[Nfbmo] Blind Missourian

Gary Wunder GWunder at earthlink.net
Thu Dec 22 20:39:44 UTC 2011

From: carol j coulter [mailto:cjcoulter at centurytel.net] 
Sent: Thursday, December 22, 2011 2:27 PM
To: Gary Wunder
Subject: Blind Mo 

 Attached, and in the body of this message is the Blind Missourian for



November, 2011

National Federation of the Blind of Missouri

Gary L. Wunder, President

3910 Tropical Lane

Columbia, MO 65202

Phone: 573-874-1774


Table of Contents


Coping With Vision Loss: Finding Your Way When Your

    World Is Turned Upside Down By Debbie Wunder

Celebrating 50 Years By Gary Wunder

A Look Back: The Early Days By Gene Coulter

Muscles By Tom Stevens

A Hero Amongst Us By Carol Coulter

National Federation of the Blind of Missouri

   2012 Scholarship Program By Shelia Wright

2012 Scholarship Application

 2012 State Convention Registration Form





Coping with Vision Loss: Finding Your Way

When Your World Is Turned Upside Down

By Debbie Wunder


 I was born back in the 1950's, but unlike many other blind persons, I
wasn't one of the preemies. I was born with congenital cataracts and often
with congenital cataracts you develop other eye conditions such as glaucoma,
problems with the cornea, and various other diseases of the eye.

If you knew my history, you wouldn't think that blindness would be new to me
because I was born blind. I went to public school up until the middle of my
fourth-grade year, when my parents were finally able to get me into the
school for the blind. First of all, I never knew I was blind. I knew I
couldn't see a lot of things and sometimes, in my early years of school, I
felt I was a bad child because of what I couldn't see. I remember in the
second grade, one of the things that we did in the public school classroom
was to look at spelling words on the board and make sentences out of them
before we could go out to recess. I know some of you will find this hard to
believe, but once upon a time in my life I was a really shy person. By the
time I was in the second grade I had already had nine eye surgeries and had
all of the visual signs that you would think an educator would pick up on to
suggest that I was blind.  When I would sit in the classroom and squint and
take my glasses on and off, it never occurred to me or the people who
watched me that I was blind. Since nobody ever said I was blind, I would
look around and see that everyone else in the classroom was able to do their
assignment. I said to myself that I'm just not doing this right. There was
no one else I knew to talk to who was just like me.  When it came time to go
out to recess, I wouldn't have my spelling words done and I couldn't
understand why the teacher, observing all of these visual problems, couldn't
see that she had a blind child. Certainly I was not a disruptive child; I
just couldn't get all of the work done.

I was fortunate because my grandmother, my dad's mom, went on a church
outing to the Missouri School for the Blind.  She came back and told my
young parents about this wonderful place. My mother got married when she was
sixteen and my father was just eighteen. At first my parents didn't
understand. They knew that I was hard of seeing and that sometimes I had
problems, but they never once had the idea I was blind. My mom, bless her
heart, was a Federationist even though she didn't know about the Federation.
She decided that what I needed was large print and did enough research to
figure out where large print books could be had. She then ushered up the
courage to go to the school principal and ask that the school buy the books.
When she was told that there was no place in the budget to buy extra books
for a special student, my mom asked to talk to the principal's supervisor.
The principal told my mom he didn't have a supervisor.  My mom promptly told
him that everybody had a supervisor all the way up to God.

You know my mom was the biggest champion in my life, and she still is, even
though she didn't really understand blindness either. My grandma finally
convinced my parents that I needed to go to the school for the blind.  At
first, the school didn't want me because I had vision. This was a time when
society was trying to mainstream its blind children. The school for the
blind couldn't believe that someone who was already being mainstreamed
wanted to go there. When we went to the school for the blind for an
interview, one of the questions I was asked was "How well can you read?" I
looked straight at them, with my nine-year-old eyes, and said "well, it
depends on how hard the words are." Of course, what they wanted to know was
how well I could read print, and at that time I was a pretty good print
reader. I could see the words in my large print book; what I couldn't see
were the words written on the board. When I came to the school for the
blind, the theory was that if you had vision you should use that vision and
so I was still encouraged to read print. Of course, print was valuable to
me, a valuable tool in my toolbox, but the school for the blind never
thought about adding tools I could use in addition to print. I remember on
the evening I graduated from the school for the blind. I was approached by
my Bureau for the Blind counselor and her husband. She congratulated me on
how lucky I was because I didn't look blind. The message, both at the school
for the blind and in the rehabilitation program, was that my greatest reward
would come from what I could see and how well I could hide being blind.

