lee & Diana Singleton, Jerry & Judy Simon, Michael Wells, Annie Getter and James Green who are members of the Sumter Chapter.
The atmosphere was filled with folks who came to have a good time. The dinner was catered by James Green and we dined, danced and most won a door prize to add to the fun filled evening of conversation and laughter. We dressed to impress; red was the dominant color worn by most for the evening to show LOVE for the season of Cupid.
We appreciate the chapters and supporters for coming together and raising funds for our statewide federation where we help improve the quality of life for the blind and sight impaired throughout the state of South Carolina. A special thank you to Lavern Wilson, Isaiah Nelson, Lee & Laura James, RL Fullard, Azalee Knox and the Sumter Chapter for monetary donations towards raising over one thousand dollars on this fund-raiser. Jennifer said, “I want to thank all of you who provided door prizes for the event. Chapters, divisions and individuals gave generously and 16 prizes were given out including: wine; gift cards to Outback, Applebees, Walmart, i-Toons, Starbucks. Among the delectable and delightful gifts to owere homemade chocolates and bath beads and so much more that were given out to very excited winners.”
Mega thanks to the planning committee, Dorothy Barksdale, Jennifer Bazer, Ed Bible, Debra Canty, Shannon Cook, Frank Coppel, Linda Dizzley, Loretta Green, David Houck, Valerie Warrington and Lavern Wilson.
We look forward to your participation for the Third Annual Sweetheart’s Dance on Saturday, February 17, 2018. Remember, Live the life you want, blindness is not what holds us back!

Over 60 Attend the March 4 Upstate Seminar!
By Frank Coppel

This past Saturday, March 4, Shelley and I had a wonderful time attending the second annual Upstate Seminar which was held in Walker Hall on the campus of the SC School for the Deaf and Blind. Approximately 65 Federationists were in attendance representing the Greenville, Cherokee County, Anderson, Spartanburg, and Columbia chapters. J.W. Smith and Jamie Allison did a great job organizing and planning the program for this event. Agenda items included presentations from the NFB of SC, Rocky Bottom, NFB of SC Career Boost program, and The BELL Academy. The audience also heard reports from the SC School for the Blind and the SC Talking Book Services. A great deal of enthusiasm was generated throughout the day as an auction was held during the lunch break and door prizes were handed out at the conclusion of the seminar.

NFB of SC 2017 Greenville Convention Details

If you have not done so already, please make your hotel reservations for the 2017 NFB of SC State Convention which will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Greenville, SC August 18-20. Room rates are very affordable. Rates for this year’s convention are $99 per night for up to four in a room. In addition to the room rates there will be a tax, which at present is 12 percent. There will also be a limited number of rooms available for the $99 rate Thursday, August 17, for those individuals wanting to arrive at the hotel a day prior to the official start of the convention. The deadline to make reservations will be July 27, 2017. 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.
You can make your room reservations by calling the Hyatt Regency reservation telephone number 402-592-6434 and inform the reservationist you are reserving a room for the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina state convention. The Hyatt Regency hotel has also made available a dedicated website to book your hotel rooms online. Reservations can be made starting immediately at this web address:
https://aws.passkey.com/go/natfedblind.
We are now accepting your $80 preregistration fee for this year’s State Convention. Please send your $80 preregistration fee to the Federation Center of the Blind, 119 S. Killbourne Rd., Columbia, SC 29205. This year the NFB of SC board of directors voted to offer a discount for families with children regarding the preregistration fee. Parents will pay the $80 preregistration fee and each child eight teen years of age and younger will pay $20. All preregistration fees are nonrefundable and nontransferable. As in past years, the $80 preregistration fee will cover the reception on Friday evening, continental breakfast Saturday morning, the luncheon, banquet, and a continental breakfast Sunday morning. The deadline to accept your $80 preregistration fee is August 9. If you wait until after the deadline of August 9, the registration will increase to $100. Save $20 and preregister early!

Comments on Feeling My Way into Blindness
By Donald Capps

(Editor’s Note: This article was first featured in the January 24, 2017 Positive Note in Dr. Capps’ portion and is being reprinted here for our Palmetto Blind readers.)

