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Harriet Koch, VAD Deaf Mother of the Year

Thanks to DHHSC ,  Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Center, Inc.
Original Article


Harriet L. Koch was born deaf to deaf parents Chester and Etta Lach man of St. Louis, Missouri. Harriet attended Gallaudet Day School until she was 7 years old. Then her parents sent her to Missouri School for the Deaf in Fulton, where she graduated in 1963.


Harriet attended Gallaudet College in t 963 for a short time and met Richard L. Koch. In 1967, Richard and Harriet were married and lived in Maryland. Richard worked for the Washington Post as a union printer while Harriet worked as a keypuncher for NASA. When Richard got a new job as a printing teacher at VSDB, his alma mater, in the fall of t 968, the Kochs moved to Staunton. In 1970. she was hired as a printer for the newspaper, Staunton News Leader. In 1980, Harriet was name Employee ol the Month by the News Leader. She rerired in 2001 after 31 and a half years of service, at the same time Richard retired from teaching history at VSDB after 33 years of service. The Kochs have two children.

The Kochs' son, James F. Kocti, worked as a forensic scientist for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for the state of Minnesota in St. Paul for 20 years. He is now tal<ing course in electrical studies as his new career.

Their daughter, Alisa Brooks, married Kevin H. Brooks in 1991 and gave the Kochs 2 granddaughters, Jordan, 19 and Courtney, 15. Kevin works at Ft. Defiance High School as a math teacher. Alisa worked in a bank for more than 22 year$, and just recently lelt to start a new career as co-owner of Nisa's Cafe in Staunton. Harriet has been working full-time with her daughter and business partner, Nikki Sprouse. She enjoys helping them in the cafe, having fun and meeting tots of peaple daily.

Harriet also volunteers for several fund raising projects for the Virginia School for the Deaf Alumni Association (VSDAA) and the Deaf History museum. She serves as Treasurer for Blue Ridge Deaf Senior$ and has also been Treasurer of the Deaf History Museum since 2001. In 2009, Harriet received the Golden Hand Award from the National Association for the Deaf after being nominated by the Virginia Association of the Deaf for her service and volunteerism in the Deaf community.

In her spare time, Harriet enjoys sewing;Knitting, working for the Deaf History Museum from home, printing photos of sports, and helping preserve the rich history of VSDB.