Southwest Missouri Friendship Council of the Blind

Southwest Missouri Friendship Council of the Blind provides fellowship, resource information, continued support, white canes and some visual aids to the blind and visually-impaired.

Our affiliate encourages legislation that will enable blind and visually-impaired individuals to lead productive lives and to participate as an affiliate of the Missouri Council of the Blind.

Individuals seeking membership with our group must be; at least, eighteen years of age and be blind or legally blind. Sighted family members and friends of these individuals are also welcome to join our group.

Contact the Southwest Missouri Friendship Council of the Blind

Affiliate News

Southwest Missouri Friendship Council of the Blind :: June 2013

Greetings to everyone. Our social was held at Jim Bob's restaurant. There was plenty of room, good food and good service. It was so good, everyone was laughing, talking, telling stories, and munching on the homemade yeast rolls. It is so much fun relaxing, and spending a good evening with friends. Kathy Brauner, our club president, has been working to get the Low Vision Committee off and running. I know she will give it her all as she always does no matter the task. We are so glad to have Ed and Margaret Forcum back attending the socials with us. They were both so sick over the last year, it is good to have them out and about.

One of our members, B.J., had a closed circuit TV she did not need anymore, so she donated it back to the club. Our club was happy to have found a person in Joplin who could really use it. Now, the TV has a good home and the person who got it is very happy. It was nice of BJ to donate it; this could be a reminder for us all to check and if there is something we are not using, it could sure help someone else. The generosity of our club members never ceases to amaze me. Everyone is kind and considerate. We all try to help each other.

Hoping everyone has a really enjoyable spring and may your flowers bloom especially beautiful. May we now be able to tell Mr. Winter goodbye until next time. God bless you all and be safe. Thought: draw a line in the sand and enjoy what you have been given.

Southwest Missouri Friendship Council of the Blind :: June 2011

By Al Ashton

Hello to everyone of you and we wish the very best for all of you!!!!!!! We've pretty much had an uneventful spring thus far other than the big, big snow in the latter part of the winter. One fellow said his wife just stood and looked through the window while it was snowing for a long time but later he let her back in the house. I must tell you about one event though. One of our members was shopping at the Wal-Mart grocery section meat department. Now she has one of those special lenses at the bottom of her glasses to help her read the small print but she still has to hold the print very close to her eyeglasses She was reading the print on a big ol' rump roast which covered her whole face when another lady came up to her and said, "What's the matter, doesn't it smell good?" Now our Cathie being quick on her feet and with a sense of humor said well I'm not sure it ain't too whoopie!! Well that lady went to smelling her big ol' chuck roast. Now this thing caught on and there was 11 other shoppers checking the fragrance of their big ol' roasts also. Now these big ol' roasts covered all their whole faces. Now picture this 13 all at once. there's that 13 again. It looked like the boogies from a spook movie. Nobody wanted to take home a stinky roast. The meat department man came out through the swinging double doors and saw this and almost passed out. He went running back through the doors and Cathie, laughing so hard and blowing snot bubbles, just walked off to another department with her roast which was a fine roast and left them all standing there lookin' ignert!!! Only at Wal-Mart. Incidentally, we had our monthly dinner meeting at Gooches' cafe the other night, good fellowship and had 13, would you believe, present. Hope you all had a great Easter a good Mother’s day and Memorial day. Have a goodun' and laugh a lot. good for you!!! I remain AL PR MAANNN

Southwest Missouri Friendship Council :: December 2009

Chip Hailey, Friendship Council PR Chairman

I would like to begin my report by commending Allied Workers for the Blind and Progressive Council of the Blind as the two outstanding host affiliates which hosted this year's MCB State Convention.  Both affiliates really outdid themselves by going above and beyond the call of duty in making this year's convention a huge success.  Their diligent efforts really paid off, and we would like to applaud them and give them a well-deserved pat on the back.

I would also like to commend Eldon Cox on an outstanding job he did as Convention Coordinator in making our stay a most enjoyable one.  Thanks as well to all of the volunteers whose service will forever be appreciated.

We would like to congratulate those who were elected as MCB officers and those who were reelected as MCB Board Directors.

We wish them continued success in all of their respective MCB endeavors.

In addition, we would like to congratulate our MCB president on doing such a marvelous job in conducting his first MCB State Convention.  We salute you, Mr. President!