The Federation on a local, state and national level spends a great deal of time improving the understanding about blindness. Thus it is crucial to correct or challenge any information that distorts the true meaning of blindness. In the November 20, 2016 Editorial edition of the New York Times there was a letter to the Editor written by a blind person that was severely derogatory about blindness. President Mark Riccobono responded to the negative letter by also writing to the New York Times. We are sharing with you President Riccobono’s letter:
“Feeling My Way Into Blindness,” New York Times, Sunday, November 30, 2016
By Mark Riccobono, President, NFB. To the Editor: Re: “Feeling My Way Into Blindness” (Disability Series, Sunday Review, November 20):
My heart went out to Edward Hoagland when I read his essay. I remember that I once let blindness make me a passenger in my own life. That changed when I encountered a vast network of other blind people who convinced me that blindness did not define me, who taught me nonvisual ways to handle everything and not-so-everyday tasks, and encouraged me to expect more of myself.
Without that experience, I might still live in fear of hurting myself or breaking things as I walk down the sidewalk, and I might regularly mismatch my socks.
I am now a successful blind man married to a blind woman, living a rich, full life with her and our three children, and serving as President of the National Federation of the Blind, a membership organization of tens of thousands of blind people.
So my next correspondence will be to Mr. Hoagland, to offer him the love and support from an extended blind family that changed my life and can change his.”
I was impressed with President Riccobono’s response and wrote the following to him: “December 1, 2016, Mark Riccobono, President, National Federation of the Blind, Dear President Riccobono: Congratulations on your excellent response yesterday (Wednesday) which appeared in the New York Times. Your letter was very effective in dealing with the terrible letter that appeared in the Sunday Times. The way you handled this was very uplifting to me and made me even more proud to be a part of the NFB. With kind regards, Donald C. Capps, President Emeritus, NFB of SC.”
I was grateful that President Riccobono responded about my letter to him: “December 1, 2016, Dear Dr. Capps, I appreciate your note very much. It is an honor to serve and to have had the mentoring of outstanding individuals such as yourself. That we get to carry on the tradition of excellence branded by our organization is fun, challenging, and a great honor. I hope you are doing well. Sincerely, Mark”
We are fortunate in having an outstanding National President who is continuously called upon to deal with crucial issues. As individuals we can also contribute to PR initiatives.

Organization Helps Visually Impaired Citizens
By Anna Brown

(Editor’s Note: Published in the Union Daily Times in March, longtime Union Chapter President Vernon Smith submitted the following article. Public relations with the media like this open doors to potential new members.)

Picture Caption: Members of the Union County Chapter of the NFB of SC include (left to right) Albert Sanders, Mabel Beam, Vernon Smith, Sherry Jenkins and Vickie Trammell

It’s not an embarrassment to be blind, just an inconvenience.
Vickie Trammell, an associate member of the Union County Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of SC and its acting Secretary, said that’s a truth she already knew, but it’s also a fact that officials stressed when she attended the national convention in Orlando, Florida in July. “Blind people get along and do things as well as sighted people when they are trained,” she said.
By the same token, she said, some sighted people have a lot to learn about the blind, including the significance of someone using a white cane – they are visually impaired.
For 38 years, the visually impaired and the sighted have been working together locally in the Union County Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind. The group is celebrating its anniversary this month.
President Vernon Smith said Jeff Scales and his wife Eve, and Jeff’s sister Linda Pardue, and her husband Gene, spearheaded the organization of the chapter in 1979. The late Shuford and Clara Mayhue were original members. Their daughter Sherry Jenkins, continues as a member. Other current members include Albert Sanders, Mabel Beam, Jim and Mary Maness, Valerie and John Wilson and Jason Jenkins.
Members enjoy attending state and national conventions for many reasons, including meeting other visually impaired people and learning about advances in technology. Trammell and her grandson, Jay, attend the national convention.
Sanders recently went to Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind in Sunset. It is the only center [recreational complex] owned and operated by the blind in the United States. It is open year round free of charge to the blind of South Carolina and their immediate families.
“I enjoyed it,” Sanders said. “I didn’t know there were that many blind people in South Carolina, people going through the same thing I am going through.”
Sanders, a former truck driver, developed glaucoma at 45. He uses the white cane and he says people are usually very accommodating when he is in public. Sanders lives within walking distance of Main Street and he said he appreciates the improvements that have been made to sidewalks downtown. Bumps indicate when the sidewalk has ended and a person is about to walk into the street.
Smith said he would never have been able to travel to Arizona, Texas and some of the other states where the national convention was held had it not been for the National Federation of the Blind.
“I have been to so many different places – I touched the Liberty Bell,” he said.
Once he was on an elevator with Billy Dee Williams in Atlanta – he knew it because a woman with no visual impairment on the elevator shouted it out.
Smith and some of the other members also attended the 1991 national convention when Dana Elcar from MacGuyver spoke. Four seasons into playing the character Peter Thornton on the adventure series that debuted in 1985, Elcar told producers he was going blind.
They told him, “The fact that you are losing your eyesight does not mean you have forgotten how to act,” Elcar recounted in his 1991 speech.
Smith, Trammell and her grandchildren, Tyler and Brandon, attended the state convention in October.
As much as members of the group enjoy attending conventions, it is becoming financially harder each year. In the past a bus has been provided for the blind to use at a minimal cost. Last year officials were unable to provide the bus to the national convention. Volunteers are also needed.
“It would be nice to have sighted volunteers to take us around,” Sanders said.
(Anyone wanting to donate to the Union County Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind may mail a donation to Park Sterling Bank, 203 West Main Street, Union, SC 29379. Checks should be earmarked for the chapter.)

