Brett Bachmann, CEO of Heuser Hearing Institute, recently sat down with Irv Stumler, longtime volunteer, to discuss the school’s history and his involvement.
Brett: How did you first get involved with the Louisville Deaf Oral School (LDOS), now Heuser Hearing & Language Academy?
Irv: When I joined the Kiwanis Club of Louisville in 1970, our major project was to support the Louisville Deaf Oral School. LDOS occupied the carriage house at the Woman’s Club at that time. Members of the Club spent many hours raising funds, serving on the LDOS committees and helping to maintain the building and expand the mission of the school. In 1972, I was first elected to the LDOS Board where I served for many years.
Brett: And then the school moved to Ormsby?
Irv: Yes, Al Schneider purchased, then donated the Old Mansion on Ormsby and Bill Receveur agreed to take on the remodeling project. The Woman’s Club and Kiwanis Club organized a major fundraising effort to cover the cost of renovation. The success of the LDOS continued and after a few years we knew we needed larger facilities. The idea of expanding the mission of LDOS into research and offering hearing services to people with hearing loss of all ages made the expansion even more urgent. A major fundraising campaign was organized and a relocation committee began evaluating potential locations. I was elected chairman of the committee. Our goal was to develop the new campus near the downtown area and hopefully near the Woman’s Club. We raised over 4 million dollars in the multi-year capital campaign.
Brett: And that’s how we ended up at 111 E. Kentucky where Heuser is now?
Irv: The Relocation Committee suggested the current location at 111-117 East Kentucky Street. We removed an old house, built the Heuser Hearing & Language Academy and remodeled the two existing buildings. Many dedicated people made the project a great success. We celebrated with a big ribbon cutting event.
Brett: You have a personal connection to Heuser’s mission as well.
Irv: I have a younger sister who was born with a hearing disability that was not diagnosed until she was a teenager. She struggled for years and finally as an adult got a cochlear implant. If she could have received hearing help at an early age she would have had a much more enjoyable life.
Brett: You’ve been involved in our organization for nearly fifty years. What are you most proud of?
Irv: I’m most proud of being involved in the many lives we have changed by helping those who needed the services of LDOS. Hopefully we have set in motion the idea that the services Heuser is providing can produce a steady stream of income for Heuser Hearing & Language Academy and also help people of all ages who have hearing loss.