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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 news letter. 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 another 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: email@example.com
FCB Officers 2010-2012
Presidents Message: by Paul Edwards
Tampa Board Meeting November 4 – 6 2011 Right Around the Bend by Robert Miller
Good Gift - Good Health - Good Fun – Maybe Not Goodbye – Part Two: by Sila Miller
2012 Awards Nominations: by Don Moore
“The Old Seadog Finds his Sea Legs Again!”: by Mike Ulrich
Big Heart in a Small Package—FCB Loyal Supporter by Sila Miller
Talk Radio on your Phone: by Michael Lantz
Greater Orlando Council of the Blind: by Jay Bader
Randolph Sheppard Vendors of Florida: by Jim Warth
Handy Telephone Number References
I occasionally think about what I want to write. Right after I finished my last message, I had this sudden news flash kind of moment where I had this crystal clear vision of what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it. The message was written. I just had to put it on paper. Of course I didn’t do that. Instead I procrastinated! I now have only the vaguest recollection of what I wanted to say in all it scintillating glory. So, as I often do, let me take you with me for a little journey in the world that is mine.
It is kind of a cool world. I work at a job I like five days a week. I am Director of Services to Students with Disabilities at the North Campus of Miami Dade College. We serve over seven hundred students with disabilities a year and I get to meet with a lot of the more difficult students and must deal with some of the more intractable problems. That is why I like my job. I have no way of knowing what each new day will bring which makes every day new for me.
So now we have taken care of a third of my life. What do I do with the rest of it? That is what is scary and what probably led me to write this message. Because you see the answer to the question that I just asked is: “TOO DAMNED MUCH”!!! It isn’t just the volunteer work I do though there is lots of that. It isn’t the books I read, though there are lots of them. It isn’t just the games I play though I enjoy those, particularly the new online gaming sites for people who are blind, RSGAMES and Quentin C.’s Playroom where I spend some time. It isn’t just the internet radio I enjoy listening to, though there is a fair chunk of that. I listen to Australia, the UK, and Canada every day and, in a week, I probably listen to at least thirty or forty internet radio stations. And then there is XM radio where I listen to baseball; and then there are folk concerts I like to attend. And then there are the cds I like to listen to and buy. And then there is the writing I do. This does not touch the travel. Last year I took more than thirty trips mostly to volunteer at some event or other. Oh, and I have to go In the pool several times a week or my doctor and girlfriend yell at me for not getting enough exercise. And then, of course there’s sleep. I have to do some of that!
I am not writing this because I think I am so important that what I do with my time is of particular interest to any of you. I am writing this because I want you to notice some things. Much of what I do is done or can be done alone. Much of it can be done at home. I also want you to note how many of the things I do now could not have been done twenty years ago. I cannot speak for others but, for me, the internet has made my life immensely more complicated and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The world is open to me in ways it has never been before. I have instant access to dictionaries, encyclopedias and can harness up search engines and ride them to places I have never thought I could go till now. I do not have to wait for anybody. I am my own knowledge pilot. My life is immensely full and amazingly varied. Virtually all of what I do on the internet is free. So anyone with a computer or even a note taker with internet capability can do many of the things I do. The question is why is it that so many blind people shy away from technological competency and are dragged kicking and screaming to email but won’t do much more than that. No Facebook or Twitter for them; No forays into book searches or internet radio. If I am traveling, I will look up maps for the area I am going so I can see what restaurants are close to where I am staying. The other day I wanted to know how Crème Brule is cooked. The internet told me.
Again, I am not expecting oos and ahs of admiration for my skill. It is modest. Ask any friend who knows me well. They will tell you. I am making all these points to arrive, in the end, at three conclusions.
First, I and a lot of other people need to find more time to be with others and share old fashioned conversation and fun and good fellowship. We are in danger of isolating ourselves from those around us by how capable we have become at manipulating computers.
Second, there is a world of things to do out there on the internet and there are huge numbers of blind people who either can’t or won’t learn to make computing an inherent and major part of their lives as much of even the developing world has. That has to change! Computers have done more to make blind people competitive with others and self-sufficient knowledge prospectors than can be imagined. We are not using their potential as we could or should.
