FCB OFFICERS, 2010 - 2012
President, Paul Edwards
20330 N.E. 20th Ct., Miami, FL 33179
1st Vice-President, Debbie Drylie
1544 Walnut Creek Dr., Flemming Island, FL 32003
2nd Vice President, Sharon Youngs
237 Maple Avenue, Palm Harbor, FL 34684
Treasurer, Linda Jacobson
2915 Circle Ridge Dr., Orange Park, FL 32065
Membership Secretary, Sally Benjamin
1531 Dempsey Mayo Road, Tallahassee, FL 32308
Recording Secretary, Sila Miller
2201 Limerick Dr., Tallahassee, FL 32309
Immediate Past President, Debbie Grubb
4215 17th Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34205-1418
Editor of White Cane Bulletin, Sharon Youngs
237 Maple Avenue, Palm Harbor, FL 34684
Articles for the White Cane Bulletin must be submitted to Sally Benjamin no later than the 20th of the month before it is published. Sally’s email is: email@example.com
If you do not have access to a computer and email please find someone in your chapter to help send it. We would like to hear from anyone who wants to contribute to our newsletter. If you don’t have a way to write an article you can call Sharon Youngs at the number above and she will be glad to write it for you.
Articles published in The White Cane Bulletin are in compliance with Public Law No. 104197, Copyright Law Amendment of 1996. This law allows authorized entities to distribute copies of previously published non-dramatic literary works in specialized formats, including Braille, audio or digital text that are exclusively for use by Blind people or those with disabilities. Any further distributing of such articles in other than a specialized format is an infringement of copyright.
ARE YOU MOVING? – Sally Benjamin
If you are moving please notify me of your new address so you will continue to receive your White Cane Bulletin. Also if you know of anyone interested in joining FCB and who would like to receive the White Cane Bulletin and the Braille Forum please contact me at: (800) 267-4448 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Officers 2010 – 2012
Presidents Message: by Paul Edwards
Welcome Back to Daytona Beach! Submitted by Nancy Burgess-Hall
Raffle Roundup: by Bill Freeman
Transportation To and Around Daytona Beach: by Nancy Burgess-Hall
Ain’t Fundraising Fun?: by William Benjamin
Michael E. Taylor in the Spotlight: by Sila Miller
Reading is for Everyone: by Sarah Smedley
Mid Florida Council of the Blind: by Jay Bader
Handy Telephone References
As I write this message, I am actually a little late. It should have been turned in last Wednesday and it is already six days later than that and three days before the royal wedding in London. I am writing this message on a tiny portable device called the "Voice Sense" because I appear to have walked out of my house without my more regular note taker.
When I get to work, I will transfer this file to my computer and then send it, using email, to the editor of the White Cane Bulletin. These are all things I could not have easily done even a decade ago. Just as technology has wrought immense change in the way we interact with the world, the environment in which the Florida Council of the Blind and other organizations of and for the blind operate is very different than what it was when I joined FCB in 1977. It is amazing to think that I have been a part of this organization for 34 years already. When I joined the very first laws to protect the rights of people with disabilities had been passed but they had not been implemented yet. It would take sit-ins and other protests to get regulations released in 1978. Now, a generation later, we take many of the rights that were new and exciting for granted. There are probably many reading this who have never been thrown out of a store because of the fact that they were blind and were just not wanted there. There are probably people reading this who don't remember having to beg for any assistance we received. Now we have the right to expect help from stores or businesses. In 1977, there were no braille markings on elevators or on hotel room doors. There were no accessible traffic signals. There were no braille printers that have made such a difference in making information available to those of us who want and need independent access to information. Large print users were in the same boat. Now, it is a relatively simple matter to make a document available in print that is any size a person needs.
On the face of it, we should be happy. Our society has recognized that we have rights; technology has made information available to us; and many of us take our elevated sense of entitlement for granted. Contrary to all the outward signs, all is not peaches and cream in the world of the blind and we had best come to terms with the bad and the ugly as well as with the good.
It is ironic but both the new laws and the technology have both conspired to create one of the changes of which we need to be afraid. Blind people now see themselves as having rights. Blind people can now function far more independently, given technology than they could in 1977. And, partly because of the job we have done as an organization, society knows something about what we can do. In 1977, people saw those of us who are blind as appropriate objects of charity. Now we are lumped in with other people with disabilities who have demanded rights and who have said they want to be fully included. Fine, says society. You can be fully included but, since you are now so capable, we don't have to feel sorry for you any more. You can have accessible information and traffic signals and talking computers but you don't need our charity any more.
