News and Press Releases

VIS Group attends TCB Convention

Crossville Chronicle – Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016: The (VIS) Visually Impaired Support Group of Cumberland County was the host for the (TCB) Tennessee Council of the Blind’s 75th anniversary Diamond Jubilee this past September at Fall Creek Falls State Park.

VIS Group president and chairman of the event, Linda Simmons reported, “It was the VIS Group’s pleasure to plan and take responsibility for various expenses (goody bags, center pieces & partial reimbursement of luncheon), but also the ability to present to the TCB a sizable donation. This was made possible through the generosity of the Macular Degeneration Foundation (MDF), a VIS supporter.”

The Macular Degeneration Foundation was the first national organization dedicated to the support and education of those suffering from Macular Degeneration. Edmund Alexandrovich, who found himself frustrated by the disease because he couldn’t find support or appropriate vision aids, spearheaded the organization in 1992. The foundation received national recognition on the ABC 20/20 show with Barbara Walters in 1997. This episode brought wide acclaim to the Macular Degeneration Foundation, becoming the springboard for all its efforts: Support, Education, Advanced Technology Devices and Medical Research. Through all its growth and success, the foundation remains true to those whom the organization was formed… those affected by Macular Degeneration.

Liz Trauernicht, President and Director of Communications, keeps subscribers abreast of news-breaking information by publishing the foundation’s newsletter, THE MAGNIFIER. (You may receive this quarterly publication free-of-charge by calling or subscribing on-line at Liz answers questions and offers support for the macular degeneration patients that call on the toll-free line: 1-888-633-3937. The VIS Group publicly thanks Liz and the MDF, not only for benefiting our VIS Group, but also for improving the lives of many patients throughout the US who are affected by macular degeneration.

The Diamond Jubilee was attended by 50+ TCB members, including 12 VIS members. The key note speaker was Dan Spoone who is a board member of the (ACB) American Council of the Blind. His presentation focused on legislation regarding federal laws impacting the lives of the blind and visually impaired. This is in keeping with the ACB mission statement: The American Council of the Blind strives to increase the independence, security, equality of opportunity, and quality of life, for all blind and visually-impaired people. Spoone also spoke of a program close to his heart… Audio Description (also referred to as video description and descriptive narration). While watching a program or movie, have you ever had a difficult time knowing what’s happening? Especially during a dark scene when no one is speaking? Audio description tells you what is happening! Because of the volunteers at the ACB, plus great technology, you may take advantage of this feature now. (Look for this reporter’s next article which will focus on Audio Description.)

During the TCB’s banquet, two VIS members received special recognition. The VIS founding president, Jerry Hearndon, received a Lifetime ACB Membership Award from the TCB. During Jerry’s four year presidency, he was responsible for organizing the VIS Group. He was instrumental in the compilation of the By-Laws and the 501 (c) 3 non-profit status. He started with ten members: Margaret Shroyer the first leader of the group in 2006, Joyce Lignar the first VP, Evelyn Mayes, Margie Finch, Jan Waldrop. Carol Littrell, Juanita Rowell, Abigail Dunn, and Glenn Davenport. By the end of Jerry’s first year, the VIS Group had grown to 23 paying members to 38 members the following year. Margie DeMars earned the Helen Wild Award. This award is given every year to a blind or visually impaired member of the TCB who has worked for the state organization and local chapter giving unselfishly of their resources and time for the blind and visually challenged. Margie is a VIS Group grant writer, publicist and InSight on Vision chairman.

Besides many speakers and meetings, the TCB members had the opportunity of attending the Fall Creek Falls Folk Festival, and taking advantage of having audio description while traveling along the beautiful scenic drive. Blind individuals enjoy seeing in their ‘mind’s eye’ when someone describes the scenery around them. The TCB convention was educational and enjoyable for all who attended.

If you would like to join the VIS Group, dues is $25 per year (membership year is September – August). With this membership fee, every member is also a member of the TCB and the ACB. VIS offers many benefits to our members: Equipment On-Loan program, support meetings w/ speakers and the opportunity to purchase technology. Questions? Call Linda Simmons 931-456-6701 or visit the VIS Group website:

VIS Members & President Linda Simmons presents check to TCB President Linda Allison

Photo Script: VIS Members & President Linda Simmons presents check to TCB President Linda Allison: Ken Howell Joyce Lignar, Pat Olsen, Erika Tapani, Sandra Tapani, Linda Allison, Danny Keough, Linda Simmons, Margie DeMars and Judy Barnett

Welcome VISGCC

I want to welcome the newest chapter of the Tennessee Council of the Blind. It is the Vision Impaired Support Group of Cumberland County, located in Crossville, Tennessee.

This chapter keeps growing and growing because they are so active, and have accomplished so much during the short time they have been in existence. This chapter is a welcome addition to TCB, and I'm looking forward to working with Jerry Hearndon, Kenneth Steadman, and others from this very active group of visually impaired people.

It is my hope that this will develop into a very long-lasting and productive partnership for many years to come.

Dan Dillon, President Tennessee Council of the Blind

Below is the certificate of affilition, welcome one and all.

Copy of the Certificate of Affilition

Touch Tour at TPAC

To see the video report about the special behind the scene tour of "Little House on the Prairie" that some TCB members were able to participate, follow the link below.

Vision Impaired Touch Tour of TPAC "Little House" Musical

Also earlier that day a special bronze statue of Morris Frank was dedicated to mark the 80th anniversary of the counties first guide dog school. In 1929, The Seeing Eye guide dog school was incorporated in Nashville on January 29. The first class begins in February and the first graduated dogs are Tartar and Gala. To read more about the school follow the link below.

80 Years of Independence

Athletes pair up for training

Tennessee Association of Blind Athletes linked up with the Harpeth Bicycle Club to try out tandem biking.

Blind biker's sports life is reborn

Tennessee Association of Blind Athletes Statewide Conference

The Tennessee Association of Blind Athletes will hold a statewide conference that will focus on methods to adapt sports so the blind and visually impaired can play, Saturday, Nov. 21, at the Tennessee School for the Blind auditorium.

Tennessee Association of Blind Athletes' convention pushes sports