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variety of jobs in which his vision was not an issue. He spent seven years as a children’s church director. He also worked as a real estate broker and investor. In addition, he spent several years as a beekeeper.

Ron started work on his Master’s Degree in Education in 1985 and accepted a job as principal of a Christian elementary school near San Diego in 1988. During his tenure there, he learned about the services offered at the Western Blind Rehabilitation Center. He attended the Center for the first time in the summer of 1991.

Ron became a Senior Pastor in 1990 and served a total of 16 years at two southern California churches. He completed his doctorate in Educational Administration in 1999. While serving as pastor, he held the role of principal and administrator of a Christian pre-school and academy.

Upon his retirement from full-time ministry in 2006, Ron and his wife, Betty, moved back to Tucson, the city where they began their married life while Ron was in the military. VIST Coordinator David Clarke convinced him to become a National Service Officer. He then assisted veterans in submitting more than 200 claims during the 16 months prior to his present appointment. Ron and Betty have been married 42 years and have two sons. Rob, the eldest, is a Gulf War veteran pursuing a degree in Education at the University of Arizona. James is serving as an Army chaplain currently stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. The couple also has eight grandchildren.

New Englanders Shine on

“Don’t Count Me Out”

Vietnam era blinded veteran Bob Blanchard and World War II vet Lou Pells, the latter a BVA member, recently put their musical talents on the airwaves and in cyberspace with performances on two inspiring episodes of Don’t Count Me Out, a radio series of the Talking Information Center (TIC) Network and a television program of Marshfield, Massachusetts Community Television (MCTV).

The programs, taped on October 26 with the name Veterans’ Showcase, featured Bob’s country and western singing/guitar playing while Lou played the tuba. The two were joined by David VanLoan, Providence VA Medical Center VIST Coordinator Adele Geringer, and Providence Veterans Service Officer Randy Durrigan. The programs were broadcast on TIC on October 29 and November 11, and throughout November on MCTV.

Hosted by singers/songwriters Keith James and Sandy Streid, Veterans’ Showcase featured poignant songs, informative discussions, and personal accounts that included commentary from David, Adele, and Randy about BVA and its Auxiliary, VA and its services, and other resources available to veterans confronted with the challenge of vision loss. Keith performed “On the Wall,” a passionate tribute to veterans that was inspired by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Lou served in the Battle of the Bulge and now resides in Harwich, Massachusetts. He felt right at home during the taping of the program, having worked extensively as a professional in commercial radio. He currently plays the tuba in his “Oompah Band.”

Bob Blanchard of Central Village, Connecticut, served in the Marines in the 1960s. He has shared his richly textured voice in regular performances for the better part of 40 years.

The Don’t Count Me Out radio series can be downloaded at anytime, free of charge, by visiting www.ticnetwork.org and clicking on “Listen to Archives.”

Georgia Blinded Vets

Walk on Hot Coals

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