The 2020 Award Ceremony
Dr. Linda Fugate, CVRT
Charlyn Allen worked in the field of rehabilitation for the blind for over 35 years. She was a pioneer in our field and worked in many areas including conferences! Ms. Allen was a remarkable woman who happened to be blind. Each year AVRT honors a member with the award named for Ms. Allen. There are certain unwritten traditions associated with this award. The nomination must come from the field and be supported by others who know the recipient. The applications are reviewed, and the awardee is selected – but not told! This is one of the things I remember most about the year I was honored.
We all sit here every year listening to the nomination being read trying to see if we can figure out who they are talking about, and then at some point it clicks – wait a minute, they’re talking about me!
So, let’s see how we did this year:
This person was nominated as someone whose dedication, skill, compassion, and encouragement have helped not only their clients but also their fellow colleagues. Perhaps her greatest gift is her ability to inspire others to believe in themselves. She often shares how her mother is the person in her life who never gave up on her in spite of dire predictions of her future from medical professionals. She graduated from the University of Arkansas Little Rock with a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation of the Blind and successfully earned certification as a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist. She has also earned certification in Deaf Blind Rehabilitation through a program at Northern Illinois University.
Her dedication to advocacy and service to persons who are Deaf/Blind is shown through her work to have House Bill 1244, which establishes a program to broaden the availability of support service providers (SSPs) in the deaf-blind community, passed by the Oklahoma legislature and signed by the governor on April 30, 2018.
It was my pleasure and honor to announce Jeri Cooper the 2020 Charlyn Allen Award winner. Her nomination was submitted by Sharon Shipe. Another difference this year was presentation of the award. For Jeri it is my understanding that it will be presented to her by her colleagues in Oklahoma. The board of directors of AVRT wish to extend our congratulations to Jeri.
An Expression of Thanks from Our 2020 Charlyn Allen Award Winner, Jeri Cooper:
This was truly a surprise and honor! It brought tears to my eyes! I am so thankful to God and my co-workers for all the professional and personal support they have given me for so many years that has empowered me to hopefully carry on the privilege to give others hope, no matter the situation. So many people that deserve the greatest heartfelt thanks for all they’ve done for me! As Jennifer said, I am retiring from DRS but will always be in the field of Deaf Blind! Thanks to AVRT, the greatest organization for VRTs! God bless! . . . Jeri Cooper, CVRT