At the heart of what I am trying to suggest is that there is a new paradigm abroad in the world and agencies for the blind and organizations of the blind are equally threatened by it. At its core, is the demystification of disability and a change in our status from a group worthy of charity to just another minority, scrabbling for crumbs from society's table. The current notion of which blind people are is really no more accurate than the one that prevailed in 1977 and which we and others fought so hard to change. We know that! We know the truth! We know that seven out of every ten people who are blind will never work. We know that half of the blind people in Florida are over 60 and will not get the services they deserve because there simply are not enough dollars. We know that full inclusion is ruining the educational opportunities for many of our young blind children. We know that, while technology is available that can do many things that are amazing, most blind people can't afford it. Even if they get the technology, they don't learn how to use it. I think most of us would agree that, as a group, we are better off in 2011 than we were in 1977 but there is still a very long way for the FCB to go before we can afford to sleep.
How do we tell our truth so people who are not blind will hear it? How do we persuade legislators to see us, as we are, not as just another required expenditure? How do we persuade blind people to see themselves as people with immense potential that only needs to be unlocked and harnessed? These are all hard questions that we really must answer. But there is one more question that is at the very center of where we go from here. What do we want the future to be for people who are blind?
I challenge each of you who are reading this to spend a little time thinking about that. In 1977, we were sure we were on the brink of heaven on earth for people who were blind. Society had recognized that we had rights. The first computers were appearing and we could read print with the optacon. Now we know that all the changes that have happened over the past 34 years have not been for the best. All that glitters with promise is not necessarily golden. On balance, we have gained more than we have lost but many of the problems are still the same. It is harder to get money to do what we need to do for blind people. It is harder as well, if we are honest, to know what is best to do for the mass of blind people in our state. Those of us who are members of FCB are the elite. We know who we are. We know that blindness is really pretty cool and that together, we can make change happen! Only ten percent, at most of the blind people in this country are members of any blindness consumer organization. Can such a small group of us dare to speak for the huge number of blind people who are out there and not a part of the organized blind movement? I think we must, because otherwise people who are blind will not be heard at all. But we must be mindful that we are the few speaking for the many. We must also recognize that it is getting harder and harder to lure members into our organization. The very progress we have made is one of the factors that are keeping people who are blind from joining our organization. They don't need, or think they don't need us. We know they do need us but we have to find ways of convincing them we are important.
Change happens! If the organized blind movement is to be around 34 years from now, we must embrace the future and shape it! To do that, we must decide what we want it to be and how we can affect it. Will you join us at our convention and in all of our local chapters and help us decide who we will all become? Each of you who are reading this is the future and what you do will shape what FCB becomes. I am looking forward to seeing what all of you will have made in 34 years from now!
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Halifax Council of the Blind welcomes you back to the FUN coast of Daytona Beach. There is so much to do both at the convention, within walking distance of the hotel and around the area that you’ll want to extend your visit beyond the 4 days of the convention.
Let’s start with the Convention itself from June 9-12, 2011. FCB’s Convention Committee has put together another jam-packed program. Thursday night FCB will host a barbeque above the pool deck. Feel the evening breeze, smell the salt air, listen to the swaying tunes of Louisiana Steve. Take a short stroll along the beach or poolside and socialize with old and new friends. Friday night FCB will hold its Awards Banquet, followed by Halifax Council of the Blind’s “Welcome to Daytona Beach” party with snacks, a cash bar and more. Saturday night will be the Main Banquet followed by Class Act, Jacksonville's best 6-piece jazz and easy listening band and the Grand Drawing for $1,000.00 and other prizes. Refer to Sila Miller’s informative article in the March-April edition of the WCB for more in depth information.
If you still have energy following FCB’s banquets and nighttime activities, or you decide to extend your stay, there is plenty to see and do within a brisk 20 minute walk. The Plaza Resort and Spa has a full spa with massage services. Outside the hotel is Seabreeze Boulevard with a Walgreens, restaurants, nighttime entertainment and boutiques. Within a brisk 10 minute walk is the Ocean Walk with several movie theatres, Bubba Gump restaurant, Johnny Rockets restaurant, a Starbucks, a pizzeria, ice cream and several interesting shops. Between Ocean Walk and the beach are the Bandshell with its free weekend concerts and the Main Street Pier, with its amusements. Across the street from Ocean Walk, behind the multi-level parking garage is Typhoon Lagoon, a water amusement park. South of the Ocean Walk (about a 20 minute walk from the hotel) is Daytona Beach’s famous Main Street, known nationally as the center of Bike Week, The Ocean Center, Daytona Beach’s convention center and the Peabody Auditorium.