The third conclusion is perhaps the most startling of all. Those of us who are blind who have come to terms with computers are actually more accomplished than our sighted counterparts. Answer some questions. Do you have to know how to use a screen reader or a screen magnifier as well as how to use the software that the sighted person is using? How many ways do blind people read? When I was counting, I got up to ten. Can you? Other folks can go to the library or pull a dictionary or encyclopedia down off the shelf. We have to learn to use internet analogs that do the same things as the books that others can access. And yet, friends of mine, we have access to more than blind people could have dreamed would be remotely possible twenty years ago. We often see ourselves as limited by the inaccessibility of certain programs or web sites. The truth is we are less limited than we have ever been and it is high time we focused on the positive. Every single blind man, woman and child alive today has the capacity to be far more independent and far more self-sufficient than we could have been mere decades ago. Technology may be a pain but it is also a boon beyond price. We in FCB have to come to terms with the positive elements of technology and must find ways to make it more available to more blind people in Florida.
Lack of access is no excuse! We cannot afford to wait for perfection which will never come, in any case. We have to plunge right in. We can use computers as tools to become more independent and more involved in our communities. We can also become evangelists for change. We can help others realize what can be accomplished if we will only believe and try. Most important, though, we should be proud of what we can do and celebrate our accomplishments much more than we do. We are good! We persevere in spite of the barriers inaccessibility puts in our way! Others use computers. We who are blind take charge of them and make them work for us! Now we just need to get more of us on the band wagon! Computer access is a horrible thing to waste, to paraphrase an old slogan. Let us find ways of bringing that access to those without it. They need it as much as we do!
And all of us need computer competence, whether we know it or not. Without it, we will fall further and further behind non-disabled people who use computers. It is a choice that each of us must make! I have made mine! I want FCB to help others make the right decision. Let our organization be the voice in the wilderness calling those blind people who are afraid or uncertain about computers to learn from those of us who have already learned. It is a priceless gift that we can give to others. If you use computers, help some one else learn what you know. If you don’t now use a computer, let us know that you want to learn. Together we can change the world!
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Can you believe our Board meeting is less than 2 months away? The Sheraton Suites Tampa Airport Westshore hotel located at 4400 W. Cypress St. Tampa, FL 33668 will be home to us for the upcoming Board meeting and next year’s convention. It is time to make your plans to join us on November 4 – 6 to help guide FCB and conduct her all important business.
* If you currently chair a committee or serve as an officer, your reservation will be arranged on FCB’s master rooming list and there is no need to contact the hotel directly.
* If you serve as a Board Representative for your chapter or special affiliate, you should contact the hotel’s toll free line at (888) 627-8261 or locally at (813) 357-6145 no later than Monday, October 10, 2011 to reserve your room.
* Remember to mention that you are with FCB to insure you receive our contracted rate of $85.00 per night plus applicable tax.
I look forward to seeing you in Tampa and working hard for FCB.
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In the last edition of our WCB, I wrote about the sadness and frustration brought about by having to give up my beloved trampoline because of all controlling insurance regulations. Well…here is the rest of the story. I hope that by sharing my experience, it will both encourage and challenge you to advocate for yourself, a core purpose of our organization.
After stewing and grumbling for days about having to give up my backyard bounce buddy I got mad! I called my insurance agent and inquired about the company making an exception, explaining that I understood their reluctance to cover trampoline-related injuries but not their right to make decisions for me about things I could or couldn’t have. First we discussed a safety net. The answer was absolutely no. Next, I asked about obtaining a prescription for the trampoline for my cardiovascular health from my physician. The agent was taken aback, saying he’d never received that type of request but would check on it for me. Meanwhile, I reached out to my Doctor who was all too happy and willing to write such a script.
The agent contacted the company and was told no prescription was necessary and that a note would be put in my file about the equipment exception. He further related that if I or anyone else was injured while using the trampoline, not to bother filing a claim as it would be unequivocally denied. I thanked him, agreed that I understood and politely, if a bit sheepishly explained all this to the family who were willing to take the trampoline. They were very understanding and happy for me.
Putting that old tramp back together was a little bit harder than taking it down, I must confess. But, it was a labor of love and joy and I had a good friend helping. Did we have a celebratory jump after cooling down? Whatta you think?
So now I’m back to being a responsible property owner, practicing strict safety rules regarding my trampoline and plan to enjoy her for many, many more years! I’m proud of my persistence and as I said, hope my sharing will empower someone else to self-advocate and persist to keep or obtain things that are important to them.
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It is time to prepare your nominations for the FCB Awards that will be presented at the 2012 FCB State Convention. Do you know someone who deserves one of these awards? Please review the following guidelines and criteria, and then submit your nominees!
