The Observer - the quarterly newsletter of the Montana Association for the Blind


Fall 2018 edition




Vol. 71, No. 4

Jocelyn DeHaas, Editor


Montana Association for the Blind

PO Box 465

Helena, MT  59624

(406) 442-9411

The mission of the Montana Association for the Blind is to promote the social and economic self-sufficiency of blind and low vision Montanans through the facilitation of quality education, learning, training and employment services and opportunities, and to foster a positive understanding of blindness. 


Our vision is of a Montana in which blindness is perceived and understood to be an ordinary and respectable part of life, and in which the skills and tools of blindness are readily available to all who may benefit from them.  We envision an environment in which blind and low vision Montanans have ample and equal opportunities to learn, to achieve, and to contribute in our homes, communities, state, and nation.



Section                                         Page Number             

President’s Message                                                      3

Editor’s Corner                                                                3

Executive Board Summary                                             4     

Election Results                                                              5

Convention 2018                                                             6

Margery Moberly Scholarship                                         8

Summer Orientation Program                                         8

The Blind History Lady                                                    9

Tips N Tricks                                                                  12

Bequests                                                                        13

Chapter News                                                                13


The MAB is a member of Montana Shares and receives a nice sum of money each year based on donations through workplace giving and other fundraising.



Hi Everyone!!


I think fall is in the air. Has been very cold here in Anaconda. We are now having an Indian Summer for a couple days.


I hope that everyone who attended the 2018 convention had a great time!! There were vendors galore, something for everyone. The speakers were great also. I personally enjoyed myself.


Now with Thanksgiving and Christmas I wish everyone safety and happiness. Enjoy your families, as I will.


Remember the MAB dues and the records of address and phone numbers for your chapter members for 2019.


Lets all try to do some cookie sales or some kind of fundraising before the end of the year. It’s all tax deductible for the giver.


Thank You for a wonderful year, I pray this next year will be better than the great year we had this year.


Rhonda Cochrane

MAB President



Editor’s Corner

The year turns as it always does, and now we find ourselves in the autumn and heading into winter. Already we’ve seen snow in many parts of the state, and soon we will be curling up under blankets with mugs of hot chocolate. Although the annual convention is over (great job Bozeman Chapter!), and the Summer Orientation Program has yet to begin, there is much work to be done on behalf of the people with low vision and blindness in the state. The MAB is really a special organization that reaches out to people all over our state, helping them achieve what they want in life. Our membership includes blind and low vision people, their families, friends, and other people with big hearts. There are more people to be reached, however. There are people out there who have lost their sight and have no idea that we are here to help. There is fundraising that must be done if we are to continue our programs. Each member of the MAB can do these things. Start by attending your local chapter meetings and telling everyone you know about the MAB. Together we will make the journey of blindness better for Montanans. In this issue, I’ve included an article by The Blind History Lady, aka Peggy Chong. I thought you might enjoy it.

Jocelyn DeHaas, editor



Executive Board Meeting Summary

The Board of Directors met on June 23rd in Helena at Carroll College. President Cochrane reminded the board to focus on the MAB mission statement. District Representatives gave reports on their districts. They discussed board politics. The board talked about the difference between sharing information and gossiping. As board members, we can share information, but when the talk is against the board or MAB, we should remember that we are not here for ourselves, but to further this organization that helps so many people. Even if the board votes against something that one member wants, he must go along with the vote. President Cochrane challenged districts to raise money. We need funds for both the SOP and to run the MAB. Several districts accepted the challenge. It is important to fundraise not only to get the money that we need, but also it raises awareness of the MAB. Jerry West gave a report about the Trekkers that the MAB purchased at wholesale price and is selling them for retail. Jerry has sold one of the twelve purchased and hopes to have the rest sold soon. Jerry West also talked about the Elder Blind Loan Lease Program and Memorial Loan Fund. Rhonda discussed with the Board for the need to have policies and procedures in place for the Board to follow.  This would allow for the Board as a whole to be on the same page and know how to act during meetings. A committee was formed to work on this. Rhonda reported to the Board the MAB is now a member of the Montana Nonprofit Association and have paid the membership for one year and also signed up for access to a grant database. Discussion was held that if someone wants to write a grant, it would be good to go through one person.  That way the board would know what grants have been written and also that one contact person can review and finalize each grant to submit. Jocelyn DeHaas offered to be the Coordinator. Anyone interested in writing a grant to benefit the MAB or SOP, please contact her. Beth Wicks gave a report about the annual convention which would be held in Bozeman in early October. The theme is: Dare to Dream.




