Irene Lowery is a brand new listener to our program! She got her first radio just five months ago. I was fortunate to be able to sit down and chat with her a little while ago, to learn a little bit about her and see how she’s liking the service.
To the left, you can see Irene and her husband Charles at their 50th wedding anniversary.
“I’m 86 years of age, and I have MD – Macular degeneration,” Irene told me. Macular degeneration is one of the most common causes of vision loss in America. It causes someone to lose their central vision.
“Since I lost my eyesight, I don’t do as much because I can’t drive or do anything like that. I am legally blind. So I’m at home, and different people come by and take me different places. My daughter, she’s with me on Fridays. We do bookkeeping and shopping and whatever needs to be done. That’s about it, now.”
Irene has two children and a stepdaughter. “My daughter Charlene is 66. And I have a son, who is 64. He’s a captain of the police department in Chattanooga. And I now have 5 grandchildren. And great-grands in the teens.”
Irene’s husband, Charles, passed away last year. (To the right, you can see Irene and Charles on their wedding day.) After he got sick, Irene took care of him at home until about three weeks before his passing. His last three weeks were spent in the hospital. They’d been married almost 66 years.
Irene and Charles met after he got out of the Marines. “One Sunday afternoon, I was at my girlfriend’s house, and his friend came by and said, “I got somebody I want you to meet.” And that was it. We met, and I went with him three years before we married.”
Why She Listens to Radio Eye
Irene listens to Radio Eye every day. She says, “I have a habit of – I go in the kitchen. I’ll cut my TV down and play my radio. I like the Louisville news, and I also like the death notices, where they tell you who has passed. I just like news.”
“I like the way that Radio Eye highlights things. You can listen to that, and you’ll know what’s going on. And then they have music on there and stories. Sometimes I listen to the Lexington news. But I always, always wait for the Louisville news.”
Irene also says that Radio Eye helps her occupy her time. “In the early fall and late summer, I can take my radio and go out on my porch. I can sit out on the porch and listen to my radio. With my eyesight as it is, I can’t do too much cleaning and all of that.”
Irene’s Macular Degeneration has caused her to lose her central vision. In the picture on the right, you can see how Irene might see our studios.
There is one thing about Radio Eye that troubles Irene – how many people there are that don’t know about us.
“There are so many people who do not know about Radio Eye. I’m wondering if there’s some way that it could be more advertised. My classmate was here visiting me, and I was telling her about it, and she’d never heard of it. And then I started listening to the radio station, and they do have [announcements about Radio Eye] on other stations, but people don’t pay any attention to it. I mean, if your eyesight is poor, you’ll pay more attention than when you have good eyesight.”
Irene plans to talk to her church and her class meetings about us, to do her part in spreading the word.
Irene’s Message to Donors
“I want to say thanks to the donors who make Radio Eye possible. I appreciate the ones that’s helping to donate. I hope I’ll be able to give a donation in the future. Right through here, it’s a little rough, but I appreciate everyone that’s helping out.”
“And I will continue to spread the information on Radio Eye. Because it is an asset. It’s very, very well done.”
SPOTLIGHT on Jenny Robertson
by Amy Hatter
Jenny Robertson is one of our donors, and we are so thankful to have her support. Jenny lives in Texas now, but was born and raised in Lexington. She even worked at the Lexington Herald-Leader as a reporter. Jenny has two reasons for giving to Radio Eye: her love of newspapers and her grandfather.
Jenny says, “My grandfather actually had macular degeneration. He was someone who would, every day, read the paper. He would go to the golf course every single day. He would drive down the golf course when he golfed. He was just very active, extraverted, social. His vision loss took away some of those things. He couldn’t golf anymore. He used a service like Radio Eye down in Georgia. I still remember when he got a radio. He was so elated. That really stuck with me.”
On her giving, Jenny says, “I don’t have a lot of time, so I can’t help in that way (by volunteering). I feel fortunate to be able to give, because that’s the way that I feel like I can help the most. So I make it a point to do that.”
She currently works in corporate responsibility at AT&T, and previously worked for Dell. She gives to other causes, but Radio Eye is her main priority. “I so appreciate what you do, and every time I write that check, I think of about my grandfather, Jim Robertson, and it really fills my heart to be able to help out. With a small nonprofit like y’all, I know even the little that I can give makes a big difference.”
Like many of our supporters, Jenny is a big reader. “I read a lot of news, the New York Times and others. I read a lot of fiction. I read a lot of poetry - actually, my husband Ben writes poetry. I’ve just always been a big reader. It’s always been real important to me. I try to work at adding some nonfiction in there every now and again.”
Thank you, Jenny, for your years of support!
