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Dear HLAA Supporter,
I am thrilled to serve as your new executive director! I’ve been fortunate to have met so many of you over the 28 years that I have been with the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). The organization is as vibrant today as it was when we were just getting started 37 years ago. I know you are bombarded with news these days, but I have things I want to share with you. Maybe there are some things you didn’t know about. Our mission hasn’t changed, but we still have a lot of work to do. With your help, we can do it.
Had you heard about the fire?
The last direct appeal letter I wrote was in April 1988, three weeks after Founder Rocky Stone hired me. Our national office was above a restaurant here in Bethesda. One afternoon there was a fire in the kitchen and it spread to our office. We stood across the street and watched the national office burn! That was before server and cloud storage and we all grabbed anything we could, anything important. One was a big black box containing the membership information – that’s you. You are as important to me today as you were then. Your support, your voice, and your involvement is HLAA’s success.
The day after the fire, Rocky, distraught but unwavering, asked me to help him write a letter to you explaining the catastrophe. We handwrote the letter over a cup of coffee at the Tastee Diner within sight of the charred office building and I went home and typed it up. The response was overwhelming, with everything from, "Can I come and help?" to sending donations. Today, 28 years later, I am asking again for your time, financial support, or both.
Along with the HLAA Board of Trustees, I now have the exciting task of preparing HLAA for the next 37 years and beyond. Make no mistake, HLAA represents you – people who want to hear, understand in meetings, on the phone, at theaters and in your place of worship. You want to go to a museum or a movie and have hearing access, or participate at the dinner table with your family, or engage in a meaningful dialogue with your doctor. You want to use your residual hearing with the help of technology and other communication strategies.
Now I write my second letter, this time as executive director. Please read HLAA—Today and in the Future to learn about our work and how your donations are used. This organization and its mission are deeply personal to me. I’ve seen lives changed and improved, including my own, because of it. Let’s look to the future because there’s still a lot of work to be done, such as growing our chapter network, educating you about new technology, continuing to impact on state and federal legislation, and working toward affordable and accessible hearing health care.
See the option for contributing your time through the Advisory Circle or financial support. If you donate $10,000 you will be part of the Advisory Circle which includes a reception-roundtable discussion (sponsored by Panasonic) about the future of HLAA at the HLAA Convention 2016. Join me, HLAA Board Chair Meg Wallhagen, and your peers for discussion and refreshments. If you can’t make it to the convention, you can participate in a webinar-style discussion in August.
Thank you for the outpouring of support to me as the eighth executive director of HLAA. Thank you even more for your ongoing financial support of HLAA. If you are new to HLAA, consider a donation – remember, no donation is too small. I appreciate anything you can do.
I look forward to seeing some of you at the HLAA Convention this June in Washington, D.C., as well as hearing from the rest of you. Please don’t ever hesitate to call or email me.
Follow me on Twitter @Bkelley_HLAA
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