by Cindy Van Winkle

It's time to honor those members, individuals, chapters and organizations who have given to ACB and the blindness community in a special way.

Please read the below awards and criteria, then submit your letter of nomination. Don't wait thinking that someone else will write that letter. There's nothing worse than sitting out in the audience as an award is presented knowing who the recipient could have been if only you had taken the time.

The Robert S. Bray Award is given to a person who has made a contribution for improving library technology or communication devices. It could also be given for expanding access for blind people, or making opportunities within the mainstream media.

The George Card Award is given to an individual who has dedicated his or her life to work with and for blind people, making a real difference and improving quality of life, for providing leadership and being a positive role model.

The Durward K. McDaniel Ambassador Award is one of our most popular awards. It is given in recognition of a blind person who may or may not be a member of a blindness organization but who has spent his or her life integrating with the community.

The James R. Olsen Distinguished Service Award is periodically given to individuals who have made important contributions which have advanced opportunities for the blind community. This award can be given to an individual or an organization.

The Affiliate Growth Award is based on the greatest increase in membership, as determined by the 2008-2009 membership reports.

The Affiliate Outreach Award is based on a recommendation by an affiliate president, which recognizes a local chapter for a new outreach program. This program must have a measurable outcome.

For the first time, we are accepting nomination letters via e-mail, and although hard-copy letters will be accepted, the electronic format is preferred. Please e-mail nomination letters to [email protected] Hard-copy letters may be sent to: ACB Awards Committee, c/o American Council of the Blind, 2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650, Arlington, VA 22201.

The deadline date for nominations is May 1, 2009. This means letters should be received electronically by 11:59 p.m. on May 1 or be postmarked by that date if coming via U.S. Postal Service.

We look forward to reading many wonderful nomination letters, and the subsequent joy of making presentations of these prestigious awards at the upcoming ACB convention in Orlando, Fla.

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