2017 Focus On People awards

Advocacy category



John Cartwright

Anchorage, AK

John Cartwright was raised in a generation that puts less investment in children with hearing loss and their potential to learn and speak. He defied the odds and now aims his career and volunteer efforts to support early hearing detection and families of children with hearing loss. Most importantly, John models the success a person with hearing loss can achieve. As a volunteer with the local Alexander Graham Bell committee, John lends his expertise to help and support families trying to navigate the world of hearing loss with their own children. John is an inspiration to people with and without hearing loss. During the year his wife was deployed overseas, he continued his volunteer activities while serving as a single parent to six children, including one with special health needs.




Jena Howell, RN, MSN

Texarkana, AR

At 77 years young, Jena Howell recently celebrated her 50th year wearing hearing aids and continues to do what she does best – lead by example. Jena is passionate about educating those around her to take charge of their own hearing health. She is her own best example. Hearing loss and numerous failed hearing screenings as a child did not discourage Jena from pursuing a successful career in nursing. Now retired, she continues to volunteer her time and expertise to her community, leading a local chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). Her involvement in promoting hearing screenings at numerous community health fairs and ongoing support of nursing programs at local churches gives her many opportunities to demonstrate that hearing loss does not limit a person’s ability to contribute in valuable ways.




Cheri Perazzoli

Redmond, WA

As Director of Advocacy for the Hearing Loss Association of America — Washington (HLAA-WA), Cheri Perazzoli focuses on removing barriers and establishing accommodations so people with hearing loss can participate fully and equally. She is the founder and visionary behind Let’s Loop Seattle, which aims to make cultural, professional, and civic venues available to everyone, regardless of their ability to hear. Since the group’s inception, dozens of Washington State venues have installed loops and improved hearing access. Cheri wants to make hearing loops and universal communication access part of our national infrastructure, providing equal participation and opportunities for people who have long been underserved. “Hearing loops can mean the difference between staying home and becoming isolated or engaging once again with work, play, and civic life,” she explains. HLAA honored Cheri with the 2016 Get in the Hearing Loop Award for her role in increasing hearing accessibility in Washington State.


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