We congratulate all of this year's award winners.  We are very proud of you and very much appreciate all of the work you do for MCB.  We are also very proud of two of our very own affiliate members who were recognized during our MCB Convention banquet Saturday night, Cathie Brauner as one of the MCB members of the month, and Linda Hailey as this year's recipient of the Nathaniel Johnson Award.  Way to go ladies!  You made us very proud.

We are very excited about the hiring of our new Executive Director, Jennifer Parker, and our new Field Marketing Representative, Lowell Newsome.  We would like to welcome them to MCB and give them our support as they contribute their enthusiastic service to our organization.

We have received our 2010 large print calendars and have already begun distributing them out into the community.  Many of the folks tell us how attractive the calendars are and how they really do look forward to receiving one each year.

We are continuing to provide talking watches, clocks, and canes to anyone who is blind or visually impaird and wishes to become a member of our affiliate.  We also provide attractive jackets with our affiliate logo on the back to individuals who have been a member of our affiliate for one year.

We continue to frequent area restaurants, whereby we can hold our monthly dinner gatherings.  We encourage anyone in our local area who wishes to learn more about who we are and the time and place where we meet to call our affiliate president, Rita Galbraith, at 417-673-8559.

We are happy to have Ed Forcum back after he had foot surgery and hope he continues to experience a speedy recovery.  Ed is one of our most active members and his presence was greatly missed.

We ask that you continue to keep Elvena Smith and Jan Whitmer in your thoughts and prayers.

Elvena has been in and out of the hospital quite a bit this past year and Jan is still battling her physical situation.

We are happy to announce that we have two new members, Al and B.J. Ashton.

We will be looking forward to introducing them to many of you as situations permit.

We would like to extend our most heartfelt condolences to Chip Hailey and Denny Huff over the loss of their dads this past year.  May God grant them His peace and assurance in knowing these two dads were true and faithful servants and have now entered into the glory of their Lord.

Congratulations to Chip Hailey on being awarded the Anthony M. Logan Life Achievement award from the Joplin Independent Living Center where he has been employed the past 13 and-a-half years.  Chip says he thanks God every day for all of the wonderful opportunities and experiences he has been afforded while working there and very much enjoys sharing those life changing experiences with others.

In conclusion, we extend our warmest holiday wishes to all of our MCB family and hope this Christmas season will be all that you hope for it to be.

Respectfully submitted,

Chip Hailey, Friendship Council PR Chairman

Southwest Missouri Friendship Council :: June 2009

by Chip Hailey

June 27th will mark the observance of Helen Keller’s 129th Birthday, so I thought I’d like to open our report with a quote of hers:

“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness.  It is not attained
through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”--Helen Keller 1880-1968

The Friendship Council of the Blind hopes that everyone in MCB made it through the winter in fine fashion and has had a great spring and is now looking forward to the summer months.

Since our last visit, we have had the good fortune of recruiting a new member, Logan Beckett.  We believe that Logan and his wife will be a great asset to our affiliate and to MCB and we will be looking forward to introducing them to everyone as opportunity permits.

We also distributed most of our MCB large print calendars and received many thanks and appreciations. Those to whom we gave calendars expressed great appreciation and said how much they look forward to receiving a new one each year.

  Chip Hailey and Franklin Johnson visited several elementary schools in the Joplin area and talked to kids about blindness and what it means to be a guide dog handler.  You might want to ask Franklin about the funny experience he had while he was talking to the kids about being a guide dog user.  MCB Braille alphabet cards and MCB writing instruments were given out to the teachers and students and many thanks were expressed.  A number of teachers and students expressed their delight over the alphabet cards and writing instruments and said how informative they found their presentations to be.
At our April business meeting,   Tom Smith was elected our new Friendship Council treasurer.  We know that Tom will do an excellent job since everything he sets his hands to do seems to prosper.

Also, we are continuing to pray for Elvena Smith, Tom's wife, who was recently readmitted into the hospital over a long term illness.

We are still giving out talking watches or clocks and canes to blind or visually impaired individuals in our area who need them, but are unable to purchase one.  This is one of the things we do with the MCB affiliate grant we receive each year and it's also a way we are able to get our name out to the public.  Over the years we have given out a goodly number of canes and watches and everyone who has received a cane or watch has always expressed great appreciation.

