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Morning Sun
  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Volunteers for the Audio Reader program recognized during award luncheon

  • Pittsburg area volunteers for the Audio Reader program were recognized during an award luncheon Wednesday at Kyoto restaurant.

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  • Pittsburg area volunteers for the Audio Reader program were recognized during an award luncheon Wednesday at Kyoto restaurant.
    The program recently observed 15 years of broadcasting from the Pittsburg studio at KRPS Radio on the Pittsburg State University campus.
    The Audio Reader reading service is broadcast from 2 to 4 p.m. five days a week. Newspapers from southeast Kansas, southwest Missouri and northeast Oklahoma are read for people who are physically unable to read them.
    Receiving certificates of appreciation were Sheila Marque and Rosalie Talley, who have been coordinators of the Audio Reader service in Pittsburg, along with readers Lucy Bednekoff and Barbara Schountz.
    Marque, Talley and Bednekoff have all been involved with the program the past 15 years. Schountz has been a reader for 10 years.
    Presenting the certificates were Janet Campbell, director of Audio Reader at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, and Jennifer Nigro, volunteer coordinator. Also present was Peggy Sampson, outreach coordinator.
    Campbell noted that reading for Audio Reader is different from other forms of service, where volunteers work directly with those they are assisting and receive personal thanks from them.
    “When you read, you go in a room all by yourself and no one says thank you,” Campbell said. “But you are providing such a basic need that we all have.”
    “Every day you are on our minds,” added Nigro. “This group of volunteers works autonomously, and just keeps plugging along year after year with very little help from us. What you do is so important and we appreciate you so much.”
    Talley has been reading the grocery ads every week, and this has been very well received by listeners.
    “If those grocery ads aren’t there, we get calls,” Campbell said.
    The Pittsburg studio is located at the top of three flights of stairs, with no elevator available.
    “I’m 85 and I climb those three flights of stairs every day carrying oxygen,” Talley said. “I’ve had both knees replaced.”
    Campbell said that other program volunteers have also shown outstanding dedication.
    “We have one lady who suffered a stroke and couldn’t speak afterward, she couldn’t come up with words,” she said. “But she could still read, and as soon as she was able, she was back reading for us. It was therapy for her.”
    Sheila Marque, a rehabilitation teacher for services for the blind and vocational rehabilitation, is based in the Pittsburg SRS office. She works out schedules for volunteers, and her husband, Frank, writes them up.
    “If a name is spelled wrong, Frank did it,” Marque told the volunteers.
    She has no vision in her left eye, and almost none in the right, and navigates with the assistance of Ginger, a yellow Lab guide dog provided through Pilot Dogs of Columbus, Ohio.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Ginger had to have cataract surgery on both her eyes recently, but she’s doing very well,” Marque said.
    Ginger rested comfortably under a table during the luncheon. On the table was Audi, a stuffed bear who is an Audio Reader mascot.
    “Audi comes with me to all Audio Reader events,” Marque said.
    She told the volunteers that they have become like a family over the past 15 years.
    “In those 15 years we’ve lost some family members, and we’ve had one birth,” Marque said.
    The volunteers said they enjoy the reading.
    “We find out a lot about what’s going on in other places,” Talley said.
    Peggy Sampson invited the volunteers to drop by for a visit if they’re ever in Lawrence.
    “We’re in a beautiful building, and we’ll give you a tour,” the outreach coordinator said. “It was formerly a fraternity house, and we’ve got the second oldest fireplace on the KU camps.”
    “On football game days we have a lot of guys who come in and say that they used to live there,” Campbell said.
    She handed out tote bags and KU posters and also played a tape of telephone calls that did give the volunteers some appreciation from listeners.
    “I wish I could be there in person,” said one listener, “to thank every one of you for your time and your generosity.”
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