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Louisville VA Medical Center


Blind Veterans Holiday Party

Blind Veterans Holiday Party

Photos by Thomas Downs, Robley Rex VAMC Staff Photographer

By Robley Rex VAMC VIST
Thursday, December 19, 2013

‘Twas a little over two weeks before Christmas and all through the room, blinded Veterans were stirring in anticipation of what would come soon!

The date was December 13th, the place was Robley Rex VA Medical Center, and thanks to a $500 grant from the Blinded American Veterans Foundation, Robley Rex’s Visual Impairment Service Team (VIST) coordinators were able to partner with several local organizations and VA employees to put on a holiday program, luncheon, and give away which appealed to all the senses.

The program began with musical performances by students from the Kentucky School for the Blind.  After some classical pieces, students kicked it up a notch with some sing-a-long oldies such as Jingle Bells and Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

After a delicious lunch served by volunteers from the Kentucky Office for the Blind, accompanied by the sweet sounds of holiday tunes played on the harp by Lorinda Jones of Kentucky Center Healing Hands, the volunteers and organizations which made this luncheon possible were recognized.  And then, the real fun began.  Just as if St. Nick had been there with a sleigh full of toys, it was gift time.

Robley Rex VAMC VIST Coordinator Brenda Hibberd, and Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Specialist (BROS) Julie Kennedy were emcees.  They called on, and made shout-outs to the oldest Veteran (95 years young), second oldest (93 years young), and to the Veteran who had traveled all the way from Glasgow, KY, which meant they had traveled the largest distance.  Then, they gave out gifts.  Everyone walked away with a CD of Renaissance Christmas music to enjoy, but one lucky Veteran, who happened to be the second oldest Veteran, drew her own name to win the big gift; a 32” flat screen LED television donated just for the occasion by the Blinded Veterans Association.

VIST Coordinator Brenda Hibberd says she’s thankful for all the help her team received in making their Holiday Celebration a success and that the following VA employees deserve extra special thanks for their assistance:

  • Stephen Amling, Deputy Police Chief
  • Deborah Dauenhauer, Assistant Chief, Canteen
  • Thomas Downs, Medical Media Photographer
  • Robert Lee, Housekeeping Aide
  • Connie Smalley, Administrative Officer, Ambulatory Care
  • Mary Beth Stewart,  Voluntary Service Assistant
  • Patricia Williams, Program Support Asst., Patient Advocacy & Public Affairs

And that is the tale of just one holiday bash.  Blinded Veterans did celebrate, courtesy of some donated cash. 

For more information about the Visual Impairment Service Team at Robley Rex VAMC, as well as other programs for Veterans with unique health care needs, please talk to your VA primary care provider.  To find out how you, or your organization can give back to Veterans, please contact our Voluntary Service team at 502-287-6221 or


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