Besides our regular monthly business meetings on the first Tuesday of every month, we also have a dinner get together on the third Tuesday of the month.  Sometimes we have a potluck at the Webb City Senior Citizens Center where we hold our business meetings and sometimes we go out to eat at one of the local restaurants.  In April we went to Tom and Elvena Smith's for a chili dinner.  It was a great evening and the food and fellowship were absolutely exceptional.

In May, we again will be looking forward to helping sponsor the Springfield Service Club's White Cane Walk and the Lion's Eye Research Program.  We wish to commend the Springfield Service Club for putting together this important event each year.  You guys do such an outstanding job that we wish it could be made a statewide event.

Chip and Linda Hailey attended the Friends of Wolfner annual meeting in Jefferson City as well as the 15th annual Power Up Conference and Expo in Columbia.

They will also be attending the ACB National Convention in Orlando, Fla., in July, and we know they will have a lot of great things on which to report back.

Finally, all of us in the Friendship Council hope that you all will have a safe and fun-filled summer.  Remember to always keep the sunny side up and the cloudy side down.

Southwest Missouri Friendship Council :: December 2008

By Chip Hailey

“A true friend knows your weaknesses but shows you your strengths; feels your fears but fortifies your faith; sees your anxieties but frees your spirit; recognizes your disabilities but emphasizes your possibilities.”--William Arthur Ward

The Friendship Council would like to join the many others in thanking the St. Charles Council for hosting this year's State Convention in St. Peters.  We really appreciated all of the time and effort you all did in hosting the Convention and making everyone's stay an enjoyable one.  We will be looking forward to seeing everyone again at our next year's Convention in Independence.

We would also like to extend our congratulations to all of the newly elected officers and newly appointed committee chairs.  We are very excited about the new installment of MCB officers and would like to wish them the very best.

In our own local affiliate, we held our elections this past October with the following results:  Rita Galbraith, president; Cathie Brauner, first vice president; Harold Poiry, treasurer; Margaret Forcum, secretary; and Chip Hailey, as PR.

The Friendship Council meets on the first Tuesday night of every month at the Webb City Senior Citizens building at 7:00.  We also have a dinner on the third Monday night of every month to have fun and good conversation.  Most of the time we meet at different local restaurants in the area but occasionally we may have a potluck at the Senior Citizens building.  We welcome anyone living in the Joplin, Webb City, and Carthage area to attend any of our meetings.  For additional information regarding the time and dates when we meet, please feel free to contact Rita Galbraith at 417-673-8559.

We have received our 2009 MCB large print calendars and hope to distribute them throughout our local area in hopes of drawing attention to MCB, and hopefully, recruiting new members to the organization.  MCB is a great organization and we are very proud to be members.

In conclusion, we would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  May all of your hopes and dreams come true this upcoming new year, and may your hearts continue to be filled with love and laughter.  Stay well everyone and we hope to see many of you again throughout the 2009 new year.

Warmest regards,
Chip Hailey

Southwest Missouri Friendship Council of the Blind :: September 2008

By Cathie Brauner, Public Relations

May:  Our group assembled at the Webb City Senior Center on Tuesday, May 6, 2008 for our monthly meeting.  Franklin Johnson stated that the pre-registration and registration date cut-off was September 5th.  The cost of the Banquet would be $25.00 and the Hospitality meal would be $4.00.  Franklin also reported that the board had voted to increase both Franklins and Linda Gerkins budget and that mileage reimbursement had increased to 60 cents per mile.  A Board Meeting would be held October 9th.  Our group was also informed of convention details and the White Cane Walk; which would take place on the 17th in Springfield.

The club voted to hold the monthly Social at Kings Palace in Joplin on Monday, the3rd at 7:00p.m.  The event took place and everyone enjoyed the meal and companionship.

June:  Our group assembled on Tuesday, June 3rd., at the Webb City Senior Center. The group was informed regarding the search for an Executive Director.  We were also informed that members could pre-register for the convention on-line.  The group voted to meet at Jim Bob's in Joplin for our social event on Monday, June 16th.  A covered dish dinner and games were discussed for our social next month.    
July:  Our group met on Tuesday, July 11th. at the Webb City Senior Center.  Our group was briefed on the status of the Executive Director's position.  We heard about the status of the Blind Pension and were given phone numbers to be able to voice our questions and concerns.  An Election Committee was formed to nominate individuals to fill positions in November.  Committee members are:  Harold Poiry (Chair), Jan Whitmer and Rita Galbraith. We were also informed that members needed to have dues in by August 8th.
We voted to have our Covered Dish Dinner on Monday, July 14th, and members signed up to bring various food items. We all assembled on the 14th for the Covered Dish Dinner.  Everyone enjoyed the food and the company of others.  Harold and Alice Poiry brought a guest named Dan; who entertained us with a song he had composed.  All had a good time.
Jan Whitmer is very excited about her upcoming cruise to Alaska in September.  She will be taking her first air flight and first cruise.  Hope you have a great time, Jan!
Let me close with the following quote by Gandhi:  “Happiness depends on what you can give, not what you can get.”

