Blinded Veterans Association looking to help more Vets

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.

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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