Rocky Bottom is Alive and Well
By RBRCCB Chairman Frank Coppel

The past seven months serving as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Rocky Bottom Retreat and Conference Center of the Blind has been extremely busy and challenging, but it has also been a very enjoyable and rewarding experience as well. During this time, I have had the opportunity to work closely with many talented and wonderful people in the NFB of SC, and I have enjoyed working with these individuals a great deal. The past several months have also been a learning process for me. I am learning that the office of Chairman of the Board of Directors of RBRCCB can be quite demanding at times.
After three months of observing the performance of the Resident Manager, it was very apparent to me by February 4, we as board members needed to make a personnel change at RBRCCB. With unanimous approval of the board, I as Chairman and Ed Bible as Vice Chairman met with Brooke Rivers on Saturday, February 11, to discuss with her the board’s decision to move in a different direction regarding the position of Resident Manager and relieving her of her duties in this position. As the board and I begin the process of filling this position, Linda Bible, Ed Bible’s sister, graciously agreed to serve as the Interim Resident Manager on a voluntary basis during that time. At the April 22, meeting of the RBRCCB Board of Directors, the board voted unanimously to hire Ms. Bible as Resident Manager on a permanent basis. Linda’s previous work history consisted of a great deal of experience in the area of grounds keeping, as well as, extensive experience in the area of commercial and residential cleaning. During the time Linda Bible filled in as Interim Resident Manager, she did an excellent job managing our facilities and she worked very hard to improve our relations in the Rocky Bottom community.
During the past seven months, Rocky Bottom has been the recipient of much generosity and hard work from churches, civic groups, chapters and some of our members. On March 16, Shelley and I traveled to Rocky Bottom where we joined the mission’s team from Mt. Hebron United Methodist Church in a very productive work weekend at our facility. Approximately 30 individuals were in attendance for the weekend. The missions team worked on such tasks as repairing leaks around the chimneys at Osterneck Cottage and the Conference Center, cleaning gutters on all of the buildings, painting three rooms in the Ellenburg Lodge, planting flowers and replacing light bulbs around the gate of the property, organizing closets just to name a few of the tasks which were completed. On March 19, Vice Chairman Ed Bible, his wife Julie and Jennifer Bazer were invited to speak at the Liberty Methodist Church in Liberty, SC. As a result of their presentation, a few weeks later the church donated four vacuum cleaners for Rocky Bottom. We also received a generous contribution from the Salem Lions Club who has been long time supporters of Rocky Bottom. The Upper Dorchester County Chapter and its President Loretta Green was very gracious in donating much needed supplies for the camp. Special recognition goes to J.W. Smith and the Greenville Chapter for all of their hard work and support to Rocky Bottom since February. J.W. has hauled off countless loads of trash and one of his members has repaired the golf cart free of charge.
On Wednesday, March 22, I traveled to Baltimore, Maryland to meet with our NFB National President, Mark Riccabono, for the purpose of discussing possibilities to how the NFB as well as state affiliates could utilize our facilities at Rocky Bottom. It was apparent President Riccabono believed Rocky Bottom is presently, “one of the best kept secrets in the NFB,” and therefore, we discussed at great length the need to put forth an effort to promote Rocky Bottom to state affiliates and their members through social media and other means. We also discussed the possibility of the National Organization, its divisions, and state affiliates utilizing Rocky Bottom for the purpose of holding seminars and programs designed to improve the quality of life of blind people. Although much work still needs to be done to implement these ideas, I feel my trip to Baltimore was very successful and I look forward to further working with President Riccabono and others to develop a plan that will enable us to utilize Rocky Bottom on a national level.
Many activities are currently being planned for the summer, and I will report on these in the Fall edition of the Palmetto Blind. In closing, I would like to challenge all chapters and members to “step up to the plate” and donate supplies and their time for the benefit of Rocky Bottom. Rocky Bottom belongs to all of us. We need to take ownership and we need to take pride that we have such a unique facility in South Carolina.

