President/Treasurer- Helen Grathwohl (2016)
I was born in Hagerstown, Md. on October 6, 1952. I'm blessed to have three sons, two grandsons and a beautiful granddaughter. I'm a Coast Guard veteran, serving from 1971 to 1975, stationed for most of my enlistment in Portsmouth, Va. At the time of my cancer diagnosis I had been in the Fire Department for 42 years. I retired as Chief of the Hagerstown Fire Department in June 2015. My laryngectomee was on September 18, 2012 and I now use a TEP to speak. I'm a member of the Laryngectomee Club of Montgomery County, MD., the Firefighter Cancer Support Network and also attend the John Hopkins Hospital SPOHNC Meetings in Lutherville, Md. My cancer was determined to be directly related to my career as a firefighter and it's now my mission to educate firefighters everywhere I can, about cancer awareness, prevention and how to mitigate carcinogen exposure. My passions are cooking, making wine and antique fire apparatus restoration.
Secretary - Barbara Nitschneider (2014-2018)
During her years of service on the Board she was appointed to the Executive, Public Affairs, Bylaws, Speech Standards and Annual Meeting committees. In the past she has also served as the President of the Illinois Association of Laryngectomees and as president and secretary of her local club.
She has served as the Public Member of the Speech/Audiology Board of the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation, and on the Rehabilitation Board of the American Cancer Society. She has spoken to nurses, nurse trainees, doctors, Speech/Language Pathologists, Speech/Language Pathology students and high school groups; and continues to visit hospital patients,
Barb became a laryngectomee in 1974 at the age of 27. She attended her first IAL Annual Meeting in 1976 in Chicago and has only missed one since then. Until 2009 she used esophageal speech as her primary method of communication. In 2009, after throat dilation, her esophagus was perforated. After many months her esophagus was rebuilt. As a result she now uses an electrolarynx to speak.
Barb has been retired for 13 years after teaching second grade for 34 years. She then subbed as a Special Ed teacher for two years. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Northern Illinois University in 1968, and completed her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction in 1995. She and her husband Bob are busy traveling and enjoying retirement. Barb also spends her time riding and caring for her buckskin mare Amber. She also volunteers two days a week as a groom and horse leader for Mainstay, a therapeutic riding center.
I am pleased to be serving again as Secretary for the IAL. As a result of my surgery I feel I have been given a purpose and a responsibility - to provide inspiration and hope to those facing the same adventure. My life has been truly blessed by the wonderful friends I have made. I was given a challenge, and have been able to meet it and grow from it. My goal is to help others as a result of the work I do as Secretary of the IAL
Newsletter Editor-Candace Moltz (2014-2018)
I am a Speech Language Pathologist at the Dallas VA Medical Center where I have worked for 20 years. Before that I was a clinical supervisor at the University of Texas at Dallas in the Speech Pathology graduate program for nine years. Early on, I was mentored by Jessie Hart (a long-time IAL BOD member) who facilitated my interest and commitment to the rehabilitation of Laryngectomees. With Jessie and a handful of Texas Lost Chord Club presidents from around Texas, I helped plan the first of 21 Texas Laryngectomee Association Annual meetings based on the Voice Institute and Annual Meeting of the IAL. For three days every year, laryngectomees and their families, Speech Pathologists and SLP graduate students (sometimes as many as 100), meet in rotating cities around Texas and learn how to overcome this catastrophic disability. I am dedicated to the rehabilitation of laryngectomees, proud of Texas and proud of the Texas Laryngectomee Association. I am honored to serve on the IAL Board of Directors
Administrative Manager-Susan Reeves (2008-2016) *Staff
Susan Reeves was born and raised in West Texas. She graduated from McCamey High School in 1973 and entered Texas Woman's University in the fall of 1973 and later transferred to Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, TX. Susan received both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in speech pathology from SWTSU. She worked in Seminole and Midland, TX for one year each before moving to San Angelo and joining the team of professionals at West Texas Rehabilitation Center the summer of 1980. She also married her husband, Ben, that same summer and they have been married for 31 years. They also have raised 3 children together: Jamie, Blake, and Kari. Susan currently is the Owner/Director of Reeves Rehab Speech Therapy Center which opened in February 2012 in San Angelo, Texas. Her staff has a combined experience of over 50 years and they serve San Angelo and the surrounding communities. She previously was the Senior Clinical Director at WTRC for over 30 years. She had worked in all facets of WTRC throughout the years, including but not limited to: Day Camp Director for 17 years, Cleft Palate Clinic Coordinator, Pediatric Director as well as Speech Therapy Director before leaving there in the fall of 2011. Susan first became acquainted with alaryngeal rehabilitation through the coordination of the Concho Valley Lost Chords Club in 1983. Her first IAL Voice Institute was in Seattle, Washington in 1988. She later would attend the Dallas Voice Institute and be mentored under Zilpha Bosone in 1989 and joined the IAL Voice Institute Staff in Cincinnati, OH in 1990 and lectured as a member of the VI for 8 years. During this same time frame, she was asked to join the IAL Board of Directors and served a two year term. Her mentors while on the Voice Institute were: director Bob Keith, Shirley Salmon, Jim Shanks, Zilpha Bosone, Mary Jane Renner, Lerman, Girlmore, and Staacks. Susan continued to stay active in the alaryngeal field demonstrated by her development of the Mexico Voice Institute. She, along