WBRC recently received an update from one of our Alumni, Chris Rader, on his recent experience participating in Project Gemini through the BVA. He was happy to have us share it on the WBRC blog, find his update following below:
Photo: Chris Rader at Buckingham Palace June 4, 2015
Through The Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) Operation Peer Support, I Chris Rader a lifetime member, was given the opportunity to go on Project Gemini. Project Gemini happens once a year and unites the Blinded Veterans of the United States with the Blinded Veterans of the U.K. (BVA U.K.) for a week of experiencing what kind of training they receive at their blind center in Brighton where their headquarters is located.
It was a once in a lifetime opportunity this year as we celebrated their 100-year anniversary at a Garden Party in the Buckingham Palace. I stayed at an overflow house that they have converted into a multiple bedroom facility for Veterans to stay at just next to their headquarters/ blind center. During the stay they provided us the opportunity to add to their wall of plaques, which my plaque was made through a lifetime member of the BVA who does laser engravings, which stated Task Force Tarawa, Alpha 1/10 1st Battalion 2nd Marine Division the mission which I was in for the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003. The BVA U.K. also made me a lifetime member of their association to where I can go visit their blind center and stay in the house for a week at a good price, which I plan on doing one of these years to complete a 100k 24 hour walk for charity.
The experience I had there was amazing and have decided that during the BVA conferences we will have to provide them with more to do and see instead of just classes on how to work with the Veterans Affairs and coping with blindness, as they gave us tours of palaces, museums, and historical sites. We also went to a lagoon to where we were taught how to wake and paddle board. I would have to say it all together a wonderful experience.