When I was growing up I was lucky. I heard about the Federation and I heard
about the Council, but I was also unlucky because a lot of the adults at the
school for the blind were in the Council and mostly I thought to myself "I
don't want to hang out with a bunch of old blind people." People kept asking
me to come to the Federation and finally I got tricked into going to my
first meeting. Thank God I did. It was then that I met people like John and
Rhoda Dower, John and Susan Ford, and many many more people who started
planting a seed in me that would help me find my way in life. I finally came
to accept that I was a blind person. However, I have to tell you, that as
much as I believed in John and Rhoda and all of you, and all the
organization does, says, and works on, it wasn't until three years ago when
I began to lose most of my vision that I realized I didn't know some very
important things I really needed to know about being blind.

Three years ago I started having more eye problems. and we started the first
of what would be many many surgeries. Not only did I want to preserve the
vision I had, I wanted to do something about the ever present pain in my
eye. I first had laser surgery for glaucoma pressure. and it was then that
they found my eye didn't react well to laser treatments. My surgeon said
"I've done this surgery for twenty-five years and this is the first time
I've ever experienced this kind of problem."

I am listening to him and thinking to myself "neither have I." The next
surgery I had was for the placement of a valve in my eye to relieve the
ever-rising pressure of glaucoma. That particular surgery seemed to work and
gave me some relief from the eye pressure. Then my cornea decided "I'm so
tired of all of this stuff it's my turn to get some attention." So, in the
last three years, I've gone through four cornea transplants.

I have to tell you that I didn't go down this road because I was looking for
great vision. All of us have heard some of the stories about blind people
getting good vision. That was never ever the thing that motivated me. What I
was looking for was relief from the pain resulting from the blistering of
the cornea.

As my cornea began to die, the vision in what we then called my good eye,
the eye that allowed me to read print, tell that my blouse was yellow, and
sometimes find things on the floor, grew ever worse. Even though I consider
myself a blind person and certainly was more blind than sighted, this vision
I previously had was helpful.  I had been comfortable in my zone and in my
box. I knew how to live there, but I also knew that people like Susan Ford
and my best friend, my husband, knew how to live as totally blind people. I
had learned all the things to say. I knew what all of the techniques were
supposed to be. I could even give the message to others that they could deal
with their blindness and just go on with life; but I've learned it isn't
always that way. You can find yourself in a place, even though you've been
talking the talk for a very long time, where you realize you haven't been
walking the same walk. As I progressed through my surgeries, each giving me
back some of my vision but never to the level I had before, I found myself
on a real emotional roller coaster. All along my intention was to ask God
and the surgeons, "Please let me stop hurting and, of course, if you can
give me back the vision I had, that would be good too."

When my vision didn't come back and it became obvious to me that it
wouldn't, my first reaction was to be grateful for no longer living in
constant pain. I was not angry; I was grateful to God for all of the years
he'd given me to enjoy blindness from a different perspective and to enjoy
things that a little bit of vision allowed me to see. At the same time I was
grateful, I was also very frightened by the things I wanted to do but no
longer could. I asked myself "how can I have been telling people all of
these years that blindness is no more than a physical nuisance if I'm not
living that way right now?" I felt like I had lied to so many people, that I
had let them down, and most of all I didn't know how I could tell my
husband, my family, and my friends in the Federation that I was so scared.

At first I tried to pretend I wasn't afraid. I pretended life was going
along fine. At that time Gary wasn't working from home and so when Gary
would go out the door for work and I would get the kids off for school, I
would often find myself sitting in a chair crying. Again, I was not angry
about losing the rest of my vision; I was angry at myself for not being able
to put all of the tools together that I knew were in my box, but I was
having trouble finding them. For some reason I simply couldn't say to all of
you, "I know that you're doing it, but I haven't learned too yet." I know
how to say to someone else that you can do it, but I wasn't leading by
example for others.

I've worked through some of this now. I was finally able to talk to Gary
about how hard things were without feeling guilty. I had to admit that
trying to put everything into play was overwhelming to me, but I know that I
can do it because I have all of you, and I know this is a gift I can pass on
to other people. I feel like for the first time, I can say to them "Yes,
blindness is a physical nuisance, but until you have learned the skills and
the techniques to live with blindness, until you have really traveled that
road and gone through the process of figuring it all out, it can be much
much more difficult than a nuisance." Some days I still get a little afraid
about something and now I can talk to Gary or one of my friends about it. I
know that each day I live because of what this organization has given to me.
I will keep getting stronger. I will continue to learn those skills of
blindness I don't already know. I will keep getting braver and I will keep
shining that light that we give to people, that light of hope that comes
from the National Federation of the Blind. I know that our message is
important and that saying it is important, but I also know that keeping our
eyes and ears open to what other people are telling us is important. We need
to listen to their story, even if we think we've heard it one hundred times

By being in this organization, I was really caught off guard by the grief I
experienced.  As important as our positive message is, it won't immediately
take the place of that grief. I want to thank all of you who've taken the
time to teach me the things I know and I pledge to you that I will continue
to work hard to pass on the gift that has been given to me. That message
will include the honesty to admit that some days when you're struggling
through, it's really tough, and some days it's not so tough. Thank goodness
more and more of those not so tough days are coming to me. More days now I
find myself feeling like I once did, and this group is what has made that
possible in my life. Thank you.



