Past Featured Volunteers of the Month
The following volunteers have been featured on our main website page beginning in March 2013.
James Benton, or JB as we affectionately refer to him here at TRRS, is a truly amazing man.
A graduate of the Governor Morehead School for the Blind, James serves on the TRRS Board of Directors and currently is the immediate past president of the Friends of the NC Library for the Blind and Print Handicapped. He is the Community Employment Specialist with the Division of Services for the Blind and GMS and he is responsible for the coordination of the partnership and product between GMS and TRRS, the first in the history of these two organizations that have a rich history in service to people that are blind and have print disabilities.
Thanks to James and his dedication to the reading service, the TRRS New Visions Gala featured a New Visions Showcase. The "Showcase" provided 170 gala attendees with the opportunity to "see" how technology has made possible the access and use of devices such as i-pads, i-phones, refreshable Braille devices, etc. for people with print disabilities and in this instance, how easily accessible the TRRS website is for people that use screen readers to access information and connect to important information and resources.
Thanks to James "vision" and support, Pilot Project T3 Teens Tools and Talent became the educational resource opportunity that we envisioned it to be not only for our T3 Broadcasters Cassidy Hooper and Noah Long, but for all who can easily and readily listen to their show on podcast.
We salute you James Benton, for your great volunteer efforts on behalf of TRRS. Your stellar example, good humor, can-do and will do attitude, complimented by your enviable ability to articulate flawlessly, always results in a project that comes to fruition and a product that will benefit and impact all concerned.
Congratulations on being our highly valued and much loved December 2013 Volunteer of the Month!
Kim Otten came to TRRS four years ago as a live reader. She brought many talents from reader to chef and everything else in between. It was not long before she became a board member and subsequently became board secretary. Kim volunteers every week at TRRS recording books for our BookShelf program and is currently the New Visions Gala Chair. A very creative, determined, and dedicated Gala Committee chair, Kim has lead the 2013 New Visions Fundraising to be the biggest and most successful event, yet!
We are proud of Kim for her accomplishments on behalf of TRRS and we sincerely thank Kim for her commitment and unselfish dedication on behalf of people that are blind and print impaired.
Again, we want to extend our heartfelt congratulations for a job well done with the New Visions Gala. And congratulations for being the November Volunteer of the Month!
Kurt Benrud joined the TRRS family of volunteers more than two decades ago. An English teacher, Kurt brought theatrical talent, expertise and a marvelous command of the English language. In the early days of TRRS, known then as the “Radio Reading Service,” volunteers only read an hour a day of the Raleigh Times.
Kurt, a substitute reader, recorded a program called Movie and Theatre Reviews for many years. He read every other Tuesday evening for many years and now does special projects for TRRS. He and his theatre friends spend countless nights at the studio producing seasonal programming. Most recently, he is working on a monthly program called Science Fiction, a project involving fellow TRRS volunteers. To add to all of this, Kurt officially became a TRRS volunteer trainer along with his fellow facilitator Laura Arwood.
We are thankful for Kurt’s unbounded creativity, multiple talents, unselfish dedication and consistent hard work for the blind and print impaired. Congratulations and thank you, Kurt, for all you do for TRRS!
The New Visions Gala Committee
Left-to-Right Above: George Douglas (President), Jim Cronin (board member), Gai Tran (executive director), Lori Graves (Treasurer), Jonathan Otten, Molly Cassidy, Kim Otten (Board Secretary and Gala Chair), and Sally Thelin. Not pictured: Missy Hollander, Meg Koss, Mary Jo Gellenbeck, Kathleen Watts, Constance Collins, Sandy DeLuca
Chair Kim Otten is more than pleased with the progress this year's committee is making for the Friday, October 18, 2013 event! Special thanks to the volunteers and board members that are contributing time and talent towards TRRS' "New Vision"
Kim Otten, gala chair, began volunteering at TRRS in 2009 as a substitute reader and recorder. She is a member of the TRRS board and serves currently as board secretary in addition to her work as gala committee chair. A catering professional, among many other talents and skills, gala attendees can rest assured that the cocktail hour (which begins at 6:30 p.m.), followed by dinner and "dessert in the dark," will be elegant, tasty and delicious choices indeed!
Molly Cassidy, TRRS "artist in residence" began volunteering at TRRS in 2011. She designed the beautiful Pearls of Passion logo for the 2012 gala and the Bold New Visions logo for 2013!
Jim Cronin, a Tuesday evening reader and recorder of Reader's Digest, began his service in 2012. A long-time member, past president and board member of the Durham Lions Club, Jim is also a new member of the TRRS board of directors.
Sandy DeLuca, a TRRS board member since 2006, served as chair of the 2012 Pearls of Passion Gala.
Megan Flynn, a co-op administrative assistant from Wake Tech, is our newest gala committee member. Megan is working with the gala website, raffle bundle packaging and sales prep, designing our Wine Tasting event invitation, securing silent auction items and keeping everything in order!
Mary Jo Gellenbeck, an evening reader of the USA Today since 2012, is also a recorder of Ladies Magazines. She served on the 2012 Gala Committee and is always just a "phone call away."
Lori Graves, joined the TRRS board in July 2013. In addition to her work on the gala committee, Lori is the Treasurer and also serves on the Finance and Investment Committees.
Missy Hollander, a reader and recorder since 2004, has served on past gala committees and brings a lot of energy, ideas and development expertise to every committee meeting.
Meg Koss, a two-year volunteer on TRRS Galas, is the inspiration and action behind our Wine Tasting events. Meg introduced TRRS to the Triangle Wine Company and thanks to her contacts and coordination, the third event in 13 months will take place on Sat. September 28 from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. at the Triangle Wine Company. Meg also secures items for and creates incredible wine and beer raffle bundles!
