From the Editor: In the National Federation of the Blind we present awards only as often as they are deserved. This year two were presented during the annual meeting of the NFB board of directors, one was presented during the Wednesday morning convention session, and three were presented during the banquet. In addition the Bolotin Awards were again presented. A complete report of those presentations appears elsewhere in this issue. Here are the report of the educator awards; a special tribute to President Maurer; and from the banquet a service award, the first presentation of the Kenneth Jernigan Award, and the tenBroek Award:
Distinguished Educator of Blind Children Award
by Cathy Jackson
Once again this year I am pleased to be the chairman of the committee to identify our Distinguished Educator of Blind Children. My committee members--Allen Harris, Carla McQuillan, Mark Riccobono, Laura Weber, and Mary Willows--were wonderful to work with. Believe me, they put their hearts and souls into this process. Thank you, guys. [Applause]
We have some really wonderful teachers out there working with our blind children; not only are they teaching them Braille and orientation and mobility and the other blindness skills, but they’re teaching them appropriate social behavior. They’re teaching them to advocate for themselves, and they’re showing them by their actions and attitudes that blindness is nothing to be ashamed of. Every essay I read by our candidates reflected their belief in their students and in their expectation that their students can compete with their sighted peers. This is the norm, not the exception. They believe in all of their students. I certainly wish that I could bottle this attitude and pass it to every itinerant teacher of the blind in the United States because we would certainly have a much better world for future blind citizens of this nation.
The gentleman chosen to receive this year’s Distinguished Educator of Blind Children Award has a lengthy and impressive résumé and has many colleagues and friends who respect him as a person and as an educator. As many of our schools for the blind are closing across this country, one of them by all accounts appears to be flourishing. The buildings and the landscaping are in good repair, but what’s going on inside the buildings on this campus is what we need to look at. Have you ever heard of the 24/7 IEP? I was really intrigued by this concept. Traditionally we think of the Individualized Education Program as the outline that lays out all the goals that the student needs to achieve, the period in which they should be accomplished, and the means by which we should accomplish them. But the 24/7 IEP reaches beyond the classroom. It encompasses life in the dormitory and employment settings and even teaches the students how to administer their medications when appropriate. The forward-thinking individual who is using such ideas is none other than our distinguished educator of blind children, the superintendent of the Washington School for the Blind, Dr. Dean Stenehjem. [Applause]
Now, Dr. Stenehjem, I am going to present you with this lovely plaque, and, if you will hold it up for a picture, we’ll take that. I am going to read what the plaque says, but also I want to give you this check for $1,000. That’s pretty important also. The plaque reads:
The National Federation of the Blind
Dr. Dean O. Stenehjem
Distinguished Educator of Blind Children
For your skill in teaching braille and other alternative techniques of blindness, for generously devoting extra time to meet the needs of your students, and for inspiring your students to perform beyond their expectations.
You champion our movement; you strengthen our hopes; you share our dreams.
July 5, 2011
Here is Dr. Dean Stenehjem:
Thank you very much, Dr. Maurer, board of directors, and NFB members. I am deeply honored to receive this award, this Distinguished Educator of Blind Children. I happen to work in a wonderful school full of wonderful people who share specialized training and a common goal to promote high self-esteem, confidence, self-advocacy, academic excellence, and independence. The mission and value of Washington State School for the Blind have been shaped by many stakeholders, some of whom are with us today. These folks also deserve recognition for being great partners in the work that is done in Washington. I would also like to thank the NFB of Washington for the support of WSSB and blind children throughout our state and would like to thank Noel Nightingale and Mike Freeman for nominating me for this award. Thank you very much. [Applause]
Thank you, President Maurer, for the privilege of chairing this committee. I would like to thank my committee: William Henderson of Massachusetts, Sheila Koenig of Minnesota, Judy Sanders of Minnesota, and Ramona Walhof of Idaho. Today I will say a bit about this award, tell you something about the winner, present the award of $1,000, and read the plaque.