with Dr. Enrique Hulsz and speech pathologist Erika Carreno-Gomez, mirrored meetings seen through the IAL and assisted residents and club members in Mexico City establish a Voice Institute, which still continues on today. Susan served on this team for the first 6 years and then later for an additional 2 years. Susan and 4 other independent speech pathologists were asked to assist the International Rehabilitation of Laryngectomees team (IRL) for Cologne, Germany for week long training and sharing session so the two different groups could share ideas, differences and commonalities in the hopes of advancing ideas in alaryngeal treatment from the hospital to home. Susan has been a key member of the Texas Laryngectomee Association and has served as a member of the planning committee since its development. She has been a member of the lecture and planning staff and still holds that post today. She has helped countless laryngectomees, students, and professionals in her career through the TLA and the IAL. Mrs. Reeves has authored two separate chapters in the alaryngeal field in her career, both for peers whom she had the privilege to work beside through the IAL Voice Institute. The first chapter can be found in For Clinicians by Clinicians, editors Salmon and Mount. The second can be found in the Head and Neck Cancer: Treatment, Rehabilitation, and Outcomes, editors Ward and Van As-Brooks. Mrs. Reeves is a member of the Texas Speech and Hearing Association and has lectured through this association on numerous occasions. She is and has been an active member of the American Speech and Hearing Association since 1978. She joined the IAL as the Executive Director in September 2008. In 2011, the board voted to change that position title to Administrative Manager, and Susan remains active in that role to this date.
Board Member - Dan Konz (2017)
I was born August 31, 1940 in Flushing N.Y. I married Rosemary in April 1999. I have 5 adult children and 13 grandchildren. We currently live in Woodridge IL. I had 40 radiations with 8 chemo treatments before my total laryngectomy in 2007. I have had too many surgeries to list. I feel like a 6 million dollar man! I look and feel GREAT! I am a cancer survivor. During my lifetime I have had many successful businesses including Coaching Swimming at the YMCA, Life Guard at Jones Beach on Long Island, High School Teacher, owner of Restaurants, Bank Vice President, Two start-up Companies. I was the President of the Woodridge Chamber of Commerce for 2 years... When I started, there were only 37 members. When my term was up, we had over 200 members. God has given me the ability to be a leader and have a very positive outlook on life. I am the founder and President of the “Talk Again” Laryngectomy Support Group since 2008. Our meetings are held at the Bastian Voice Institute in Downers Grove IL. I am honored to speak every year at the Elmhurst College for Speech Pathologist students. Teaching future students is a joy that I cherish and I am able to make a difference in other people’s lives. I speak at High School Career Days and let them know all about how to handle different situations in life. I was asked how I handle my disability, I answer what disability are you talking about? I do not have a disability. Having a Laryngectomy gives me the opportunity to explain that God have given me a second chance and enables me to show how being positive in life help others with what is going on in their life. I often speak at my Church and they see how Blessed I am with how I deal with my Laryngectomy. I receive standing ovations when I am finished with my talk. With my incredible wife Rosemary, we have 2 businesses, You & Me, Inc. a Promotional Products Company since 1998. And Our Young Living Essentials Oils business since 2014. I am a Leader & Educator for how Oils create a chemical free lifestyle. Teaching future leaders is a passion that I have. We are members of the Downers Grove/Woodridge Chamber of Commerce & the Orland Park Chamber of Commerce. Here is where we share our optimistic attitude and give motivational talks on how to be positive and successful human beings. My passion to be a role model to people in all walks of life. While out in public, I have children & adults coming up to me all the time asking me what is that in my neck? I am able to explain what a Laryngectomee is and how it has aided me in helping others. They always tell me about family members that have what I have. I am an A+ personality and love to be a positive influence to others. I will be an outstanding asset to the IAL Board!
Voice Institute Director - Caryn Melvin (2017)
Dr. Melvin received her PhD from the University of South Carolina in 1994. She has worked as a medical speech-language pathologist for the past 27 years. Her areas of specialty include voice restoration following total laryngectomy, dysphagia, neurogenic communication disorders and augmentative communication.
She is an Associate Clinical Professor for the University of South Carolina where she has taught both on-campus and Distance Education courses for students pursuing a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology. She is currently writing a two credit elective course on laryngectomy that will be available to graduate students next fall.
She has been on the faculty of the IAL Voice Institute since 2003 working with many amazing Voice Institute Directors including Dr. Ed Stone, Dr. Philip Doyle, Jodi Knott, and Dr. Jeff Searl. She was also on the faculty for the Florida Laryngectomy Association for many years working with Dr. Searl. She is hoping that after many years of watching her colleagues plan phenomenal meetings she has learned from all of them how to plan a meeting of their caliber. In addition to her speech pathology degree Dr. Melvin has completed course work for a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling at the University of South Carolina as she recognizes the importance of counseling in the management of communication disorders. She is also a graduate of the Fowler-Wainwright International Institute of Professional Coaching.
Dr. Melvin is also a wife, mother of 4, a musician, dog lover and eternal optimist!