Joene Nicolaisen of Salt Lake City, Utah has been selected as the recipient of the Hamilton Relay 2021 Deaf Community Leader Award for the state of Utah. Joene is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or DeafBlind. She has been involved in various leadership and volunteer roles advocating for these communities and continues to do so since her retirement.
Joene co-founded Sego Lily Center for the Abused Deaf (SLCAD) in 2001 and has been actively involved for many years thereafter. SLCAD provides a safe and empowering space where individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or DeafBlind can access culturally accessible services, advocacy and education.
She has worked closely with the Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DSDHH) Case Management Team, Utah Association of the Deaf (UAD) and Dementia Assist to provide assisted living support for seniors who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Joene has also worked with Volunteer Income Tax Assistant (VITA), which provides free tax assistance to individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or DeafBlind. She volunteered as a deaf tax preparer at DSDHH.
Joene’s peers describe her as a shining star who always looks for the best in people and has a way of drawing out their talents and skills. We thank Joene for her leadership and volunteerism in the community and are pleased to present her with the 2021 Deaf Community Leader Award for the state of Utah.