Each nomination, (with the exception of the Chapter Award) must contain the following:
· Name of the award
· Name of nominee (spelled as you want it to appear on the plaque)
· Name of group/person(s) making the nomination
· Reasons why the nominee meets the criteria for the award
All nominations for awards to be presented at the Annual Convention must be received by the Awards Committee Chairperson, Rosanna M Lippen, no later than January 31st, 2012. Subsequently, all nominations will be collected and Organized in order for the awards Committee to review and select the Recipients. We request that all letters, nominations and other materials be either e-mailed, on tape, typed or in Braille (no handwriting please) for easy processing. Please E-mail to Rmlippen@bellsouth.net or send them to her home address: 7106 N. W. 75th St., Tamarac, FL 33321.
R. HENRY P. JOHNSON AWARD
R. Henry P. Johnson trained as a lawyer. He had very little formal training when it was necessary for him to adjust to substantial visual impairment. Nevertheless, he remained active in his community and constantly sought to extend the boundaries of activities that he and other blind persons could become involved in. The R. Henry P. Johnson Award will be presented to a legally blind person who has, through their work and through service to their community, demonstrated the kind of pioneering spirit and exemplary adjustment that Mr. Johnson demonstrated. Individuals who are likely to be considered for this award must succeed far beyond the average person who is visually impaired.
DOLLY GAMBLE AWARD
Dolly Gamble, by her actions and example, was able to establish a climate in which the Miami Lighthouse could be started. Throughout her adult life, Ms. Gamble worked tirelessly to promote the betterment of blind people in her community, state, and the nation. The recipient of the Dolly Gamble Award must have demonstrated a commitment to and success with the extension of services for the blind and visually impaired people of this state. The recipient may be blind or sighted, but should, in general, represent a high level of expertise and commitment to serving blind individuals.
W. A. OUZTS AWARD
William Albert Ouzts, known as W. A., was a member of FCB from 1971 until the time of his death in 1992. He held state office for 20 of those years, including 12 as Treasurer and 4 years as President. For many years he had the White Cane Bulletin printed, prepared and mailed.
Whatever his official status, W. A. was always quietly working and networking with other members behind the scenes. Officer, consultant, advisor, supporter, worker, whatever his role, W. A. never sought recognition for what he did. While no one could replace W. A., a recipient of this award would display many of the superb qualities exhibited by W. A., including dedication to FCB, responsibility and effectiveness. The individual must have taken a leadership role in numerous FCB projects and actively participated in the organization for a minimum of 10 years. This award would only be given to an outstanding FCB Member, an individual we all would wish to emulate.
WILLIAM (BILL) FERRELL ("JUST BILL") HUMANITARIAN AWARD
Bill was involved in visual impairment issues for much of his life. He was a Project Insight peer advisor since that program's inception. He worked endlessly both locally, in Brevard County, and at the state level, serving as a member of several vital FCB committees and representing his chapter on the FCB Board of Directors for many years. The recipient of this award may be blind or sighted but must have gone to great lengths to better the quality of life of people, be they sighted or not. The recipient should have demonstrated a sincere concern for his/her fellow humans, just as Bill always did. A good candidate for this award would be one who has worked in the field of rehabilitation, i.e. mobility instructors, teachers, or rehab counselors, for example. Membership in Florida Council of the Blind is not a prerequisite for this award. Anyone who, over the years, has contributed their time and caring for others, especially people who are blind or visually impaired, may be a candidate for this award. Recipients of this award will be selected based upon their demonstration of humanitarian qualities, which emphasize efforts to improve the quality of life for others, having communicated, educated, facilitated and updated to ensure equality, independence and dignity for others.
COOK CHAPTER PRESIDENT'S AWARD
Each chapter may nominate a chapter president from the previous year to receive this award. The following accomplishments will be considered when selecting a recipient for this award: regularity of meetings, effective programs, increases in membership, cooperation in local and state projects, and participation in community organizations. Overall leadership skills, including innovation and cooperation with neighboring chapters, as well as the state organization will be considered when assessing the performance of a nominee.
The purpose of this award is to honor a Florida elected official who, through his/her statewide and/or federal legislative efforts must have made a significant and positive impact on the welfare of blind and visually impaired people in Florida. The legislative recipient must be a Florida elected official, exhibiting outstanding legislative activities on behalf of people who are blind.
Each chapter or special affiliate is encouraged to submit the name of a member they wish to honor. The criteria for the selection is up to the chapter/affiliate. All that is required by FCB's Awards Committee is the name of the recipient, as you wish it printed, and the name of the chapter/affiliate submitting the name. Chapter Awards are printed on paper certificates, unless the chapter wishes to purchase a plaque.