This award was established by the National Organization of Blind Educators to pay tribute to a blind educator for outstanding classroom performance, notable community service, and uncommon commitment to the National Federation of the Blind. In 1991 it became an award presented by the national organization because of the impact good teaching has on students, faculty, the community, and all blind Americans. It is presented in the spirit of the great Federation educators who have led the NFB: Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, and President Marc Maurer.
The word “education” comes from the Latin ducere, which means to lead. The prefix “ex” means out of, and what has the National Federation of the Blind done but to lead blind people out of second-class citizenship into lives with security, equality, and opportunity. So I am very proud to present this award and all it symbolizes to this year’s recipient, but remember that each day and in every way we are all educators of the public in changing attitudes and changing what it means to be blind.
This year the Blind Educator of the Year Award goes to Angela Wolf, and I would like for Angela to make her way up here. [Applause] In 2002 Angela graduated with honors from the University of Texas with a degree in humanities. She was a Brittingham Scholar at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She was a lecturer at the University of Texas, College of Education, and she was the supervisor of programs at the Texas School for the Blind. She holds three certifications as an education generalist, teacher of the visually impaired, and teacher of English as a second language. In her free time she has been a volunteer with the Austin Children’s Museum. Since 2008 she has taught elementary students at the Discoveries School in Austin, Texas. She has tutored in math and reading and in 2004 and 2005 she interned in three elementary schools.
Angela attended three different programs at the Louisiana Center for the Blind: the Buddy Program for middle-schoolers, the STEP Program for high school students, and the adult program. She coordinated the summer LCB program and serves on the center’s board of directors. She has served at the local, state, and national levels in the NFB, including as president of the NFB of Texas and chair of the ambassadors committee at convention, keeping traffic moving and solving problems before they become serious. She is steadfast in her commitment to this organization and is already an outstanding national leader. Angela, here is the plaque, and it reads:
The Blind Educator of the Year
National Federation of the Blind
In recognition of outstanding accomplishments in the teaching profession
You enhance the present, you inspire your colleagues, you build the future.
July 5, 2011
[PHOTO CAPTION: Angela Wolf holding her plaque
Angela, I am also going to give you an envelope with a check for $1,000. I would like for you to say a few words, but first I want to mention that she is married to Jay Wolf, and, on top of everything else she does, Angela has a seventeen-month-old daughter named Abigail. Angela, congratulations for your career, your family, and your commitment to the NFB. Here is Angela Wolf, our Blind Educator of the Year:
I had no idea. I just want to thank the NFB because I would not be nearly the person I am today had I not grown up in the Federation with my Federation family, who taught me everything I know. I wouldn’t be able to advocate for myself in the community and for my students, and I wouldn’t be able to be the person I am today without everybody in this organization who helped me along the way. I thank you so much, and this is such a great honor. Thank you so much. [Applause]
Federationists, as you know, we have had three long-term leaders in our organization: Dr. tenBroek, of course, was our founding president; our second long-term leader was Dr. Jernigan; and Dr. Maurer has been, and continues to be, our third long-term president. As a matter of fact, Dr. Maurer has served as president of the National Federation of the Blind longer than any other president in our history. Dr. Maurer was elected president twenty-five years ago in 1986. It may interest you to know who was on the board in 1986 when Dr. Maurer was elected. In addition to Dr. Maurer, we had Diane McGeorge, Peggy Pinder (who became Peggy Elliott), Allen Harris, Richard Edlund, Steven Benson, Charles Brown, Glenn Crosby, Robert Eschbach, Joyce Scanlan, Frank Lee, Sid Allen, Donald Capps, Terry Herron, Betty Niceley, Fred Schroeder, and Gary Wunder. That was the board in 1986. Given that this represents twenty-five years of Dr. Maurer’s leadership, his wisdom, his dedication, his tireless advocacy changing what it means to be blind, it seemed that we could not let this day go by without its being recognized. I have a box here that I will present in just a moment. The inscription on the box reads:
Marc Maurer, President
National Federation of the Blind
Changing what it means to be blind
