by Dan Spoone
Happy New Year! We made it. Another year of COVID-19. Sometimes it feels like this mess will never end, but I’m hopeful that we are headed in the right direction. This crisis has brought out the best in ACB. We’ve never worked this hard. I’m very proud of ACB and all we have accomplished this year under very difficult circumstances. We had a second wonderful virtual convention. The virtual D.C. Leadership Conference was amazing, with fantastic panel discussions on the most important advocacy topics impacting our community. We changed the constitution to allow all ACB members the democratic right to vote in our elections. We celebrated our 60th birthday. The inaugural AD Awards Gala launched ACB as the “chief influencer” in the blindness field. We hired five new employees, finished the year with over $5.5 million in investment reserves, and approved a resolution to integrate the Spanish language into our ACB communications. Community events are still going strong, with over 6,000 shows. We launched the ACB Media Network and hosted over 15 affiliate conventions. We’ve worked so hard and I’m very proud of our staff, members and friends for meeting the challenge. We did it! Thank you!
Each year Leslie and I take a few hours to make our new year’s resolutions. This is our third new year’s resolutions article, and I thought it would be interesting to share our progress. What do they say? Life can get in the way of your best plans. The last two years are a perfect example of that.
Here’s how we go about our new year’s resolutions. We make resolutions in seven different categories: family, friends, community service, education, health, finance and fun. You can create your own categories, but I think this is a good exercise, and we have lots of fun with it. Here are my 2022 new year’s resolutions.
2022: My parents celebrated their 89th birthdays. They have moved into assisted living at The Bridge. Some days are very sad. Dad’s dementia has progressed, but they are still a blessing, and each day is a gift. My nephew got married on the Saturday of the convention, and we had Mom and Dad over at our house to watch the ceremony on Zoom. Thanks, Zoom, this was very special. We traveled to Las Vegas to see Leslie’s family for the first time in 18 months, and our nephew and his new bride came to visit us for Thanksgiving. This year our resolution is to cherish each day with Mom and Dad. We are looking forward to celebrating a 90th birthday for both of them.
2022: Still no word from my colleague, Mike Gallagher. Is it time to move on? I’ll give him one more call. Also, my buddies have all made the resolution to go back to Las Vegas for March Madness in 2022. We had gone for 15 years before the pandemic, and we have already made our reservations for this year. So, I might be heading straight from Washington, D.C. to Vegas after the Leadership Conference. What a fun week!
2022: There’s hope. We had the president of our Lake Fairview Lions Club make a presentation to our local Greater Orlando Council of the Blind chapter in October. I now have a contact. They are coming out of the pandemic and starting to hold meetings again. My resolution is to attend a meeting and see what happens. Wish me luck.
2022: Learn more about the capabilities of my iPhone. I have a long way to go. My resolution is to add 10 new apps and learn how to use my Bluetooth keyboard. Hope I’m up to the challenge.
2022: This is a biggy. I was diagnosed with a major blockage in two arteries. After an emergency stent, I’m feeling fine. It was quite a scare. The good news is that I’ve lost 5 more pounds and I’m only 6 pounds from my 2020 resolution. My resolution for this year is to keep walking three miles each day, lower my cholesterol level and reduce my stress. It’s the last item that has me worried. Thanks in advance for your help in keeping us relaxed. I’m reading more books and trying to take off over the weekend.
2022: We are getting a new roof. OK, we didn’t really do a good job of saving the money for the roof, but we had a hailstorm in April, and our insurance is replacing the roof. This should allow us to use our roof budget to replace the copper pipes in our walls that are springing leaks. Now, we need to save money for new paint, both inside and out. We still love our home, and it has been a wonderful blessing during the pandemic. Hopefully, our travel budget will return to normal this year. Key West, here we come!
2022: My resolution for this year is “Balance.” We must commit to a good work/life balance. “No” is an acceptable answer. Our ACB staff has been amazing this year. We are doing so much. I’m very worried about burnout. We must resolve to take time to enjoy our family and friends. In a growing organization, there is always more to do. We must create the proper balance, or we will all hit the breaking point.
Once again, we wish everyone a fantastic new year, and look forward to seeing everyone in person at the D.C. Leadership Conference or virtually on ACB Media. Let’s all raise a glass to the exciting possibilities for 2022. I’m really waiting for that big hug from Cindy Hollis in Washington, D.C.!