Ways to Support Us
There are many ways to join Jenny in supporting us. Donations are our lifeblood – all of our funding comes from grantors and individuals. They can be made by mailing a check, or on our website. You can also get us items from our wish list, found at www.donor.radioeye.org. You can make a bequest to Radio Eye in your will. Or join Kroger Community Rewards at http://www.kroger.com/community rewards and choose Radio Eye as your supported program.
GoodGiving Guide Challenge
We’ll be participating in the GoodGiving Guide Challenge again this year! This will be the fifth year we’ve participated in the challenge.
This year, the challenge will start on November 29th at 9 AM and run until midnight on December 31st. It’s an online only fundraiser, coordinated by the Blue Grass Community Foundation.
We raised $9,000 through the challenge last year, and our goal this year is to raise $10,000. We currently have $3,500 in match funds. If you’d like to join our match donors in offering a match, contact Amy Hatter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ll be holding a kick-off breakfast on November 29th from 8:30-9:30 am at the Lyric Theatre. Stay in touch with us on Facebook and through our email newsletters for more information on that.
Our annual fundraiser, A Signal Affair, was held on October 14th – and it was a lot of fun!
Over 100 people came out to play games and raise money for Radio Eye. The event brought in over $9,000.
The night started with food and drink from Lexington Diner. At 6:30 the gaming tables opened up – we played craps, roulette, Texas Hold ‘Em, and blackjack. Thank you to the dozens of volunteers who helped with set up, tear down, and dealing at the tables.
If you attended A Signal Affair, please let us know what you thought by taking our survey at www.survey.radioeye.org.
The third annual A Signal Affair will take place next fall.
Do you have a driving desire to help people? Consider becoming a volunteer driver with ITNBluegrass!
ITNBluegrass, a nonprofit senior transportation service and a local affiliate of national nonprofit ITNAmerica, is growing! ITNBluegrass provides safe, affordable, dignified automobile transportation to people 60+ and adults with visual impairments 24/7 anywhere in Fayette and northern Jessamine Counties for any reason. Service is “arm-through-arm, door-through-door.”
As a volunteer, you earn mileage credit for every mile you drive that you can accrue in an account for your future transportation needs or donate to someone else to use right now. You also receive a free yearly ITN membership that you can keep for yourself or give away. Every volunteer is covered by volunteer insurance.
You may drive as much or as little as you’d like, on your schedule. Following a two-hour training and background check, you’re ready to go meet some really nice people and hear some interesting stories! To schedule a training or to ask questions, please call Laura at 859-351-0460 or email her at email@example.com.
Volunteer drivers help older adults and those with visual impairments stay connected to families, friends, and activities!
Toll-Free Number Update
After fixing some kinks in the system, all 4 of our broadcast streams are now available for free on our toll-free telephone system!
To listen, call 800-238-5193 using a touch tone phone. Press 1 to listen to the Lexington broadcast, 2 for Louisville, 3 for Eastern Kentucky, and 4 for Morehead.
We have heard that some people have trouble connecting with the toll free number. If you experience any issues, a long-distance number is also available for each broadcast. They are:
Lexington stream - 641-793-9404
Louisville stream - 641-793-9403
Eastern Kentucky stream - 605-475-4546
Morehead stream - 641-793-9402
*Originally published in our August e-newsletter.
Almost a year after it was hit by lightning and fried beyond repair, WEKU is ready to replace their transmitter in Hazard. WEKU provides our radio frequency in Hazard and Corbin. For the past year, Hazard has been operating on a very low powered transmitter.
With the new transmitter installed late last month, our listeners in the area will experience much higher quality in their signal. If you’re in the Hazard area and need a new radio, please call us in the Lexington studios – at 859-422-6390 or 1-800-238-5193 ext. 5.
Myths and Misconceptions: I have to be blind to listen to Radio Eye.
Truth: We are here for anyone with any print reading disability! While many of our listeners do have a visual impairment, our service is also available to anyone who can’t read print because of a physical disability (such as Multiple Sclerosis or Cerebral Palsy), a learning disability, or anything else that makes reading or comprehending print difficult.
Interview with Mason King of Legal Aid of the Bluegrass
Our Assistant Studio Manager, Megan Hensley, interviewed Mason King, the Public Benefits Counselor at Legal Aid of the Bluegrass located in Lexington, in order to find out more information about how Legal Aid might help assist our listeners for open enrollment in the fall.
For more information about Legal Aid of the Bluegrass, you can call 859-233-4556 or visit www.lablaw.org.
Megan: Who are you and where do you work that puts you in contact with elderly or disabled Kentuckians?
Mason: Legal Aid of the Bluegrass’ SHIP Program is a local non-for-profit agency that aids seniors and disabled individuals with their public benefits. Our non-profit annually assists thousands of individuals with securing money-saving benefits, educating seniors on health insurance coverage, benefits and consumer rights, helping seniors figure out how to pay for much-needed medications; providing assistance and education, on a one-on-one basis or through educational forums; protecting consumers against fraud or misdirected collections; and empowering consumers to make informed health insurance choices. Across the thirty counties we serve, our agency has saved seniors hundreds of thousands of dollars, and continues to strive each day for an even more profound impact on our Kentucky community.