Celebrating 50 Years

By Gary Wunder


In November of this year the Missouri Affiliate witnessed its fiftieth
anniversary as an affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind.  At our
convention in March we will celebrate the momentous occasion, but, in the
meantime, our editor has asked that I write a brief article about our last
fifty years.  The challenge is one I'm embarrassed to admit I find daunting.
Who am I to try to chronicle the work of so many and the changes they have


Recently, while in Pennsylvania, somebody observed that I have been a member
of the National Federation of the Blind for forty years--my reaction was to
laugh and say, "No way! Not yet!" The statement was a well-intended
overstatement, but, you know, a little figuring convinced me they were close
enough to right that there was no sense in arguing.  I have been in a while,
and though my vanity almost forces me to say "I'm young, I'm young," the
truth is that I'm not as young as I like to think.  I do, however, feel very
proud to have been associated for so long with this wonderful organization,
and I'm really anxious to dedicate our upcoming convention to celebrating
where we have been.


I know most about the beginnings of our organization from the history
recounted to me and others by Gwen Rittgers, Tiny Beedle, Cotton Busby, Doc
and Polly Salter, Roland and Gerry Sykes, Jana Sims-Moynihan, Jack Kelly,
and, his wonderful wife and Federationist, Martha Kelly.


After the split of our organization in 1961, it took some time for people
who wanted to remain with the National Federation of the Blind to gather
themselves together and decide to form an organization.  They were, of
course, formerly a part of the Missouri Federation of the Blind, which was
expelled from the National Federation of the Blind and was instrumental in
starting the American Council of the Blind.


George Rittgers figured prominently in the establishment of the new
organization which was called the Progressive Blind of Missouri.  When later
we decided to have our affiliate include the name National Federation of the
Blind in the organization's name, we found ourselves being sued because of
the supposed similarity between National Federation of the Blind of Missouri
and Missouri Federation of the Blind.  At one point the court told us we
could not use the words Missouri, Blind, and Federation in any combination,
and it promised to fine us fifty dollars for every day we delayed in
changing our name.  Morale took a big hit, but eventually we won our right
to have the name National Federation of the Blind of Missouri.  That's
another story for another day.


In the early 1960s our fledgling organization was concerned primarily with
the basics: doing the paperwork that was necessary to bring us into being,
figuring out where and when to meet, and working, always working, to raise a
dollar or two to be used in changing what it means to be blind.  There was
the establishment of a newsletter, and, in that newsletter, a prominent
place for the fundraisers that would help advance our work.


When I came into the organization it was just beginning to expand beyond
Kansas City.  I came, if memory serves, in the summer of 1972.  I will not
repeat here the story about how I was strongly persuaded to come to my first
meeting.  One of the topics discussed there was the newly established St.
Louis chapter.  A real fear in the Kansas City chapter was that the upstart
St. Louis folks would outdo them in terms of fundraising.  Very soon that
happened, and for many years the St.  Louis chapter was the unchallenged
king in raising money for the affiliate.  John and Rhoda Dower would close
down their insurance business on Friday and would use Friday, Saturday, and
sometimes part of Sunday to stand outside local grocery stores selling candy
and fruitcakes to raise money.


I do not remember who the state president was in 1972.  Perhaps that
information is to be found somewhere in our records, and I wouldn't swear
that it isn't somewhere in my computer, but where I'm not sure.  I know that
by the time I attended my first state convention in Kirksville in 1974, the
president was John Dower, and its recording Secretary was Margaret Bohley.
This indicates what a force the St.  Louis chapter had become, and how
important it was for the Kansas City chapter to expand the affiliate so it
really was a statewide group of the blind.


A major challenge in 1974 was to have our organization accepted by the
Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt organization.  A lot of time and
effort went into that work, with our being denied on technicalities and
semantics.  We were allowed to educate the legislature but not lobby them.
We could work on issues of policy but not support individual candidates as
an organization.  During John's time as our president, chapters were started
in Kirksville and Springfield.  I believe one was also started in St.