From the President’s Desk
By Frank Coppel

It has been a busy time In the NFB of SC since the beginning of 2017. On Saturday, afternoon January 28, I travelled to Baltimore, Maryland to participate in a State affiliate President Seminar which was held at our Jernigan Institute. The seminar was extremely informative as I learned a great deal regarding the operation of a state affiliate and I was able to network with my fellow state presidents. At the conclusion of this meeting, I travelled on Monday, January 30, to Washington D.C. to join the South Carolina delegation as well as 500 Federationists from across the country to participating in the 2017 Washington Seminar. The other members of the South Carolina delegation who travelled to our Nation’s Capital Sunday, January 29, were NFB of SC First Vice President, Lenora Robertson, Ellen Taylor, NFB of SC Second Vice President, Debra Canty, Diana Singleton, NFB of SC Board member, ED Bible and his wife Julie, and NFB of SC Student Division President, Alexus Blanding. Because of a severe winter snow storm last year, we were unable to send anyone to the Washington Seminar. I am extremely proud of the size of this year’s South Carolina delegation.
On Saturday, February 4, the 47th annual State-wide Seminar was held at the Federation Center of the Blind in Columbia. Approximately 150 people representing eighteen chapters from across the state were in attendance and their energy and enthusiasm was at a high level throughout the day.
On Saturday evening, February 18, Shelley and I had a great time attending the second annual Sweetheart Dance Sponsored by the NFB of SC. Approximately 47 individuals were in attendance and it was very apparent everyone enjoyed all the festivities of the evening. This event raised over $1000 for the NFB of SC. Very special thanks go to Debra Canty, our state Fundraising Chairperson and her committee for putting together this event.
On Saturday, March 4, Shelley and I had a wonderful time attending the second annual Upstate Seminar which was held in Walker Hall on the campus of the SC School for the Deaf and Blind. Approximately 65 Federationists were in attendance representing the Greenville, Cherokee County, Anderson, Spartanburg, and Columbia chapters. J.W. Smith and Jamie Allison did a great job organizing and planning the program for this event. A great deal of enthusiasm was generated throughout the day.
During the month of February, I along with other federationists spent a great deal of time looking for a suitable location for this year’s NFB of SC state convention. I am pleased to announce the 2017 state convention will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Greenville (220 Main Street), the weekend of August 18-20. Room rates for this year’s convention are very affordable. Room rates are $99 per night for one to four in a room. In addition to the room rates there will be a tax, which at present is 12 percent. The Hyatt Regency is a beautiful hotel and it has excellent accommodations and facilities to host our state convention. I am very excited we have the opportunity to return to the Greenville Hyatt Regency as it has been approximately thirteen years since we held a state convention in this location.
I hope many of you have made your plans to attend the 2017 NFB National Convention in Orlando Florida. The date of this year’s national convention will be July 10, to July 15, 2017 and will be held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort. One of the purposes of the national convention is to become more familiar with issues facing the blind on a national level. I hope we will have a large turnout of South Carolinians to attend this year’s national convention in Orlando.
As you can see, it has been a very busy time in the NFB of SC. By all of us working hard and working together we can make it possible for the blind to live the life they want!