Megan: What are the specific needs, struggles, or problems of the typical population that you serve?
Mason: Undoubtedly, navigating through the red-tape of public benefits is oftentimes confusing and overwhelming for many individuals. It is not until a large medical bill arrives at the door, a prescription medication becomes simply unaffordable, or health concerns require action that people are forced to examine their benefits. Not only does our professional staff help simplistically explain one’s benefits, but we also conduct over-the-phone benefits screenings.
Many times, our office uncovers benefits a client is eligible to receive, but simply has never known to apply. One such application that thousands of Kentuckians are entitled to receive is the Medicare Savings Program. Most fixed-income seniors are eligible to receive this benefit which eliminates Part B premiums; this adds an additional $104.90 to $121.80 each month into one’s Social Security check. Some individuals even qualify for a tier of this program which has Medicaid supplement Medicare coverage and eliminates all medical costs! This is just one of the many great benefits out there that people are eligible for, but know not about.
Megan: Explain the differences between Medicare and Medicaid.
Mason: On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the bill that led to the creation of Medicare and Medicaid. Though these programs have evolved over time, many of the basic components remain. Simply, Medicare is health coverage for people 65 years and older, those permanently disabled, and individuals with End Stage Renal Disease. Medicaid coverage is for low-income families, pregnant women, people of all ages with disabilities and people who need long-term care.
Megan: What is your best advice for clients who are both legally disabled and over 65 years old?
Mason: Those Medicare eligible should most definitely call our office for a benefits screening. We are able to inform them as to all of the benefits they can receive and assist with applications for those programs in which clients are interested. Additionally, we always recommend that clients compare their Part D Medicare Drug Plans and/or Medicare Replacement plans each year. Our office is able to provide free, unbiased comparisons for Medicare beneficiaries and help inform people which plan will best serve them for the following year.
Megan: How can Legal Aid of the Bluegrass help assist our listeners?
Mason: The SHIP Program can potentially help save listeners thousands of dollars by applying for the slew of available public benefits. If you have a problem with your Medicare, paying for medical bills, affording your medications, working with your veterans benefits, affording food, or understanding long term care among other benefits related issues, call the SHIP program and speak with a counselor that can help make sense of it all. Find out what benefits you qualify for and compare your Medicare plans to ensure optimal coverage. The SHIP Program is your lifeline to understanding Medicare and other benefits programs.
In addition to reading on-air programming, there are a lot of other ways to help our service. Here, we’ve highlighted a couple of very needed volunteer opportunities.
Members of the Expansion Committee help seek opportunities in and around the communities we serve and may be asked to make presentations at various venues in hopes of gaining new listeners.
The Expansion Committee is responsible for getting our service into new venues such as hospitals, nursing homes, retirement facilities, etc. in all of the areas we provide service – as well as expanding to other parts of the state.
Currently, in Kentucky, there are over 145,000 people with a severe visual impairment. We serve a little less than 10,000 people. Expanding our listening range helps us decrease this gap.
Typically, this committee meets every 4-6 weeks on Mondays at noon and you can expect the meeting to last about an hour.
Our meetings are almost always held in the office at the Northside Library at 1733 Russell Cave Road, Lexington, Kentucky 40505. There is the option to come to the meeting in person, call in over the phone, or using Skype.
To join a committee, you can call the office (859-422-6390), email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or talk to any of the staff when you’re in the office to let us know you’re interested. We will let you know when the next meeting is scheduled and put you on the committee mailing list. We would love to have you!
If you’d like to learn more about a committee without committing to joining, we invite you to sit on a meeting before making your decision.
“I think that the existence of the committee helps the staff by serving as a sounding board for ideas. The staff always seem to have everything in hand and has great ideas for expansion. It is exciting to be part of something that just keeps growing.” ~ Jewel Vanderhoef
Control Board Operators
We are in need of volunteers to be control board operators! A control board operator is someone who helps during live readings to cue the readers at the beginning and end of the broadcast, set mic levels, and play transitional music.
The steps are no harder than doing a recording, but it’s an important job that has to be done every day of the week. This job would be good for someone who is not interested in reading but wants to volunteer their time at Radio Eye.
Each broadcast throughout the week is 1 hour long (1.5 hours on the weekends). Because the bulk of the work is at the beginning and end of the program, it’s a great opportunity to take some time to yourself to read, do homework, work on a crossword puzzle, make phone calls, etc.
We have 12 control board operator positions that have to be filled each week, and at the moment we only have half of those permanently taken. If you are interested in learning more about this volunteer position, please ask Megan – or call 859-422-6390.