We will do more at the convention to give a really detailed report of our
fifty years, but let us admit that God has been very good to us in
shepherding us through our first fifty and has given us challenges aplenty
to keep us busy for the next fifty.  Our founders fought for us to have the
right to have a home of our own, an education, and a job.  Today we fight
for these same things--not because many of us still lack them, but because
keeping them requires facing new challenges.  In 1940 or even 1961, the
challenge was how to get to the grocery store--independent mobility was far
less prevalent than today.  Today our challenge is to be able to check out
of a grocery store or visit an appliance store and have some certainty we
can use what we buy.


So, keep the dates open, make plans to come to the convention, and be
prepared to rejoice as we look at our past and make a solemn pledge for our



A Look Back: The Early Days

By Eugene Coulter


There are few, if any people reading this publication who were members of
the Progressive Blind of Missouri in the early 1960's. As a history buff I
believe it is always best to understand where you have been to appreciate
what you have now.

Some things are consistent as in the need to make reading and technology
more accessible. But, there have been vast improvements in the lives of
blind people in Missouri and the nation "in no small part" due to the
efforts of the NFB.

What follows are two short articles from the "10 Year Progress Report" of
this affiliate. The Perrin D. McElroy Award mentioned in the first article
is now our Jernigan Award. They are largely unedited, and the verbiage used,
especially in Gwen Rittger's article, reflects a different time. I believe
Gwen's article to be autobiographical. Gwen Rittgers was the wife of George
Rittgers who served as President in the early days and always continued as a
guiding force. The Rittgers convention stipends we give are named in honor
of them. Elsie White was the editor of the publication and in 1971 Melvin
Lewis was President.


Ten Years of the Progressive Blind

By Elsie R. White

In November 1961, a group of 12 dauntless people, with George Rittgers as
the founder, formed a group called the Federated Blind of Missouri. But,
that wasn't the name they were to keep. So in the summer of 1962 in Detroit,
they were accepted by the National Federation of the Blind as an affiliate
under the name of the Progressive Blind of Missouri. 

The first year was very hard. To keep the small organization together, they
had chili and stew suppers and ice cream socials and sold greeting cards.
Even as they do now, they were able to give fruit baskets to the shut-in
blind. Of course, by now the list of shut-ins has grown considerably, but I
don't believe anyone in real need is ever turned down. 

The Progressive Blind instigated the Jacobus tenBrook award. Because Dr.
tenBrook was such a strengthening pillar when the blind people of this
nation and other countries were struggling so hard to keep their heads above
the ground, henceforth, the tenBrook award is given every year to a sighted
person for outstanding services in the cause of blindness. 

The first award was given in 1962 to the Uptown Optimists Club and was
accepted by Mr. Mike Combs. 

At the founding convention in 1962 in Jefferson City, there were 20 members
present.  At the 1969 convention there were 161 members present. 

Then in 1965 the Perrin D. McElroy Award came into being and is given each
year to an outstanding blind person. 

In 1964 the Progressive Blind played host to a very amazing and outstanding
man, Rienzi Alagiyiwanna, who has since become the President of the
International Federation of the Blind. Since then, Rienzi has made many more
visits to Kansas City. 

The Progressive Blind was rightly formed with the idea of promoting
self-help for all blind people in the state of Missouri. 



By Gwen Rittgers

West Eleventh stretched from the railroad crossing straight to Lincoln Park
in a wide, dusty strip of seven and a half blocks. On the south side of the
street seven unmodern homes were situated among the wide fields and choke
cherry trees; on the north side of the street there were only three houses.
The houses contained the conveniences of electricity and water, but the
inhabitants cooked and heated with coal, and made the daily trek to the
outdoor privy.

Angelo lived in the middle house on the north edge of West Eleventh; he and
his wife were fine Italians whom the children idolized. Angelo owned a
magnificent German police dog named Captain. The children said Angelo was
rich--he traveled about in a big black car and was the only one in this area
who had a telephone. Actually, Angelo was a bootlegger in the minds of the
adults and was shied away from on this theory. Angelo made merry with the
children and was generous with "Old Cap" who was the companion of one child
or another all summer long.

Mornings when the children often looked for flowers and four leaf clovers in
the fields, the dog came cavorting along; in the afternoons when the
children went swimming in the sink holes around the park, there was Old Cap.
Sometimes he would plunge in and make a big splash all along the little
bank, or jump out of the water and shake himself, sending a spray over the
children as they tried to dry and dress themselves.

In the evenings, the children sometimes played Blind Man's Bluff and the
small blind girl on the street was always able to catch the runners. Often
Old Cap would give them away to her.

August came on West Eleventh with its long hot days, campers in the nearby
park, hucksters with ripe watermelons, and hydrophobia to Old Cap.

