Veterans group to host ‘White Cane Day’ at VA

Published 9:50 am Monday, October 10, 2016

Members of the Blinded Veterans Association will be hosting a special event this coming week to help educate the public about some of the tools used by individuals who are blind or have severe vision impairment.
The local chapter of the BVA will be hosting “White Cane Day” in the main lobby of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Mountain Home on Friday, Oct. 14, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
BVA member Salvatore Sala said the main reason behind the event is to raise awareness regarding the white canes used by people with visual impairments or blindness. There are two types of white canes, Sala said.
The longer white cane which individuals move from side to side in front of them as they walk is called a “feeler cane.” Sala, who has a severe vision impairment, said he once used a feeler cane but due to other health issues has had to switch to a white cane that helps support him as he walks. The white support cane is primarily designed to provide physical stability to a visually impaired user, but also serves as a means of identification by virtue of its color.
Sala said he and other veterans like him who have a visual impairment often encounter members of the public — sometimes even individuals in the medical field — who are unaware of what a white cane stands for. Those incidents are what have inspired the group to host a “White Cane Day.”
“We are just trying to educate the public,” Sala said.
In addition to raising awareness in the public, Sala said the BVA is also hoping to make other veterans who suffer from visual impairment aware of the organization and how the BVA can be of assistance.
The BVA serves to educate members about services available to them or new visual aid products as well as offering a chance to fellowship with fellow veterans who are facing similar circumstances.
“We met every month,” Sala said. “If anyone has any questions they can call me at home or e-mail me and I would be glad to answer any questions I can.”
Sala can be reached by calling 423-297-1250 or e-mailing Sala said interested individuals can also contact the president of the local BVA Chapter Wayne Allen by calling 423-943-5751.

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