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Region VII
Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma
Arkansas, Louisiana

Tommie Wells, Region VII HLAA Representative
Board of Trustees

I lived much of my life with an undiagnosed progressive hearing loss. Many of you have had experiences similar to mine. I was 20 years old when I had my first audiogram performed. I was profoundly deaf. No one knows at what time the loss became profound.

I was not able to make use of hearing aids because of severe recruitment. So, I just depended on speech reading and got on with my life. I managed quite well, married and raised a family. I graduated from a university with a BS in Biology and worked at I job I enjoyed. I had friends and my life seemed like everyone else's. I just couldn't hear.

But, in less than a year's time, from October, 1989 through June 1990, events occurred that changed my life forever. I received a cochlear implant and I could hear again. I joined SHHH which has become Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) and attended the convention in Little Rock. There I discovered what I wanted to do with my life and my new found hearing. I decided to work with HLAA.

I started with HLAA on the local level serving as the chair of our group development advisory committee. We attained our chapter charter and I served two terms as the news letter editor and two terms as the president. I am still active in my home chapter (HLAAFW) and attend as many monthly meetings as I can.

In 1994 I became the Assistant Texas HLAA State Coordinator working with Clyde Black. In 1995, Clyde retired and I became the Texas HLAA State Coordinator. I served in that capacity till November of 2001. During this time, I also served on the Transition Committee to help implement the Strategic Plan that was adopted by the board. In 2002 I was appointed to the Bylaws and Board Handbook Revision Committees.

In 2003, at the Atlanta convention I was installed as one of the first of the regional representatives on the board. I serve Region VII which is made up of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.
But, I also have responsibilities to the organization as a whole and represent all the members of HLAA.

I believe firmly in the servant leadership concept. The board and the staff of this organization are here to serve the membership of this organization. The members are the owners of this organization and we work for you! It is incumbent on us that we do it in an ethical and prudent manner.

I was touched by Terry's address made at the National Leadership Conference in January, 2003. You can read this presentation at . The read will be worth your time.

I think I can answer yes to his five questions. I am not perfect. I get my foot in my mouth way more than is good for me. No matter, HLAA is important to me. Each and every one of you are important to me. I want to serve you to the best of my ability.

But, no leader can be better than the people s/he serves. Help me. Work with me. Talk with me. Tell me your concerns. Let me hear your ideas on how to improve HLAA. We all need to do what we can to carry forward this "fresh vision" of  HLAA.

Give generously of your time and your resources. It costs money to maintain a quality organization. Everything you do for HLAA is noted and appreciated.

Thank you for allowing me to serve you.


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