Friday, March 14, 2014

“Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” (Dylan Thomas)

HLAA Chapters have a lot going on this time of year. While some are involved in the Walk4Hearing, Florida held a one-day Hearing Loss Expo, and others have top-notch programs for spring hoping to attract new members and keep current ones interested. State chapter coordinators and delegates are looking forward to getting together in Austin for the HLAA Convention 2014, June 26-29.

Feeling upbeat one day about the happenings in chapters, I got a phone call. It was Mary McAllister from the HLAA Orange and Durham Counties Chapter in North Carolina. Mary called to tell me they were closing the chapter. She said that she and Wayne Benson were getting up in years and there was no one to continue the chapter and assume leadership.

I understood, but it hit me hard. What do you say? Words like “I’m sorry” or “thank you for all the years of work” don’t seem enough. Mary was efficient in wrapping up the business of their official closing. Yes, we do have a section on our Leaders Resource page for Closing a Chapter. We don’t like it, but we have it.

I looked in their file which showed years of work and dedication since the late 1980s. They started as the Durham Chapter with dedicated members such as Mimi Clifford, Dare Carden, Cheryl Bivens, Patricia Carrier, Beth Puffenberger, Idrix Knox, Tina Jones, and others whose names are not on record. 

They weathered IRS requirements especially when the IRS revoked the tax-exempt status of 275,000 organizations including several of our HLAA Chapters. The Durham Chapter re-organized in 2012 with a new EIN under the name of HLAA Orange and Durham Counties Chapter.

The chapter accomplished a lot and they helped a lot of people. If we follow the national statistics that says 20 percent of the U.S. population has some kind of hearing loss, then, according to the population of the Orange and Durham counties, there are roughly 76,000 people in this area with hearing loss. I know that doesn’t translate to people who might seek help in an HLAA Chapter, but you get the point.

Referrals to Chapters
Daily, here at the national office we refer people to HLAA Chapters to get the support and help they need. We send them information, talk to them, but we depend on you―the troops on the ground―to offer the warm welcome, let them know they are not alone and help them learn how to live successfully with hearing loss. Who will be there now when someone needs help in that area of North Carolina?

Could We Have Helped Durham and Orange Counties?
This article is not to blame the Orange and Durham Counties Chapter for closing; rather, it’s to look at how we might have helped. Do we need to teach people how to groom leaders to take over when they no longer can? Do chapter leaders need to mentor each other? What? All ideas welcome here.

Hopefully, this can be an ongoing discussion about how we all hold each other up. We are one HLAA and when a chapter closes, we all lose. And so do those looking for help.

Thank you Orange and Durham Counties Chapter. We won't let you go gentle. We look forward to the day when another group of people come forth and want to form a chapter in the same geographical area. If so, we are here. 
      --Barbara Kelley

Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night
By Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

1 comment:

  1. The idea of the Prez dying in office has got to go
    I think the Los Angeles is the best chapter in the US
    They have a steering committee 12 people
    Elect Prez every year for one year term. Prez can only serve 2 years in all. This means we are always looking and grooming the next Prez
    We also do social events, memorial day picnic, Christmas party. We have a Peer group meeting at a members home
    with portable loop, a meeting between meetings, for those who want to talk more and in depth


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