2016 ACB of Maine Annual State Conference

2016 ACB of Maine State Conference


The Great City of Waterville was host to this year’s 2016 ACB of Maine State Conference, and as the Mighty Kennebec River continued to flow by, members of the blind community from around the state rolled into town for another great collection of courage, strength and hope. The inspiration wasn’t too shabby either, and as the registration process finished up and the President took the podium, another conference was under way.


This year’s collection of speakers included those from DBVI, The Iris Network, Catholic Charities, the Secretary of State’s office, Adaptive Outdoor Education Center, Disability Rights of Maine and the ITN.


The agenda was packed, the electricity was charged and the day took shape as the canes and paws made their way into the conference room. With so much going on throughout the day, it’s hard to signify any one item as the height of the day, that is until we all remembered and learned of a few things regarding a very special couple from Central Maine.


Mr. and Mrs. Marge and Hugh Awalt indeed were the highlight of the day, and as the cheers and applause filled the room, the love of that entire room was outdone only by the love felt between these two incredible individuals.


Hats off to you Marge and Hugh, and may many more sunrises and sunsets be waiting for you both.


And so another annual convention has come and gone, and with it, ACB of Maine is gearing up to head through the holiday season, and into 2017 with a spirited step and a full tank of enthusiasm and optimism that this next year will help to bring an amazing amount of spirit and cheer to the blind community of Maine.


From all of us at ACB of Maine, Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful holiday season, and may the coming year continue to amaze you all.



Marge and Hugh Awalt – 50 Years Together

Marge and Hugh Awalt at ACB Maine Conference

Marge and Hugh Awalt at ACB Maine Conference

It happened one October day, fifty years ago. Two souls were brought together by an unseen force. Two unique hearts wrapped around each other, and began beating in rhythm as they embarked on an incredible journey along the hands of time. If ever there were two spirits that were meant to join hands, it was Marge and Hugh Awalt, and the members of ACB of Maine were honored to take part in their amazing celebration of love.


The annual conference became one more celebrated stepping stone for this Central Maine couple, and as the day progressed, we were all invited to reminisce and hold high the memories that these two marked their union with. The laughter, the smiles, the applause that filled the convention room was the highlight of all who attended, and for a brief moment in time, time stood still.


I’m sure that I join everyone by saying, hats off to you both. Your love, faith and commitment to one another is such a huge part of what makes ACB of Maine so special.


The two images accompanying this post are of Marge and Hugh, and their celebration cake. Thank you to all who assembled this warm and memorable occasion. It’s an experience that ACB of Maine will never forget.



Randolph-Sheppard Act: 80th Anniversary

From: Dan Sippl via leadership <leadership@acblists.org>
Good afternoon Friends and Colleagues.


Today we honor and celebrate this program’s historical achievement. On this day in 1936, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the Randolph-Sheppard Act.  For 80 years, thousands of blind and visually impaired individuals have embraced the entrepreneurial spirit to play a vital role in the economy of the United States.


Think back to 1936, most of America’s blind and visually impaired were on street corners with pencils in tin cans rattling for change to feed themselves and their families.


Two sitting Senators with great insight and foresight thought of the idea to create jobs for the blind and to help them off the street corners and into careers. The Business Enterprise Program (BEP) is the single most successful disability-targeted program for providing real opportunities with competitive earnings in American history.


The BEP has incredible stories of person’s blind and visually impaired overcoming tremendous personal and physical obstacles to achieve a career.  As we all embodie the idea that with hard work, anyone can embrace a future of their choosing.


Why is the BEP important? Because we now have the ability to change a person’s life. What a great job we have as stewards of this program!


Happy Anniversary and here to 80 more years!

Let’s all celebrate



Videographer Lee Arnott and The Blind Bowlers of Maine

Good March to you all from ACB of Maine!


As a lot of you probably know, I have had the honor of being involved with the Blind Bowlers of Maine since 2011, and because of it, I have had the privilege of meeting, and becoming friends with quite a few amazing people. This bi-monthly event that I attend usually runs from mid Autumn, through mid spring, and its warming medicine has helped me tremendously these past five years, as those winter months have a habit of trying one’s spirited soul.


Last spring, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet a very unique woman. Her name is Lee Arnott, who is a videographer extraordinaire. During a few of our bowling adventures, Lee video taped our candlepin excursions with the Blind Bowler’s group, and her expertly produced video turned out to be just that, a very wonderful and touching look at this time tested event that has brought a community of folks together to share their experiences, strength and hope.


Below, you will find a short bio on Lee Arnott, along with a YouTube link to her produced video. As the webmaster of ACB of Maine, and a proud member of the Blind Bowlers of Maine, I thank you Lee for your efforts, your friendship, and for your unique perspectives. I’m sure that I speak for everyone when I say that I wish you the very best with your business endeavors, and thank you again for producing such a well crafted documentary about some of the most inspirational people I know.


I would also wish to thank Rolfe Frost for his incredibly gracious and committed efforts. Without you Mr. Frost, none of this would have been possible, and again, I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say hats off to you sir, and may each of your days be almost as good as tomorrow.


The Blind Bowlers of Maine continue to be proudly sponsored by the Lions Club, and our thanks and appreciation for their gracious contributions will always echo throughout the Central Maine blindness community.


Deon Lyons

American Council of the Blind of Maine





Lee Arnott is a videographer/editor who resides in the great town of Gardiner, Maine. She owns and operates Sweet Thunder Productions, her video production company.  Lee studied filmmaking at Emerson College, graduating in 1994. She moved to Maine in 2000 and started volunteering at the local community TV station, producing documentaries about local artists and area events. In 2009 she set out to start her own production company, officially opening the doors to Sweet Thunder Productions in 2010. Lee produces Maine wedding videos, marketing and web videos for businesses and non-profits; instructional, educational and  corporate videos throughout the State of Maine. Her passion is documentaries about people and social causes.


The Blind Bowlers Club video is a result of Rolfe Frost, a Clinton, Maine Lions Club member, contacting Lee about producing a short video about his Saturday bus ride throughout Central Maine, picking up blind residents and taking them bowling and out to lunch. Lee traveled with Rolfe on four Saturdays in February, March and April, filming on the bus and at the 1-7-10 Bowling Alley in Augusta. The video combines humor, camaraderie, and the sport of bowling. Rolfe, along with long time bowler Marj Awalt, are featured throughout the video lending their perspectives with regards to the bowling experience, the community and what it means to them personally.


The 8 1/2 minute video crafted by Ms. Arnott has been screened at the Maine Lion’s Club Annual Convention, online, and at various related events.


To view this wonderful video via YouTube, click on the  following link:




Lee’s contact information:

Lee Arnott

Sweet Thunder Productions

(207) 441-7011


Like us on Facebook!




ACB of Maine Has a New Mailing Address

Happy February to all!


ACB of Maine has acquired a new mailing address. If you wish to correspond with our organization using that good old traditional snail mail system, send to the following address:


American Council of the Blind of Maine

PO Box 2885

Waterville, ME 04903


This address will be good until further notice.

Thanks, and have an ACB Day!