A trolley runs up and down A1A / Atlantic Avenue and the beachside bus terminal (which connects to all parts of the area) is located at the Parking Garage. There are bus and boat tours, charter fishing, scooter and ATV rentals and beachside parks. Other area attractions accessible by the trolley, fixed route bus or para-transit include: Beach Street with numerous restaurants, antique shops, boutiques, Angel and Phelps chocolate factory (with tours and free samples), Jackie Robinson Ball Park, and the Halifax Historical Museum, the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, Ponce Inlet Marine Research Museum and Nature Preserve, Museum of Arts and Science (with its hands-on children’s section, planetarium, Cuban collection, Coca-cola bottle collection and Giant Sloth) and Daytona International Speedway, home of NASCAR’s Daytona 500.
Why, you’ll need at least a week to enjoy all that Daytona Beach has to offer. For more information on area attractions log on to: http://daytonabeach.com/accessible.cfm.
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How time flies! It is almost convention time again and that means the final roundup for the 2011 FCB Raffle.
There are still a few tickets available if anyone needs a few more. Just e-mail me at email@example.com and I will get them to you promptly.
Otherwise, please bring your sold tickets along with your chapter check, payable to Florida Council of the Blind to convention for the drawing on Saturday Evening. I plan to be at the Registration Desk between 9:00 AM and Noon on both Friday and Saturday mornings. You should be able to leave a message on my hotel room telephone if necessary.
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Getting to Daytona Beach may be a challenge, but once you have arrived you will have plenty of options.
DRIVING: The Plaza Resort & Spa is just over 1½ hours south of Jacksonville, 1 hour east from downtown Orlando, just over 4 hours north from Miami or 4¼ hours southeast from Tallahassee. Traveling on I-95, Get off at Exit 261 / US-92 / W International Speedway Blvd toward Daytona Beach. Continue 6 miles east, passing Volusia Mall, the airport, crossing over the ISB bridge and continuing toward the ocean. Turn left onto FL-A1A North / South Atlantic Avenue, Go 1 mile north, to the intersection of Seabreeze Blvd (FL-430 E.) and 600 North Atlantic Avenue.
FLYING: DELTA and US Airways are the only major airlines utilizing the Daytona Beach Airport and do not connect directly with any Florida airport.
SHUTTLE SERVICE to/from the Orlando Airport (MCO):
* None currently have wheelchair lifts; they do have steppers.
Daytona Orlando Airport Shuttle (DoShuttle.com)
Toll Free (866) 947-9947; (386) 947-9947;
FAX (386) 322-5999
Ten trips each way each day, starting at 4:00 AM to 11:30 PM $32.00 per person one-way / $59.00 per person round trip to the shuttle office. $12.00 additional fee per bus to or from the hotel. For larger groups call manager for group rates Orlando Airport Shuttle (www.dots-daytonabeach.com) (800) 231-1965 (386) 257-5411 FAX (386) 257-5415 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org $35.00 per person one way / $65.00 per person round trip
TRAIN: Amtrak has a stop in Deland, Florida (about 35 minutes east of Daytona Beach). It provides a 3:20 PM bus connection from the Deland station to the Hilton Daytona Beach Ocean Walk Village, just .4 miles south of the Plaza Resort & Spa (a 10 minute walk or you can take the trolley or city bus). The cost of the bus connection is about $35.00 beyond the price of the train. An alternative option from the Amtrak station to the hotel would be to take a cab to Deland City Hall and then take a previously reserved Votran paratransit van.
BUS: Greyhound has a terminal at 138 S Ridgewood Ave, in downtown Daytona Beach, about 3 miles from the hotel.
Red Coach USA – Daytona Beach (877) 733-0724 www.redcoachusa.com offers premium business class seats, service to Daytona Beach from Jacksonville ($12.50 or $25.00), Orlando ($10.00), Tampa ($12.50 or $25.00), and Orlando to Tallahassee ($30.00 or $65.00).
