July 29, 2013

Gone Fishin’

Photo: The 'Wacky Jacky' fishing boat heads out on the water

July 23rd - 4 WBRC students had a wonderful opportunity to go on a fishing excursion through the WBRC Recreation Therapy Program.  This excursion on a sport fishing boat was donated by Post 564 of the American Legion, specifically so that the WBRC vets could go out and experience sport fishing in the Pacific.  After an early start and loading the van at 5 am, the group drove up to San Francisco to catch the boat.  It was amazing how empty Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco was at 6 am in the morning.  The group met up with some of the members of the American Legion, and we all climbed down the ladder to board the Wacky Jacky.  Captain Jacky explained the main goal was to make sure the WBRC Veterans had a chance to catch fish, so when there was a tug on the line, they would get first dibs on it.  And out we sailed, into the fog, under the Golden Gate via the shipping channel.  We could later tell when the fog burned off that the Golden Gate Bridge and coastline were in the far distance.

The water was really calm that day (the captain and crew remarked on how unusual that was), and also how many other fishing boats were out there, with the same purpose: to catch salmon.  The Wacky Jacky had fishing poles secured all around the boat and they used anchovies as bait.  Soon, the fish started biting, first one salmon, then another, until each student had caught a fish.  Not only that, each fish weighed well over 20 pounds! Then, the there was a lull again of over an hour and then another tug on the line and this one was a huge salmon, caught by one of the American Legion vets, and it was 30 pounds!!   Then all of a sudden, the fish stopped biting – the boat circled around for a couple of hours but no more bites. So all in all 6 huge fish caught! This was the first time fishing for one of the students, and they came back with a 20 pound fish – very impressive. 

As the fish were caught the crew would kill the fish with a whack on the head with a wooden mallet and  place them in a container that had continual sea water washing over them.  When we got into port, one of the crew members expertly filleted the salmon.  Some scraps were given to bystanders lined up on the pier to get scraps, so really nothing went to waste.  Pictures were taken of the guys with their fish, and it was a really impressive catch - even tourists took snaps of that – and each student got a T-shirt from Jacky to commemorate their trip.  All in all a fascinating experience fishing with the Wacky Jacky – and the next day, a salmon BBQ at WBRC with all the Veterans and Staff for lunch!

July 2, 2013

WBRC Website Launches Update

Photo: A screen shot of the updated WBRC Website

The Western Blind Rehabilitation Center (WBRC) is proud to announce the launch of our new and improved website.  The new WBRC site includes updated information regarding the program and services provided, the setting, admissions, scheduling a visit, 2012 outcome measures, and research.  There are fresh photographs and links to the WBRC Blog, newsletter, and construction updates. WBRC hopes this site will serve as a gateway to care as well as a resource for Veterans, their family members and friends, medical and care providers, and other stake-holders. 

Please CLICK HERE to view the new WBRC Website

July 1, 2013

July VIST Group Meeting Announced for Palo Alto

Image: VIST Logo

Veterans, Family Members, and Caregivers:

The Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST) is pleased to announce the date for the July support group meeting for low vision, blind, and visually impaired veterans.  The group will be held at the Palo Alto VAPAHCS Hospital, Bldg. 7 Trailer C from 10:00-11:00am.

The next Palo Alto VIST group meeting will be held on: 

Thursday July 18th

The group is both informational and supportive in nature and all are welcome to attend. Each month will be a different presentation to support the community of veterans with sight-loss. Family members and Caregivers are also encouraged to come.

Question Contacts are:  

Patrick Finan, MSW
Coordinator, Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST)
VA Palo Alto HCS
(650) 852-3467

Elizabeth Jessen,
Poly Trauma VIST Coordinator/Health Science Specialist
VA Palo Alto HCS
(650) 493-5000 ext. 63431

The remaining 2013 VIST Support Group Meeting dates are as follows (3rd Thursday of every month):

July 18
August 15
September 19
October 17
November 21
December 19