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Audio-Reader marks 45 years, celebrates volunteer milestones

Thursday, November 03, 2016

LAWRENCE — Audio-Reader volunteers and staff gathered last month to mark the organization’s milestone anniversary and recognize the 400 volunteers who make the programming possible. 

During the event, made possible a sponsorship from McDaniel and Knutson Financial Partners, listener Mary Chappell shared her story of vision loss and thanked volunteers for their time, which is valued at more than $1.5 million annually. 

“When I lost my sight, I knew I was going to have to do some things differently,” Chappell said. “It wasn’t that I couldn’t do them, it’s that I needed to do them differently. Audio-Reader was probably that first bridge for me.” 

Chappell, a listener for nine years now, particularly enjoys the Lawrence Journal-World and University Daily Kansan.

Neeli Bendapudi, University of Kansas provost and executive vice chancellor, also spoke, calling Audio-Reader and its volunteers community champions for KU.

“Part of our liberal arts education is making sure that these messages, that information, is not just in the classroom, but outside, when you’re driving to work, when you’re doing your chores, and that’s what you provide.”

In addition, 59 volunteers received awards for years of service ranging from five to 45.  The group included Audio-Reader’s first volunteer, Eleanor Symons.

Those honored for their years of service:


Five years

From Lawrence: Pam Baughman, Anne Burgess, Karen DeVictor, David Dinneen, Becky Janzen, Lenita Richardson, and Chris Riels 

From Eudora: Karen Boyer

From Basehor: Jim Powers

From Overland Park: Mark Hutchins, Leigh Ann Monthey, Bruce Olson, and Judy Weingarten

From Lenexa: Anna Napolitan and Marty Sampson

From Topeka: Evelyn Fitzpatrick

From Pittsburg: Elwyn Davis, Karen Davis, and Bob Roberts

From Kansas City, Missouri: Bill Anderson and Mike Wood

From Rayville, Missouri: Renee Claire.


10 years

From Lawrence: Marilyn Epp, Thomas Howe, Rebecca Jordan, Barbara Paris, and Bill Vermooten

From Eudora: Merilee Dymacek

From DeSoto: Dave Dunford

From Overland Park: Ron Scoles

From Lenexa: Keith Sevedge

From Lee’s Summit, Missouri: Mike Lewis

From Round Rock, Texas: Jonathan Haynes.


15 years

From Lawrence: Nancy Colyer, Lynne Ellis, Susan Hoefer, Cindy Koester, Jo Anne Kready, Molly Mulloy, Jane Pennington, Cindy Penzler, Mary Ann Saunders, and Jane Tedder.


20 years

From Lawrence: Don Frey, Bob Gent, and Jackie Hilton

From Pittsburg: Lucy Bednekoff, Sheila Marque, and Frank Marque

From Kimberling City, Missouri: Pat Ashley-Hiscock.


25 years

From Lawrence: Carol Jones, Kris Shields, Rob Tabor, Susan Tabor, Jim Taylor, and Thelma Taylor

From Topeka: Randy Austin.


35 years

From Overland Park: Harold Asner.


45 years

From Lawrence: Eleanor Symons.

The Audio-Reader Network fosters independence by providing access to information and the arts for people who have difficulty reading standard print due to vision loss, physical or learning disability, mobility challenges, and age. The service is available throughout Kansas and western Missouri.  For more information visit or call (785) 864-4600.

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