This year we voted on District Representatives to the Board of Directors. Three new District Representatives joined the board on October 7th. Please welcome them: Jerry West for District 3, Ken McCulloch for District 4, and John Snowberger for District 6. They join continuing District Representatives: Eric Hyatt for District 2, and Buddy Long for District 5. The District 1 position is still open. The board also includes: Rhonda Cochrane – President, Beth Wicks – First Vice President, Chris Broadhurst – Second Vice President, and Pansy Callantine – Third Vice President.



We Dared to Dream at the MAB annual convention this year in Bozeman! The convention was held from October 5 to 7. On Friday the Board of Directors met and later the chapter presidents had a meeting. Meanwhile other people enjoyed learning adaptive water exercises in the hotel pool. At 4:15, there were 2 breakout sessions. One featured the audible dart board facilitated by Todd Fahlstrom, and the other presented parenting tips led by Kerri Norick and Amy Tangen. We enjoyed pizza with these. At 5:30, Vanda Pharmaceuticals – who generously donated to the Bozeman Chapter for the convention – held a reception for the vendors. Cub Scout Troop 3526 opened the convention with the Presentation of Colors and the Pledge of Allegiance. President Rhonda Cochrane thanked everyone for attending and appointed a committee to count ballots. Three members protested that they had not received ballots, so they were given ballots so they could vote. We then had a live auction of goods donated for the Summer Orientation Program.  Amanda Fahlstrom was our lively auctioneer, and the auction brought in over $1,257 for the SOP. On Saturday morning, we had the business meeting. It was brought to the board’s attention that proper procedure had not been followed in the distribution of the proposed bylaw changes. Because of this, the board decided that it would be best if the bylaws proposed for this year were held for next year’s convention. While the business meeting was going on, Sharon Henderson and Cindy Campbell led a session called, “Tips and Tricks for Care Providers.” The Montana State Talking Book Library celebrated its 50-year anniversary with a fantastic coffee and snacks break. At lunch, Allan Peterson spoke about his experience with a bionic eye.

After lunch there were two breakout sessions. Shauna Jatho, a registered nurse with Vanda Pharmaceuticals talked about Non-24. This is a sleep disordered that many blind and visually impaired people have. In another session, Dr. Christy Moeller talked about Charles Bonnet Syndrome. This is a condition that some people with vision loss experience. They have visual hallucinations that may range from very simple such as colors or patterns, to complex which may include people or animals. We had a coffee break then there were three more breakout sessions. Richard Faubion with the Foundation Fighting Blindness spoke about research into retinal disorders. In the other session, MonTECH’s Dave Gentry gave us an update on new assistive technology. In the third session, Bill Fiedler showed us how changing the lighting we use can improve our ability to see.

Hawaii in Montana? We had a taste of it at the convention. We all donned our best Hawaiian clothes and had a luau feast for dinner. The Bozeman Ukulele Cabaret provided music for us. Then Vince Ulstad talked about “Life After Vision Loss.” He lost his vision suddenly in an accident. He experienced shock and grief at first, but he has grown to enjoy his life without some of the “distractions of vision.” He described how he loves to listen to the sounds around him. He challenged us to think about what we would like said about us at our funerals, then try to live up to that.

On Sunday morning, Judy Neeley led us in a service to commemorate all of the MAB members that had passed away during the last year:

Marilyn Naylor – Anaconda, Fran O’Farrell – Butte, Hans Lampert – Butte, Cleo Jones – Bozeman, Agnes Burnelle – Bozeman, Jane McGivney – Lewistown, Kay Witham – Polson, Audrey Hood – Helena, Lucille Van Diest – Helena, Patricia Boedecker – Helena – Mike Miller – Helena, & Frank Davis – Helena, Margery Moberly - Billings

Tears flowed as we said good-bye to these members and remembered our loved ones who had passed but are never gone from our hearts.  We were reminded not to take those we love for granted. The new District Representatives were installed. The convention wrapped up, then. The Board of Directors held a short meeting to welcome the new board members and schedule the next meeting.  The next meeting will be in Butte on Saturday, November 17th. We all packed up and left. We were more knowledgeable about blindness and what we can do than when we came, and we were warmed by seeing old friends again. We look forward to the convention next year in Billings.


