Magazine article VFW Magazine

Alabama VFW Member's Hearing Loss Program Goes Statewide

Magazine article VFW Magazine

Alabama VFW Member's Hearing Loss Program Goes Statewide

Article excerpt

One Alabama VFW member's effort to raise awareness of hearing loss has resulted in a program expanding statewide.

David Wright, a member of Post 4850 in Jasper, Ala., started the program in 2012 due to his own frustrations trying to communicate with hearing loss. He said he has been accused of appearing stubborn, angry, arrogant, absent-minded and senile.

"I really needed some way to show people that I had a hearing loss problem, that I really was hearing impaired," said Wright, who served during the Gulf War with the 109th Evacuation Hospital as a medic and helipad NCO. "Finally, I just got frustrated and called a wristband company and bought me some gray colored wristbands."

He created wristbands that feature the phrase, "Hearing loss (VFW)." The initial phrase, "Hearing Impaired - VFW," was shortened and the color of the band also has changed from gray to tan.

Alabama Junior Vice Commander Jerry Anger said it wasn't until a presentation at the Alabama Department VFW Convention that the program expanded from District 3 to statewide.

Anger said it was never a "state-backed function or program" and runs strictly on "pass-the-hat donations."

"We are getting people to help," Anger said. "Anytime they hear about it, they're glad to donate, but the more help we can get the better."

District 3 Commander Martin Kiewel said Anger and he took on the program as a "district project" to be discussed at its five Posts. In addition to hearing loss, the program also is about prevention. Kiewel, who served during the Gulf War as assistant headquarters commandant for 3rd Army Headquarters, with duty as a contracting officer, said it has been a benefit to himself as well as others. …

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