An award is a recognition of excellence, which the recipient ought to be able to treasure. It is better not to give an award than to give it to someone who does not embody the spirit of the award. Since the standard of excellence is so high each award may not necessarily be given every year.
Each award consists of a plaque, which will be presented during the Awards Ceremony held at Florida Council of the Blind's Annual Convention.
All Awards will cover the period from January 1st through December 31st of the year prior to the one in which it is being presented.
Persons serving on the Awards Committee and their family members are not eligible for a state award during the committee member's tenure.
An individual is eligible to receive each of the following state awards once:
- R. Henry P. Johnson
- Dolly Gamble
- W. A. Ouzts
- William (Bill) Ferrell (Just Bill)
Each award nomination must be presented in one of the following formats:
in electronic format, submitted by e-mail or;”
Typed double-spaced (or single spaced if at 16 point or larger) and no longer than 2 pages; Brailed no longer than 5 pages
Each nomination, (with the exception of the Chapter/Special Interest Affiliate Award) must contain the following:
Name of the award;
Name of nominee (spelled as you wish it to appear on the plaque);
Name of group/person(s) making the nomination;
Reasons why the nominee meets the criteria for the award
The awards chairperson should send copies of the awards criteria, as appropriate, to the following in October Or November:
The Editors of the White Cane Bulletin;
Mobility Department of Florida School for the Deaf and Blind;
DBS District Offices
Nominations are to be emailed or mailed to the Florida Council of the Blind's Awards Committee Chairperson. The chair will give copies to the other two members.
All Award nominations must be received by the awards chairperson no later than the deadline determined by the committee.
R. HENRY P. JOHNSON AWARD
The person that this award was named after trained as a lawyer. He had very little formal training when it was necessary for him to adjust to substantial visual impairment. Nevertheless, he remained active in his community and constantly sought to extend the boundaries of activities that he and other blind persons could become involved in.
The R. Henry P. Johnson Award will be presented to a legally blind person who has, through his or her work and through service to his or her community, demonstrated the kind of pioneering spirit and exemplary adjustment that Mr. Johnson demonstrated. Individuals who are likely to be considered for this award must succeed far beyond the average visually-impaired person.
DOLLY GAMBLE AWARD
This award was named for a lady who, by her actions and example, was able to establish a climate in which the Miami Lighthouse could be started. Throughout her adult life, Ms. Gamble worked tirelessly to promote the betterment of blind people in her community, state, and the nation.
The recipient of the Dolly Gamble award must have demonstrated a commitment to and success with the extension of services for the blind and visually-impaired people of this state. The recipient may be blind or sighted, but should, in general, represent a high level of expertise and commitment to serving blind individuals.
WILLIAM ALFRED OUZTS AWARD
William Alfred Ouzts, known as W. A., was a member of FCB from 1971 until the time of his death in 1992. He held state office for 20 of those years, including 12 as treasurer and 4 years as president. For many years, he had the White Cane Bulletin printed, prepared and mailed. whatever his official status, W. A. was always quietly working and networking with other members behind the scenes. Officer, consultant, advisor, supporter, worker, whatever his role, W. A. never sought recognition for what he did.
While no one could replace W. A., a recipient of this award would display many of the superb qualities exhibited by W. A., including dedication to FCB, responsibility and effectiveness. The individual must have taken a leadership role in numerous FCB projects and actively participated in the organization for a minimum of 10 years. This award would only be given to an outstanding FCB member, an individual we would all wish to emulate.
WILLIAM (BILL) FERRELL "JUST BILL" HUMANITARIAN AWARD
Bill Ferrell worked at the Tennessee Agency for the Blind for many years. He was first employed there as a counselor, and proceeded up the ladder to hold the position of Director.
Retiring did not mean stopping for Bill. He helped to organize the Brevard chapter in 1981. Although he was a simple man in his estimation, he had a huge impact on the forming and continuation of FCB.
Bill was involved in visual impairment issues for much of his life. He was a Project Insight peer advisor since that program's inception. He worked endlessly both locally, in Brevard County and at the state level, serving as a member of several vital FCB committees and representing his chapter on the FCB Board of Directors for many years.
Bill was a calm, introspective man, yet nothing got by him without thorough examination. If the need arose, he would give his view of an issue with an informed politeness and in a politically correct manner.
When addressed as Mr. Ferrell, he would invariably respond, "I'm just Bill." So, Bill, our tribute to you is to try to be more like you. "We will communicate, educate, facilitate and update to ensure equality, independence and dignity for all! Bill, we will always love and respect you!"
The recipient of this award may be blind or sighted but must have gone to great lengths to better the quality of life of people, be they sighted or not.
The recipient should have demonstrated a sincere concern for his/her fellow humans, just as Bill always did. A good candidate for this award would be one who has worked in the field of rehabilitation i.e. mobility instructors, teachers, or rehab councilors, for example. Membership in Florida Council of the Blind is not a prerequisite for this award. Anyone who, over the years, has contributed their time and caring for others, especially people who are blind or visually impaired, may be a candidate for this award.
Recipients of this award will be selected based upon their demonstration of humanitarian qualities, which emphasize efforts to improve the quality of life for others, having communicated, educated, facilitated and updated to ensure equality, independence and dignity for others.
The purpose of this award is to honor a Florida elected official who through his/her statewide and/or federal legislative efforts must have made a significant and positive impact on the welfare of blind and visually-impaired people in Florida.
COOK CHAPTER PRESIDENT'S AWARD
Each chapter may nominate a chapter president from the previous year to receive this award.
The following accomplishments will be considered when selecting a recipient for this award: regularity of meetings, effective programs, increases in membership, cooperation in local and state projects, participation in community organizations.
Overall leadership skills, including innovation and cooperation with neighboring chapters, as well as the state organization will be considered when assessing the performance of a nominee.
OUTSTANDING HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR AWARD
This award is intended to honor a legally blind high school senior in Florida, who in academics, school and community has performed better than all his/her peers. The award may consist of a plaque. At the time of graduation, the student will be presented the plaque. Should the student choose to attend FCB's Annual Convention FCB will offer to pay the student's transportation expenses.
The name and address of the school, as well as the names of the principal and teachers must accompany the narrative nomination. Evidence of superior scores on the SAT, ACT, College Boards or an equivalent instrument shall be presented with the nomination. The narrative should include details of the student's involvement in extra-curricular activities, student government and community service. Supporting letters from teachers, employers, etc. would be helpful.
This award is intended to honor a high school senior at the Florida School for the Deaf & Blind who has demonstrated the most improvement in orientation and mobility while at the school. Two nominations will be solicited from the head of the mobility department.
The FCB Awards Committee will make the final selection. The award consists of a plaque to be presented to the student at graduation. FCB shall pay the student's transportation expenses if the student chooses to attend FCB's Annual Convention.
This award is intended to honor the Florida School for the Deaf & Blind senior who has made the most improvement and succeeded in overcoming greater than usual barriers to effective mobility. The mobility department should consider such factors as multiple impairments, perseverance and attitude as well as excellence of orientation and mobility skills.
CHAPTER/SPECIAL INTEREST AFFILIATE AWARD
Each chapter or special interest affiliate may submit the name(s) of local recipient(s) they wish to honor. The criteria for the selection is up to the chapter/special interest affiliate. All that is required by FCB's Awards Committee is the name of the recipient, as the chapter/special interest affiliate wishes it to be printed, and the name of the chapter/special interest affiliate submitting the name. Each chapter/special interest affiliate shall pay for each plaque they desire to present.
Information regarding the current price of plaques, as well as the deadline for ordering plaques, will be sent to each chapter/special interest affiliate.