It was the blind girl and the colored children who first noticed that
something was wrong. Angelo had gone on another of his three or four day
trips, leaving the food and water pan for Old Cap in care of the Negro
children. He would bring them and the blind girl some trinkets on his return
for feeding and watering the dog in his absence. This August morning, the
children went to the high front porch of Angelo's house and called Old Cap,
but the dog did not come. He lay under the porch, hot and feverish, and
foaming. As the blind girl reached out her hand and said, "Come on Old Cap,"
the dog growled ferociously. In the same instant, the boy grabbed the
outstretched hand and threw the metal watering pail down. Old Cap roared and
snapped at the pan and ran foaming at the mouth and growling into the yard.
The Negro children led the blind child rapidly down the street while the dog
circled Angelo's house and lay in a state of languor under the porch again.

When the big black car returned later that day, Angelo looked at the
maddened dog and sprinted into the house. Soon afterward, all the children
on their porches saw a blue police car drive up in front of Angelo's house.
Angelo came to the door and yelled to the policeman that the dog was under
the porch. The policeman, who was sitting on the right of the car, drew his
gun and fired under the porch; there were six loud reports as the gun was
emptied. Both police officers stepped out of the car and peered at the quiet
dog. Angelo came down the steps and shook hands with the policemen. They
told him they would send a man to take care of the dog. When they had gone,
Angelo placed a gunnysack over the magnificent dog, and all the children
began to cry. The little blind girl cried the most, for she knew what the
shots had meant for her faithful friend. 




By Tom Stevens


Arriving shortly after 8:00 a.m., Helen and I placed the well worn card
table, with the National Federation of the Blind sign in front of it, along
the sidewalk about 20 feet from the entry door. Shortly we had eight small
packets of candy, a dozen Federation brochures, and a money jar on the
table. I seated myself in a folding chair behind the table and we sat the
cooler, which had water, brochures and more candy on the sidewalk on my
left. I was in business.


About five minutes later came footsteps and the sound of coins dropping into
the jar. Two men spoke greetings, received the brochure I handed to each and
went their way. I assured them that they made the start of my day better.


Over the next three hours, I sat in near 90-degree heat and encouraged
people to bring needed rain and to make contributions to the Federation of
Columbia. This was the same routine we had followed four times in the past
few weeks. Numerous short conversations have occurred. And there were always
those who passed by silently except for the leaving of a small donation in
the jar. I have been surprised at the amount of activity at the entrance of
this grocery outlet. Because of some direct sunlight on me, a few people
were concerned about overheating. One reminded me of a series of robberies
in Columbia. Throughout the morning, the eight packets of candy diminished
only to four. Brochures were readily accepted, some with my explanation that
they make good bedtime reading. 


Whenever a child was readily noticeable, I would inquire as to age and
sometimes offered my hand to be shaken. Responses came from those ranging in
age from 17 months to 10 years. Once or twice a morning my offered hand
would be greeted firmly and I would challenge that youngster to a brief hand
wrestle. I never won and those were a time of pleasure for me. I assured
both a nine-year old and a ten-year old that the schools, which they
attended, were excellent. I noted with interest that parents actively
encouraging the children to put their money in the hole in the lid of the
jar. To me this encouragement was a wonderful teaching moment. 


One lassie responded to my greeting with the most distinct southern accent I
had heard in many years. Yet she claimed to have been raised about 35 miles
north of Columbia. She had done excellently in learning her southern! 


There would be long periods of inactivity and then suddenly a deluge of
people. I always attempted to assure donors that they made my day better and
this seemed to please everyone. During periods of inactivity, I announced
our goals to what Helen observed was a well-informed empty parking lot.
These inactive periods could be very frustrating, but when we counted the
receipts my frustration vanished. Generally speaking those mornings have
been enjoyable. To illustrate, I arm wrestled one six year old and he, his
dad and I all three engaged in a mock battle, his father encouraging
verbally. As they left, I called "So long muscles." I could hear his parting
giggle from fifteen steps away.   



A Hero Amongst Us 

By Carol Coulter


Larry Arnold was born and raised in Springfield, MO. Larry says he was born
just 8 days before WWII ended; I'll let you do the math. His father was a
truck driver and a master wood worker. His mother was a homemaker, but later
in life she went to work in the garment industry. His dad died at age 86 and
his mother died at age 91 of Alzheimer's.  Larry said his mother was a
feisty woman and that he got his desire to be involved from her. 

When Larry was 11 years old he started working at a grocery store and had
many jobs growing up. In high school Larry kept very busy. He was involved
in many clubs such as Key Club. He loved science and the arts. Larry played
the violin in orchestra, was in choir, was a stage manager, and acted in
several musicals. He was the Wizard in The Wizard of Oz and the bar tender
in Calamity Jane. Larry graduated in 1963. Besides his activities in school,
Larry was also involved with church as a youth pastor. 