Jonathan Otten, our newest gala committee and pilot project volunteer, is a high school senior. Jonathan devoted many hours over the course of the summer 2013 to redesigning the TRRS brochure, logo and created the 2013 gala invitation. His technology expertise and his teaching abilities came together this summer when he trained eight TRRS reader s on a special application for a new "reading" service project
Sally Thelin, is a regular Tuesday reader of the noon news, having begun her tenure with TRRS in 2010. She helps out every Tuesday morning in the office recording volunteer hours and manning the front desk. She lends her love for sewing and creativity to this year's silent auction with a handmade treasures that are sure to be a big hit with New Visions Gala silent auction bidders!
Kathleen Watts, an evening reader since 2012, also served on the Pearls of Passion gala committee. She was responsible for the great "best buddies" raffle bundle and is back with us in 2013.
Dee Hauver (L) and Dick Hayden (R)
With Guest Reader Jim Wise from the N&O
Dee came to the reading service in October 2000. She broadcasts every Monday morning from 9:30 am to 11:30 am without fail, and she always comes bearing gifts -- gifts that she has cheerfully secured for the annual galas. She is indeed a woman of many talents. In addition to her dedication as a volunteer reader, she staffs the office and represents TRRS at community events. But what we all love the most about Dee is her gentle spirit and warm personality and calming presence.
Dick arrived at TRRS twelve years after Dee in October 2012. It was not long into his tenure, in fact just a few months, when we discovered that Dick is not only a great reader, he’s a great greeter, problem solver (particularly during the office flood of 2013), and of course, manning the office when we need extra help. And, let’s not leave out last minute back-up. Dick’s enthusiasm and his energy are as infectious as his laughter!
When Dick became Dee’s regular Monday morning reading partner, the Monday Dick and Dee Show resulted. Recently, Dick and Dee read an article about a blind man in Durham written by Jim Wise from the News and Observer. Dick initiated the invitation to Jim to be a TRRS Guest Reader of the Month, and everyone had a ball on July 22nd! Thank you, Jim, for joining us and we sure do hope that you come back again!
Thank you, Dick and Dee, for your dedication to the reading service, for being there whenever there’s a need and for always being so bright and cheerful every Monday AM! Congratulations, Dick and Dee!!!
Richard Paschal, owner of Paschal Electrical Services, is a vital part of the TRRS Home Team and permanent member of the TRRS family of volunteers. A veteran reader with 22 years of volunteer service that covers all of the bases, Richard is a former board member and current chair of the Technical Committee. Richard is not only making sure that everything is properly connected, but he also assists with getting the TRRS signal to health care facilities and other reading services in NC.
Every Monday, Richard records one of the most popular TRRS programs: Drug & Department Store Ads. He is a pro, and he is truly making a difference.
Thank you, Richard, for coming to TRRS in 1991. Thank you from all of our listeners and from your fellow volunteers (and staff) for all of your contributions to the Reading Service, especially for your dedication, expertise, and time whenever we need you!
Richard Dunnagan, a seasoned financial advisor, came to TRRS nine years ago as a live reader. A former radio announcer, Richard is also a musician, vocalist and song writer.
Richard’s involvement as a TRRS volunteer reader on weekday evenings quickly grew to include becoming a vital part of the Technical Committee as well as the Programming and Listener Committee. It was not long before he became a board member and subsequently became board president, a role he will retire from on June 30, 2013. A very creative, determined and dedicated volunteer, Richard along with several other fellow volunteers created two programs called, “Did You Know” and “Take My Arm” which air on a weekly basis and are available as podcasts.
We are proud of Richard for his accomplishments on behalf of TRRS and we sincerely thank him for his great vision, commitment and unselfish dedication on behalf of people that are blind and print impaired. As we commence a new Fiscal Year on July 1, 2013, all of the TRRS family, our listeners, volunteers and staff, extends heartfelt congratulations on a job well done! Great job, Mr. President!
Fred Brack came to TRRS in 2000 as a live reader. His experience as a radio announcer in college and as an audio describer for Arts Access definitely brought him to the right place! Because of his terrific voice, soon thereafter, he became a weekly recorder of Our State Magazine.
Fred has served on the board of directors, and he currently serves on the Technical Committee. In addition, Fred is the official TRRS webmaster and he is responsible for the great "new look" and ease of navigation of the web site.
Congratulations to Fred for his 13 years of service, commitment, dedication and expertise!
Greg Seamster is a member of the Technical Committee and is also
a TRRS Volunteer Engineer. He came to TRRS during the time when we
switched from the reel to reel system to digital in 2001. Greg’s
expertise and his willingness to be available to us whenever we need him
to address technical difficulties make him invaluable to this 30 year
Greg is also a great advisor to the Executive Director for every aspect of production and programming. He volunteers on weekends and evenings to make sure every detail of the broadcast is properly labeled and propagated. And, last but not least, he is available to answer innumerable questions from the nontechnical two-person staff!
Congratulations, and thank you, Greg, for all you do!
Bob Kruger, a long standing volunteer reader and TRRS supporter, began his work with us in September 1985. Bob reads every Wednesday morning without fail. In fact, he celebrated his 90th birthday with our listeners reading live and loving every minute of it.
In honor of his service to TRRS and his service to the United States of America, TRRS was proud to have Rick Brantley, Commanding Officer, Navy Recruiting District Raleigh, make a most memorable presentation to Bob at the 2012 Pearls of Passion Gala last September. Many thanks to Bob for his wonderful service and his fine example of living life to the fullest and doing what he loves.