PARATRANSIT SERVICE: Votran Gold $2.50 per trip. Call Customer Service to apply for service: 386-756-7496 ext. 204 or Fax (386) 322-5119; TDD: 386-756-7494; Reservations: 386-322-5100. Web Site: www.votran.org
If a person has been certified as “ADA Paratransit Eligible” by their local paratransit provider, that certification will be honored for up to 21 days (from the date of application). It is therefore recommended that you apply for service no sooner than 10 days before your visit. Reservations for a specific trip must be made by 4:00 PM the day before, Monday through Friday. Votran Gold will provide service within the ADA corridor of three-fourths of a mile. This includes to/from the hotel and Daytona Beach Airport, the Greyhound Bus Station, Volusia Mall and many area attractions. It does not include the Amtrak Station in Deland, FL.
FIXED ROUTE BUS and A1A Beachside Trolley serve A1A / Atlantic Avenue and connect to other routes. Rates are for Single Fare (Exact Fare Only). Multiple ride rates also available. Proof of status required for reduced rate fares. $1.25 for Adult fare $0.60 for Senior Citizen (65 and older) / Disabled/Medicare / Children (ages 6-17) Free for Children under 6 years when accompanied by an adult All busses and trolleys are equipped with wheelchair lifts.
TAXI CAB SERVICE in Daytona Beach: $4.20 for pick-up during the day, $5.20 night; $2.00 per mile thereafter; $1 per extra person; 40 cents/min wait time
Southern Komfort Taxi (386) 252-2222 www.southernkomforttaxi.com
American Taxi Cab (386) 255-0000
Florida Cab & Shuttle (386) 254-3400
Yellow Cab (386) 255-5555 Toll Free 888-333-3356 www.yellowcab.com
TAXI CAB SERVICE in Deland
Deland Cab (386) 734-3417 ?
Deland Taxi (386) 734-8484 ?
Steve's Deland Taxi (386) 734-0013
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Alright, FCB is going through hard times just like the rest of America and we are going to have to get through this together. I am going to make a couple of proposals and I hope you will take them to heart. If there is anything that you can do to help, it would be appreciated by our entire organization.
As those of us on the FCB Budget and Finance Committee see it, there are three ways to raise money. We can, 1) look into our organization, 2) try to make money, soliciting to the public or 3), we can write grants. All three of these ideas have some merit and I will try to discuss them with you as we go along.
Looking within our organization is something we have done in the past. A couple of years ago, I sent out postage paid, return envelopes and it raised hundreds of dollars. Now to save money, we would like to approach each of you and ask that you make a check payable to FCB in any amount and it will go to the betterment of the cause. This is not a competition and you will not win an award, but we will all be the better for it in the end.
When the Budget and Finance committee met with the Executive committee, we talked about soliciting to the public for donations. If we do this, it is going to take some coordination and even some volunteer help, because I cannot do it all. We talked about direct mail, as well as phone solicitation to raise funds. It has been discussed, like I said, but there are no firm plans in the works yet. If you have any suggestions at all, please forward them to me at, email@example.com and I will be glad to hear from you.
The third way we have thought about fundraising is through grant writing, and I want to talk to you about that. It is the belief of some of us that having a relationship with the firm that we would approach would behoove us: it is much better than shooting in the dark. When I was at my eye doctors, I asked him about his firm and how I might approach his philanthropic department, and he put me in touch with the person that handles that. She gave me the guidelines: I will be submitting a request in December when they plan their next year’s budget.
You can approach your banker, doctor or doughnut maker. If you just get a name and something to go on, I will do the clerical work and we will go from there. I want you to know that I am trying to break down doors for: Publix, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Sun Trust Bank. It is not easy and I am learning to deal with rejection: but, it won’t deter me.
There you have it. This is real world stuff and I think we can pull it off together if I get some support. I will keep trying and if any of you have suggestions or a contact name; with information, please, I say please let me know so we can move forward. And God bless Florida Council of the Blind!
“A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition!”
“The law of harvest is to reap more than you sow.
Sow a habit and you reap a character.
Sow a character and you reap a destiny.”
REMEMBER: "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away."
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” -Mark Twain
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Born to Eric and Bertie Taylor of Cocoa Florida, Michael Eric Taylor arrived on July 20th, 1945. A sailor in the Navy, Eric, originally from Mississippi was stationed at Banana River, a little lagoon between Cape Canaveral and Merritt Island in Brevard County when he met Miss Bertie, a Florida girl. The couple married and had two sons and two daughters. “Yeah, I was born between VE Day (Victory in Europe) and VJ (Victory in Japan) days,” Mike says. “My father was in the Japanese occupational force and didn’t get to see me until I was 18 months old.”
Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) commemorates May 8, 1945, the date when The World War II Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Nazi Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. The act of military surrender was signed on May 7th in Reims, France, and ratified on May 8th in Berlin, Germany. Later that year, there was much joy and celebration around the world when on August 15th, 1945 US President Harry S Truman declared the day as Victory in Japan Day at a White House press conference. President Truman announced that the Japanese Government had agreed to comply in full with the Potsdam Declaration demanding the unconditional surrender of Japan. To crowds gathered outside the White House, President Truman said: "This is the day we have been waiting for since Pearl Harbor."
Mike enjoyed an all-American childhood—growing up in Florida, drag and road racing motorcycles and chasing the girls. In 1963, he received his high school diploma and took a variety of jobs, working at his uncle's sawmill, in a gas station, at a glass factory, and even a brief stint at the Post Office. Mike then decided to enlist in the military as a Marine and was soon deployed to Vietnam.
On March 8, 1968, Mike’s life was changed forever when he was severely injured in Vietnam. “I was in the Marines and I got blown up by a hand grenade,” Mike matter-of-factly says. “It blew off one of my legs and got my eyes. When you’re injured at 22, it’s a huge adjustment, going from being a Marine to being a blind amputee. And it doesn’t get any easier when they say, “we want to teach you your ABCs,” “ya know? My blind teacher who taught me Braille, I truly tested her limits,” Mike sheepishly recalls. “I began training on an abacus and slate and stylus and have since replaced them with a Braille Note Apex.”
Each Thursday evening, dances were hosted by the rehabilitation center in Chicago where Mike was enrolled. Cheryl, a volunteer at the center invited Pat Smith, a friend from work to one such dance, saying, “come on out and meet the guys.” Pat agreed and indeed, did meet a guy! They got to talking and really hit it off. “My wife will tell you that she thought she was marrying Jonathan Winters, the comedian, artist and author,” Mike chuckles. “I had his routines down and I’d charm and entertain her with that stuff.” At the time, Pat was working for Metal Box and Cabinet Corporation but later became a schoolteacher, teaching geography.
On July 18, 1970, two days before Mike’s 25th birthday, the couple was married in a beautiful ceremony in Chicago. “We had our wedding in a church with a sit-down dinner to follow, with both families in attendance. Family participants in the wedding ceremony had their contributions somewhat dampened by airplanes from O'Hare almost continually taking off. Notwithstanding our “takeoff”, Pat is on record as not giving good divorce,” Mike jests. After almost 41 years, I’d say she doesn’t! Shortly after their wedding, the couple moved back to Florida.
“So,” Mike continued, “at that point, I decided I’d better get an education. I wasn’t going to do much physically so I better try to do something with my brain. With my wife’s support, probably one of the biggest shocks I ever had in my life was when I got a two-year degree, because I was such a poor student in high school.” Mike attained his Associate of Arts degree at what was then Florida Junior College and has since changed its name to Florida College of Jacksonville. He then went on to complete his studies and received a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1975 at the University of North Florida. “It was so difficult to try and do any research and to edit stuff before all this wonderful technology that we have now,” Mike recollects, “because I’m not somebody that can dictate something one time and it’ll be letter perfect, far from it. I was fortunate to have learned touch typing in high school, so that helped.”
In 1976, Mike and Pat became proud parents when their daughter, Arial Robyn was born. Thus armed with two college diplomas, a brand new baby and a loving wife, life had definitely changed courses for Mike—quite a lot to happen in a relatively short period of time!
Mike then took a job funded by a CETA, (Comprehensive Employment and Training Act of 1973) grant coordinating a program that provided homemaker services for financially disadvantaged and disabled people. “We provided services for people in their homes so that it would be possible for them to stay at home and not have to be cared for in a nursing facility. The homemakers did things like grocery shop, prepare meals and clean, if the person couldn’t otherwise afford to pay somebody to do those types of things,” Mike explains.
It was then on to work for the Board of Education under the Division of Adult and Community Education for Mike. “We established and coordinated services for people who were blind in the Clay County area. At that time, nobody knew who the blind were or where they were at so I had to go out and find them and find out what kinds of programs they wanted,” Mike explains. “There were three grants with different objectives that we were working with. One was to produce a journal that chronicled methods and programs for dealing with people with different disabilities. This was probably the precursor to the Clay Council of the Blind,” he reflects. “We had Braille, computer, CPR and arts and crafts classes.”
