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To all VAD members:

VAD was finally able to hold an awards ceremony in person to honor those who have served VAD in the past four years (2019-2023).  It had not been able to recognize these people due to COVID-19.  The ceremony was held at the end of the VAD Conference on Saturday, November 4, 2023.

The Golden Hand Award was presented by NAD to the LEAD-K Committee for its success in persuading the Virginia legislature to pass the LEAD-K bill in 2022 after 7 years of continuous, tireless efforts.  The people who served on this committee are:

Tressela K. Bateson
Sheena Cobb
Jasper Conner
Sylvia Crespo
Tom Dowling
Bobbie Faye Downey
MaryRose Gonzalez
Donna Graff-Viall
Star Grieser
Devin Hamilton
Patricia Harris
Michelle Long
Katherine Malady
Renay Miller
Sallie Mae Pauley
Kim Taylor
Gary Viall
Hunta Williams
Jennifer Witteborg

Certificates of Appreciation will be presented to Senator Ghazala Hashmi and Delegate Betsy Carr for their sponsorship of the LEAD-K bill, “Children who are deaf or hard of hearing; language development, assessment resources”.  Because of their effort and dedication, the bill passed successfully and unanimously as a law.

VAD’s Distinguished Service Award went to Janice Couch Dillman of Staunton “for unceasing and diligent effort to foster, promote and preserve the general welfare of her fellow citizens in the selfless tradition honored by the Virginia Association of the Deaf.”  Janice has served in many organizations in different roles and has received several other important awards.

The 2023 Deaf Mother of the Year Award was presented to Bobbie Dietz of Staunton.  She is not only a mother but a positive role model to her children and grandchildren.  In addition, she is actively involved with deaf education and deaf organizations.

The 2023 Deaf Father of the Year Award was presented to Edwin “Ed” Martin of Roanoke.  He is not only a father but a positive role model to his daughter.  He is also actively involved with deaf education and deaf organizations.

Certificates of Appreciation were presented to officers of the VAD Board from 2019 to 2023, officers of the Northern Virginia Association of the Deaf Board from 2020 to 2023, members of the 2023 VAD Conference Committee, and members of the the Deaf Mentor Program, “The Dream Team”, established by the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to assist parents of deaf and hard of hearing children.

Congratulations to everyone who received these awards.  They are well deserved.

The Awards Committee
Daphne Cox, Chair
Melanie Williams
Janet Wright

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