I will pass this item to Dr. Maurer. Inside the box is an item that is made of silver representing twenty-five years. The item bears the same inscription, but in choosing this item, we wanted to make it clear that you still have many miles to go before you rest, so this is not an item thanking you and sending you on your way. This is an item encouraging you to continue in the leadership that you have brought to this organization. Let me then present this box to Dr. Maurer. [Applause]
Marc Maurer: “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep.” I have opened the box, and I am taking from it--this beautiful silver gavel. [Applause] Now I know it is silver. Some silver is a little delicate. I’m going to try it anyway. [the sound of a substantial gavel striking a podium]
Fred Schroeder: Dr. Maurer, on behalf of the entire Federation family, I want to thank you for twenty-five years of service and to thank you for your continued leadership. [Applause]
Marc Maurer: I much appreciate the warmth of the welcome and the spirit of the gift. The poem of Robert Frost about the miles to go has always been one of my favorites and has to do with all those promises to keep. I came into the Federation back in 1969, so it’s been a goodly number of years. I met some exciting people and they were fulfilling the promises that they had made, and they showed me that promises were good to make. Dr. Jernigan was our president then, and he was our leader, my teacher, my mentor, my friend. There were some others; Jim Omvig is here. He attended his first convention in 1961, fifty years ago. [Applause] Don Capps is here. He attended his first convention in 1956 in San Francisco, and he is sitting under the standard of South Carolina right now. [Applause]
Dr. Jernigan showed me what we could do, demonstrated to me that, when you get a lot of blind folks together, you can create things that never existed. I said to him that I would do my best to keep that spirit alive and growing. He died in 1998. I was in church later, listening to a mass, participating in it. Dr. Jernigan had made some religious vows himself before he died. It was a sad time for me. He came and sat by me in the church; his spirit was there, and he said a thing to me which I have repeated to hundreds, maybe thousands, of you. He said, “You’ll be fine.” It was as simple as that. He said, “You will find the spirit. You will have the friends. You will make the progress. Have faith, believe in the spirit, in the principles that we have talked about so often, and so long. You’ll be fine.” That was thirteen years ago, about half of the presidency for me so far, and I believe Dr. Jernigan was right. I believe that the spirit is there. I believe that the Federation is alive, and I believe that we will make the progress that we need to make.” [Applause]
Fellow Federationists, I would like to talk to you a little bit about Congressman Cliff Stearns. He was elected in 1988 to the United States House of Representatives, his only elected office. He was born in Washington, D.C., attended Woodrow Wilson High School, and then went on to attend the College of Washington University, graduating with a degree in electrical engineering. Following his graduation, he served for four years in the United States Air Force as an aerospace engineer doing satellite reconnaissance during the Viet Nam War. He left the service with the rank of captain and then went on to start work in private industry. He started his own business by purchasing a motel. He sold his first property and moved to Florida, where he started a successful motel/restaurant business in the Ocala-Gainesville area. Active in his community, the Congressman served as the president of the Kiwanis Club, on the board of directors of the Boys and Girls Club, on the board of directors of the Monroe Regional Hospital, and on the board of the Ocala Chamber of Commerce. Because of his community activities he was urged to run for Congress.
Congressman Stearns is the chairman of the Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee. He was the lead originating cosponsor of the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act. He worked tirelessly to build cosponsor support in both the 110th and the 111th Congress. When it was time to offer an amendment to amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Act by adding the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act, the Congressman worked skillfully to build bipartisan support and to win acceptance of the amendment.
The streets of this nation would not be as safe as they are had it not been for the hard work of the Congressman. On behalf of the National Federation of the Blind, I want to thank you Congressman Cliff Stearns. Now we have a plaque to present to you, so, if you would please come up. [Applause]
First let me read you what the plaque says:
National Federation of the Blind
Outstanding Legislative Service Award
Representative Cliff Stearns
For your leadership in championing the pedestrian safety enhancement act.
Your hard work and dedication have made the roads safer for all blind americans.
You champion our movement. you share our dreams.
