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June 30, 2004

Thompson man wins national service award

From: Norwich Bulletin, CT - Jun 30, 2004

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In the news: Norman Babbitt, 75, of Thompson received The Self Help for Hard of Hearing People Service Award June 13 at the 19th International SHHH Convention in Omaha, Neb.

Background: Babbitt, who suffers from hearing loss, has long been a champion of the hearing impaired population. He became involved with SHHH not too long ago and was elected president of the local group last year. According to a release from SHHH headquarters, the award is "given to individuals because they possess a special quality, a rare gift, that sets them apart from others."

Who wins: Nominated by fellow members of the organization, the recipient is someone who "sets an example for others as a shining model of the self-help philosophy; someone who understands that "it's not the difference we have, it's the difference we make," according to information supplied by SHHH.

Partnership: Babbitt has teamed up with Harriet Johnson, another SHHH member. Johnson recently had a cochlear implant to restore her hearing after a three-year loss. "I'm looking forward to working with Harriet to inspire others with severe hearing loss to consider this option," hetsaid. Babbitt distributes free hearing aid batteries at his church. He also is a dedicated advocate for veterans. In 2003, he painted the exterior of the Veterans of Foreign Warshall in Quinebaug by himself.

Other efforts: He spearheaded a committee charged with having a handicap ramp installed at Tourtellotte Memorial High School in Thompson. He overcame a number of obstacles in getting the project completed. He has made many contributions to his community and to the hard-of-hearing community.

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