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In honor of Better Hearing and Speech month, Hamilton Relay is pleased to recognize Diana Bender as the 2010 Hard of Hearing leader for the State of Pennsylvania.

October, 13 2010

Diana Bender is an extraordinary individual who has devoted her time and energy to advocating for individuals with hearing loss in Pennsylvania. Diana has experienced hearing loss since early childhood and received a cochlear implant six years ago. She graduated from college with a PhD in chemistry and in addition to having had a successful career as a chemist, Diana is a mother and wife as well as a stellar volunteer–always ready to advocate and help others with hearing loss.

Diana has been involved in a variety of agencies and organizations throughout the years. She has been an active member of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) and has held numerous roles within her local and state chapters. For four years, she served as president of the Montgomery County chapter of HLAA in Pennsylvania. In June of 2009, Diana was elected to the Board of Trustees for the national HLAA organization. Currently, she is the State Director of the Pennsylvania State Office of HLAA. She is also on the Pennsylvania HLAA Walk4Hearing Steering Committee and served as chairperson for the 2009 Walk4Hearing Committee.

Diana was a member of the Advisory Council of the Pennsylvania Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the Department of Labor and Industry, where for three out of her six years, she served as secretary. She was also a chairperson on the Pennsylvania Telecommunications Relay Board, located in the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PUC), for three out of the six years she served.

During 2004-2006, Diana was on the Federal Access Board Committee, where she helped to evaluate courtrooms across the nation in relation to providing accessibility for people with disabilities. Diana is currently working with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation on an Employment Conference that will take place on October 29, 2010 in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. The conference will include workshops for hard of hearing individuals who are seeking jobs and for employers who wish to acquire communication tools so that they may interact better with their employees who are hard of hearing.

Diana conducts a number of workshops for civic organizations, government agencies, private enterprises, schools, hospitals and nursing homes, educating them on the effects of hearing loss on people's lives. All these efforts reflect her passion for increasing awareness of hearing loss. She was also a strong advocate for the addition of Captioned Telephone (CapTel) service in Pennsylvania; a service which greatly benefits people who have understandable speech and some degree of hearing loss.

Diana generously volunteers her time and efforts to the above agencies and organizations. She has been described by her peers as a very thoughtful, compassionate and diplomatic person. She always has time to "listen" when someone needs her advice or when they need help coping with their hearing loss. She has the ability to analyze issues thoroughly and is a gracious woman who makes people with which she works feel positive about what they are seeking to accomplish.

Pennsylvania is fortunate to have such an individual and we are pleased to recognize Diana for her leadership and achievements.

This leadership recognition has been brought to you by Hamilton Relay.

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