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September 29, 2006

Hamilton Relay Recognizes Leader in Montana

From: Hamilton Relay - Sep 29, 2006

In honor of Deaf Awareness Week, Hamilton Relay is pleased to recognize Betty Van Tighem as the 2006 Deaf Leader of the Year for the State of Montana.

Betty Van Tighem is a native Midwesterner hailing from Indiana. She graduated from the Indiana School for the Deaf in the mid-1950s. She went on to Gallaudet College in Washington, DC, which is now Gallaudet University and graduated in 1960. Immediately following her graduation from Gallaudet, Betty landed her first job as a teacher at Montana School for the Deaf and Blind (MSDB) in Great Falls and taught there for 33 years. While teaching at MSDB, she established the Deaf Studies courses, which continue to be some of the most important courses for the MSDB students today.

Betty has been retired for 13 years. She continues to be actively involved with several organizations of the Deaf, including Montana Association of the Deaf. She volunteers with Montana Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, and serves on several state-level committees such as Universal Newborn Hearing Screening, Disability Action Alliance of Montana, Help Americans Vote Act task forces, Montana Vocational Rehabilitation Council, and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Network. Betty and her husband, Ed, are loyal members of the National Association of the Deaf. Betty is a leader of the Great Falls Club of the Deaf – TTY Tree Network, and often spreads bulletins to other cities across Montana.

While retired, she has accompanied her husband, Ted Van Tighem, to the Montana Telecommunications Access Program (MTAP) meetings and assisted him by expressing the needs for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing customers. Betty keeps herself abreast of happenings within the community regarding the rights of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Betty has traveled to Europe and other countries with several Deaf groups. In fact, she is in Greece with her husband this week with a Deaf touring group.

Betty has two grown sons, Greg, now living in Seattle, and Ted residing in Great Falls with his wife, Sandra. Betty has two lovely granddaughters whom she cherishes.

This leadership recognition has been brought to you by Hamilton Relay.