by Carrie Muth and Koni Sims, Awards Committee Co-Chairs
The awards committee is searching for nominees who you feel are deserving of national recognition for their work in ACB or the blindness community. Awards will be presented at the 2023 conference and convention in Schaumburg, Ill. Nominees will be judged on the quality of nomination letters and how well the person meets the spirit of the award for which they are being nominated.
Please note that the reach of the candidate’s work must be national, not just local.
All nomination letters must be received electronically by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on April 1st, 2023. Please be sure to email your nomination letters to both Carrie Muth, [email protected], and Koni Sims, [email protected].
Once the committee has received your nomination letters, committee members will review and judge the entries submitted against the criteria. Please be mindful that these are national awards, and nominees will be judged accordingly.
New This Year!
If you are unable to submit a written nomination, you may call Natalie Couch at (502) 963-5899, or Jean Mann at (518) 640-9572 and dictate your letter over the phone. Natalie is available after 6 p.m. on weekdays, and all day on weekends. We will not assist you with wording the nomination; we will do our best to write down all that you say and nothing more.
All About the Awards
The Durward K. McDaniel Ambassador Award is given in recognition of a blind person who may or may not be a member of a blindness organization but who has, through his or her personal characteristics and activities, unrelated to his/her employment, contributed most to the acceptance and understanding of blind people as capable, contributing members of the community.
Originally called the Ambassador Award, this award was first given in 1963. The first recipient was Jearldine Noeller. More recent recipients include Durward K. McDaniel (1983), Roger Petersen (1999), Ed Walker (2003), Dr. W. Aubrey Webson (2017), Allan Peterson (2021), and Janet Dickelman (2022).
The George Card Award is given to an individual who has dedicated his or her life to work with and for people who are blind, making a real difference and improving quality of life, for providing leadership and being a positive role model.
George Card was the first recipient of this award in 1968. Card’s leadership roles included that of executive secretary of the Wisconsin Council of the Blind, member of the ACB Board of Directors, and delegate to the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind. (from “People of Vision,” Chapter 4, in the section “1948: The 7th NFB Convention - Baltimore, Maryland.”) More recent recipients include Eugene Lozano (1993), Charles Crawford (1998), Abraham Nemeth (2002), and Camille Caffarelli (2020).
The James R. Olsen Distinguished Service Award is periodically given to individuals who have made important contributions which have advanced opportunities for the blind community. This award can be given to an individual or an organization.
This award was originally named the Distinguished Service Award. It was renamed for James R. “Jim” Olsen following his passing in 2005. Previous winners include Kathy Megivern (1997), Shirley Keller of Creative Adaptations for Learning (2001), Jim Olsen (2005), Leroy Johnson (2007), and Kim Crowell and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (2021).
The Robert S. Bray Award is given to a person who has made a contribution toward improving library technology or communication devices. It could also be given for expanding access for all blind people, or for making opportunities within the mainstream media.
This award was named for Robert S. Bray, who was chief of the Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress - now known as the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled. The first recipient was Charles La Casce (1977). Other recipients include James Chandler (1983), Stephen Dwornik (1994), Jim Stovall (1995), Jim Fruchterman (2002), and Karen Keninger (2020).
The Margarine G. Beaman Volunteer Recognition Award honors individuals who have given tirelessly of their efforts, resources, expertise or time toward improving the quality of life in the blindness community. The achievements, accomplishments or service, on which the nominations are based, must reflect ACB’s vision and mission. This award may be given to a deserving individual or organization.
The award was named for Margarine Beaman, who was the convention’s volunteer coordinator. It was first given in 2016 to Margarine Beaman. Other winners include Sally Benjamin (2017), Patti Cox (2019), Michael Smitherman (2020), and Rhonda Trott (2022).
The Affiliate Outreach Award is based on a recommendation by an affiliate president, which recognizes a local chapter for a new outreach program. This program must have a measurable outcome.
The Affiliate Outreach Award was first presented in 2000 to the Council of Citizens with Low Vision International. Other previous winners include the Middle Tennessee Council of the Blind (2009), ACB of Ohio-Columbus Chapter (2015), and Friends ‘n Focus-Medina (Ohio) chapter (2021).
The Affiliate Growth Awards are based on the greatest increase in membership, as determined by the 2022-2023 membership reports. One award is given for the greatest percentage of growth, and another is presented to the affiliate with the largest number of new members. The 2022 winners are the D.C. Council of the Blind (for a 469.56% growth in membership) and Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America (125 new members).
Deadlines and Questions
Nominations open on January 1st, and close on April 1st, 2023. Submit your nominations as soon as possible; late submissions will not be considered. If you have any questions, contact Carrie Muth at (541) 269-1993, or Koni Sims at (605) 941-9512.