Whatcom County Advocates Honored with National HLAA Award

Whatcom County HLAA Chapter members C
The HLAA-Whatcom County Crew is one of the top HLAA chapters in the country.

Congratulations to HLAA-Whatcom County, winner of HLAA’s Chapter on a Mission Award at the national HLAA convention last week. The award, delayed from 2019, recognizes the chapter’s work with HLAA’s Get in the Hearing Loop Program in pilot-testing the GITHL toolkit. In particular, the toolkit’s slideshow was developed in conjunction with Whatcom County loop advocates, incorporating the methods and approaches that brought them success.

Chapter treasurer Erlene VanDerMeer accepted the award on behalf of the chapter. The Whatcom crew is an active, vibrant chapter of over 75 (!) members who meet the third Saturday of every month. “We have outstanding speakers—last Sat. we had Dr. Doug Sladen from WWU speak to us about the importance of aural rehab for both hearing aid users as well as cochlear implants,” says Erlene in a recent email.

Erlene VanDerMeer accepts the award for outstanding chapter on behalf of HLAA-Whatcom County at the 2022 HLAA convention in Tampa, Florida.

She adds that the chapter’s secret: many people step up to volunteer their time  abilities so programs are timely and educational. “The excellent president is Larry Wonnacott, who has also served on the WA-HLAA Board.  Monthly programs are developed by Pam Spencer, an audiologist in Bellingham.  It’s truly a joy to benefit from Whatcom County’s excellent chapter.”

Two of the chapter’s most active members, Bert Lederer and Jerry Olmstead, passed away recently. They are greatly missed. But the chapter continues to be active in honoring their work on behalf of people with hearing loss.

Everyone is welcome to join HLAA-Whatcom County and to attend their monthly Zoom meetings (contact information to attend is at the bottom of the 2022 meeting schedule). Membership is $12 a year, or free for veterans.