History of MWADB

Brief History of MWADB
(Past and Present Officers List Below)

In the mid-1970’s, Gallaudet College established a community education program for Deaf-Blind adults, under the direction of Art Roehrig.  Several Deaf-Blind individuals participated in the courses over the next several years, and the idea of a Deaf-Blind Community gathering came up repeatedly, though there was no information on where or how to initiate such a forum.  Deaf-Blind individuals continued to meet at the Gallaudet classes, and in each other’s homes, generating ideas and opinions.

On September 25, 1982, Rod Macdonald who was then the President of the American Association of the Deaf-Blind (AADB) and his wife, Ele, invited a group of dynamic Deaf-Blind folks, their families and their friends who became support service providers (SSP) for a potluck dinner at their home.   To our amazement, we shared similar isolation and frustrating experiences.  After our delicious dinner, Rod gave an impressive talk on how to start a Deaf-Blind social club in the metro area.  Everyone loved the idea, which sparked the beginning of our unique social group.  Each Deaf-Blind individual took a turn in hosting a potluck dinner in his or her home on the third Saturday of each month.

On April 19, 1984, the social gathering at the home of Reverend Jay and Frances Croft grew and grew.  And the group decided to officially have the organization called Metro Washington Club for the Deaf-Blind (MWCDB).  The election took place and Jack Wright was the first president, Debbie Falek was vice president and secretary was Earlene Duncan and Ann Black as treasurer.

During the three-year term, the officers established the by-laws.  Also, we hosted a reception for the 1986 AADB convention on the campus of Gallaudet College in Washington, D.C.  In June 1986, the organization’s name changed to Metropolitan Washington Association of the Deaf-Blind (MWADB).  Then in November of 1987 elections officially took place and from that time on every two years elections are held.  Various activities: popular Thanksgiving pot luck dinner, picnic, camping and various recreational activities, guest speakers, SSP training, deaf-blind support group meetings and fund raising.

MWADB has grown throughout the years and will have a twenty-year celebration in 2004. We hope you will join us to learn more about our organization.


Term President
1984-1987 Jack Wright
1987-1989 Phillip Smith
1989-1991 Ann Black
1991-1993 Steven Frank
1993-1995 Jamie McNamara
1996-1997 Lisa Wellander
1997-2001 Blaise Delahoussaye
2001-2007 Betsy M. Wohl
2007-2009 Karen Bailey
2009-2011 Blaise Delahoussaye
2011-2013 Andrew Cohen
2013-2015 Jason Corning
2015-2017 Eddie Martinez
2017-2019 Jason Corning
2019-2022 Eddie Martinez
2022- Lisa Stannard

Term Vice President
1984-1987 Debbie Ennis Falek
1987-1989 Louise Tetu, Georgette Sullivan, Steve Frank
1989-1991 Steven Frank
1991-1993 Jack Wright
1993-1995 Blaise Delahoussaye
1995-1997 Lisa Wellander, Elizabeth Spiers
1997-1999 Elizabeth Spiers
1999-2001 Betsy M. Wohl
2001-2003 Laura Engler
2003-2005 Ann Black
2005-2007 Laura Engler
2007-2009 Ann Black
2009-2011 Lois Finnicum
2011-2013 Bruce Denhart
2013-2014 Bruce Denhart
2014-2016 Katherma Seaton
2017-2018 Ben Belisle
2019-2022 Betsy M. Wohl
2022- John Reske

Term Secretary
1984-1987 Gladys Krohn, Earlene Duncan
1987-1991 Earlene Duncan
1991-1993 Mary Owen, Elizabeth Spiers
1993-1995 Lisa Wellander
1995-1999 Dona Sauerburger
1999-2001 Eddie Martinez, Lisa Wellander
2001-2003 Dianne Poirier, Dona Sauerburger
2003-2007 Rebbeka Halseth
2007-2009 Deborah Livingston
2009-2011 Lisa Pugh, Jamie Pope
2011-2013 Kelli Stein
2013-2019 Ed Knight
2019-2022 Jamie Pope
2022- (Vacant)

Term Treasurer
1984-1987 Ann Black
1987-1989 Monica Shimmin, Laura Engler
1989-1991 Laura Engler
1993-1995 Blaise Delahoussaye
1993-1997 David Irvine
1997-1999 Bruce Denhart
1999-2001 Joey Botkin, Phil Watson, Bruce Denhart
2001-2003 Bruce Denhart
2003-2005 Laura Engler, Bruce Denhart
2005-2007 Mike Sullivan
2007-2009 Bruce Denhart
2009-2011 Bruce Denhart
2011-2013 Tim Putt
2013-2015 Eddie Martinez
2015-2017 Eleanor Brown
2017-2022 Bruce Denhart