July 8, 2011
Congressman Stearns: John, thank you very much, and I can’t tell you how delighted I am to be here and to support you and to hear the fine speech from Dr. Maurer. In fact, I think his speech could be summed up in this short sentence, “Give us free and equal access.” The fact that you are here today as this organization shows why America is an exceptional country. You’re willing to take the risk. All you want is an opportunity to succeed, and that’s why there are five million people today registered with the National Immigration Service to come here to the United States legally. All they want is opportunity, and that’s all you want too—the ability to maximize everything that you have. And in my brief understanding of some of the background of talking to some of the people here about Jacobus tenBroek and what he did, this very skillful, this very far-sighted man, then also meeting one of your people, Mark Riccobono, who actually drove a car at the NASCAR Speedway using a drive-grip speed strip, whatever that is. I’m going to look it up tonight on the Internet. By interpreting vibrations on the steering wheel and vibrations on his seat, he was able to drive a car. These are the type of things that could happen only in America--technology advancement through Apple’s iPad, iPhones, and others is going to create this opportunity for you, but again, Dr. Maurer, you’re going to need a friend in Congress to help out, and I can be that friend.
I’ll tell you a story. I was at Publix shopping center on the phone and walking, and a car almost ran over me. I was startled. It was a hybrid. Where did this car come from? That made me think: my goodness, what am I doing here? This car is such that it is absolutely quiet. Now I have a hybrid today. You don’t need a key to start it. You have a chip in your pocket. You walk to the car and push a button, and it starts. You can’t even hear it. So, when John and others came to me and asked about trying to introduce legislation that would make it so it would be safe, not just for people that are visually impaired, but for Cliff Stearns, I didn’t want to get hit by a car that I couldn’t hear. I don’t want my son, my children, or my grandchildren to be hit. So I was more than willing to do it, and I think it’s almost divine providence that happened to me because I became a strong advocate for you. We passed this bill, and there were a couple of times when it got a little shaky, but, as John pointed out, we got the amendment and we got bipartisan support, so I’m really pleased to receive this award and also to tell you how glad I am to be an advocate for you in Washington, D.C. [Applause]
Almost 2,000 years ago in the City of Alexandria, they had a library of 500,000 scrolls. This library was created by 200 B.C., and it lasted to about 250 A.D. before it burned down. But did you know that in that library for the scholars, they had a section set aside for the blind? I don’t think anybody in the world knows that. The Rise and Fall of Alexandria points out specifically that, even back then, more than 2,000 years ago, the scholars and the people in this magnificent city of Alexandria had an understanding that they needed to allow scholars who are visually impaired to have the opportunity. And to think that here we are today still struggling with this problem, yet it was clear to the greatest minds back then, who even at that time were able to determine the circumference of the Earth. Eratosthenes did this, so I think as pointed out today, that you have a right and you should have access to use your abilities to their full significance. I’m here to tell you that I think we can do that.
Now there are several issues that the doctor mentioned, and one is the subminimum wage. Now this is deplorable in America that not-for-profit centers would hire people with disabilities, visually impaired, and pay them less than a dollar an hour. This is outrageous! Now I think that this is in legislation, but obviously this should be, if nothing else, a moral equivalent for this organization to eradicate that from the books. [Applause]
When we moved to the technological explosion we’re seeing across here, it is very appropriate to ask manufacturers like Apple, like Motorola, like the people who do the Blackberry in Canada, across the board to give them the incentives so that you can use this information. If you cannot get access to broadband, to the convergence of high definition, the convergence of a mobile phone…. The convergence of broadband is going to create one exciting device, something like the iPad. We in Congress need to give business the incentives so that they will provide this access to you. It’s not just the people here today; there are thousands of veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan who are visually impaired. Don’t we have a moral responsibility to allow them to have full use of their abilities? As touched upon, there are people like those at Apple that have the prescience to use technology through dictation and verbal commands to make technology accessible. But I think that anybody that is visually impaired should be able to pick up and use a mobile device as easily and as quickly as I can. If you can’t, we should make sure you can.