From the Desk of the President Emeritus
By Dr. Donald C. Capps

(Editor’s Note: Printed in the May 10, 2017 Positive Note, Dr. Capps’ contemporary relationship with Tommy Ingle is reprinted here for our Palmetto Blind readers.)

It is with sincere regret that I report the death of longtime federationist, Tommy Ingle which took place on Friday, May 5. Tommy was only five months older than I am as he celebrated his 89th birthday on March 31 this year. I first met Tommy when we were both ten years old and students at SCSDB. Since we were contemporaries, I especially regret the death of Tommy. We spotlighted Tommy on May 26, 2010 in Positive Note 1241which was thoroughly researched and printed. I’m taking the liberty of reprinting the May 26, 2010 Positive Note as it yields very thorough and interesting information on Tommy. We extend sympathy to Tommy’s daughter Renee and his son Roy.
“The spotlight this week shines on Tommy Ingle – one who has been in the federation for 40 years, joining the Columbia Chapter in 1970. He served as President of the Columbia Chapter for one year. He now serves as Assistant Secretary of the Greenville Chapter. Born in Greenville on March 31, 1928, he and I are virtually the same age as I was born on August 30, 1928. Tommy stated that he had been blind from birth and has never seen daylight. It is believed by Tommy and his family that the wrong medications were accidentally used in both eyes, causing his blindness. Incidentally, no one has better mobility skills than Tommy, especially without the use of a cane or guide dog. I enrolled at SCSDB in 1939, some five years after Tommy and we’ve been good friends throughout the years. Tommy’s father drove a bread truck and would frequently visit Tommy at SCSDB, bringing cookies and other goodies which he gave to Tommy who was good enough to share some of his goodies with me. Tommy learned piano tuning shortly after graduation with his first employer being Alexander’s Piano Company in Spartanburg. The Division for the Blind, which was a part of the Department of Public Welfare, bought Tommy his piano tools and he received for his first employment $15 per week from the Division for the Blind and $15 per week from Alexander’s Piano Company. He also worked at Seigling in Charleston, and according to Tommy, was the first piano store in the U. S., established in 1918, Harmon Piano Service in Greenville and Case Brothers and Rice Piano Company. Finally Tommy found permanent employment at Westinghouse in Columbia in 1970. He worked for Westinghouse for 26 years (1970-1996), retiring at that time but he continued as a piano tuner as a part-time business. Tommy has one daughter, Renee who has two daughters and her husband who is an attorney and one son, Roy, who has three boys. Tommy has attended about 20 NFB of SC state conventions and about 12 national conventions. When asked about Rocky Bottom, he stated, “Its great and I never pass up an opportunity to go there.” It wasn’t difficult to guess Tommy’s hobby – singing gospel songs. Recognized by his associates as being quite religious, Tommy attends the Washington Avenue Church of God. Finally, born in tough times, Tommy faced many challenges and worked at many different piano companies from the Upstate to the Low Country trying to make a living for himself. Before landing the 1970 Westinghouse job, Tommy had already reached 42 years old but still managed to work faithfully for Westinghouse for more than a quarter of a century. Since Tommy and I are contemporaries, I probably understand the efforts and diligence Tommy has faced for several decades. This is the primary reason this week we are pleased to spotlight such a good person and a good federationist.”

