Braille Monitor                                     August/September 2017

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Awards Presented at the 2017 National Convention

From the Editor: Recognizing the work that is accomplished on behalf of blind people is a critical part of the mission of the National Federation of the Blind. For this reason we present a number of awards. Some are presented annually; others are presented only as often as the Federation determines that a deserving candidate merits their presentation. 

This year the awards presented were the Distinguished Educator of Blind Students and the Jacobus tenBroek Award. The Distinguished Educator of Blind Students was presented at the annual board meeting held on July 12, 2017. Here are the remarks of the chairman of the committee, Carla McQuillan, and the winner, Amy Lund:

Distinguished Educator of Blind Students
Presented by Carla McQuillan

Blind children are the future of the National Federation of the Blind. And while technology has made information access easier, technology in and of itself is not enough to ensure the success of our blind children. It requires the basic skills of blindness: cane travel, the skills of daily living, and most of all, Braille. Let’s give a cheer for Braille, you guys [cheers]. Thank you!

Every year the National Federation of the Blind recognizes a teacher of blind students who has not only embraced the philosophy of the National Federation of the Blind but also incorporates it every day in teaching the students in their caseload.

Before I begin with discussing this year’s winner, I’d like to thank the members of the committee who helped sort through the applications and determine who was going to be the Distinguished Educator of Blind Students this year: Laura Bostick, Michelle Chacon, Kathy Jackson, Carlton Walker, and Dan Wenzel were all members of the committee this year. Let’s give them applause for that [applause].

This particular individual received her bachelors of science in low vision and blindness from Illinois State University and also received her masters of science from Illinois State University. She began her teaching in 2001, and in 2009 she was a chaperone for our law program, bringing one of her blind students. So Natalie Shaheen said, “I was a little skeptical, because this is a VI teacher I don’t know.” But then she said, “Once I got to know her, this woman really got it.” One of her student’s parents who wrote a letter in support said that she was an expert in her field. She was professional, friendly, kind, and fun. She’s very good at motivating her students.

So I would like to announce Amy Lund from Illinois as this year’s Distinguished Educator of Blind Students [applause]. For Amy we have a plaque that has the logo of the National Federation of the Blind, and it says:

THE NATIONAL FEDERATION 
OF THE BLIND HONORS 
AMY LUND 
DISTINGUISHED EDUCATOR OF BLIND STUDENTS
FOR YOUR SKILLS IN TEACHING
BRAILLE AND 
OTHER ALTERNATIVE TECHNIQUES OF BLINDNESS,
FOR GRACIOUSLY DEVOTING EXTRA
TIME TO MEET
THE NEEDS OF YOUR STUDENTS,
AND FOR EMPOWERING
YOUR STUDENTS TO PERFORM
BEYOND THEIR EXPECTATIONS.
YOU CHAMPION OUR MOVEMENT.
YOU STRENGTHEN OUR HOPES.
YOU SHARE OUR DREAMS.
JULY 12, 2017

And along with that beautiful plaque, Amy receives a check for $1,000 [applause].

Amy LundAmy Lund: Mr. President, board of directors, and members, I am so honored by this recognition. I’ve been so fortunate to be involved in Federation activities throughout my career. I’ve met the best, strongest, and most skilled mentors that my students could have. I’ve been lucky to be involved in the LAW Program, Youth Slam, and the BELL Academy. The NFB student programs have helped shape my teaching philosophy to facilitate my students’ living the life they want. Thank you for this recognition; I am truly honored. Thank you.

The Jacobus tenBroek Award
Presented by Marc Maurer

I serve these days as the chairperson of the Jacobus tenBroek Award Committee. I have some members of the committee who are very good people, and they give me suggestions. Pam Allen does, Jim Gashel does, and Barbara Loos does. I thank them for their suggestions and their support. We’ve decided that we have people tonight who should get an award in the name of our founding president and of the driving force behind the National Federation of the Blind. He was our political leader during much of the Federation’s formative years and our spiritual leader during the first twenty-eight years while he was alive. He is our spiritual leader even today, based on his thoughts and his opinions and his writings. That’s Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, who was our first president and who was also a professor and who was a lawyer and a constitutional scholar and a man who helped to write documents that changed the nature of the interpretation of the Constitution of the United States.

