By Deanna Austin (information obtained from Don Koors)
In July of 1961 the American Council of the Blind National Organization was formed. In the fall of 1971, it became apparent that Indiana needed to establish a state affiliate. Thanks to the Indianapolis Star Fund for the Blind, a mailing was sent to 8,000 legally blind Hoosiers inviting them to attend an in-person meeting at the Atkinson Hotel in downtown Indianapolis.
Current active members, Don and Gerry Koors attended this first meeting. Durward K. McDaniel from ACB National presided over the meeting. At this historical meeting election of officers and the nine-member board were elected with the first president being a gentleman from Fort Wayne who owned a janitorial supply company and Don Koors being elected secretary. The state board began to meet quarterly as they continue to do today. After the first meeting, constitution and bylaws were developed and submitted to the national office for approval.
Local chapters began to be developed including South Central Association of the Visually Impaired (SCAVI) in Bedford, North Central in Elkhart/Goshen and Circle City in Indianapolis. Other chapters that formed include Lakota in Columbia City and Heartland Association in Bloomington. At present, ACB of Indiana has 3 active local chapters (SCAVI, Circle City, and Heartland). Chapter representatives also became part of the board. At one point, membership had reached over 200 people statewide. In 2021, ACB of Indiana has over 100 certified members.
For over 25 years ACB of Indiana has shared information with its membership via the quarterly newsletter “Focus on ACBI”. This newsletter provides a message from the president, chapter news, convention information, board contact information, and articles as it relates to issues facing the blind and visually impaired. Other resources are the website at acb-indiana.org, the Indiana e-mail list and the ACBI “Information Station” a monthly zoom meeting providing information on various topics. Here’s to another 50 years of advocacy and support for programs which allow blind and visually impaired Hoosiers to live at their maximum level!