Southwest Missouri Friendship Council :: June 2008

By Cathie Brauner, Public Relations

February:   Our club met on Tuesday, February 5th. at 7p.m., in the Webb City Senior Center.  Franklin Johnson reported that the Thrift Stores should have closed January 1st.  He also reported on the status of MCB’s E-bay Website.

Chip Hailey reported that during ACB’s Legislative Seminar in Washington, D.C., blind issues, earnings and currency would be discussed with Legislators.  During the trip to Jefferson City, blind student accessibility, moving fund under Rehab Services, making the State Capitol accessible, loan program to increase appropriations will be discussed with State Legislators.

We decided to meet at the Webb City Family Restaurant on Monday, February 18th. at 7p.m., for our February Social.  We all gathered at the Webb City Family Restaurant for an evening of good food and great company.  As we all left the restaurant, it had begun to snow.  The snow flakes were as large as quarters and were gently falling.  As we traveled in our car it began to snow very hard. We passed the American Flag and Praying Hands display; on Mc Arthur Blvd., we noticed that the huge snow flakes were highlighted by the flood lights at the base of the flag.  It was so beautiful!        

March:   We assembled at the Webb City Senior Center on Tuesday, March 4th. at 7:00p.m. and realized there weren’t enough members present to conduct a meeting.  We visited for a while and then everyone went home.

We all met on Monday, March 17th. at 7:00p.m. at the King’s Palace (Chinese) in Joplin for our social event.  We enjoyed an evening of good food and fellowship.   

April:  Everyone met at the Webb City Senior center on Tuesday, April 1st. at 7:00p.m.  We discussed the upcoming Board Meeting (regarding the Executive Director Position) scheduled for the 26th in St. Louis.

The club voted on holding our social at the Red Onion Café in Joplin on Monday, April 14th. at 7:00p.m.  The occasion will be our belated Easter Dinner.

We all assembled at the Red Onion Café; had a large turn-out.  Everyone enjoyed the food and the opportunity to be able to visit with one another.

I will leave all of you with the following thought:  “Dance to the music in your own heart.”…(Patience Lawrence)

Southwest Missouri Friendship Council :: March 2008

By Cathie Brauner, Public Relations

November: The Business Meeting was held on Tuesday, November 6th in the Webb City Senior Center. Our group was briefed on the Budget and Finance Committee Report presented by MCB in St. Louis the previous weekend and those recommendations for a greater return on investments would be presented April 12th, 2008.

Chip Hailey also reported that Franklin Johnson did a marvelous job during the teleconference in regard to moving forward on the Blind Pension Lawsuit. Chip also reported on Health and Education. The group was briefed on the Social Security Cost of Living Increase for 2008 and that earnings for the blind would be the same as senior citizen earnings in the year 2012. We also talked about the MCB Legislative Days.

Chatter's, in Webb City, was selected as the location for our Thanksgiving Social Event on Tuesday of Thanksgiving week.

Because of the Thanksgiving Holiday, only a small number of members were able to attend the Thanksgiving Social. They said they had a wonderful time visiting with one another.

December: Our group assembled on Tuesday, December 4th, at 7:00p.m. in the Webb City Senior Center. We voted to change the date of our Social Event (because of the Christmas Holiday restaurant crowd) to Tuesday, December 11th . Bella Pepper's Restaurant, in Joplin, was chosen as the location. A generous donation by Universal Lubricants will pay for everyone's dinner.

We voted again this year, to bring an unwrapped toy to the event. The toys will be donated to the KOAM Toy Box. Mike and Rita Galbraith (once again) will deliver the toys to KOAM. We also decided to move our January Business Meeting to Tuesday, January 8th; because of the New Year's Holiday.

