Blind Pride Elects New Officers

Blind LGBT Pride met July 9th at the American Council of the Blind convention in Louisville, Ky.  During its business meeting, new officers and board members were elected. They are: president, Guillermo Robles; vice president, Mark Hanohano; secretary, Kevin Ratliff; treasurer, Gabriel Lopez; members at large: Connie Torrisi, George Ashiotis, and Mikey Wiseman; immediate past president, Don Brown.

Committee chairmen were also appointed. They are: public relations: Guillermo Robles, chair, Rob Hill, co-chair; communications and social media: Will Burley; fundraising: Gabriel Lopez, chair, Don Brown, co-chair; constitution and bylaws: Don Brown; convention coordinating: Eric Smith; Internet technology: Kevin Ratliff; outreach: Mikey Wiseman; membership: George Ashiotis.

RSVA Honors Award Winners

At the 2012 ACB convention, RSVA presented several awards to its members.

The Don Cameron Award winner has been in the program since 1974 and at his present location (the Hoover Dam) since 1977.  Kae Pohe's first assigned location was a new city hall on the 10th floor. After they realized the elevator didn't go to the 10th floor, he was sent elsewhere.

In early 1980, Kae called 5,000 people to keep the Department of Employment and Rehabilitation office in his state open. In making so many calls, he met many people, one of whom is still a friend and colleague today -- Rick Kuhlmey. Together, they reactivated the Nevada Council of the Blind, which is still going strong today. 

Kae was very instrumental in securing the Fallon Naval Air Station in Nevada.  He has also chaired his state committee and advocated tirelessly for vendors in his state, and was instrumental in the founding of the annual Sagebrush Training Conference 32 years ago.  Kae has devoted his talents and knowledge to make the Sagebrush Conference a continuing success in Las Vegas, Nev. each year.

The Jennings Randolph Service Award is presented to someone outside of the Randolph-Sheppard program who has given his or her time and energy to Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America and for his or her service to blind vendors, but is not an active vendor.  This year's winner has been a friend of RSVA for many years. Rick Kuhlmey, now the president of the Nevada Council of the Blind, moved to Las Vegas in 1971. After becoming legally blind, Rick walked from Las Vegas to Carson City for the POWs, culminating in 18 days and 450 miles, which gained national news coverage. He was then appointed to the Governor's Committee on the Employment of the Handicapped.  An Air Force veteran, Rick became a lobbyist after earning a B.A. in psychology. 

The Vendor of the Year Award is presented to an RSVA member who has been an active member for at least five years and has given his or her time and energy to Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America and for service to blind vendors.     This year's winner has been in the Mississippi BEP program 25 years. Eddie Turner had operated snack bars, cafeterias, and vending locations until obtaining his current location, the Naval Air Station Meridian.

Tandem Mania in Middle Tennessee

In June, more than 1,500 participants, including a number of blind and visually impaired people on tandem bikes, joined in the Harpeth Bicycle Club's (HBC) Harpeth River Ride.  The bike club provided tandem bikes, helmets, and other special gear, as well as sighted captains and volunteers.

For this year's ride, Dan Dillon, president of the Mid-Tennessee Council of the Blind, was selected to be the honorary lead rider and official starter. Dan, who celebrated his 70th birthday in March, completed a 62.5-mile route and came in ahead of people half his age. This was a thrilling experience for Dan and all the other MTCB riders.

At the reception on the evening prior to the ride, HBC presented MTCB with a check for $1,000 in appreciation of its support of this adaptive athletic program.

Want to learn more?  Contact Dan via e-mail,, or by phone, (615) 874-1223. Our helmets are off to HBC for this fabulous program.

- Brenda Dillon