Before I came down here today, I went back and did a little history reminder to myself about how Braille came about. I think many of you know that it came about in the Napoleonic age in which an officer set up a little cardboard so that people wouldn’t have to use lights or fire to see the codes. From there Braille developed. I am here today to say, as important as technology is, I think it’s important that the American public understand that Braille and the skill of writing Braille are still important today. [Applause] We need to continue to give all visually impaired Americans access to it and learn it so that they can use it. It’s like my son who plays a lot of video games and he watches TV. I say, “Son, someday you’ve got to read. You’ve got to write, because life is not all video games and television.” So again, I think it’s very important that we and the National Federation of the Blind encourage people to read and write in Braille and understand how valuable it is and that it is a legacy. [Applause]
I think I’ll close by quoting Helen Keller. And I think your president today gives you your vision. She said, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” [Applause] By God, you’ve got vision. I’m here to say that you have a friend in Washington. I’m here to support you. God bless you, and I always like to close by saying may the good Lord take a liking to you, but not too soon. [Applause]
John Paré: Thank you very much, Congressman, and I will simply say that blind people from coast to coast and from north to south thank you for your advocacy, for your leadership, but most of all for understanding that what we want is opportunity, not charity. We want participation, not passivity, and we count you as a friend. Thank you very much for all of your work.
The National Federation of the Blind has some awards that it gives people. The board of directors, however, got together and thought that, though we have an award for people who are internal to the organization and though we have an award for those who are external to the organization (you might think this covers everybody), we might consider an award of a slightly different character. The board voted to create the Kenneth Jernigan Award. The board said that this award would not be given annually but would be given only as often as someone deserving the award might be discovered. The board also thought that one of the important criteria for this award would be that the person who is the recipient of it would have had at least one, maybe more than one, of the characteristics possessed by Dr. Jernigan. Dr. Jernigan found a way to touch the lives of thousands, hundreds of thousands, maybe more than that. So this is an important characteristic for the award. The officers were appointed to serve as a committee to determine a recipient.
The officers have met and have determined that such a recipient does exist. I met the recipient of this award, I believe, in 1974 when he attended his first convention of the National Federation of the Blind. He was a public official then, and for the next thirty-seven years, he served as a public official in the Library of Congress. [Applause] What he said to us in 1974 was that he wanted to work with us. He wanted to have a relationship that would build together, that would look for opportunities to help blind people, and he said it in one way or another in every convention thereafter. He has spent his fourth of July with us during all those years, and he has touched the lives of thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, perhaps more. He has made an enormous difference because he has given literacy to hundreds of thousands of people. And he has believed in us. So, Mr. Cylke, if you will step this way. [Applause]
I have here an engraved glass portion of a cylinder, and I am going to remove its cover, and I’m going to present this to Mr. Cylke. He’s got it now. I’m going to read this inscription on the engraved glass:
Kenneth Jernigan Award
National Federation of the Blind
For your dedication to the highest ideals
For your commitment to extraordinary service
For your imaginative leadership in bringing information to the blind
We, the organized blind movement, confer upon
Frank Kurt Cylke,
The Kenneth Jernigan Award
Your hand assisted in every challenge
Your heart responded to every need
You’re a trusted colleague and a valued friend
July 8, 2011
It is only right that I give him, not only the award, but the Braille copy of the award. Here is Mr. Cylke.
Kurt Cylke: Thank you very much, Marc. For the first time in thirty-eight or thirty-nine years that I’ve been coming here, I can address you in the following way. I’m delighted to be here, fellow Federationists. My first act following retirement was to join the National Federation of the Blind. This was something I could not do when I was employed at the Library. I will be very, very brief; all of you, I am sure, are familiar with that book, Everything I Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten. Well everything I learned, I learned at the NFB. [Applause] I appreciate every single one of you. I appreciate your critical questions. I appreciate your softball questions. I appreciated every act. I appreciated the offer of becoming a blood brother with Dr. Nyman. I’m just going to list a few people, and I can’t list 2,900, but I think you’ll understand that. Kenneth Jernigan and I came to be very, very close friends. It wasn’t that way when I started. It was that way through the years. I appreciated Mrs. Jernigan’s cooperation, Marc Maurer, Mrs. Maurer. For years I sat at the table here, the head table with Mrs. tenBroek, and you can’t imagine what that was like for me. Jim Gashel, Dr. Z, etc., etc. It’s been a wonderful experience. I believe the experience was a very synergistic one between the Library of Congress, National Library Service, and the NFB.
