[Nfbofsc] Positive Note 1691

David Houck nfbsc at sc.rr.com
Wed Jan 9 13:42:06 UTC 2019

January 9, 2019

Memo To:  Executive Officers, Board Members, Chapter & Division Presidents &

From:  Frank Coppel, President

Positive Note 1691

Greetings Fellow Federationists:


              I want to thank all of you who attended the 49th annual
Statewide Seminar this past Saturday.  When Shelley and I walked into the
Federation Center at 9:30 Saturday morning, both of us could feel the energy
and enthusiasm permeating throughout the meeting hall.  165 Federationists
from across the state were in attendance which is probably one of the
largest gatherings we have had for the statewide seminar in many years.  I
was told every seat in the room was filled when the Seminar was called to
order at 10:00 a.m.  Ed Bible did an excellent job moderating a panel
discussion entitled, "How Assistive Technology has increased my
independence." The audience heard from three students, Connie Davis of
Lexington, Lauren Martin of Fort Mill, and Brieanna Haney of Red Bank who
discussed their experiences receiving virtual training in the use of
assistive technology from the instructional staff of the Federation Center.
All three heads of agencies who provide services to the blind, Kyle Walker,
Director of VR services of the SC Commission for the Blind, Dr. Paige
McCraw, President of the SC School for the Deaf Blind, and Sandy Knowles,
Director, of Talking Book Services gave presentations.  We wished Kyle
Walker the best of luck as he will be leaving the Commission for the Blind
on January 11, to accept a position with Stout University in Wisconsin.  We
also wished Sandy Knowles the best of luck as she will be retiring from
Talking Book Services on January 11. 

              Thom Spittle did an excellent job as auctioneer as we raised
$765 for Rocky Bottom.  Rocky Bottom also received $141 from a 50/50 raffle
conducted by Isaiah Nelson.  At the NFB of SC Board of Directors meeting
which was held during the two hour lunch break, the Board elected Frank
Coppel to serve as the official delegate and Lenora Robertson to serve as
alternate delegate to the NFB National convention in Las Vegas.  The board
discussed the 2019 state convention which will be held at the Columbia
Marriot onn August 9-11.  The cost of a room will be $112 per night for up
to four in a room.  There will be an additional 14 percent tax added to each
room.  During the RBRCCB board of Directors meeting a suggestion was made to
designate a specific work day at Rocky Bottom for chapters. Details and a
date regarding this work day will be announced during the next few weeks.
During the afternoon session of the seminar, the audience heard excellent
reports from Rocky Bottom and the Federation Center.  Jennifer Bazer did an
excellent job reporting on the progress of the Successful Transition program
and the audience heard from several of the students who participated in a
Mentoring program which was held at the Federation Center.  Congratulations
to James Byers, a member of the Cherokee County chapter who was the seller
of the winning ticket and his nephew Tommy who purchased the winning ticket.
Also, congratulations to the Columbia Chapter for selling 1,555 Las Vegas
national convention tickets and finishing in first place.  The Sumter
Chapter finished second selling 707 bus tickets and the Cherokee County
Chapter finished third selling 172 tickets.  A grand total of 3,707 tickets
were sold.  

              I want to take this opportunity thank Isaiah Nelson and his
group of volunteers for preparing and serving a delicious lunch.  I also
want to especially thank David Houck for all of his hard work prior to the
Seminar and all day Saturday to ensure the meeting was a success.  

              We have an announcement from Debra Canty regarding the 2019
NFB of SC Sweetheart dance.  "The NFB of SC Sweethearts Dance will be hosted
at the Federation Center, Saturday, February 16, 2019 from 5:00 p.m.---9:00
p.m. Tickets are $25.00 in advance. Please email, Debra Canty at
(debra.canty at frontier.com) or call me at (803) 775-5792 for ticket

              The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is
not the characteristic that defines you or your future.  Every day, we raise
the expectations of blind people because low expectations create obstacles
between blind people and our dreams.  You can live the life you want:
blindness is not what holds you back.  Joining me for comments in this
Positive Note is the President Emeritus of the NFB of SC.  Here is Dr.

              This week, to start off the New Year on the right foot, we are
spotlighting a longtime federation member who has made a difference in the
lives of blind South Carolinians in all parts of the state.  I am speaking
of Thom Spittle of Columbia.

              Thom Spittle was born in Massachusetts and traveled around the
country, working in Florida and California, until moving to South Carolina
about 20 years ago. This is when Thom's retinal disease, called retinitis
pigmentosa started to gradually take his sight.

              Thom was introduced to the National Federation of the Blind
while a consumer at the South Carolina Commission for the Blind. Thom was a
Chapter President in Darlington County and the Easley Chapter President,
while working as the Resident Manager at Rocky Bottom. In 2010, Thom met his
current wife, Tracy, and moved to Columbia in 2011, where they formed a
family with step sons Jonathan and Nicholas Bundy.  Thom also has a son,
Tommy, from a previous marriage.

              Thom joined the Federation Center team in 2013 as a JAWS
instructor, and currently holds certifications in JAWS as well as Zoomtext.
Thom is starting his first term on the Columbia Chapter Board, as he was
elected to the office of Treasurer at the October meeting.  At last
Saturday's January 5 Statewide Seminar Thom was the Auctioneer, raising $765
for Rocky Bottom.

              As a Computer Technology Instructor, Thom has touched the
lives of many blind adaptive technology students including two blind
veterans he has performed evaluations for in 2018.  Placing the world at
their fingertips opens new avenues of personal computing, career development
and access to the outside world, helping the blind to "Live the Life They


              Final Thought:  The Statewide Seminar recharges our federation
batteries so use the power to make a difference!

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