Another successful statewide convention was held in El Segundo this past month of October 2012. Our membership is growing. The enthusiasm is greater than ever before and Federationism is alive and well in California. There are so many people to thank for this memorable experience. We tried some new things, like a progressive meet and greet social hour, as well as the talent show, wine tasting, and an auction of gift baskets which were donated by various chapters. Thank you to all who joined us in sharing your knowledge, courage and enthusiasm.
This year we had the pleasure of hearing from our national representative, Mark Riccobono, Executive Director of the Jernigan Institute in Baltimore, MD. Also in attendance were Anil Lewis, Director of Strategic Initiatives at the National Center for the Blind and Gabe Cazares representing the National Association of Blind Students. Michael Hingson shared his stories of travelling around the world speaking of his federation philosophy and how it got him through the nine eleven tragedy.
Elections were held. All of our officers were re-elected and our new board member is Henry (Hoby) Wedler (Davis). Re-elected were President Mary Willows (Pleasanton), First Vice-President, Ever Lee Hairston (Los Angeles), Second Vice-President Robert Stigile (Woodland Hills), Secretary Shannon Dillon (Albany), Treasurer Melissa (Haney) Sanders (Santa Rosa). The Board of Directors are Jason Holloway (Alameda), Jana Littrell (Albany), Rochelle Houston (Los Angeles), Karen Steele (Shingletown), Kia Vaca (Sun Valley), Michael Hingson (Novato).
Resolutions were adopted concerning the payment of minimum wages to disabled workers, library services, taxis and guide dogs, and the accessibility of Coca-Cola and soda vending machines.
Two new charters of affiliation were issued at this convention. The new chapters are the Escondido Chapter, President Mona Takemoto and the West Coast Vanguard Chapter, President Rick Boggs. Congratulations and welcome to the Federation family.
We had a talent show to rival American Idol and a very professionally done wine tasting by Hoby Wedler.
On Sunday morning, at the general session, we got Jim Willows on the phone to sing Happy Birthday to him. Everyone wishes him well and a complete recovery from his chemotherapy to treat his lung cancer. The call made everyone’s day!
Our next state convention will be held on October 11th, 12th, and 13th at the DOUBLETREE Hotel in Sacramento, California.
Mary Willows, President
3934 Kern Court
Pleasanton, CA 94588