Nominations Due by Monday, April 2nd

Did you know that May is Better Hearing and Speech Month? To celebrate, Hamilton Relay wants to recognize a great leader from each state where they provide relay service.

We are looking for individuals who are hard of hearing, late-deafened or have difficulty speaking. To be nominated, one should demonstrate strong leadership, volunteerism and involvement within his/her community. Award recipients will be honored during the month of May and will be featured on the Hamilton Relay corporate website, on Hamilton Relay’s and Virginia Relay’s social media, in the Virginia Relay newsletter and on the Virginia Relay blog.

To nominate someone in Virginia, download and complete our brief questionnaire telling us about your nominee’s accomplishments. Nominations are due by April 2, 2018 and may be submitted to Virginia Relay’s outreach coordinator Frazelle Hampton to or directly to Hamilton Relay’s corporate office by email to, by fax to (402) 694-5110, or by mail to:

Hamilton Relay

1006 12th Street

Aurora, NE 68818

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Alvillar will promote TRS solutions for Virginians who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, DeafBlind or who have difficulty speaking.

Hamilton Relay, Virginia’s contracted relay provider, recently announced that Eric Alvillar has been hired as Virginia Relay Telecommunication Relay Service (TRS) Outreach Coordinator. In this role, Eric will pursue outreach and educational opportunities throughout the Commonwealth to raise awareness of the TRS features available through Virginia Relay to enable people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, DeafBlind or who have difficulty speaking to place and receive telephone calls.

Eric has more than 13 years of professional experience in sales and marketing. He recently moved to Virginia from San Diego, California, where he was the operations and business development manager for POTHOS, Inc., a corporate travel agent and meeting/event planner. He also has military experience in the United States Navy.

“Being new to Virginia, I am looking forward to traveling and meeting people from all areas of the Commonwealth as I explore new and exciting opportunities to share information about Virginia Relay,” says Eric Alvillar. “I’m eager to meet both current and potential TRS users, and open more doors to accessible telecommunication.”

Eric Alvillar is available to provide information and training on how to use Virginia Relay TRS features to individuals and groups including agencies, businesses or schools. For more information, please visit or contact Eric at 804-295-2863 (Voice/TTY) or

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Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is seeking Virginia Relay users to join the Virginia Relay Advisory Council (VRAC)! The VRAC need new representatives to fill these vacancies:

• Internet/Wireless Relay user
• Captioned Telephone Service (CTS) user
• Video Relay Service (VRS) user

If you use these Relay features and are interested in serving on the VRAC,  please contact Eric Raff at 804-404-9090 or

The VRAC was established to focus on the statewide education and technical assistance activities of the Virginia Relay. The VRAC focuses on Virginia Relay’s consumers’ needs, to advise and make recommendations to VDDHH, and to share information to the consumers. The VRAC is comprised of various relay users providing guidance in public relations, marketing, education, and outreach.

The VRAC duties and responsibilities shall also include:

• Ensuring through research and practical experience that Virginia Relay is meeting the needs of its users;
• Collecting feedback from consumers to be shared with the Department, and the contractor(s);
• Providing advice on meeting the requirements for functional equivalency required by federal law;
• Assisting in the disseminating of information from VDDHH and the relay contractor(s) to consumers;
• Providing access to consumers and other interested parties through meetings held in various regions of the Commonwealth as determined by the Advisory Council

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As the Telecommunications Relay and Captioned Telephone service provider for the Commonwealth of Virginia, Hamilton Relay acknowledges that opportunities for higher education affect the future of Virginia’s high school students.

We are pleased to once again extend the Hamilton Relay Scholarship opportunity to graduating high school students in Virginia who are deaf, hard of hearing, DeafBlind or have difficulty speaking to assist in their goals of continuing their education. One $500 scholarship will be awarded in each of the states where Hamilton Relay is the contracted telecommunications relay and/or captioned telephone service provider.

To be eligible for the 2018 Hamilton Relay Scholarship Program in Virginia, students must:

  1. Be a graduating high school student who is deaf, hard of hearing, DeafBlind or has difficulty speaking;
  2. Be a resident of Virginia;
  3. Complete and submit an application, a response to the application’s essay question and a letter of recommendation.

If you know a deserving student who meets the eligibility requirements for this scholarship opportunity, please encourage them to submit an application. Applications are available online at and must be postmarked by March 1, 2018 to be considered eligible for selection. For more information, please contact Frazelle Hampton, Virginia Relay Captioned Telephone outreach coordinator, at

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VDDHH Turns 45!

  • Oct 15, 2017
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  • publicrelationsdept

In celebration of 45 years of serving Virginia’s deaf, hard of hearing, late deafened, and DeafBlind communities, the Virginia Department of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) held an anniversary open house at their central office this past September. They opened their doors to the public for two days, inviting community members to meet their staff, learn about their history and services, and enjoy light refreshments while mingling with friends and neighbors.

Eric Raff (deputy director of VDDHH), Jeanne Lavelle (president of VAD), and Ron Lanier (executive director of VDDHH) enjoying the festivities at the VDDHH 45th Anniversary Open House.

In 1972, VDDHH was established as the Virginia Council for the Deaf (VCD) after members of the Virginia Association of the Deaf passionately lobbied to convince lawmakers that Virginia needed an agency to serve its citizens who are deaf. This anniversary celebration paid tribute to several of the individuals who were instrumental in the founding and early survival of the agency. Over 150 people came out to help VDDHH celebrate this great milestone.

Virginia Relay has selected Andrew Parker Leitner as the 2017 Hamilton Relay Scholarship winner! Andrew, a Woodgrove High School student from Round Hill, Virginia, has been given $500 to put towards his college education.

The $500 scholarship is available to high school seniors who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or have difficulty speaking. A recipient is selected within each of the states where Hamilton Relay is the contracted service provider and is one of several ways the company gives back to the communities they serve.

“Hamilton takes pride in recognizing outstanding leadership and promoting education,” said Frazelle Hampton, Virginia Captioned Telephone Outreach Coordinator. “We are excited to have the opportunity to contribute to furthering Andrew’s education and wish him success in reaching his personal and professional goals.”

Andrew was awarded the $500 Hamilton Relay Scholarship after completing the application process, including writing an essay under the topic of communication technology. Andrew plans to attend George Mason University this fall to study Civil Engineering.

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Virginia Relay Welcomes New Advisory Council Member

  • Mar 23, 2011
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  • publicrelationsdept

The Virginia Relay Advisory Council (VRAC) recently announced the addition of Kathi Mestayer as a representative of the Virginia Chapters of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). HLAA works to eliminate the stigma associated with hearing loss and raises public awareness about the need for prevention and the importance of regular hearing screenings throughout life.  HLAA provides assistance and resources for those with hearing loss and their families to learn how to adjust to living with hearing loss.

The Virginia Relay Advisory Council represents the needs and concerns of Virginia Relay users and consists of members from the Association of Late Deafened Adults, the Virginia Association of the Deaf, the Virginia Association of Deafblind, the Speech and Hearing Association of Virginia, the Central Virginia Center for Independent Living and other associations dedicated to helping those with hearing loss.

“Kathi is well-known to the Williamsburg hard of hearing community and is a strong advocate for communications access in her area,” said Clayton Bowen, Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) relay and technology programs manager.  “Kathi writes her own blog on the topic of hearing loss and has also written for the Washington Post, so I know she will be a great resource for VRAC.”

A full list of the 2010-2011 VRAC members can be found here:

Congratulations, and welcome Kathi!

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