• P.O. Box 65900 Washington, D.C. 20035-5900
  • 202-670-1038
  • P.O. Box 65900 Washington, D.C. 20035-5900
  • 202-670-1038

This site is dedicated to the dissemination of information to all veterans with sensory disabilities.

It is with a heavy heart that the Blinded American Veterans Foundation announces the passing of one of our founding members John “Sgt. Shaft Fales.  John was a patriotic American, loving husband, supportive father and a dedicated Marine. His veterans advocacy work and the Sgt. Shaft newspaper column and blog helped tens of thousands of veterans understand and receive their veterans benefits along with keeping them abreast of what is happening in our nation when it concerns veterans lives as well as their families. Please feel free to visit our memorial page for John Fales by clicking here.

The Blinded American Veterans Foundation is very excited to host Corporal’s Corner; a new veteran advocacy blog administered by our very own Michael Jernigan.

The BAVF has some unfortunate news to share with our community.  It’s with great sadness, En-Vision America announces the passing of their beloved company founder Phil Raistrick. He sadly and suddenly passed on November 20, 2019. Phil was a giant of a man and a visionary who was dedicated to providing those with vision impairment greater independence through technology.

The company began in Phil’s basement. Phil and his two visually impaired brothers loved playing poker. While one knew the Braille, the other did not. That spark fed the flame that would become En-Vision America.

The i.d. mate, a talking barcode scanner, was born in 1996. Phil worked closely on developing the program that would evolve to the bar code scanner that we know and love today. It is tool that allows individuals with a vision impairment to barcode items and use the reader to identify these objects. In addition to allowing his brothers to better play poker, now they could identify millions of items that can be found in grocery stores today.

Not long after the barcode scanner, Phil worked on the problem of medication safety with the introduction of ScripTalk, a talking prescription reader. This system has expanded into tens of thousands of pharmacies throughout the nation and Canada and has evolved to include large print labels, Braille labels, dual-language labels and Controlled Substance Safety Labels.

Every year around Flag Day, BAVF holds a Congressional Awards Ceremony and patriotic picnic. Photos and videos of previous events can be found on our Flag Weekpage. This was our 33rd year of holding this annual event. Here’s the official press release link. Our 2018 Flag Week page, listing this year’s Congressional award recipients and media of the event, is at this link.

Some interesting recent technology news: Microsoft collaborated with Apple and industry organizations to develop an USB-IF Human Interface Design (HID) standard for braille displays. Announced by the USB Implementers Forum(USB-IF) on May 31, 2018, the standard will enable plug and play support for braille displays and has received broad support from the tech industry, assistive technology (AT) companies and non-governmental organizations advocating for people who are blind or have low vision

A few random items that we’ve gathered and posted over the years are below.

An archived news report from CBS News. It is about the BAVF and John Fales. The report contains both a video and a transcript.

Statement from the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System (VANIHCS) Visual Impairment Service Team (VIST)regarding a donation by BAVF.

John Fales (a.k.a. Sgt. Shaft) was interviewed by Bob Madigan of WTOPradio. Click here to hear the interview.

An article on BVA’s website by the BAVF’s Secretary, Dr. Dennis Wyant.

We noticed an app for iPhone and Android that could be a huge help for the blind. It is called “Be My Eyes“. More information can be found at their website https://www.bemyeyes.com/.

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