Now I want to leave you with something. I fronted for the group, but behind me was--is perhaps the most talented group of people I believe I have ever experienced. I want to mention their names because I want you to know that it’s they who really did it. Again I can’t mention the 125 employees of the Library of Congress, but I can mention some of the brightest and the best. You have in Michael Katzmann, the head of our engineering section, one of the brightest engineers in the country. He is a winner of seven Emmys, and he, together with John Cookson and Michael Moody, brought you the digital reader. I think that you should thank him. [Applause] John Bryant, our production control person, is absolutely superb, and he’s the fellow who is working to coordinate the production of two million audio and Braille books every year. Dawn Stitzel, who worked here at the National Federation of the Blind as your librarian, is now our reference librarian. And she should, I think, absolutely be recognized. Two people, actually three people, two who are currently employed and one who was employed with us before his recent retirement, should be recognized. I’d like to recognize Lloyd Rasmussen, our senior engineer; Debbie Brown, our Braille specialist; and Tom Bickford, who was a QA man and never let a book out that was bad. You have a newcomer to that group working with you, who I think will in the future certainly be a leader in the field of library science, MaryBeth Wise.
Now I’m going to go off a bit and say without Gilles Pepin we could not have done the digital machine, and I want to say without Rudy Savage, who’s come here year after year, we could never have produced the books. So thank you for the opportunity. I appreciate it, and fellow Federationists, I will always be with you. [Applause]
The Jacobus tenBroek Award
by Ramona Walhof
The Jacobus tenBroek Award is the highest honor we can give to a member of the National Federation of the Blind. Named for our founder, this award was established in 1974 and was presented sixteen times during the twentieth century. This honor is given only as often as one of our leaders deserves to be singled out for exceptional appreciation. During the twenty-first century we are proud to have a leadership core that makes selecting an honoree for the tenBroek Award increasingly difficult. We have presented this honor eleven times during this century. I was humbled in 2007 to receive the award, and humbled was the principal thing I felt, for serving this organization you don’t do for recognition.
This year this selection committee includes Joyce Scanlan, Barbara Loos, Jim Gashel, and me. We have chosen a couple whose accomplishments are both impressive and familiar to all of you. But let me review them. These two people joined the Federation in two different states, both as college students--one in the 1970s, one in 1980. They were married in 1981. Since that time they have lived in two more states and raised two children, who are now successful young adults. These two Federationists have been leaders in different ways wherever they have been, and you will all agree that they deserve our top esteem. But who are they? Tonight it gives me real pleasure, it’s a privilege to present the Jacobus tenBroek Award to Dr. Fredric and Cathy Schroeder. [Applause] Fred sounded a little surprised here. They don’t have far to come.
After receiving a master’s degree in special education, Fred was enrolled at San Francisco State University and became the first blind person to complete all the requirements for certification as an orientation and mobility or cane travel instructor. However, he was denied certification because he was blind. Years later he was the first to be certified by the National Blindness Certification Board. Many students testify that he is an excellent travel teacher. Fred first taught cane travel in Nebraska, where he met and married Cathy Nusser. After moving to New Mexico, Fred taught children and improved education for blind children in the Albuquerque schools so that the program received national recognition and was featured on the Today Show on NBC. Soon he was also elected president of the NFB of New Mexico, and led the efforts there to persuade the legislature to create a separate agency for the blind, the New Mexico Commission for the Blind.
