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Commissioner Saner, Secretary Urena join Blinded Veterans of America

Commissioner Saner, Secretary Urena join Blinded Veterans of America

On May 18, 2016, the Secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services, Francisco Urena and the Commissioner for the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB), Paul Saner were keynote speakers at an event hosted by Blinded Veterans of America (BVA) Cape Cod Chapter. The BVA is a national organization of blinded veterans with local chapters who through service programs, regional groups, resources, and advocacy strive to make life better for blinded veterans.

The BVA Cape Cod Chapter is a critical community resource.   MCB counselors at the New Bedford regional office refer newly registered blind veterans to connect with other blinded veterans for socialization and connection to the wider veteran community.   The chapter also collaborates with the MCB office on events such as White Cane Awareness and employment activities including job fairs in the cape area. Commissioner Saner, Secretary Urena join Blinded Veterans of America

Commissioner Saner praised the collaboration between MCB and the Department of Veterans Services and reiterated that MCB is the point of entry for those who are declared to be legally blind and provides an array of blindness critical services that prepare individuals for productive independence and full community participation.  Commissioner Saner presented a tactile Braille flag designed and produced at the Kansas Braille Transcription Institute in Wichita, Kansas by veterans to Cliff Fisher, one of the leaders of the Chapter.

Secretary Urena spoke on the innovative system of accessing services for Commonwealth veterans.  He pointed to access to health services as an example with campuses in Brockton, Boston and West Roxbury, as well as Central and Western Mass VA Health Care system.  Secretary Urena also mentioned the groundbreaking ideas in housing for veterans especially in Western Massachusetts.  He echoed the spirit of collaboration with MCB and encouraged the members in attendance to continue and to support each other. Both Secretary Urena and Commissioner Saner thanked the veterans for their service to the country and thanked the Baker- Polito administration for their continued support.

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