OUTSTANDING HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR AWARD
This award is intended to honor a legally blind high school senior in Florida, who in academics, school and community has performed better than all his/her peers. The award consists of a plaque and a $50 cash award. At the time of graduation, the student will be presented the plaque. Should the student choose to attend FCB's Annual Convention, FCB will offer to pay the student's expenses and a $50 cash award. The name and address of the school, as well as the names of the principal and teachers must accompany the narrative nomination. Evidence of superior scores on the SAT, ACT, College Boards or an equivalent instrument shall be presented with the nomination. The narrative should include details of the student's involvement in extra-curricular activities, student government and community service. Supporting letters from teachers, employers, etc. would be helpful.
This award is intended to honor a high school senior at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind who has demonstrated the most improvement in orientation and mobility while at the school. Two nominations have been solicited from the head of the mobility department. The award consists of a plaque to be presented to the student at graduation. FCB will pay the student's expenses and a $50 cash award if the student chooses to attend FCB's Annual Convention.
If you have any questions, or are in need of assistance please contact the committee or FCB's 800 number: 800-267-4448.
Thanks in advance for your time and consideration. We look forward to receiving and reviewing your nominations!
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Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip!! Wait a minute! Damn flashbacks again!
First here’s a little history on me, although it’s probably a familiar thing for some of you. I’m 48 years old, single and live alone. I’d been a Type one Diabetic since age 18. At 41, I came down with Diabetic retinopathy, and kidney failure. I went through what I would call my “Blue Period”. The depression, terrifying fear and for the first time in my life, considered painting the ceiling! Long story short, it took me a long time to become as mobile as I am today and gain back my independence and confidence. Let’s just say, I’m back with a vengeance!
I’ve recently gotten so fed up with everyone promising me that they would “Mike, absolutely take you out fishing!” and then every time blowing me off, that I figured out how to do this on my own!
First off, I met a new friend at one of my Doctors offices. He and a couple of his fishing buddy’s all chipped in and bought me a high tech, pull behind fishing cart from Bass Pro Shops. It is aluminum framed with pneumatic rubber tires. It has 5 rod holders and comes with a bait cutting table with a small bucket off to the side mounted on a stand that can fit in to one of the rod holders. This cart can hold my cooler, my tackle bag and my 5 gallon bait bucket/seat. I even mounted two beverage holders on the handle! I typically carry two rods, with reels, and one gaff.
My plan was to walk to many places close by me and try fishing. As I am now very stubbornly, I mean, stupidly, independent!
So now here’s a story on the maiden voyage! I actually went fishing Friday, August 22! From 7:30 AM to 11:00 AM. I took the cart over to Four Freedoms Park, in downtown Cape Coral. There is a lake like body of saltwater called "Bimini Basin" alongside it. I basically went just to see if I could make it. Not so much to catch fish, which is a good thing. I was just using a lure; I had no fishing action with it. Then a man came by saying he was throwing his cast net for some bait fish to go fishing on the river later on. He was very nice and asked me if I wanted any live bait. I asked him what kind of bait he was stalking. He said, "baby Mullet and Pilchards". He gave me a half dozen Pilchards. I set up my bait bucket and put them in. I then had to rerig my rod. Tying knots is not my forte. I wasn't too bad when I had sight, but now it's a whole new learning curve ball! So I rerig, and go to get a Pilchard. Holy cow! It ain't easy doing this, with no sight! This is one of the ways that I know there is a God! It used to be that in that situation, I would be swearing my butt off, and M F ing everything in sight! But, I was laughing at myself so much, I thought I was going to pee my pants! I'll bet anyone watching had to be smiling a bit too!
So, I finally get one of those little bastards, and I cast him out and I hear the hook land in the water and a split second later, I hear the Pilchard hit the water a yard or two away from where the hook splashed down. Damn! I reel in and feel that the hook is empty. Bummer! So I fool around and get another Pilchard, get him on the hook, this time I think I hooked him through his brain. Bummer number 2! So I feed him to the ducks, and go through the bobbing for baitfish ritual again! Note: If you turn off your aerator for a while, the baitfish are less frisky and are easier to grab! Also, take off your talking watch and use both hands!
So I grab one, get him on the hook, no problems this time, and cast him out there...BLISS! I get bored, set the rod in the rod holder and start to dial my blind fishing buddy in Wisconsin. I want to ask him, "Guess where I am right now?” I am dialing his phone number and all of a sudden...something big takes my line and it starts singing like a Staccato Skill saw! I grab the rod and give it a tug and nothing. I reel in and my knot came untied.
