Each of us has defining moments in our lives that propel us forward into action. For Carl DeBlasio and his wife, Linda, learning that their granddaughter, Lily, was hearing impaired was one such moment.
“I first heard about Ohio Valley Voices from my daughter, Gina, whose friend served on OVV’s Board of Trustees,” Carl recalls. “We were researching educational opportunities for my seventeen-month-old granddaughter who had just been diagnosed as hearing impaired. When a child is first diagnosed, parents often envision a life of silence and isolation for their children, and nothing could be further from the truth.”
“What makes Ohio Valley Voices and its mission special is the gift of hope it provides to families of children with hearing loss,” Carl continues. “OVV offers hearing impaired children an opportunity to listen and speak.” The DeBlasio family has been involved with Ohio Valley Voices since Lily was a student there from 2010 to 2016. They now support OVV through their donations and by attending the organization’s fashion shows, silent auctions, tailgates, and Flying Pig fundraisers.
“We’ve been involved with Ohio Valley Voices for over twelve years now, and we’re never disappointed when we visit,” Carl says. “It’s consistently a place of positivity and hard work. Due in large part to OVV, our granddaughter Lily is thriving. She’s an active, typical 13-year old.”
“A favorite memory of OVV from our involvement is the holiday show in 2009, which was the first event we attended at OVV,” Carl adds. “I distinctly remember the first time I heard profoundly deaf students speak and sing—it was magical! My wife and I had trouble reconciling the idea that these students speaking and singing so clearly were deaf.”
Carl is a Cincinnatian and graduated with a business degree from the University of Cincinnati. He was the co-owner of Planes Moving and Storage for over 30 years. According to Carl, his career taught him the value of commitment and hard work. His proactive involvement with OVV stems from his belief in the importance of setting goals and working diligently to achieve them.
Carl believes that it’s vitally important to spread the word about Ohio Valley Voices. “When people meet our granddaughter, Lily, they honestly can’t believe she is completely deaf,” he says. “So many people are unaware that deaf children can learn to listen and speak. They don’t realize that this oral approach to deaf education is even a possibility. More children could be given the chance to learn how to speak, but parents first need to know that it is an option.”
“My family is actively involved in spreading the word about OVV. Linda and I enjoy volunteering and spending time with our eight grandchildren.” Carl has been married to his wife, Linda, for over 53 years. They have two daughters, Gina, 52, Maria, 48, and a son, Nick, 47.
Reflecting on how his own values align with Ohio Valley Voices’ mission, Carl says, “I believe in hard work, positivity, and helping others. Everyone should know about OVV and their uplifting work on behalf of children.”