In 1986 Fred Schroeder was appointed by the governor of New Mexico to be the first executive director of the new agency, and rehabilitation services for the blind improved dramatically. Under Schroeder’s direction New Mexico became the state where blind people entering employment earned more than anywhere else in the country. By 1994 Fred earned a PhD in education administration, and that same year his success was acclaimed when he was appointed by President Bill Clinton to be commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration in the U.S. Department of Education. In this position Fred was responsible for managing a 2.5-billion-dollar budget, which was used throughout the country to provide assistance annually to a million people with disabilities. Again he emphasized better jobs with higher pay. He is remembered for his ruling to end the practice of placing blind people in sheltered employment when they could better enter the competitive job market.
In 2000 Dr. Schroeder joined the faculty of the Interwork Institute at San Diego State University, where he continues to work today as the research professor specializing in leadership and public policy in vocational rehabilitation. Fred Schroeder was first elected to the NFB board of directors in the 1980s. In 2005 he was elected president of the NFB of Virginia. In 2006 he was elected first vice president of the NFB and has been reelected to that position twice. He led efforts of the NFB to sell the Louis Braille coin across the country and raised approximately 2.25 million dollars for the Federation. Dr. Schroeder frequently travels to other countries and continents, carrying the message of the Federation around the world. And he holds numerous national and international positions representing the blind. He was president of the International Council on English Braille. He served as delegate to the World Braille Council in the World Blind Union. He co-chaired the committee that finalized the National Literary Braille Competency Test, which is being administered at this convention to teachers by the National Blindness Professional Certification Board. Fred Schroeder is now a member of the standing committee on copyright of the World Intellectual Property Organization and Agency of the United Nations. You wonder what he does in his spare time.
Cathy Schroeder’s leadership is of a different kind. She has worked consistently for more than thirty years in whatever local chapter and state affiliate she happens to be. Most recently she has been in Fairfax, Virginia, and has been both chapter secretary and chapter vice president. She has been active in the NFB in Computer Science division, and for some years she has been the information specialist for the PAC plan committee. She has worked for perhaps twenty years to assist first Dr. Jernigan and then Mary Ellen Jernigan in her suite at the convention. Cathy is consistent, creative, and reliable, the kind of Federationist every state and chapter values immensely. Whenever possible she is at Fred’s side when he appears around the world and travels.
I know that many of you could add other Federation activities that these two people have participated in to those I have mentioned, and many of you could tell stories of how Fred and Cathy have helped individual blind people. Therefore, tonight we are proud to congratulate you, Fred and Cathy, and to honor you with our highest honor, the Jacobus tenBroek Award. We give it to you with appreciation and respect, but most of all we give it to you with love.
Now, I’m going to give them this plaque. First I’ve got to take it out of its Idaho Chico bag. I will read what the plaque says.
jacobus tenbroek award
national federation of the blind
dr. fredric k. and cathleen schroeder
for your dedication, sacrifice, and commitment
on behalf of the blind of this nation.
your contribution is measured not in steps but in miles.
not by individual experiences but by your impact on the lives of the blind of the nation.
whenever we have asked, you have answered.
we call you our colleague with respect.
we call you our friend with love.
july 8, 2011
At the bottom is the NFB logo, Whozit.Fred Schroeder: I am trying to get Cathy to say something, and she is declining. I will say to all of you I am overwhelmed, and I know that Cathy is as well. We have had the great privilege to live normal lives because of all of you and because of the many Federationists who came before us. You know about our work in the Federation, but Cathy in particular lives a very rounded life. As we were standing there and Mrs. Walhof was talking about our children, I thought she was a regular mom and a good mom. She did a few things differently. I remember when she grounded our daughter, and she was not allowed to watch television. Cathy thought that our daughter might turn the TV on without the sound, so she went and put a towel over the TV, which highly offended our daughter. Cathy is a skilled computer programmer/systems analyst and so respected that, even though she is on call on a rotating basis, regularly we get calls from whoever is on call when they cannot solve a problem at 3 o’clock in the morning. So a rounded life, a normal life, and that has been a tremendous gift, and we are both very honored to be able to give back in any way that we can. Thank you very much. [Applause]