Bummer number... I'd quit counting by now! So I rerig again and put another baitfish on and cast out, and nothing else for the rest of the adventure!
I did manage to talk to one of the Park rangers, Carlos, a very nice man who walked me around the fishing area and told me that the Black Drum are always running around this basin and are quite loud at night, banging the seawalls! The tide was now low. He said that when the tide comes in, the Jacks come in big time. I love to play with Jacks, as they put up quite a fight! So I got the lay of the land and I will be back since it is very close to my place.
I went home hungry, no fish, but walked away with a big smile on my face, lots of fun! And learned a lot! “I’ll, be back!” See ya on the water! Mike
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Born on January 24, 1953, Sally Ann McEwan is the youngest of 4 girls born to Louie Dell and Wilbur J. McEwan. Wilbur, originally from Michigan and Louie Dell from Georgia, met in Tampa and settled in Tallahassee to raise their girls. Wilbur worked most of his career in the electronics industry and in the late 50s; he and Louie Dell opened a wholesale electronics store.
Louie Dell contracted Rubella, commonly known as German measles early in her last pregnancy. Unfortunately, this resulted in ophthalmic defects for Sally who was born with congenital cataracts, clouding of the lens of the eye that is present at birth. The lens of the eye is normally a clear structure, which focuses light received by the eye onto the Retina. Beginning in infancy, until she was around five, Sally underwent no less than six eye surgeries to try to remove the cataracts and correct her vision. She was just a baby when she received her first pair of glasses. “My mother and sisters told me I never took them off, so they must have helped,” Sally says.
Sally was a late-life surprise for her parents—there’s ten years age difference between her and her next oldest sister, Shirley. “My childhood was normal,” Sally reflects. “My sister kept me a lot of the time for Mother to work in the store. I jumped out of trees just like Sylvia’s kids did. I did the same things they did. I got in trouble just like they did—I was not treated any different than any other child. I think my parents just didn’t know what to do and they figured if they gave me every opportunity that they could, I would be ok.”
Sally attended public school until the 10th grade. “I used a magnifying glass with “real” glass that was mounted on a stand, heavy lined paper, large pencils and large print books. I could never see the chalk board. They’d sit me in the front of the class but it didn’t help. I can remember going home and crying because there were some kids that really picked on me,” Sally recalls. In middle school, Sally’s vision began seriously flagging and she was unable to read even the large print books. Every night sally’s mom would read her school work and books aloud and Sally would basically memorize the material. When Louie Dell wasn’t available, the chore fell to one of the older girls. “I basically had no time,” says Sally. “I’d literally come home at 3:00, have time to take a bath and eat and mother would read to me until 11:00 every night. That was the only way I could get through school. We were both just tired,” she sighs.
During the summer following her 9th grade school year and at the urging of the Division of Blind Services (DBS), Sally’s parents sent her to a six-week summer program at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind (FSDB) in St. Augustine. “DBS tried to get my parents to send me to FSDB when I was six years old,” Sally says, “but Mother just couldn’t do it.” Sally loved the program and told her folks she wanted to go to school there. So in the fall of her sophomore year, she enrolled. “I loved it because even though my parents let me have a lot of opportunities, there were things that I couldn’t do like cooking or learning how to do laundry—I think my parents were afraid to let me do those kind of things—and it gave me another freedom and the confidence that I needed to be able to survive later on in life. Also, just being with other kids that were like me was the other thing I liked,” she adds.
At age 16, Sally was suffering with excruciating pain in her eyes. She was diagnosed with glaucoma, a group of eye disorders which cause an increase in the pressure inside the eye. When the pressure is too high, damage occurs to the optic nerve. Many procedures were tried including draining fluid via lazar surgery but nothing worked and sadly, Sally lost her left eye to this devastating eye disease in 1995.
Following graduation from FSDB, Sally went to work for a land clearing company in Monticello, a little town approximately 30 minutes east of Tallahassee as a dispatcher. Transportation was a challenge but she found a ride. Then business became slow and the owner had to let her go. “DBS had helped me find that job and I ended up getting hooked up with a counselor and getting married to him,” Sally continues. “I was very young, just 20 and back then, your parents had to sign for you to get married until you were 21.”
