KU Audio-Reader recognizes volunteers’ outstanding service, celebrates their generosity (Announcement)

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Note: The Lawrence Times is offering some space for area organizations and organizers to express their views, provide updates and attempt to reach other folks who might share their mission. This post is contributed content (i.e., not produced by the Times staff). See more in our Community Voices section, or see how to submit your own piece.

Audio-Reader’s staff was honored to celebrate their hundreds of outstanding volunteers Tuesday at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Banquet. Recognizing their spirit of generosity, Audio-Reader volunteers embody the essence of giving as they share the gift of sight through the sound. 

“The evening was a small token of our gratitude to the dedicated volunteers who make this service possible for thousands of listeners across Kansas, western Missouri, and beyond,” said Trish Dowd Kelne, Audio-Reader’s coordinator of volunteers.

The evening’s guest speaker, Teresa Bates, is an avid listener who shared her personal story about how Audio-Reader volunteers have positively impacted her life. Beyond relying on the daily news, volunteers read textbooks for her as a special request while she completed her nursing degree. Gratitude poured from her as she thanked the volunteers for their time and commitment to helping listeners like her live a thriving and independent life. 

Teresa Bates, seated at right, is pictured with family members. Bates was a guest speaker at KU Audio-Reader’s April 18, 2023 banquet honoring volunteers. (Beth McKenzie / Contributed photo)

The evening ended by celebrating Bob Gent for 35 years of service with Audio-Reader. Gent has always loved reading.

“My Audio-Reader assignments exposed me to subjects I’d never have sought out on my own,” he said, adding, “Volunteering at Audio-Reader is nothing but rewarding.”

Audio-Reader is thrilled to honor Gent and all their volunteers for their dedication and achievements. 

From left, Nick Carswell, Audio-Reader program manager; volunteer Bob Gent; Trish Dowd Kelne, coordinator of volunteers; and Randy Austin, advisory board chair (Beth McKenzie / Contributed photo)
The following volunteers were recognized for milestone years of service with Audio-Reader:
  • 35 years: Bob Gent
  • 25 years: Harlan Roedel
  • 20 years: Edith Bond, Bruce Frey, and Steve Jack
  • 15 years: Mary Ackerly, Lori Allen, Patrick Baker, John Burns, Ruthie Hatfield, Mary Howe, Craig Sweets, Judy Taylor, and Lori Tesdahl
  • 10 years: Jim Carnell, Susan Elkins, Guy Jacobs, Elaine Kautsch, Tina Mitchell, Carol Munchoff, Camille Olcese, Evie Rapport, Rebecca Reagan, Steve Sears, Rozanne Stringer, Lorrie Windholz, and Frank Ybarra
  • Five years: Maureen Altman, Billie Archer, Ed Austin, Karen Brown, Cynthia Chandler-Clayton, Jennifer Estes, Ed Hawkins, Carroll Iorg, Margaret Mayes, Steven Meyer, Jodi Meyer, Jennifer Nigro, Waqas Rana, Harry Reed, Tracy Russo, Cheryl Spain, Debra Turpin, and Jo Anne Zingo

For 51 years and counting, Audio-Reader has been fostering independence by providing access to information and the arts for people who have difficulty reading standard print due to vision loss, physical or learning disability, mobility challenges, and age.

Learn more at reader.ku.edu or call 800-772-8898.

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