President Paul Mimms
Attended Antioch College 1963-1965, Penn Valley community College 1986-1987
Bachelor of science degree from University of Missouri Kansas City in sociology, 1989
Masters degree in social work from University of Kansas, 1991
Readjustment counselor, Department of Veterans Affairs vet center, Kansas City MO, 1992-2000
Computer skills instructor, West Palm Beach VA Blind Rehab Center, 2000-2004
Visual impairment services team coordinator, West Palm Beach VA Medical Center, 2004-2009
Founder and moderator, Real-Eyes computer user group, 1991 to 2000
Cofounder, technology Association of visually impaired veterans, 2013 to 2016
Blinded Veterans Association Board of Directors, 2013-2018
Founder and moderator, blind veteran dog handlers committee, 2014 to present
President, Missouri guide dog users, 2018-present
Recipient, major general Melvin Jay Maas BVA Lifetime Achievement award 2014
Vice President Chip Hailey
Chip Hailey was born December, 1952 in Kansas City, Missouri; then later at age 5, he, with his parents and 3 sisters, moved back to Joplin, where his parents had formerly resided.
Chip lost the sight in both eyes in a rather unique fashion. It happened while he was playing sports, the first baseball and the second football.
At age 12, he sustained the baseball injury to his right eye and had to have the eye removed; now he has a prosthetic eye.
While a junior in high school, he sustained a severe blow to his forehead while playing football, causing a detached retina in his remaining good eye. Doctors said he might never see again or graduate from high school.
However, he graduated in 1970 from Joplin Memorial High School and immediately went to work at a grocery warehouse where he sustained a life-threatening injury.
It was in 1971 on his first day on the job that the accident occurred. He was unloading a box car when the inside dividing metal door, weighing more than a thousand pounds, came crashing down on him, crushing his pelvis and severely injuring his lower back.
Chip was confined to the hospital for more than two months as he recovered from his injuries. Doctors feared he might never walk again, but six months later Chip was able to return to work.
Then in 1978, while attending Oklahoma State Tech in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, Chip contracted pneumonia, causing the retina to detach for the final time, leaving him totally blind. For cosmetic reasons, Chip today wears a plastic shell that covers his left eye. Both his prosthetic eye and the plastic shell are blue; he says he loves being able to select the color of his eyes.
One of Chip’s first real encounters with technology came in 1979 when he accepted the responsibility of duplicating cassette tapes to make available to his church congregation.
Chip also enjoyed assisting other blind individuals to use the 4-track tape players from his state library as well as the APH players from the American Printing House for the Blind.
Also back in the 70’s, Chip enjoyed listening to his CB radio, 8-track player, and the Bible on cassette tape.
In the years to follow, Chip would be introduced to computers and would gain a wealth of knowledge from two good friends, Paul Mimms and Denny Huff.
Both gentlemen tirelessly spent hours teaching him the software necessary to access his computer. They were even willing to stay up late at night to instruct him.
Today, Chip shares that same learning experience with others in the blind community and has a strong desire to see others also come into the world of computers.
Over the years, Chip has served on numerous state boards and councils representing the blind community and continues to look for ways to help make life better for his blind brothers and sisters.
Chip retired from the Joplin Independent Living Center in May of 2019 after 23 years and is now a technology specialist for Missouri Assistive Technology and Gateway for the Blind LLC.
He also serves on the Missouri Assistive Technology Advisory Council and is the Education & Advocacy Chairperson for the Missouri Council of the Blind.
In addition, he serves on the Governor’s Council On Disability as well as the Statewide Rehabilitation Council.
Chip currently serves as president of ATI (Adaptive Technology Inc.), a special interest affiliate of the Missouri Council of the Blind.
Secretary/Treasurer Denny Huff
My life changed suddenly when blinded in a work related accident in 1974. Since that time, with the support of my family, friends and especially God, I have managed to live my life as normally as possible. Although it isn’t always easy, being able to lean on others in the same situation as I am has helped tremendously.
Through most of my years since my accident, I did volunteer work for Churches, organizations and in the community I live in. Then in 1995, with the advent of the blind having access to computers, I started my own business specializing in computer training and evaluation for the blind.
I still operate that business today called, Gateway for the Blind and am contracted by Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind in Washington D.C. With this contract I travel nationwide doing work for the IRS and Social Security training their visually impaired employees.
I also have a contract with the Missouri Rehab Services for the Blind and the Missouri Assistive Technology organizations that allows me to work with hundreds of visually impaired residents of Missouri.
I have served as the president of the Missouri Council of the Blind from 2008 through 2012 and 2014 to 2018. MCB is Missouri’s largest blind consumer organization and it is my privilege and pleasure to be able to give back to the blind community much of the help and support I received after losing my sight…
In addition to serving as the president of MCB and operating my own company I have also serve as president of the local affiliate in St. Charles MO from 2016 to 2020, SCCCB, as vice president of the Heartland Independent Living Center in Owensville MO and as president of the Blind Community Thrift Store located in Springfield Missouri. I also serve on the MO Health Partnership Committee that serves to keep it’s members updated on changes to medicaid and the blind pension program and to advocate for these programs to the legislators.
One of my passions has always been working with broadcasting. Currently I, along with Chip Hailey record a weekly two hour Internet broadcast featuring Gospel music. I also record a 30 minute weekly broadcast on a local radio station in Washington Missouri. I record both of the broadcasts in my studio located in my home in St. Clair Missouri.
I am the father of four children, Kerry, Sara, Daniel and Devin, eight grand children, Eryn, Robby, Lily, Daniel, Zoe, Danica, Maddy and Zachary and two great grandsons, Riley and Dean in which all play a very important part of my life.