“After funding for this program ended, Donnagene Knutsen invited Doug Hall and Paul Edwards to come to an organizational meeting at the Green Cove Springs Library. The Clay Council got started in 1982. Ms. Knutsen is a very determined lady,” Mike respectfully proclaims, “and she kept it going for quite a while. I had met Bill Ferrill before that and he was organizing the Brevard chapter about the same time. In the early 80s, I met a lot of the people who were active in the Florida Council at that time—Chick Crampton, Jim Lamb, and Don Cameron. I also knew Carl McCoy pretty well. I had spent a little time at the Daytona Rehabilitation Center in the early 70s and at that time, Carl McCoy was the director. In fact, Carl was the one that called me and ask me if I wanted to go to that 504 training session where I met Paul Edwards, Doug Hall, Nancy Burgess, Renee and Patti,” Mike muses. “Yeah, I’m kind of a rounder. I’ve been around for over 40 years now,” he quips.
“It’s really good to know what blind people can do. That 504 conference was a real eye-opener for me—seeing Doug Hall, Paul Edwards and Patti reading that Braille just as fast as they could talk. They were reading those 504 regulation booklets and going all over that hotel by themselves. We’d be looking for a room and Patti would just reach up and read the room numbers with her fingers. The VA, you know, it’s a whole different deal. I mean, they work with people that have always been able to see,” Mike clarifies.
“The Clay Council has been donating for 25 years to the Clay County Library. Some of the funds have been used to build a large print book collection which has received quite a wide circulation,” Mike proudly says. “We have tried to support organizations that support the blind in this area, such as ILAB (Independent Living for the Adult Blind) and the Talking Book Library.”
Mike currently serves as Clay Council's First Vice President and has served as their President on two different occasions during the past. In 2008, he was recognized with the Cooke Chapter President’s Award. He volunteers on various other local committees and has served on the Employment Committee at the state level. In 1983, Mike was honored with the R. Henry P. Johnson Award. “Having benefited from the examples, support, and encouragement of many wonderful people involved in the Clay Council for all its history, I've been richly rewarded,” Mike reflects. Of Mike, fellow Clay County member, Linda Jacobson said, “Mike Taylor always seems to have an upbeat attitude. If we could be more like him, the world would truly be a sunny place.”
In 2006, on May Day, Mike and Pat became grandparents to a beautiful granddaughter, Emily Rose. “We have that child in different types of lessons four nights a week. At each of these classes, they do some types of exercise like stretches or warm ups. This kids not yet five years old and she’s already ripped! She has a little six-pack! She’s been to every Blinded Vets convention since she was born,” Grandpa Mike shamelessly boasts.
“I’ve tinkered around with mechanics a bit,” Mike says. “I’ve always loved motorcycles and still do. If I could see, I’d probably have at least three. I rehabilitated a little 305 Kawasaki that had been abandoned. A friend who owned a wrecker service brought it over to me to get it out of his way. Once I got it fixed up, my daughter asked me to teach her how to ride it. So I showed her how to ride it around the yard, that was fun but then she wanted to venture out. She rode on our street which is a cul-de-sac and that was ok but then, she was wanting to take it to school and her mother was ready to kill me,” Mike laughs. “So I sold it but I had a lot of fun fixing it up.”
Fortunately, the art of building prosthetics has progressed significantly over the last several decades. Issues such as balance, weight distribution and comfort are of utmost consideration now and thankfully, consumers are benefiting. “Up until about three years ago, the artificial limbs were very limiting. I can get on a treadmill now and walk for miles,” Mike proudly says. “That wasn’t the case 25 years ago though,” he recalls.
“The transportation disadvantaged services are somewhat restricted in our area because of budget cuts. I live in the county between Green Cove Springs and Orange Park. A few years back I wrote a piece about how people shouldn’t do what I did, when choosing a place to live. Having access to public transportation is important for one’s independence,” Mike explains.
To my proverbial hero question, Mike responded, “I've always felt very fortunate to have the role models of Don Wedewer and George Stocking. Both Don and George are very intelligent and never let physical limitations and the inconveniences that accompany blindness hold them back. With Don and George's examples, finding excuses for not trying was difficult. Don has retired from DBS and a role of elder statesman in the Florida blind community. George has retired from his job at the Miami VA, but is still very influential in the Florida Regional Group of the Blinded Veterans Association. Both have served me well as role models for many years, and I commend them to others in need of heroes to emulate.”