Margery – or Marge – Moberly was a longtime member of the Rimrock (Billings) Chapter. She served as their treasurer for a while as well as their secretary for a while. Marge loved the annual conventions! In her memory the Rimrock Chapter has given $500 toward a special scholarship fund to help members who want to attend the convention but can’t afford it. The Chapter asks other chapters to donate as well so that the scholarship can help more people.

Summer Orientation Program

The SOP was held this year from June 11th to July 6th at Carroll College in Helena. Next year we will be starting classes on June 17th and run until July 12th. Applications for students and staff will be out in February. Think of someone you know who would benefit from our program. It is an opportunity for someone with vision loss to learn to do what they did before, learn new things, and make life-long friends. Tell that person about the SOP – encourage them to attend. They will not regret it.


This year we held a Dining in the Dark fundraising event where people came to eat a gourmet dinner blindfolded. We raised about $2000 with the event and helped people understand more about blindness. I have been asked to do another event this year, but I would like more help. The old saying is that many hands make light work so, we are looking for more hands. If you are interested in helping out, please let me know. Together we can make next year even more of a success.

Jocelyn DeHaas, Director SOP




Editor’s note: I get a monthly email from The Blind History Lady and thought you may enjoy her articles as much as I do. This is the most recent one. It is used with permission. The website and email for The Blind History Lady are at the end of the article.


October is Disability awareness month. At this time each year, I ponder the term disabled/disability. Through my research I find many who are blind that belie the term disabled. 

For me, the word “disabled” brings to mind a car on the shoulder of a freeway with its hood up, going nowhere while the world passes it by. I know that for many of our blind ancestors who did not have the courage or the opportunity to step up, this was the case. I sometimes wonder if the label unconsciously allows us to be off of the road, going nowhere. 

For the most part, I do not give the verbiage much thought. I am a blind person. I am not a disabled person. If others label me thus, well, that is their label for me, but not mine.

Today I want to share a brief story with you about another man who did not label himself as “disabled”. To be sure, he was most abled!


Clarence Homan was born in Iowa in 1900. He moved to northern Minnesota in his youth. By all accounts he had the normal childhood of a boy growing up in the farming communities of the Midwest. 

He married and had three children. All seemed picture perfect. Then in 1926, his wife died, leaving him with three small children, the youngest an infant. Clarence took the loss of his wife hard. He allowed his family to take the children until he could get back on his feet.

While blowing out tree stumps in March of 1931, he got too close and the charge went off in his hand. He lost his hand and much of his hearing. He also became totally blind. 

Clarence went to the summer school program for blind adults at the Minnesota State School for the Blind in Faribault, in the summer of 1932. During this time, that was the only option for rehabilitation for blind adults in the state of Minnesota. He learned how to make baskets, rugs, and handle tools as a blind man. The career option he was offered by the school was to take up piano tuning. Clarence gave it some thought. With only one hand, no musical ability to begin with, very poor hearing, What were they thinking!

Attending the summer school classes helped him pick up some blindness techniques, but more importantly, he met several blind men his own age that were working at many jobs. They became his “counselors”.

Some of them made and sold brooms for a living. Clarence did not know if he could make the brooms, but he could sell them. One blind man who had a big broom factory in Minneapolis offered him a job as a salesman. 


However, Minneapolis was saturated with blind broom salesmen. He would not be able to make enough money to get his children back and purchase a home. Being it was now the beginning of the depression, a large population were out of work. He found a sighted man who was out of work and then bought a truck. The two bought a truckload of brooms from the blind broom makers and headed out of town. For a couple years, through Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, he sold the brooms out of the back of his truck. Gas rationing and the depression were beginning to cut in on his business. 