Sally and Richard Folsom were married on February 23, 1973. During most of their seven-year marriage, Sally worked for the Leon County School system as a teacher’s aid helping children with multi handicaps. Additionally, she worked as a monitor on the school bus and taught a daily living skills class to adults who were blind. When Sally and Richard separated, Sally went to work in a foster home for severely handicapped children.
Following her divorce, Sally began work as a teacher’s aid at the Sunland training center. The hospital provided care for the profoundly disabled from March of 1967 until 1983 when the patients were dispersed to group homes around the state and the facility was closed. And so, once again, Sally was let go from her employment through no fault of her own.
It was then that she began providing child care. The first family Sally worked for was the Chiles, son of former Governor Chiles whose family she’d met through church. “They’d travel and leave me at home with their kids and sometimes I’d travel along with them—I was basically their children’s nanny,” Sally says. Once while the Chiles’ were away, Sally discovered some toys which had been left in the pool. Knowing the automatic pool cleaner was timed to start shortly, she intended to just snag the toys out. Somehow, she got overbalanced and fell in, glasses and clothes and all. “That darn cleaner started coming after me but I was able to get those toys out and I didn’t lose my glasses either,” she guffaws. Sheepishly she snuck inside, hoping not to encounter anyone but alas, her secret was out and for years, they laughed about the attack of the pool cleaner.
From there, Sally began operating an in-home day care center. For the next several years, Sally provided child care and loved it. “At one point, I finally had to tell the Chiles’ to quit giving my name out because I was having to turn people down,” Sally chuckles. In 1985, she purchased her home and proudly states, “It’ll be paid off soon now, baby!” Between uncooperative parents and just getting older, Sally decided to make a career change and applied for a clerical position with the Florida Department of Children and Families. “I wasn’t sure if I could do it or not but I’d had a little experience working on the Chiles campaign so decided to go for it,” Sally says. “Then, what actually happened is they said we don’t have any money to pay you. I went home and thought about it and called them back and asked if I could just come in and volunteer. Two weeks later, they found the money to pay me and that’s how I ended up getting that job,” she recounts. “That’s something I tell everybody, if you volunteer your time—I know it’s a pain cause you don’t often have money for transportation, I mean its hard—but it’s a way to get your foot in the door. You have to prove to them that you can do things,” she clarifies.
As a child, Sally suffered from chronic ear infections which resulted in nerve damage and significant hearing loss. In 1987, she was fitted with a hearing aid. "My hearing deficit makes me stay off to myself in a crowd and I don't enjoy music as much as other blind people do,” she openly states. This resilient, little lady deals remarkably with her dual-disability but says, “I think sometimes my hearing loss is made worse by my blindness because I can't make eye contact or read lips.”
Sally became involved and active with the Tallahassee Council of the Blind in 1997, when the state convention was held there. Then a mere year later, at her very first national convention of the American Council of the Blind, she met her future husband, William Benjamin while attending a tour of the Kennedy Space Center. “They didn’t have enough volunteers,” Sally recalls, “and they announced for everyone who could see a little to help somebody who couldn’t. This man in a cowboy hat sat down beside me in the first place and he said, “You seem like you can see pretty good. Can I walk around with you?” I said yes. That night he asked me to go to dinner and every night for the rest of the week he asked me to go to dinner with him. I would call him after going back to my room and we’d talk till 2 or 3 in the morning. We just fell in love! I don’t know what happened,” Sally chortles.
The couple dated long distance for two years but knew they wanted to be together. So after much discussion and soul searching, Sally took a three-month leave of absence from her state job and after returning to Florida, quit work, sold or packed up everything and moved out to Vancouver Washington to be with her love. William taught at the Piano Hospital and soon Sally began working there as both a secretary and custodian. She also had a home business selling trinkets. Sally and William made their love union permanent on July 12, 2002 at a beautiful wedding ceremony with family and friends in attendance at Sally’s home church in Tallahassee. In December of that year they relocated back to Tallahassee.
Sally accompanied William to a meeting of the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) and again became involved with the blindness movement while living there. Sally has served as President for both the Tallahassee and Vancouver chapters as well as Treasurer. She served on the Washington Council Scholarship committee and currently serves on the Florida Council Publicity, Membership, Convention, and Project Insight committees. In 2008, Sally was elected as Florida’s Membership Secretary and is currently serving her 2nd term in that office. Her involvement and service don’t end there though. She also serves on the National Convention committee as their Volunteer Coordinator and is a member of her local Lions Club.
