Reading for audio recording is much harder than one would imagine. I am truly amazed by our approximately one hundred volunteer readers who weekly read aloud current printed materials for our listeners to enjoy. After recording a couple of nasally, slurred and out of breath reading attempts, it was painfully apparent that I could not contribute to Virginia Voice as a reader.
I could, however, deliver our custom closed circuit radios to new listeners. After delivering my first radio I was grateful for my failed auditions. If I had read clearly and with an appealing voice, then I would have missed the opportunity to engage face to face with the individuals we serve. As a radio delivery person, you do not simply leave the radio on a doorstep. Instead, you arrange a time to meet with the new listener at their home and find the ideal location for the radio so they can enjoy our programs.
Inevitably, the radio set-up is a minor component of the engagement. The majority of the visit is so wonderfully uplifting and enlightening that it is easily the highlight of my entire week. I have had the pleasure of delivering radios to two women on the eve of their centennial birthdays. I met with a woman who was coincidentally an old neighbor of mine about 17 years ago and a man who was a founding member of the Mechanicsville Christian Center. I have heard colorful and sometimes sad stories about WWII and the Korean War. I have listened to individuals describe hardships and triumphs, families and careers. One woman’s husband started the a the Arts and Crafts program at RPI while another woman told me of her stint as a nurse in the US Army stationed in Europe during WWII and her career as a dietetic nurse with the Veterans Administration after returning to the US.
The opportunity to meet and share stories with our listeners has deeply enriched my life. I am proud to be associated with a service that can bring the printed word to individuals in our community who cannot read printed materials for themselves due to a disability. While I could not contribute to the recorded readings, I eagerly plug a receiver into an electrical outlet, lend an ear and ask a question or two or ten. I can always find something in common with the new listener and I am almost certain that I look forward to the scheduled deliveries more than the new listeners do.