 With the money he saved, Clarence was able to buy a house and in today’s language, flipped it. He bought another and another house, making a good profit. He purchased a home of his own and asked his mother to come and live with him. Now, Clarence was able to support two of his three children, the oldest being adopted by a relative. 

 Getting a bit older, Clarence became tired of climbing the ladder each spring and fall to change out his storm and screen windows and climbing the ladder several times a year to wash the windows. Blindness was not such a big problem, but balancing the windows on his arm without a hand was becoming harder. 

 In 1945, Clarence submitted patent #US2411727 for a friction pivot steel arm for a window that would open inward for easy cleaning and he could even pull the screen window through the opening from inside of his second floor home. The patent was granted in November of 1946. In no time he was offered to sell his patent for an undisclosed sum of money. Taking the best offer, Clarence was set for life.

 I wonder, for five years, as a sighted man, his children were being raised by others. Did his accident take him to the lowest point in his life where there was just nowhere else to go but up? 

 Can you really say that Clarence Homan was disabled? We should all be so lucky.

The Blind History Lady





Here we are rushing into the fall and winter season. The beautiful leaves are falling and are looking for a new home in the compost pile. Here are some tips on raking leaves for a blind person.

1.      When raking leaves we need to create boundaries to follow as we rake. Take a small area, rake the leaves into a pile and pick them up putting them into a bag. Then place the bag at the beginning of the next section you are starting to rake.
2.      When using a leaf blower, work in the same manner by following boundaries and picking up as you get a pile ready.
3.      There is always the option to hire someone to do the job. This is the one I like the best!
4.      If you rent or own your home remember to remove the leaves from your roof and rain gutters.
5.      When doing snow removal, you can use the same boundary technique. Just plan where you are going to put the snow after removing it off the sidewalk or other areas.

I hope that you all have a very beautiful and safe Holiday Season!

Recipe for the season.
      1 graham cracker crust
      1 8 oz. pk. cream cheese
      1 cup pumpkin
      1/2 cup sugar
      1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
      1 tub (8 oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed
Blend cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, spice, and topping in electric mixer. Pour into crust and refrigerate for 4 hrs.


Sharon Henderson




Have you remembered the Montana Association for the Blind in your will? If so, please let us know so that we can properly thank you. If you haven’t, please think about helping us continue to foster independence and a positive future for the blind and low vision people of Montana.


Chapter News

Butte Silverbow Chapter

We don’t regularly meet during the summer months. We had our first picnic on July 17th at the Berkeley Pit viewing stand. Our second picnic of the summer was on August 18th and was hosted by the Lions Club. It was also held at the Berkeley Pit viewing stand and 43 people came to this one.  Our first regularly scheduled meeting was Friday, September 7th at Perkins. We did not have a meeting in October because many of us went to the annual convention in Bozeman which was October 5-7.

Sept 21st the Silverbow Chapter held a meeting at Perkins with 14 in attendance. Our meeting was to have been held on September 7th but it was cancelled because one of our members, Hans Lampert passed away. We had his funeral on the 7th We cancelled the meeting so that people could attend his funeral. At the meeting on the 21st, Eric Hyatt talked about the pizza that was going to be served at the convention. Pizza will be served to the people who were attending the Friday evening sessions. DeDe Dunn asked about things for the silent and live auction. Bob Brooks told us he rented a bus to transport members to the convention in Bozeman. Mike Hocking asked that we turn in calendar money before December 30th. He then asked if anyone wanted to be calendar chair. Eric volunteered, but Mike said that Eric had too much on his plate. Inga Lampert shared about Hans. We will all miss him very much. Our next meeting will be on November 5th. It will be our Thanksgiving meeting. Our Christmas meeting will be December 3rd.

Vicky King, Secretary


 Anaconda Chapter

The annual Anaconda Chapter picnic began at 1:00PM on August 20th at the Benny Goodman Park.  Rhonda introduced her new children, Colton, McKenna, and Kennedy.  To wit, all were glad to see the youngsters. The group enjoyed chicken provided by Jim, and Eric stated that due to work, he was unable to make his families’ St. James Baked Beans, but he provided Bush’s Bourbon Baked Beans and Hickory Maple Bacon Baked Beans instead. Rhonda provided a wonderfully baked and decorated cake from Butte.  This cake was very delicious. We also enjoyed an assortment of salads, chips, soda, and other items.  It was very good and delicious, Thank You Anaconda Chapter!!