When Larry was 17, he joined the Navy Reserves. Larry wanted to be a doctor
and the Navy had a program where they would pay for your education in return
for a 6 year tour of duty. During his second semester of his freshman year
at Southwest Missouri State, Larry volunteered to enlist. The Vietnam War
was heating up, and since no one in his family had served in the military,
Larry decided it was his duty to serve his country. In fact, Larry served
two tours in Vietnam. On June 15, 1965, he served his first tour as a
hospital corpsman. Larry said his Battalion was known as the Walking Dead.
He would have to decide if a solider would be able to return to the fighting
if they received medical attention. If the soldier could, they got help, and
if not, the corpsmen had to leave them. The second tour Larry spent as an
advisory to the Vietnamese Army. He lived with the Vietnamese people and was
able to get the military to build him a 10 bed hospital. Larry not only took
care of the wounded soldiers, he also delivered a lot of babies. He told me
about the time he delivered a baby, stepped outside to have a smoke, and
when he came back in, the woman was gone. He went across the compound and
found her back at work in the rice patty. Larry spoke highly of the
Vietnamese people. He said they were hard workers and had the most beautiful
art work. Like so many Vietnam Vets., Larry experienced the awful treatment
the Veterans received when they returned home. Larry said he remembers
stepping off the plane only to have garbage thrown at him. This was not the
homecoming these soldiers deserved after having gone through such a
traumatic experience. Larry said it took him 15 years before he could talk
about it. This experience caused Larry to give up his dream of becoming a
doctor. He said he did not want to feel like he was playing God anymore,
deciding who would live and who would die.  

When Larry returned to Springfield, he got a job working for Litton
Industries making circuit boards. He became an engineer and in 1971 moved
his family to Texas to work in several other companies that made circuit
boards. Each new job came with advancements until he had become Vice
president. Larry would not hold this position long because in 1979 he
started losing his eye sight. It took a while, but he was finally diagnosed
with Hystoplasmosis. Unable to do this type of work because of failing
vision, Larry and his family moved back to Springfield, Missouri, and in
1980 he went back to school to get a degree in Public Administration. Along
the way he picked up minors in Accounting, History, and Economics

Larry found out about the NFB from Theresa Meyers. They met on a bus and she
told him about the organization and invited him to a chapter meeting. He
said he went to the meeting, and there he met Billie Weaver, who was the
affiliate president at that time. Billie invited Larry to the next board
meeting. He told me that this was the board meeting that had to deal with
the problem of Nick Whitney. When Larry went to the next chapter meeting,
Billie told him she was surprised to see him after the board meeting. Larry
told her it didn't bother him because he could see the importance of the

Larry, along with seven others, helped form the Student Division in
Springfield. They were responsible for getting equipment for the blind
students on campus. Larry was the only student liaison on the Disabilities
Committee. He also served on the Student Government Justice Committee. If a
student had broken a school rule, they would go before the justices who
would determine what needed to be done. Larry was the only blind student to
become Chief Justice. Larry was a very active person in his younger days and
still does what he can; but like so many of us, Larry knows that age has a
way of slowing us down. So as many of us grow older and the body is not able
to do as much as the mind would like, we need to remember what the
individual has contributed to our organization and society and respect and
appreciate them for what they have done instead of complaining about what
they are no longer able to do. Thank you Larry for all you have done for our
country and the National Federation of the Blind. 



National Federation of the Blind of Missouri

2012 Scholarship Program


The National Federation of the Blind of Missouri announces our 2012
Scholarship Program. We invite all qualified candidates to apply. Applicants
must be legally blind and plan to enroll in a post-secondary school in
Missouri for the fall of 2012. Applicants need not be a member of the
National Federation of the Blind. Scholarships begin at $500 and are based
on merit. All application materials must be postmarked on or before February
1st, 2012.  

A complete application consists of the official application form and a
student essay, plus these supporting documents: student transcripts, two
letters of recommendation, a letter from an NFB of Missouri representative,
and proof of legal blindness. 

In an effective essay the applicant will talk about his or her life in a way
that gives the committee insight into him or her. The essay should cover the
ways in which one lives successfully as a blind person and describe one's
personal goals for the future. Committee members give the essay a great deal
of attention.

In addition to receiving the monetary award, the scholarship recipients will
attend the convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri,
March 30-April 1, 2012, in Kansas City, MO. Transportation, registration,
and rooming expenses to the convention will be covered. Throughout the
convention, scholarship winners will have an opportunity to learn about the
National Federation of the Blind and network with successful blind persons.
In addition, final interviews with the Scholarship Committee will aid the
committee in determining which scholarship each winner will receive.

