Revisiting the Heartland's First Annual Convention

The Heartland Regional Group met for the first time April 14-17, selecting one of the country’s most popular tourist locations for its first annual bi-state convention since the merger of the Kansas and Missouri Regional Groups in 2014.
BVA members from both states were in attendance at the Westgate Branson Hotel in the Woods Resort in Branson, Missouri. Director of District 2 David Fox attended as an invited guest.
The meeting was called to order on April 15 by Douglas Olender, group president. After the Colors were presented by Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 913, the resort staff and management welcomed the regional group and guests.  The six VIST Coordinators attending from VA facilities in the two states were also introduced. Following the opening presentation by Dr. Candice A. Law, Chief of Optometry at the Kansas City VA Medical Center, VIST Coordinators separated for their own training held in conjunction with the BVA meeting. 
Other presenters that day were from state blind rehabilitation services provided from both states, independent living centers, and the Missouri Wolffner Talking Book Library. The opening business meeting convened that afternoon.
The next day featured a presentation by BVA Field Service Director Edward Eckroth on the Field Service Program in general and on claims and changing eligibility rules within VA specifically. Gus McClelland, retired VIST Coordinator from the Kansas City VA Medical Center, was presented a plaque in recognition of his years of service. The closing business meeting followed.  
Douglas Olender was elected to remain president, Howard Adams to continue as vice president, and Paul Mimms as secretary/treasurer. Mark Wilson was elected as Heartland’s delegate to the national convention and Paul Mimms was elected as an alternate delegate. The delegate was to be sent to the convention uninstructed.
As a final item of business, it was moved, seconded, and approved unanimously to return to Branson for the 2017 annual meeting and convention. The dates for the event are April 20-23.