 At the September 17th meeting, Zach Shelin was a guest from the Butte Chapter. Rhonda spoke a little bit about the present situation of the Board of Directors at the state level.  Furthermore, in six short years, if none of the Board members or local chapters are not actively doing fundraising, then we will be broke.  Whereas, Zach had an idea of a YouTube presentation that just might attract donations and awareness of the program.  He went into detail about what he thought could be on this presentation.  Rhonda reminded everyone that October 15, is White Cane Day.  Anaconda Chapter will meet at the Hearthstone Apartments at 1PM, then we will disburse to several locations around town to spread the awareness and possibly receive donations.  Faith has purchased shirts for everyone.

Anaconda Chapter remembers Marilyn Naylor, who passed away on August 20, 2018.  We will include her at the Memorial Service at Convention.

This report respectfully submitted,

Mr. Eric S. Hyatt, District Representative


The Anaconda Chapter holds its regular meetings at one o-clock on the third Friday every month at Heartstone.  For information, call Rhonda Cochrane at 406-563-7711.

Bozeman Chapter

In July, Ken McCulloch was appointed the Director of the Low Vision Center in Bozeman. August 9 was the date of our annual picnic. Good food, good conversation. A good time was had by all. September found us scrambling to put the finishing touches on the state convention and get the ballot put together for the October chapter election.

The state convention was a success. We've a lot of very positive feedback. One of the high points was the whole pig at the luau. There was a lot of good information in the break-out sessions. All in all, we are very proud of the final product. At our October meeting we had our chapter elections. Todd Fahlstrom was elected to the office of President. Christi Small was re-elected to the office of secretary.

Christi Small, Secretary

Hi-Line Chapter

 We only have six members, but we are very dedicated. One of our members comes in every month from 40 miles away. We appreciate all of them!

The Hi-Line Chapter meets over lunch on the second Tuesday of each month at one-thirty. We change the location to suit the lunch desires of the group, so please call Judy Neeley at 406-301-4989 to find out more.


Capital City (Helena)

We met on June 25th at Touchmark. Jerry West and Leif Bowman came to show some new equipment for the blind. The new Amigo is a smaller version of the C.C.T.V. The Trekker is to help people go more places. At our July 23rd meeting our Vice President talked about a diabetes seminar at the Colonial Hotel and learned about a new drug that could help people get off insulin and metformin. In September we had Kerrie from the Talking Book Library and their services. We talked about the convention in Bozeman in October. Vicky Greaney, Jim Greaney, and Becky Monroe walked around the state Capital for White Cane Day.

Rusty Cochrane, Secretary

 We meet at Touchmark at 915 Saddle Drive on the fourth Monday of each month at two-thirty. Call Vicky Greaney at 406-458-9433 for more information.


Great Falls Chapter

We have restarted the Great Falls chapter. We held our first meeting on September 19th to begin the process of rebuilding the membership. At this first meeting we had 8 people come. We talked about fundraising at the Christmas stroll again this year. It has been three years since we have done this, and we are looking forward to getting it going again as well as finding new ideas for fundraising.

Our second meeting took place on October 15th. We held general elections and put in place the new board of Jerry West as President of the chapter, Kay Stevens as the Vice-President, Janet Koostra as the Secretary, and Patti Howse as Treasurer.

We held an Apple training at that meeting and learned how the Siri feature can be used as a virtual assistant. We had 15 people attending this meeting and made plans for our December meeting on December 3rd to get ready for the bake sale at the Christmas stroll.

Jerry West, President


No reports from the Polson, Lewistown, Rimrock, or At-Large Chapters



Editor’s Note:

The Observer is published four times a year (in the middle of January, April, July, and November). Please send all comments, questions and submissions for publication to:

Jocelyn DeHaas

MAB Observer Editor



The Observer is available in three formats:

1.  Large print

2.  Email

3.  Digital audio (an MP3 file on a thumb drive that works in a computer or the talking book machine from the library)