Mike left me with some priceless advice that we’d all do well to heed. “Don’t live your life as a victim,” he thoughtfully said. “Find meaning, a purpose and dedicate yourself towards achieving that purpose. Your life will be a lot more rewarding and you’ll find a lot more happiness in taking charge of your own life. I’ve heard that bitterness and cynicism are two of the worse kinds of handicaps and I think there’s some truth in that, I really do. I think that you’ll be more successful if you learn how to solve your own transportation problems and if you develop good communication skills. Learn to use some of this wonderful technology that’s available,” Mike concludes, “especially Braille because that’ll enable you to read and write for yourself.”
Mike is active in the Blinded Veterans Association, Clay Council of the Blind and his neighborhood civic association. He works out at the YMCA several mornings a week and loves reading, bluegrass music, and his granddaughter.
It’s quite clear that Michael Taylor doesn’t perceive himself as a victim and has gotten on with the business of living, in spite of some pretty giant hurtles that might have halted a weaker person. Nor does this modest family man perceive himself as extraordinary, despite overcoming a dual disability, getting a college degree, having a family and meaningful work—both professional and voluntary. Thank you, Mike for frankly reliving and sharing your life story with me and with FCB. I appreciate your killer sense of humor, vast knowledge on a wide array of subjects, no-nonsense manner and awesome can do attitude. It’s very clear that you practice what you preach! I hope that a little bit of the caution you admonished me to proceed with made it through all the abandon I proceeded with in writing your heroic story! You are yet another valuable asset that FCB is richly blessed with and I’m blessed to get to write about you!
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Talking Books is a free service that provides Braille and recorded materials to anyone legally blind, visually impaired and physically handicapped in such a way that they cannot hold a book. All you need is an application with a signature from a doctor, registered nurse, or other qualified person. This service is provided by the Library of Congress’s National Library Service for the Blind. Recorded formats include both analog cassettes and digital cartridges. Large print catalogs listing the books available are also provided. All materials and equipment are mailed postage free. The Talking Books Library provides service to all Palm Beach County residents.
For more information contact:
Talking Books Library (Greater West Palm Beach)
Library Annex 561-649-5500
4639 Lake Worth Road
Lake Worth, FL 33463
(Toll Free) 1-888-780-5151
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Thank you, Veterans
"I originally wrote this to help out my husband who was, at that time, the chaplain of his VFW post. It started out as the closing prayer of a Memorial Day program. I felt compelled to update it because so many veterans have made the ultimate sacrifice recently"
Thank you, Lord for our veterans
From all across this land
Yes, Lord the American veteran
Who always took a stand.
The veteran who fought
To make this country be
The one land in the world
Where all men could be free
And, Lord bless the veteran
Who fought on Flander’s Field
The vet who drew a line
And then refused to yield
Lord, thank you for the veterans
Of the “greatest generation”
They, who fought on many fronts
To preserve the greatest nation
Lord, thank you for the veterans
Whose names are on the wall
Those who in the jungle
Watched their buddies fall
Lord, thank you for young veterans
The ones who can’t come back
Yes, thank you for the volunteers
Of Afghanistan and Iraq
Lord, make us ever grateful
For the many parts they played
But most of all we thank THEM, Lord
For the sacrifices that they made
Lovingly written by
Sharon K. Youngs
“I would not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum.”
- Frances Willard
Table of Contents
MFCB has been staying busy as a chapter in fundraising activities into this spring, showing support for those organizations important to those with visual impairments. First, 1st Vice President Larry Turnbull, Debbie Hazelton and Membership Secretary Jay Bader participated in the 25th Annual Southeastern Guide Dogs’ Walk-A-Thon in Bradenton on March 5th. There was a record turnout that day for the walk and over $220,000.00 was raised. On March 26th, a team of MFCB Members, called the “Young MFCBers,” took part in the Lighthouse of Central Florida’s Sight and Sole Doggie Stroll in Altamonte Springs. Although we were not told how much money was raised from that walk, MFCB was awarded a medal recognizing the top civic organization fundraising team. Our team raised $1,000.00 for LCF that day, and President Sheila Young was proud to accept the award, which was passed around to the membership at the April General Meeting. Our chapter will also be involved in the Carter Family Blind Bowlers’ Annual Bowl-A-Thon, which is scheduled to occur shortly before this Chapter News is published. Results of that will be in the next newsletter. Also, MFCB is preparing a fun fundraising activity for the upcoming FCB 58th Annual Convention in Daytona Beach. We encourage all those who read The White Cane Bulletin to attend the convention and to be part of it. MFCB is also taking steps to improve its outreach to all in the greater Orlando area. We have just launched a page on Facebook, which will be linked to the MFCB Chapter Page on the FCB website shortly, and we are researching a telephone system to promote our organization. Also, our membership just approved a change to the MFCB By-Laws that will have long-term positive effects on how we are recognized. More on that change once it receives final approval from the FCB Constitution and By-Laws Committee at the FCB Annual Convention.
