Blinded Veterans Association

General Information

Blinded Veterans Association
1101 King Street
Alexandria Virginia USA 22314
(202) 371 8880
http://www.bva.org

Brief Description

The Blinded Veterans Association is an organization specifically established to promote the welfare of blinded veterans and offers a variety of services to help veterans and their families meet the challenges of blindness.
BVA was and is the only veterans' service organization exclusively dedicated to serving America's blind and visually impaired veterans.
According to BVA, more than 100 service members have been blinded in Iraq and another 247 have lost vision in one eye.
Veterans do not have to lose their vision during military service to qualify for BVA assistance, and membership in BVA is not a prerequisite for any service.

Staff

Claudia Belk,Accessibility Officer/ Senior National Field Service Officer,claudia.belk@va.gov,202 371 8880

Donald Overton,Executive Director,doverton@bva.org,202 371 8880 ext.305

Services Offered

  • Advocacy
    • BVA is a strong voice for blinded veterans before the legislative and executive branches of government. The organization presents testimony each year before the House and Senate Committees on Veterans Affairs. It also teams with other Veterans Service Organizations in working closely with VA to assure that all blinded veterans have access to excellent blind rehabilitation services.
  • Counseling
    • BVA National Field Service Officers provide counseling to other blinded veterans. They understand the complexities and emotions experienced by blinded veterans because they have been through the experience themselves. They are effective role models in helping newly blinded veterans find and follow the road to independence.
  • Education Services
    • Operation Peer Support connects combat-blinded veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam with the newly blinded who have been wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan as a result of improvised explosive devices, sniper fire, mortar or rocket-propelled grenades, or combinations of other firearms. Provides information on adaptive technology, vision research, rehabilitation, employment, and VA benefits to the veterans and caregivers. Physical and emotional isolation is a common occurrence among those who have only recently lost their sight. Opportunities to learn about and interact with those who have already faced such obstacles can be a source of comfort and inspiration. The Operation Peer Support initiative also offers education and training in the areas of technology, VA benefits, career opportunities, and options for attending universities and colleges. Such opportunities and connections are faciliated by BVA national conventions and other planned events.
  • Information and Referral
    • Field Service Program helps blinded veterans take the first steps in adjusting to blindness, bringing focus and direction to their lives. They also provide inspiration, encouragement, and practical assistance in the benefit claims process.
  • Support Groups
    • BVA consists of 53 regional groups. The groups offer social and recreational activities, frequently uniting with other Veterans Service Organizations locally to advocate change. The BVA Auxiliary (BVAA) is composed of spouses, relatives, and friends of blinded veterans. The organization exists to support the BVA mission.