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Joan Cassidy Retires 

After 18 years as NVRC’s Loudoun County Outreach Contractor, Joan Cassidy has retired.  Most everyone in our community knows Joan and has had the chance to chat with her at our Annual Meetings and other community events, especially Celebrate Communication where she is famous for her beautiful display of Joan’s Knitted Dolls.

Joan was born in Yorkshire, England and her family moved to Port Elizabeth, South Africa when she was 10.  It was in Port Elizabeth where Joan met a dashing young American, Neil Cassidy.  While Neil served in the US Army, they lived in Stuttgart, Germany, then came to the States in the 1960s, spending time in Ohio and Michigan.  Joan and Neil moved to their current home in Sterling, Virginia in 1976, where they raised their two children.  She and Neil are avid lovers of cruising – having cruised all over the world! – and Joan loves to watch her British TV shows while she knits her amazing creations.

Joan learned that she had a hearing loss when she was 18 years old but it was a few years before she started wearing hearing aids.  Joan eventually got a Cochlear Implant in 1998, the same year she began contracting with NVRC, and she used her personal experiences with hearing loss to help thousands of Loudoun County residents by giving them information and encouragement, mentoring, introducing them to hearing assistive technologies, bringing them to NVRC to visit our demo room and learn about all the help available.  Joan represented NVRC at many meetings of the County’s Board of Supervisors during the annual budget hearings, advocating for deaf and hard of hearing individuals and securing additional funding for NVRC.  She was the go-to expert at senior centers, retirement communities, libraries, and health fairs, sharing NVRC’s mission with everyone she served.

We will miss Joan more than we can say, but she promises to visit NVRC often and visit old friends at our upcoming Annual Meeting, and – we hope! – bring her knitted dolls to Celebrate Communication next year.  So many of us have one of her treasures!  We thank Joan for her years of dedicated service, and we wish her many happy and healthy years in her well-earned retirement.




July 1, 2015

After nearly 25 years of exemplary service as the Executive Director of Northern Virginia Resource Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons, Cheryl Heppner has announced her retirement, effective July 10, 2015.

Cheryl took the helm of NVRC when it was a fledgling organization in 1991 and has successfully led it to become the premier organization in Northern Virginia, with national recognition, providing services to deaf and hard of hearing persons and families.

During Cheryl’s long tenure with NVRC, there were many presentations, rallies, protests and fund raising walks. She joined forces to advocate for TV & movie captions, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and emergency text to 911. She is known for her constant companions, her service dogs, Dana and Galaxy. Her accomplishments and legacy will continue to live on through the lives she has touched and friends she has made during her tenure.

She is greatly appreciated as a person, friend, and advocate. Cheryl’s work is recognized and appreciated by all in the deaf and hard of hearing community.

   More information will be shared as it becomes available.



By Ernesto Portillo Jr.
January 11, 2015

James Krakowiak never understood the words “can’t do it.”

That’s what he was told when he sought a job in a newspaper’s pressroom, a place where huge presses, when rolling, make thunderous noise.

Krakowiak couldn’t work as a pressman because he is deaf, he was flatly told. He had to hear the presses and, if there were problems, hear the alarms.

But Krakowiak wouldn’t have any of it. When he was a student at the Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, on West Speedway, he took a printing class, albeit with smaller machines. He fell in love with printing — the smearing of the ink on the skin, the smell of freshly printed paper and the sight of machines spitting printed words. He wanted to work as a printer.

And he did. On Friday, Krakowiak, known as “Jimbo” to his co-workers, retires from the Arizona Daily Star pressroom after 42 years.

“I told my friends I wanted to work in a big printing facility,” Jimbo said through his interpreter, Rusty Mitchell of Z Video Relay Service, which assists hearing-impaired people communicate via video.

He would not be denied. However, Jimbo did more than stay on a job that he was not supposed to have. He brought his co-workers into his deaf world.

“There are 10 people here who have learned basic sign language,” said Jimbo, who turns 66 the day before his final day keeping the presses rolling.

Read More  . . .