Our organization continues in its efforts to maintain a balance between business, fun and providing guest speakers who present topics of interest to the blind and visually-impaired in the greater Orlando area. In March, advocate Cheryl Stone talked with the membership about the transportation situation in Orlando, and Larry Turnbull and Debbie Hazelton updated members in April on changes with digital audio books, i.e, Bookshare. With our wireless internet capability at William Booth Towers and wireless microphones that allow more people to be heard, everyone, including those listening in the FCB General Chat Room, are enjoying our meetings and presentations.
MFCB Members should take note as to the next 2 Meetings. The May General Meeting will be on Saturday, May 7th, from 12 NOON to 2:30 PM (please note the ending time, as it was decided by the membership in attendance at the February General Meeting to extend the meeting time) at William Booth Towers, 633 Lake Dot Circle, Orlando, FL 32801. The Annual June Awards Luncheon will take place on Saturday, June 18th, from 11 AM to 2 PM at Logan’s Roadhouse, 3060 West Sand Lake Road, Orlando, FL 32819. The phone number at Logan’s is (407) 351-4599. The Telephone Committee will be notifying Members in a timely manner about each meeting. More from our organization, especially as we approach the 50th Annual American Council of the Blind Conference and Convention in Reno, Nevada, in the next MFCB Chapter News.
Table of Contents
STUFFED CELERY STICKS
Yield: 27 servings (1 celery stick per serving)
4 oz. Neufchatel cream cheese
1/4 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup water-packed crushed pineapple, well drained
1/2 cup grated or shredded carrot
2 tablespoon thinly sliced green onion tops
27 (5-inch-long) celery sticks
In a small bowl, stir together the Neufchatel cheese and yogurt until well combined. Stir in the pineapple, carrot, and onion until well combined.
Fill each celery stick with 2 teaspoons of the mixture. The mixture can be used immediately or covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours before using. The filling will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
Nutritional Information Per Serving (1 celery stick):
Calories: 18, Fat: 1 g, Cholesterol: 3 mg, Sodium: 35 mg, Carbohydrate: 2 g, Dietary Fiber: 0 g, Sugars: 1 g, Protein: 1g
ROSY SHRIMP SPREAD
Yield: 1-1/2 cups (2 tablespoons per serving)
4 ounces light cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup light sour cream or plain yogurt
2 tablespoons prepared chili sauce
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
Hot pepper sauce, to taste
1 can (4 oz.) small shrimp, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon minced green onion tops or chives
In a bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Stir in sour cream, chili sauce, horseradish and hot pepper sauce. Fold in shrimp and green onions. Transfer to serving dish; cover and refrigerate until serving time.
Nutritional Information Per Serving (2 tablespoons):
Calories: 48, Carbohydrate: 2 g, Fiber: 0 g, Protein: 4 g, Fat: 3 g, Sodium: 127 mg, Cholesterol: 27 mg
Project Insight: 800-267-4448
Bureau of Braille and Talking Book Library: 800-226-6075
Division of Blind Services: (Tallahassee) 800-342-1828
American Council of The Blind: 800-424-8666 (available only 3:00 to 5:30 PM EST Monday-Friday)
ACB Legislative Hotline: 800-424-8666 (Evenings 8:00 PM - 12:00 Midnight EST Weekends 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM only)
AT&T Disability Services: 800-872-3883 Press 00 and speak with your long distance carrier or, Florida only 800-982-2891
BellSouth Disability Services: 800-982-2891 from anywhere
Social Security: 800-772-1213 24-hour voice and touch-tone accessible
- THE END -
FLORIDA COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
1531 Dempsey Mayo Road
Tallahassee, FL 32308
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