You should know that merit scholarships from the National Federation of the
Blind go directly to the winner and should not be considered as a similar
benefit by Rehabilitation Services for the Blind. Therefore, students can
use funds to meet expenses not already covered by other funding sources.
Also, merit scholarships are viewed very favorably when included in a

The application for this year's Scholarship Program is attached. If you have
any questions about our scholarship program, please contact the Chair:

Shelia Wright, Chair

Scholarship Committee

National Federation of the Blind of Missouri

7928 NW Milrey Drive

Kansas City, MO 64152

Phone: 816-741-6402

Email:  <mailto:sbwright95 at att.net> sbwright95 at att.net

Web Page:  <http://www.nfbmo.org/> www.nfbmo.org





Scholarships begin at $500.00


Applications may be submitted via e-mail or USPS mail postmarked by February
1, 2012. (If you run out of space, continue answers on an attached sheet,
numbering your answers carefully.) 


Name: (Please include any birth or other names)


Home address: _____________________________




Address of lodging at school (if different from home): ______________




E-mail address: __________________________________________________


Phone number at which you can be reached:


Are you legally blind? __________________________________________



Educational history

Name of institution you are currently attending with location, dates and
class standing (freshman, sophomore): 






Current cumulative grade point average at this institution: ________ 

List other high school(s) and post-secondary institutions attended,
including dates, location, and cumulative grade point average: 





ACT or SAT scores: ___________________________


Rank in graduating class: _____________________

Significant honors and awards received: __________________________






Future plans

College or post-secondary institution to be attended in fall of 2012 with
class standing: (If accepted after application deadline, indicate this and
submit documentation as soon as possible under separate cover.) 



In what area do you plan to major? _______________________________




What are your career goals? __________________________________





Additional documentation

1. Write an essay of no more than 1000 words which introduces you to the


2. Provide two letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with your
academic performance. These should be sent under separate cover to the
Scholarship Committee Chair. List the names of your references below.



3. Provide under separate cover transcripts from your high school and the
college(s) you have attended.


4. Schedule an interview with the president of the local chapter or a member
of the scholarship committee.  Request a letter evidencing the fact that you
have discussed your scholarship application with him/her.  You may contact
Shelia Wright, Scholarship Chair, to learn the name of the appropriate
person in your area. 


To help us with distribution of application forms in the future, please
indicate how you obtained information about this scholarship.


Students who are selected to receive a scholarship will be invited, at the
NFB's expense, to the state convention on March 30-April 1, 2012, in Kansas
City, MO. Final interviews determining the awards will take place during the
convention and the scholarships will be presented Saturday evening at the
banquet.  Recipients should arrive on Friday afternoon and plan to
participate in the entire convention which concludes at noon on Sunday.  No
recipient will receive less than a $500.00 scholarship.  Winners will be
notified in time to make arrangements to attend.


Applications and all documentation, including letters of recommendation,
must be postmarked no later than February 1, 2012. Prepare and send these in
a timely manner so they can be handled via regular first-class mail. For
applications or additional information, please feel free to contact Ms.


Ms. Shelia Wright, Chair

NFB of Missouri Scholarship Committee

7928 NW Milrey Drive.

Kansas City, MO 64152


E-mail:  <mailto:sbwright95 at att.net> sbwright95 at att.net


NFB of Missouri

Holiday Inn Coco Key Resort

9103 E 39th street; Kansas City, MO 64133


March 30 - April 1, 2012

Let's celebrate! It is the Golden Anniversary Convention of the National
Federation of the Blind of Missouri. We are returning to our roots in Kansas
City as the organization was founded over 50 years ago in this beautiful

During this jam packed weekend we will honor our roots and look forward to
the next 50 years!

Our host city and chapter are vibrant and dynamic. The Kansas City area is
home to sports venues such as the College Basketball Experience, Sprint
Center, and Kansas Speedway and teams such as the Royals, Wizards, Chiefs,
and T-Bones. The City of Fountains boasts exceptional parks, and great
culinary and shopping experiences in places such as Crown Center and Country
Club Plaza.

Our hotel this year is the Holiday Inn Coco Key with exceptional room rates
of $75.00 a night plus $15.58 a night tax (tax rate as always subject to
change). The Holiday Inn Coco Key has an on site water park which may be
accessed for an additional fee.  The water park features all the water fun
you could want and Gator's Grab & Go and Wet Rooster Bar where you can get
fast food items. The main restaurant is Tradewinds where you can get
breakfast, lunch, and dinner; children under 12 eat free when escorted by
paying guardian but limited to hotel guests only. The hotel also features
wireless internet and a fitness center.  The Coco Key Market is off the main
lobby and features coffee, ice cream, fresh sandwiches, Salads, and Coco Key
merchandise. The Hotel is across the street from Truman Sports Complex.