Special Volunteer Opportunity
5KBLUEgrass Runners Thoroughbred Classic
Every year, the BLUEgrass Runners hold a 5K race on Thanksgiving morning and donate the proceeds to local nonprofits. We’ve been fortunate to be one of the organizations they support for over 10 years. Last year, we received $7,000 from the race proceeds –enough to provide programming to all of our listeners for almost 500 hours.
They need a lot of people to help on the day of the race. The day starts early, with set up starting at 5:30 am; and clean up ending at 11am. Volunteer shifts are only 2 hours long, but they really help with the race make sure the race is as successful as possible.
There is a lot of competition to be one of the charities supported through this race. Volunteering the day of is a way to help us continue to be one of them. If you can help, please contact our Executive Director Amy Hatter at email@example.com. She’ll be at the race bright and early to help with set up.
Thank you to our recent donors!*
$5,000 to $14,999
The Gheens Foundation
Good Samaritan Foundation, a Ministry of the Kentucky Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
Lexington Medical Society Foundation, Inc.
King's Daughters and Sons Foundation
Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc.
William B. Rogers Beasley
The Carl Family Foundation
The Cralle Foundation, Inc.
Frances Hollis Brain Foundation, Inc.
The Gilbert Foundation
Good Foods Co-Op
Jenny Robertson and Ben Gaffaney
Ron and Susan Byars
Second Presbyterian Church
Larry and Sue Hurt
Saint Joseph Hospital – KentuckyOne Health
21c Museum Hotel
Annette and Derriel Castle
Gary and Alice Dehner
Morehead Lions Club
Nelson and Mary Jo Lamkin
Ohio River Valley Combined Federal Campaign donors
Don and Betty Sands
Senator Ralph Alvarado
Blue Stallion Brewing Co.
Margaret and Philip Chase
Anne M. Combs
CWF of Old Union Church
Mike and Kathy Fister
Gateway Radio Works, Inc. - WMST
Linda and Charles Gorton
Rose Marie Hackett
David Hafley and Janet Shedd
John J. Larkin
John and Eva LaRue
Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government
Lexington South Lions Club
Charles and Carolyn Lindquist
Link-Belt Construction Equipment
Mel and Madalyn Moser
Roger Paige & Sara Schoenberg
James and Katherine Park
Ann Mary Quarandillo
Susan Starr Richards
Kevin and Elise Scully
Gary and Fernita Wallace
Blanca & Walter Ward
Justin D. York
$1 to $99
John P. Barrow
Berea Lions Club
Bluegrass Hospitality Group
Helen T. Brodt
Ted and Cynthia Burunoff
John and Cynthia Cantrell
Jack and Robin CarringtonVirginia G. Carter
Anne and Harry Dadds
Danny's Lawn Service
David Dickason & Laura Cole
Faith E. Dickerson
Danny D. Dunn
Judy and Joe Engelberg
John G. Fister
Graeter's Ice Cream
Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Gay
Global Impact for Pitney Bowes
Gary and Duave Goss
Carolyn and John Hackworth
Joyce and John Hahn
Phillip and Nancy Hoffman
Henry J. Kaplan, MD
Wayne and Maggie Kennedy
Kentucky Horse Park
Sherman and Delores Kirk
Frank and Susan Lewis
Louisville Slugger Field
Ella and Randolph Mann
Maxwell Street Literary Society
Maysville Lions Club
Mary Fran Melton
Bill and Esther Murphy
Ed and Beth Phillips
Leniel C. Rose
Sacramento Lions Club
Hon. Judge Ernesto Scorsone
University of Kentucky Athletics
Jeanne Van Arsdall
Frank and Carol Vaughan
Pat and Don Waggener
Natalie B. Watt
The Willows at Citation
Jack & Angene Wilson
In Memory Of
Clifton Agnew by Kaye Thomas
Edgar Baker by Mary C. Baker
Sherry Davenport by Ray and Susan Ware
JoAnn Foster by Gordon Foster
Evelyn Hildreth by Jack and Jan Gable, Elizabeth and Chris Johnson, Dorothy Stem and Janet Gable
Paul Mehok by Laura Embree
Floyd M. Morris, OD by Nancy Smith
Fred Porter by Kiwanis Club of Gardenside
Helen Rajkovich by Marco and Kathleen Rajkovich
In Honor Of
Thelma Allen by Karim & Branch P.S.C.
Al Crabb by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Cravens
Alice Dehner by Phyllis R. Hasbrouck
Betty Stewart by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Cravens
Jerry Young by Gayle Bourne
*Includes donations received April 8 – October 12, 2016
Board of Directors: Barbara McGroarty, Chair; John Copeland, Treasurer; Greg Casey, Secretary; Rob Deal; David Hafley; Larry Hurt; Melanie Kilpatrick; Philip Rose; Rob Ruddick; Kate Savage