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National Deaf Awareness Week: Paula Esterle recognized as the 2009 Deaf/Hard of Hearing leader for the State of Kentucky

December, 28 2009

In honor of National Deaf Awareness Week, Hamilton Relay is pleased to recognize Paula Esterle as the 2009 Deaf/Hard of Hearing leader for the State of Kentucky.

Paula Esterle is an enthusiastic advocate for individuals with hearing loss. Her involvement within organizations such as the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), the Hearing Loss Association of Kentuckiana (HLAK), and her support and involvement with the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (KCDHH) have made a positive impact on her fellow Kentuckians.

Paula continues to be involved in HLAA, formerly known as Self Help for Hard of Hearing (SHHH). She served as HLAA Kentucky State Co-Coordinator from 2000 – 2003, State Coordinator from 2003 &ndash 2007 and again as Co-Coordinator from 2007 &ndash present. The list of conventions and workshops she has attended is extensive and include; leadership training courses, workshops, presentations by respected physicians and specialists in hearing loss, research symposiums and more. Paula actively supports efforts for legislation that positively impact individuals with hearing loss, and encourages others to join and support current issues promoted by HLAA.

Within HLAK, Paula has served as President, Listserv Moderator, and Chairman for Roving Repast &ndash an event in which HLAK members have the opportunity to socialize at various local restaurants. She has also served as a committee member and Chairman/Co-Chairman for organizing the HLAK booth during the Kentucky State Fair, Chairman of the HLAK Nominating Committee, committee member for the HLAK Yard Sale Fundraiser, leader of the HLAK Sign Language Practice Group and since 2005, as HLAK Historian. Paula's leadership and influence within HLAK has helped raise awareness of hearing health issues within the community and beyond.

KCDHH is another organization that Paula has enthusiastically supported. She played an instrumental role in a Hard of Hearing Study Group, she participated on a panel at the KCDHH DeaFestival, the topic being Culture and Traditions, and wrote an editorial for the KCDHH Communicator Bulletin on the subject of preparedness in the event of a disaster. This editorial expanded on a talk given by Mr. Fred Roy, former director of the Louisiana Commission for the Deaf, in regards to the tales of devastation which occurred following Hurricane Katrina.

In addition to Paula's dedication within various organizations, she has been featured in Hearing Health Magazine and in a statewide Family Support Center newsletter. She has been consistent in her leadership on the Advisory Committee for the Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health. Paula remains active in supporting and advocating for positive change. She is enthusiastic in her efforts and is an excellent role model; always encouraging others to share their experience and to become involved in understanding issues and supporting improvement for matters affecting individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Paula has been described by others as a person who follows through as she promises, holding herself and others to a higher level of integrity and professionalism even in the face of challenges; she has the ability to relate to and communicate with a wide variety of people and generously donates her time and talents to serve others. Congratulations to Paula Esterle for being recognized in the community as an outstanding leader.

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