Dr. tenBroek could be discouraged. All of us have been discouraged, but he could never be defeated because his spirit survived, revived, and brought him the kind of courage that does not ever give up. The people that we have to consider tonight have the same kind of courage. I want to invite them—for it is a couple—to come to the podium so that we may remember what they’ve done and admire what they’re planning to do and tell them how much we know the spirit they carry is the spirit of our founder.

So I call upon two of our number, specifically Norma and Glenn Crosby [cheers, applause], to come forward. Now, as it happens I met Glenn Crosby—I believe for the first time—in the early 1970s. He may have a better memory of the meeting than I. But I knew he was part of the Federation as I came to be a part of it myself, as I came to be a member of our student division (what we now know as the National Association of Blind Students). Glenn here was from Texas [cheers]. When I got to know our Texas affiliate, Glenn was not our president. We had other presidents—they weren’t as interesting as Glenn—but he was not our president.

I came later to learn a good deal about Glenn, and I start with him because I met him first. He was helping to build our affiliate by the latter half of the 1970s. He was then our president in Texas, and he was a good president. But I learned from some of the history that he’d been our president before in Texas, but he wasn’t very good at it then; he had to grow and he had to learn. But he didn’t quit; he did grow, and he did learn.

In those days Norma was there, but she was not Norma Crosby, and she kept telling Glenn what to do. And lo and behold, Glenn paid attention. After a while the two of them came to marry one another, and that helped both of them and helped our organization as well.

Now Glenn has been not just our leader in Texas, but he was also a member of our board of directors. He’s been a vendor in Texas and elsewhere. He spent time in other states; he even did some work in South Dakota and then Louisiana, and now he’s back in Texas.

Glenn and Norma are working together to bring leadership to our Texas affiliate, where Norma is now our president. Now she is giving direction to our affiliate, and Glenn is telling her what to do [laughter, applause]. So, what goes around comes around, as they say.

The two of them together bring energy and commitment to the organization, and they have shared in that energy and commitment over the years. They are good friends to those who are strong in the Federation spirit. They are committed workers, and they are joyful people. I want to first—I mean, Glenn, you were on the board first but Norma is now. And you were president first, but Norma is president now—so I’m going to give this plaque to Norma, and I feel confident that she will let you hold it with her [laughter, applause]. This plaque says:

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
JACOBUS TENBROEK AWARD
PRESENTED TO
NORMA CROSBY AND GLENN CROSBY
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 COLLEAGUES WITH RESPECT. WE CALL YOU OUR FRIENDS WITH LOVE.
JULY 15, 2017

Glenn stands by as Norma receives the tenBroek Award from Marc MaurerI want to give to you the Brailled text of this plaque, and I invite you to address this gathering, you, the recipients of the highest honor based on what is meant by our founder and first president, the Jacobus tenBroek Award. Here are Norma and Glenn Crosby [applause].

Glenn Crosby: Normally it’s ladies first, but my wife says I go, so . . . My first convention was in Des Moines, Iowa in 1968. My wife tells me this is my fiftieth convention [applause]. I must tell you that it is I who should be giving Dr. tenBroek, Dr. Jernigan, Dr. Maurer, and President Riccobono, my wife, and all of my Federation family an award. Thank you very much [applause].

Norma Crosby: You know, I used to wonder sometimes when people won the tenBroek Award if they knew in advance, if they had a clue. I can tell you, personally, I had not a clue. There are so many more deserving people in the audience. We don’t work in the Federation to win awards; we work in the Federation out of love. I feel that strong bond and that strong connection to each and every person in the audience tonight. I know so many of you, and I love you so much. I’m truly honored by this award, and I would say one last thing: I couldn’t have been honored with a better partner than Glenn Crosby. Thank you guys so much [applause].

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