“Carl McCoy had dinner with me one night and he said,” “I believe that you can be president of the chapter.” “I said no, I can’t and he said yes you can—he encouraged me to run. He’s my mentor,” Sally emphatically states. “He and Berl Coley are the two people who truly believed in me. They got me involved and gave me things to do. I don’t know why they thought I could do it but they did.”
2003 was a rough year financially for the Benjamins but together, they got through it. William tuned pianos when work was available and in October 2003, Sally was hired as the Project Insight coordinator where she still works. “I really enjoy talking to all the people who call,” Sally says. “But it is so nice when someone gives you that encouragement to know that you’ve done the right thing. When I get calls like I got yesterday and people thank me for helping them it just makes my day!” she says with satisfaction.
Project Insight is a toll free number designed as an outreach of the Florida Council of the Blind. Peer counselors (people who have faced and successfully dealt with the challenge of eye sight loss) are available and encourage those experiencing the loss of their sense of sight to communicate with others towards combating the feelings of isolation and the lack of basic knowledge about where to find assistance and resources. Since the mid-90s, Project Insight has been bringing to life its motto, "You have lost your sight, not your vision," to the newly visually impaired, one person, one call at a time.
Sally enjoys putting jigsaw puzzles together despite her limited vision, playing with her iPad—she’s currently got no less than two electronic scrabble games going with family—taking cruises, and seeing the United States. Sally says, “Be happy with yourself the way you are. Most of the time, you can’t get your vision back. If you’re not happy with yourself you’re not going to do anybody any good in life. If you’re not enjoying life and having fun, why are you living? Life is very short and as a blind person, yes we have a lot of obstacles but everything can be worked out. You just have to work a little harder sometimes to figure things out. I like to be independent and I don’t want somebody to do for me as long as I can do it myself. Also, advocate for yourself because no one else will do it for you.” In conclusion, Sally said, “I would also say to parents of blind children, treat that child as normally as you can. If you don't, they're never gonna make it in life. They need to have every opportunity to be as “normal” as possible.”
“I met Sally for the first time when she and I were serving on a committee where she worked,” says Carl McCoy, former Director of DBS and former President of FCB. “I saw her as someone with potential leadership qualities and I encouraged her to get involved. You know, one of the satisfactions I’ve had as being a part of this organization is seeing new members develop into leaders,” Carl says.
What an interesting story has our spunky, independent Sally. An over-comer, worker, and an important piece of the FCB puzzle. Thank you, Sally for your considerable past contribution and all that you still have yet to give to FCB!
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It just occurred to me that others might like to participate in this. So, I’m sending you the number. This is a “talk radio” format. Any and all topics are discussed. This service is not new and is a nationwide service and anyone can weigh in on any subject. It’s called Conversation Station and is free as long as you have free long distance on your phones. To access this service call: 231.224.7222 and follow the prompts. I have a slot on Tuesdays called Radio Connection. I hope to be talking with you soon.
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We hope everyone has been enjoying the summer. As it winds down, GOCB is preparing for a busy fall season. Before then, here is what our chapter has been involved with over the summer.
Greater Orlando Council of the Blind was proud to be represented at the 50th Annual American Council of the Blind Conference and Convention in Reno, Nevada. 1st Vice President Larry Turnbull and Debbie Hazelton headed up great coverage on ACB Radio, both in General Session and in the Exhibit Hall; Membership Secretary, Jay Bader served on the ACB Constitution and By-Laws Committee with successful results; and 2nd Vice President Leslie Spoone, along with her husband and longtime Member Dan Spoone, were awarded for raising the most funds for the ACB Walk, as they raised over $2000.00. Congratulations to all who attended for what was a memorable celebration and week for our national organization. As Leslie would say, “we are the GO Team!”
GOCB President, Sheila Young has been staying busy representing our chapter locally, even as she has been recovering from foot surgery. If you are on the FCB E-mail Discussion List, you know Sheila has also been participating in and starting discussions, and there is more to come. And GOCB is preparing a new logo for our Facebook page and updated Membership Flyer, which leads into our important drive this fall.
The Annual Greater Orlando Council of the Blind Membership Drive is beginning as this newsletter is published. As in previous years, this drive will continue into the fall, but unlike previous years, we will be using our Facebook page to inform even more people about it.
Just so everyone is aware, the Annual GOCB Membership Drive is done in cooperation with the Bureau of Braille and Talking Book Library Services in Daytona Beach. Those mailers are sent with the hope that those who receive it will be interested in becoming Members of GOCB. And renewals will be accepted as well beginning in September, with annual dues of $12.00. This amount is the same as it has been the last few years.