Convention registration post marked on or before March 15, 2012 will be
$12.00. After March 15 the cost to register will be $18.00. Registration
will be open from 5:30 to 7:30 Friday evening and 8:00 to9:30 Saturday
morning.  Hospitality will open on Friday evening from 5:00 to 10:00. Sorry
but, as usual, the hospitality room will be a smoke free zone. Come eat,
drink, and enjoy the fellowship!

We have several planned meals throughout the weekend at extraordinary
prices. The highlight will be our Saturday banquet for 30.00. We will also
have a planned lunch Saturday for $15.00 and our annual Prayer Breakfast
Sunday morning at a cost of $12.00.  The planned meals are open to all
attendees and all are encouraged to take advantage of these meals as there
are not many other restaurant facilities in walking distance.  

We again will be offering child care for those children in need of
supervised care.  The cost is 20.00 for the weekend for the first child and
$10.00 for each additional child from the same family. .  Care will be
provided on Saturday during the morning and afternoon sessions, the evening
banquet until 9:00 p.m. and the Sunday morning session which will adjourn at
12:00 p.m.  Meals are not provided in child care so parents need to make
arrangements to feed their children.  Important: Parents wanting care for
their children must send a request on or before March 15, 2012.

Exhibit space is free to the chapters and divisions of the NFB for
federation fund raising and information distribution and for a cost of
$25.00 to outside exhibitors and must be reserved before March 15, 2012.  If
you have door prizes you wish to donate please contact Door Prize co-Chairs
Willa Patterson or Jeff Wright. If you need to send an item in advance mail
it to Jeff Wright 7928 NW Milrey Drive, Kansas City, MO 64152-2143. Phone:


Our Kansas City chapter looks forward to hosting us in a memorable weekend
that will invigorate us as we renew old friendships and make new ones.


Equality * Security * Opportunity

National Federation of the Blind of Missouri

2012 State Convention Registration Form

Kansas City - March 30 - April1, 2012

Please use one form per residence.  Several registrations may be combined on
one check if they are sent in the same envelope.

Registrant Name: ________________________________________________

Second registrant: _________________________________               

Street Address: __________________________, Apt.:________

City: ______________________, State: ____, Zip Code: _________

Phone Number: ______________, Email: _____________________ 

Select preferred agenda format: ___ Braille, ___ Print, ___ Electronic

Desired Blind Missourian format: ___tape, ___Print, ___Email, ___None

Select the items or events that you would like to purchase below:

*Convention Registration: Preregistration prior to March 15, 2012

Number of registrants: ___ at $12.00                               Total:

Planned Luncheon: ____ tickets needed at $15.00                    Total:

Annual Banquet:           ____ tickets needed at $30.00
Total: $______

Prayer Breakfast:          ____ tickets needed at $12.00     Total: $______

** Exhibitor Table:       ____ tables needed at $25.00      Total: $______

  (Write 0-NC if a chapter or division desires a table.)

**Childcare ($20/1 child; $10/additional) Number of kids ___ Total $_____

Total amount enclosed:   $______

Add amounts on all forms enclosed and make your check payable to: 

NFB of Missouri.  Please mail to:

Carol Coulter,  1613 Blue Ridge Rd; Columbia MO 65202.  

* Add $6.00 for registration postmarked after March 15, 2012.

** Exhibit tables and Child Care may NOT be requested after March 15, 2012.
Indicate the names and ages of children requiring Child Care and/or any
special exhibitor requests on the back of this form.




I pledge to participate actively in the effort of the National Federation of
the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind: to
support the policies and programs of the Federation and to abide by its


Board of Directors

National Federation of the Blind of Missouri



Gary Wunder, President                               Julie McGinnity,
Recording Secretary

Shelia Wright, First Vice President                Dacia Luck, Corresponding

Ruby Polk, Second Vice President                Carol Coulter, Treasurer


Board Members:

Eugene Coulter                                               Lois Ulmer 

Gary Horchem                                              Jeremiah Wells 

Bill Neal                                                        Bob

Gene Fleeman


Chapter Presidents

Gene Coulter, Columbia                                  Helen Parker, South

Rita Lynch, Jefferson City                               Gary Horchem,

Shelia Wright, Kansas City                              Dennis Grabill, St.
Joseph (contact)

Chris Tisdal, Lewis and Clark                          Bryan Schulz, St.



















NFB of Missouri

1613 Blue Ridge Rd.

Columbia, MO  65202









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