Research - Rehabilitation - Re-Employment
The Blinded American Veterans Foundation was launched in 1985 by three American veterans who lost their sight during service in Korea and Vietnam -- John Fales (USMC), Don Garner (USN) and Dennis Wyant (USN,)National President U.S. Blind Horseshoe Pitchers Assoc.
All had achieved successful careers despite their blindness. But the realization among them that many sensory disabled veterans had not had the opportunities afforded them led to their determination to form the Foundation and pursue its three main goals: Research, Rehabilitation and Re-employment.
From the beginning, it was determined that BAVF would not be a membership organization or a substitute for already established veterans service organizations. Instead, the Foundation was designed to become a nationwide focal point and clearinghouse for research, information dissemination and educational efforts. As a result, BAVF concentrates on:
Since its founding in 1985, BAVF has made major strides toward achieving its goals of advanced research, improved rehabilitation programs and wider re-employment opportunities. A few examples:
Additionally, for the first time since the inception of the Blind Rehabilitation Program at the end of WWII, BAVF funded a nationwide comprehensive survey and analysis of how the program is faring-its strengths, its weaknesses and how it may be improved. The BAVF also conducted a nationwide follow-up study to determine what progress, if any,-has been made and to press for further improvement.
These are but a few of the Foundation's achievements, and even fewer of its hopes for the future. But most importantly, BAVF's accomplishments--as was the intent of its founders-have been realized through the selfless efforts of hundreds of volunteers.
At the main entrance of the Department of Veterans Affairs building in Washington, D.C., there are inscribed the words of Abraham Lincoln, taken from his Gettysburg address:
"To provide for them who have borne the battle, their widows, and their orphans."
No other words could more eloquently express the aims of the Blinded American Veterans Foundation. There are not words adequate enough to express BAVF's gratitude to the many friends who have helped us along our way.
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