Welcome to Richard Dortch as an Honorary member

Richard Dortch has been a very special friend of the Nevada Council of the Blind over the years. Richard has served on the Board and provided high quality Braille material whenever needed. Richard acceptance speech of the award was so stirring and his own words say what needs to be said so we decided to use it here instead of creating something new.

The following is a synopsis of Richard Dortch acceptance speech as he was named the first honorary member of the Nevada Council of the Blind in their state convention, 2010.

Richard Dortch, Founder and Owner, Valley Braille Services, wove the theme of the 38th annual convention "Stand and Be Counted" into his speech magnificently and with passion.

Here is the synopsis of the speech:

"Stand and Be Counted" .... that is what we do at Valley Braille Service. When I founded Valley Braille in 1999 my goal was to provide the best quality Braille for the lowest price possible.

"We at Valley Braille are totally behind the Braille literacy movement. Our staff loves what they are doing knowing that their efforts change lives. Over the years we have seen many children grow up, go on to college and enter the workforce."

"There are literally thousands of children across our nation who we have played a part in their education over the past 11 years."

"Do you realize how few Braille transcribers there are nationwide? The most recent numbers (in 2010) are: approximately 4,000 literary Braille transcribers, about 600 Nemeth Mathematic transcribers and less than 40 music transcribers. When I first certified in music, there were over 70 music transcribers, now less than 40."

"What we find really appalling is that less than 2% of blind children today are being taught Braille. Instead, under the guise of saving money, school districts try to use textbooks on tape. This is a dis-service to the blind student."

"What happens when a child is not exposed to Braille? As the child progresses through school, he does not learn how to read, write or spell and thus, is illiterate."

".... also interviewed many students who used books on tape and then learned Braille and the comments were remarkable in that they all said they loved reading Braille, the feel of the book, plus they could read, write and spell."

"Now those children can pursue any field of endeavor they wish because they can be competitive with their sighted counterparts. They are self-reliant, contributing members of society."

"The blind community as a whole, regardless of their group affiliations, must band together and 'Stand and Be Counted' as being fully behind Braille literacy."

Richard has donated a great volume of Braille work throughout his career. He most recently donated seven music books to a school in Indonesia and several books to a school in Texas that simply has no budget for extras like Braille music.

Richard trains as many transcribers as he can. His staff is composed of sixteen people. Most are certified in their respective Braille codes. Those who are not certified yet are working towards their certification. There is three of the staff who answered a newspaper ad to learn Braille. As they progressed they were offered a position with the company and so began earning a livable wage while doing what they have come to love.

Richard's passion exposed: "So in closing I urge each and every one of you here to fight for Braille literacy....then you, too, may 'Stand and Be Counted'."

Richard transcribes Braille in five languages and is certified in every Braille code. Richard has given of himself unselfishly to accomplish his goal to produce and distribute the best Braille material that school districts, colleges and universities may need to comply with the mandates of Congress. "We transcribe textbooks, music and any printed material into high quality, error free Braille and our fees are below the national average."

Richard's goal has been and is to first serve, then worry about his income....he is truly a friend and hero of the blind.....hence he is so richly deserving of this Award of Honorary Membership in the Nevada Council of the Blind.

Welcome to Kae and Elizabeth Pohe as Honorary members

In convention assembled on October 8, 2011, the Nevada Council of the Blind did honor Kae and Elizabeth Pohe for their activities to enhance the lives of the blind and visually impaired in Nevada and across this nation.

In early 1980, Kae learned the Rehabilitation Division was planning to eliminate the Bureau of Services to the Blind. Kae began calling every blind and visually impaired person he could find a number for to begin action to oppose this in the state Legislature. He found Rick Kuhlmey, who had been given the Nevada Council of the Blind in a box during the 1977 Legislative session. They reactivated the NCB and led the fight in the 1981 Legislative session to keep the BSTB. They were successful, but only after an intense and nasty fight.

Kae, a Nevada Business Enterprise Program Vendor, went on to enable participation of the blind and visually impaired in many ways.

Elizabeth Pohe was honored for her enabling of Kae to accomplish all he had. Without her support and countless hours of driving and attending meetings with Kae, none of this would have occurred.