Each year Hamilton Relay calls for nominations from communities for an individual who has made a significant contribution toward accessibility and quality of life in the areas of hearing loss and speech difficulty. Charlene MacKenzie of Deming, Washington has been selected as the recipient of the Hamilton Relay 2019 Better Hearing and Speech Month Recognition Award for the state of Washington.
Charlene is the founder and a continuing mentor of the Bellingham/Whatcom County chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), which is one of largest and most effective chapters in providing support and resources to members.
Charlene is involved with many organizations to ensure accessibility. She worked with the AARP Driver Safety Program classes on a local, state and national level to ensure their classes are accessible to individuals with hearing loss. Charlene also worked with the Department of the Interior to add captioning, assistive listening systems and sound amplification at Cascade National Park. In addition, she presented training programs to park management and staff regarding Rehabilitation Act requirements and specific needs of visitors.
Charlene also shares information on resources that could provide a better quality of life by being a volunteer ambassador for Dogs for Better Lives, facilitates hearing loss management workshops, advocated for PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center to establish a Cochlear Implant Clinic and being a mentor for people seeking information and resources regarding cochlear implants and hearing programs.
For her tireless activism and contributions, Hamilton Relay is proud to have a celebration in Charlene’s honor during the HLAA Whatcom County Chapter’s meeting on June 15, 2019.