YUMA, Ariz. – More than a million veterans across the country are visually impaired. Of those people 160,000 are legally blind.
“Blinded veterans so much of the time get pushed off to the side,” Robert Brown said. Brown is apart of the Blinded Veterans association of Yuma.
Robert Ybarra, a vietnam war vet agrees. Ybarra feels people aren’t concerned with the plight of blinded service members. ” We’re good there’s nothing wrong with us. Just because we can’t see doesn’t mean we don’t have a heart,” he said.
Ybarra is also apart of the BVA he says it changed his life for the better. “The [BVA] is good because all I do is sit in the house and here I have my friends and they help me a lot,” he said. “If it wasn’t for them I don’t know what I’d do. ”
Nationwide the BVA has about five thousand members and the Yuma chapter hopes to grow.
Raymond Main is the President of the Yuma chapter of the BVA. “It’s one of the best kept secrets in the country,” he says of his organization.
The BVA’s main motto is blinded veterans helping blinded veterans. The organization says adjusting to life after service is tough but doing it blind is even harder. “We try and talk to people and tell them it’s not the end of the world,” Brown said. “We tell them you just have to learn to do things differently.”
The BVA of Yuma meets every third thursday of the Month at the American Legion Post 19. There meetings are open to the public. If you know someone who may benefit from the services offered by the group you’re encouraged to Contact the American Legion or Raymond Main at (428) 231-5525.