Successful Transitions: Lessons Involving Future Endeavors
By Jennifer Bazer

Successful Transitions, an affiliate of CareerBoost, is a federally funded program set up through the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina (NFB of SC) in conjunction with the SC Commission for the Blind (SCCB) to fulfill the workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) while specifically providing funding and training for Pre-employment transition services (PRE-ETS). The program works with agencies, nonprofits, and schools to recruit students between the ages of 13 and 21 that are eligible or potentially eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation and prepare them for employment. Successful Transitions covers the entire state of South Carolina. Four components of the grant include: self-advocacy, work- readiness, work-based learning, and post-secondary exposure.
The NFB of SC Successful Transitions’ team is comprised of Jennifer Bazer, Director along with an administrative assistant and transition consultants around the state. Over half of the team is blind and the consultants who are sighted have family members who are blind or have worked in the field of blindness.
Since the signing of the grant on September 15, 2016, the team has made a positive impact in South Carolina. Ninety students have completed the six week self-advocacy class and there are currently 21 students in class at this time; ninety-four students have completed work-readiness and there are currently 16 students in work-readiness at this time; eight students have toured colleges with exposure to Disability Services, Financial Aid, touring a dorm, and speaking with department heads in the field they are interested; sixty-four students have been on job tours as well as had a job shadow experience; three students went on a job or internship interview; one student was offered a position after the internship was completed; seventeen teens participating in the SCCB summer teen program have been placed on internships around Columbia starting July 10, 2017.
Consultants have taken students on tours of colleges and technical schools including: Limestone, Frances Marion, Florence Darlington Tech, and the Culinary Arts of Myrtle Beach. Students have been exposed to jobs including: cosmetology, veterinary assistant, IT, web design, and auto body. “I enjoy helping my students become self-advocates and watch them use that knowledge in choosing a college or job that fits their skills and interests,” said Casey Eubanks.
The Successful Transitions team is spreading the word about their free program by attending conferences including: South Carolina AER, Pinegrove Autism conference, the Hopes and Dreams conference along with presenting at transition alliance meetings at schools and participating in local career fairs. The team will be present at the Dare to Be Remarkable conference in Baltimore, Maryland in November sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind’s national office.
“It is truly rewarding to see students excited about their future, “said Loretta Green. Pam Schexnider, administrative assistant for the team said, “I am proud to be a part of a team where everyone is passionate about helping youth who are blind discover how their strengths, skills, and interests will assist them in future endeavors.

Rocky Bottom Children’s Camp 2017—SOAR in Strength
By Jennifer Bazer

Rocky Bottom children’s Camp of the Blind will be held June 25-July 1, 2017. Currently, 25 campers who are blind are excited to attend camp at the bottom of Sassafras Mountain. The campers will participate in music, art, dance, mobility, home management, outdoor recreation and swimming. Activities outside of camp are being planned. Campers are looking forward to the annual climb up Sassafras Mountain along with roasting marshmallows.
Derique Simon said, “I have been going to Rocky bottom children’s Camp for a long time, and now, I am excited to be a junior counselor as a role model for the campers and helping MS. Jennifer wherever she needs me.” “A lot of time and dedication goes into planning a camp for 65 campers and volunteers, and I am proud to steer a team that is excited to be involved in children’s camp,” said Jennifer Bazer, Director of Rocky bottom Children’s Camp.
The response to assist during camp has been overwhelming, and at this time, all volunteer roles have been filled. The camp wants to thank individuals, chapters, and divisions who have contributed to Children’s Camp already this year. It cost between $5,000 and $6,000 to run children’s camp for a week during the summer, and the camp needs an additional $1,800 to meet its goal. Monetary donations can be made to Rocky bottom Children’s Camp and mailed to, Federation Center of the Blind, Attention Jennifer Bazer, 119 S. Kilbourne Road, Columbia, SC 29205. A list of needed supplies for children’s camp is listed below, and can be left at the center, or you can call Jennifer Bazer at 803-661-6622 or email her at jhipp25@sc.rr.com to make arrangements for pick-up of in-kind donations.

Needed Supplies for children’s Camp

pool items/toys
Items to play with outside for rec
spray on sunscreen at least 30 SPF
travel sizes of toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, and shampoo
cleaning supplies including: toilet bowl cleaner, tub cleaner, everyday cleaner, furniture polish, etc.
paper products: toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, cups, bowls, plastic ware
55 gallon trash bags, liquid dish soap, liquid laundry soap, etc.
snacks (all individually wrapped please: juice boxes, little Debbie’s, animal crackers, goldfish, chips, etc.

“It takes the help and support of so many to ensure camp is successful, and I thank you for considering how you can contribute to Rocky Bottom children’s Camp for campers who are blind in South Carolina.” Said Jennifer Bazer
From the Editor’s Desk
By David Houck