There will be those who get this mailing that are already Members but please keep in mind that if you are a Talking Book subscriber in Orange, Osceola or Seminole County, this will arrive. So GOCB Members, if you know someone who you think may be interested in becoming a Member, or if they would like to donate to our organization, pass it along. Just as they are on the state level, donations are always gladly accepted.
Memberships and Renewals can be paid by check or money order; however, if you attend a GOCB General Meeting, you also have the option of paying by cash. The deadline for dues is November 15th. If you cannot attend a General Meeting, please send check or money order to the following address:
GOCB Membership Secretary 5611 Pecos St. Orlando, FL 32807
And make your check or money order payable to GOCB.
The next 2 GOCB General Meetings will take place Saturday, September 10th, and Saturday, October 1st. Each Meeting will be from 12 NOON to 2:30 PM at William Booth Towers, 633 Lake Dot Circle, Orlando, FL 32801. Please note that at the September General Meeting, the Nominating Committee will be formed in preparation for the November Election of Officers, so we strongly encourage Members to attend and express interest in serving on this committee. If you have any questions before the September General Meeting, please contact President Sheila Young at (407) 425-9200.
The scheduled Guest Speaker for the September General Meeting will be from an area police department to talk on safety, and for the October General Meeting, a representative from Vanda Pharmaceuticals will discuss the sleep study for persons who are blind that was announced at the ACB Conference and Convention in Reno.
There will definitely be more from our chapter in the next Chapter News, especially with a report on the recommended slate of Officers for GOCB for the next year.
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The Randolph Sheppard Vendors of Florida (RSVF) is a special interest of FCB and the state affiliate of Randolph Sheppard Vendors of America (RSVA). We are a membership organization committed to improving economic opportunities for blind vendors and managers. RSVA promotes independent and effective participation in the Business Enterprise Program. It also encourages the creation of new business opportunities and endeavors to better the working conditions for all vendors.
The members are volunteers who are blind or visually impaired or those people who support the Randolph Sheppard Program. The statewide organization is known as the Randolph Sheppard Vendors of Florida and carrys out the purpose and programs of RSVA on the state and local level. We are actively seeking new members in Florida. Please contact either Cathy Graham at 860.576.5058 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or me at 727.742.9660 email email@example.com. We will be glad to answer your questions.
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Tequila-Marinated Hot Chicken Wings
(makes 42 to 44 pieces)
3 pounds (1.4 kg) chicken wings, about 21 to 22 wings, separated at the joints, wing tips discarded
½ cup (120 ml) tequila
½ cup (32 g) chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup (60 ml) fresh orange juice
¼ cup (60 ml) fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
½ tablespoon (7.5 ml) cracked fresh pepper
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 teaspoons (5 to 10 ml) Tabasco sauce, or to taste
1 teaspoon (5 ml) grated orange zest
1 teaspoon (5 ml) grated lime zest
2 long strips orange zest, curled into spirals for garnish
2 fresh limes, cut into wedges for garnish
fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish
1. Rinse chicken wings and pat dry with paper towels. Lay in a single layer in a large glass baking dish.
2. In a bowl, combine remaining ingredients except orange zest spirals, lime wedges, and cilantro sprigs for garnish. Pour mixture over the chicken wings. Cover and refrigerate overnight, turning chicken wings several times.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C), Gas Mark 4.
4. Remove chicken wings from marinade and arrange in a large shallow roasting pan. Bake chicken wings for 30 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, pour marinade into a saucepan, place on the stove and bring to a full boil; reduce by half, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Set aside.
6. Remove the wings from the oven and preheat the broiler.
7. Brush the wings with the reduced marinade and broil, 4 to 6 inches from source of heat, until wings are crisp and brown, turning wings 2 or 3 times and brushing with marinade. (Wings may be made ahead to this point and wrapped in aluminum foil. Rewarm in a 300°F (°C) oven, opening the foil packet to uncover the wings.)
8. To serve, arrange the wings on a heated serving platter. Garnish with spirals of orange zest, lime wedges, and cilantro sprigs. Serve warm.
Per 2-piece serving:
97 calories (64% calories from fat), 7 g protein, 7 g total fat (1.7 g saturated fat), 1 g carbohydrates, 0 dietary fiber, 27 mg cholesterol, 28 mg sodium
1 medium fat protein, 1/2 fat
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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
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FLORIDA COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
1531 Dempsey Mayo Road
Tallahassee, FL 32308
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