Chip Hailey and Franklin Johnson briefed all on the emergency Board Meeting held in St. Louis this past weekend. Our 1st. Vice Chair resigned from her position and Rita Galbraith accepted the position. We talked about rescinding the 2nd. Vice Chair position and will discuss the same again during our January Business Meeting. Because of the resignation, the position of Finance Chair was also affected. Jane Olson gracefully accepted the position and Jan Whitmer volunteered to help Jane on the committee. Dale Whitmer (Jan's husband) became a member welcome Dale!

Everyone assembled at Bella Pepper's Restaurant and thoroughly enjoyed good food and pleasant company. Thank you Mike for making it all happen!!! You always do a wonderful job on our social events. Your hard work is always appreciated.

January: Our group met at 7:00p.m. in the Webb City Senior Center on Tuesday, January 8th. Chip briefed all on MCB's search for a Director and the Thrift Stores situation. We were also told about MCB's E Bay account and that it would be accessible by the affiliates who were interested in donating items to MCB for sale in this manner.

We did the second reading to delete the 2nd. Chair and will do the last reading during our February Business Meeting.

We decided to hold our Social Event on January 15th. at 7:00p.m. at The Red Onion Café in Joplin and talked about the February Social being held at the Kings Palace in Joplin.

We all assembled at the Red Onion Café in Joplin, January 15th. at 7:00p.m. A fabulous dinner was enjoyed by all and everyone enjoyed visiting with one another.

In closing, I will leave you with this final thought: ADo the things that bring sunlight to your heart.--Courtney Essex

Southwest Missouri Friendship Council of the Blind :: December 2007

By Cathie Brauner, Public Relations

August: Our Business Meeting was held August 2nd, 7:00p.m. at the Webb City Senior Center. Our group discussed different ways for our organization to raise funds and it was decided that we would sell tickets for a 50/50 drawing. The winning ticket will be drawn during the MCB Convention in October. Chip Hailey briefed all on how the proceedings were going on the Blind Pension.

The group selected Ryan’s Cafeteria in Joplin for the location of our social event at 7:00p.m., August 21st. The need for a Finance Meeting was discussed and it was decided that the date would be selected later. The Awards Committee (Mike Galbraith, Jan Whitmer and Cathie Brauner) was appointed to select the club member who was the most dedicated to our organization; as well as the business who donated the most money to our group this year. Ron Brauner, my dear husband, won the door prize of $101.00 at the Bolivar Auction and generously split his winnings with me. Congratulations and Thank You, Ron!

We all met at Ryan’s Cafeteria on August 21st. and enjoyed the food as well as the company of our club members. A good time was enjoyed by all.

September: Our Business Meeting was held Tuesday, September 4th. at 7:00p.m. Club members received tickets to be sold for the 50/50 drawing in October. We discussed the MCB Amendments and voted for or against. We selected Granny Shaffer’s in Webb City as the location for our Awards Banquet to be held September 17th.

We all gathered at Granny Shaffer’s at 7:00p.m. Mike Galbraith, Chairman of the Awards Committee, presented awards to Margaret Forcum, our Secretary, and Glen Palmer with Universal Lubricants. Universal Lubricants has covered the cost of our organizations Christmas Dinner for the past two years. Congratulations to both! We appreciate the dedication and the financial support!

October: Our Business Meeting/Covered Dish Dinner was held Tuesday, October 16th. at the Webb City Senior Center. We discussed the Blind Pension Lawsuit and everyone was disappointed to learn that MCB lost on the local level; as reported by Chip Hailey. We also learned that the winner of the 50/50 drawing was much in need of the extra $283.00 for a family situation. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to sell tickets; you all did an EXCELLENT JOB!!! Our bank account is now $283.00 richer!

Everyone enjoyed the delicious dishes brought for our Covered Dish Dinner; as always!!!

The following is a really nice story that our group would like to pass along…..Lois and Harold Griffoth attended the MCB Convention in Joplin the beginning of October. Lois was approached by the female member of a trucking couple. The trucker complimented Lois on the red hat she was wearing and the two struck up a conversation regarding MCB and all the organization stands for. The trucking couple was so impressed with Lois, Harold and MCB that they donated $1,000 to MCB. They also bought dinner and breakfast for Harold and Lois; and said they would be willing to help out in raising funds for our group. Congratulations, Harold and Lois, you must have said all the right things.

Hope all of you enjoyed a Great Thanksgiving, and will have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I will visit with you again in 2008!

I will leave all of you with the following thought…..”Today is the greatest treasure you will ever hold in your hands…spend it on a brighter tomorrow!” Lorraine Catcheny