Recently there have been a few of our members who have passed away like Ruth Jordan who made an impact in the lives of so many, both blind and sighted alike. A close friend to the Federation, she had a great impact upon Rocky Bottom, the NFB of SC, blind scholarship recipients and the Greenville Chapter. Cheryl Mott Sims was also such a person as her leadership in the Lee County Chapter will be missed as I am certain NFB of SC State Board member Linda Dizzley and others can relate her many contributions. Tommy Ingle passed away in early May. He was a longtime active member of both the Greenville and Columbia Chapters and he attended the School for the Blind about the same time as Dr. Capps did. He had an uncanny way with mobility and could tell you exactly where you were while riding in a car. He also loved Rocky Bottom, did piano tuning and worked at Westinghouse Nuclear. I also think of Martha Robertson whose funeral I attended. Martha was a great friend and volunteer to Rocky Bottom, the NFB of SC and especially to the Rock Hill and Columbia Chapters. To her, everyone was considered to be family.
“Raising Expectations” which was our theme since the October 2016 NFB of SC Convention, means not just remembering those who laid the foundation and served the blind along the way; it also refers to constantly reaching out, recruiting new members, revitalizing chapters and divisions, and assisting the blind of South Carolina in new ways. In this way we perpetuate ourselves like those who have gone on before us.
Let me take this opportunity to congratulate the Honorable Parnell Diggs, the new Administrative Law Judge for Social Security who just left his job as Director of Governmental Affairs at the NFB National Office to assume this new position in Cincinnati, Ohio. Those years of representing blind South Carolinians in their Social Security hearings paid off. Before he was NFB of SC President and active in the Student Division, and even before going to the USC School of Law, I remember Parnell Diggs as a member of the Summer Teen Program at the Commission where he and Chris Danielsen (now NFB Public Relations Director) both heard my presentation concerning the NFB of SC. Many others worked with Parnell and Chris as well but at that time no one understood just how far they would go. Get out there and recruit new members! You just never know how much they will in turn change the lives of others to help them to live the life they want.

FINAL THOUGHT

A lesson on living the life you want:

The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

The National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina gratefully accepts gifts, living memorials, grants, bequests, stocks and wills. As a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, your gift is tax deductible.

Positive Note 1619

August 24, 2017
Memo To: Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents & Others
From: Frank Coppel, President
Positive Note 1619
Greetings Fellow Federationists:

This past weekend, the sixty-first annual State Convention of the NFB of SC was held in Greenville and from all indications it was very successful. 134 individuals attended this year’s convention which began Friday afternoon with the RBRCCB Board of Directors meeting followed by the meeting of the NFB of SC Board of Directors and other division and committee meetings. Many thanks go to Jamie Allison, President of the Cherokee County Chapter, and her team as well as Ernest Gallman, our DJ for the reception Friday evening, who got the convention festivities off to a resounding start. Hats off, to J.W. Smith and the Greenville Chapter for doing a great job as the host chapter of this year’s convention. Lenora Robertson, Door prize Chairperson, as always did a great job dispersing door prizes throughout the weekend. This year we were honored to have Ever Lee Hairston, member of the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind and state president of the NFB of California, as our National Representative for the convention. Mrs. Hairston gave a thorough National Report and she did an excellent job participating on the “Why am I a Federationist” panel Saturday afternoon. Ever Lee’s banquet Speech Saturday evening was outstanding as was noted by the audience who gave her a resounding standing ovation. The NFB of SC recognized Tiffiny Mitchell of the Columbia Chapter, as the recipient of the Donald C. Capps Award and Juanita Frink of the Conway Chapter as the recipient of the Associate Member of the Year Award. The Morley Company, a subsidiary of B&W was the recipient of the Employer of the Year Award. The NFB of SC recognized Rhonda Thompson of the South Carolina Commission for the Blind for her commitment to provide quality services to the senior blind of the state as she was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award. Ed Bible was recognized for his outstanding work with the blind during the past thirty-two years in the areas of training and employment as he was the recipient of the NFB of SC’s Presidential Citation. Another highlight of the banquet was the awarding of scholarships totaling $4,650 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 $8,121 which will be used to promote the programs of the NFB of SC. Elections were held Sunday morning and the following individuals were unanimously elected to the following board positions; District one, Loretta Green of Upper Dorchester, District three, Keith Redding, of Laurens, District Five, Linda Dizzley, Lee County, and the two members-at-large Isaiah Nelson and Ed Bible, of Columbia. Tiffiny Mitchell was unanimously elected by the convention to fill the one year remaining on the member-at-large position previously held by Loretta Green. 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 prior to his leaving for vacation. I especially would like to thank Catherine Williams who did a great job as Registration Chairperson during the weekend of the convention. Finally, I would like to thank the staff of “Successful Transitions” who assisted me with taking pictures during the convention and overseeing the exhibit area.
In nine more days, federationists from across the state will be arriving at RBRCCB on Friday evening, September 1, to participate in the Fun Day Festival. Seven meals will be served including three on Saturday, September 2, a continental breakfast, bbq luncheon with all the fixins’, supper; three meals on Sunday, September 3 a full breakfast, lunch, supper and a continental breakfast on Monday morning, September 4. At the RBRCCB Board of Directors meeting on August 18, the board voted to charge $40 for adults and $20 for children under twelve years of age to cover all seven 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 $10 for lunch. Individuals need to make sure they pay Valerie Warrington $40 for their meals sometime during the weekend. Reservations for room accommodations are filling up quickly and, therefore, you will need to get your reservation in now. As always we are expecting a full house. Reservations 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 Wednesday, August 30. I hope that you are selling your $5 Fun Day tickets as this 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! It is my understanding we are collecting a variety of very nice items for the auctions which will be held Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. We are pleased that Columbia Chapter member, Jeff Bazer, has again very graciously agreed to serve as auctioneer. Jeff was the auctioneer last year and he did an outstanding job in that role. If you would like to donate items for the auction, craft store, or yard sale please contact Jennifer Bazer at (803) 661-6622 or you can email her at jhipp25@sc.rr.com.
I am sad to report J.W. Smith’s sister Bessie L. Smith Williams passed away Monday August 21. Our Federation family needs to keep J.W. and his family in our thoughts and prayers during this 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.
Welcome back to our Center Executive Director David Houck and his lovely wife Darlene. The Houck’s have just completed a ten day Alaska vacation. This is the longest period of time David has been out of the office at one time but he certainly deserved the time off to make this wonderful trip. Darlene who is always by David’s side deserved this wonderful experience the trip offered. David and Darlene spent some time in Fairbanks, Alaska which is only about 160 miles from the Artic Circle. It was 50 degrees in the morning when the sun rises at 5:00 a.m. and 62 degrees in the afternoon while the sun sets at 10:00 p.m. Summer highs are 70 to 90 degrees with a record of 99. Winter lows are minus 40 to minus 60 with a record low of minus 66 degrees. David came to work at the Federation Center in April 1983 and has contributed to the success of the Federation Center’s programs. The Houck’s left Fairbanks at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday and arrived in Columbia at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, covering 5,000 miles in less than 24 hours. The trip included a seven day cruise from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada to Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, an up close view of two glaciers, Whittier and a land trip from Whittier to Anchorage, Talketna, Denali, and Fairbanks.
President Frank Coppel has given detailed information about the 61st annual NFB of SC Convention. It certainly appears we had a great convention with NFB of SC leaders contributing greatly. Our National Representative, Mrs. Ever Lee Hairston obviously was involved in helping to make the convention a great experience. We note that several awards were made to deserving recipients. My home chapter of Columbia received two distinguished presentations for President Tiffiny Mitchell receiving the Donald C. Capps Award and Ed Bible receiving the Presidential Citation.
Federationists from across the state will hardly get settled before they will be leaving for Rocky Bottom to attend the Fun Day Festival. Obviously, this promises to be a “full house.” We have some several persons involved in this big statewide program as well. Finally, our thanks goes to Dorothy Barksdale for keeping the office while David was out of state.

Final Thought: A local Columbia billboard read, “The eclipse is just a big cover up.”

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 nfbsc@sc.rr.com or nfbofsc.org.Spread the Holiday Cheer! To make your tax deductible donation, go to www.nfbofsc.org and click on the donation link.

 

For more information regarding these organizations of the blind contact:

wwwddnfbofsc.org or email nfbsc@sc.rr.com 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

 

 

One MINUTE MESSAGE:

“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.

 

UPSTATE ANNUAL SEMINAR

 

 

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:

Auction

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)

SALEM, SC CENTENNIAL PROJECT

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 nfbofsc.org. 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.

NIKKI R. HALEY, GOVERNOR, STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

 

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

Kayaking

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 jhipp25@sc.rr.com 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.

 

 

 

FINAL THOUGHT:

“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.