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.


1984-1987Jack Wright
1987-1989Phillip Smith
1989-1991Ann Black
1991-1993Steven Frank
1993-1995Jamie McNamara
1996-1997Lisa Wellander
1997-2001Blaise Delahoussaye
2001-2007Betsy M. Wohl
2007-2009Karen Bailey
2009-2011Blaise Delahoussaye
2011-2013Andrew Cohen
2013-2015Jason Corning
2015-2017Eddie Martinez
2017-2019Jason Corning
2019-2022Eddie Martinez
2022-Lisa Stannard
TermVice President
1984-1987Debbie Ennis Falek
1987-1989Louise Tetu, Georgette Sullivan, Steve Frank
1989-1991Steven Frank
1991-1993Jack Wright
1993-1995Blaise Delahoussaye
1995-1997Lisa Wellander, Elizabeth Spiers
1997-1999Elizabeth Spiers
1999-2001Betsy M. Wohl
2001-2003Laura Engler
2003-2005Ann Black
2005-2007Laura Engler
2007-2009Ann Black
2009-2011Lois Finnicum
2011-2013Bruce Denhart
2013-2014Bruce Denhart
2014-2016Katherma Seaton
2017-2018Ben Belisle
2019-2022Betsy M. Wohl
2022-John Reske
1984-1987Gladys Krohn, Earlene Duncan
1987-1991Earlene Duncan
1991-1993Mary Owen, Elizabeth Spiers
1993-1995Lisa Wellander
1995-1999Dona Sauerburger
1999-2001Eddie Martinez, Lisa Wellander
2001-2003Dianne Poirier, Dona Sauerburger
2003-2007Rebbeka Halseth
2007-2009Deborah Livingston
2009-2011Lisa Pugh, Jamie Pope
2011-2013Kelli Stein
2013-2019Ed Knight
2019-2022Jamie Pope
1984-1987Ann Black
1987-1989Monica Shimmin, Laura Engler
1989-1991Laura Engler
1993-1995Blaise Delahoussaye
1993-1997David Irvine
1997-1999Bruce Denhart
1999-2001Joey Botkin, Phil Watson, Bruce Denhart
2001-2003Bruce Denhart
2003-2005Laura Engler, Bruce Denhart
2005-2007Mike Sullivan
2007-2009Bruce Denhart
2009-2011Bruce Denhart
2011-2013Tim Putt
2013-2015Eddie Martinez
2015-2017Eleanor Brown
2017-2022Bruce Denhart