SECOND ANNUAL GREAT AMERICAN AWARD HONOREES ANNOUNCED FOR AUGUST 25 HEARING FOUNDATION GALA AT THE HILTON HOTEL: REV. BILLY GRAHAM; MILITARY COMMANDER GENERAL NORMAN SCHWARZKOPF; MISS AMERICA 1995 HEATHER WHITESTONE McCALLUM; APOLLO 11 ASTRONAUT BUZZ ALDRIN, PLUS LEGENDARY PRESENTERS & PERFORMERS MINNEAPOLIS, MN., -- July 31, 2002 -- The Hearing Foundation (formerly known as The Starkey Hearing Foundation) announced today its honorees for the Second Annual "Great American Awards" fundraising Gala August 25 at the downtown Minneapolis Hilton Hotel at 5:00 p.m. The Ray-O-Vac sponsored event, which includes a silent auction, dinner and program, benefits hearing-impaired children around the world and here at home. Last year, The Hearing Foundation raised more than $500,000 to help serve more children in need with its first annual The Great American Awards Gala event. Recent missions have provided much-needed hearing instruments, including the distribution in 2001 of 40,866 hearing aids, worth approximately $35 million dollars.
The "2002 Great American Award" Recipients include: The Reverend Billy Graham; Military Commander General Norman Schwarzkopf; Heather Whitestone McCallum, Miss American 1995; Apollo 11 Astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Legendary presenters and performers at this years ceremony to date include: The Osmond Family, Pat Boone, David Gaines, Shirley Ceaser, Nita Whitaker, Patty Peterson, Baseball legend Whitey Herzog, and actors Mickey Rooney, Jane Russell, Ernest Borgnine, Leslie Nielsen, Lorna Loft, Kaye Ballard, Gale Storm, and Donald OConnor. Comedian Norm Crosby will host the event again.
William Austin, CEO of Starkey Laboratories, created the foundation in 1978. Foundation team members travel several times a year on various hearing missions to such places as Russia, Mexico, Vietnam, Peru and other locations, including impoverished areas of the United States. While in country they test and fit children needing hearing aids and give them instructional care about their use.
Last years event honored:
News legend Walter Cronkite
Broadway actress Carol Channing
Business Leader Carl Pohlad
Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter
World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient Joe Foss
Baseball legends Bob Feller and Stan Musial
These first- and second-year Hearing Foundation celebrity honorees -- all of whom waived their standard appearance fees and gave generously of their time -- know too well the challenges of hearing loss.
In an entertaining and emotional evening hosted by comedian Norm Crosby, the gala audience was moved by videos of various missions around the world and by the live performances of Gospel Music superstar Shirley Caesar, jazz singers Jeanne Arland Peterson and Patty Peterson, pop singers Englebert Humperdinck, Lee Greenwood, and Merrill Osmond from The Osmond Brothers, and actor-singer Davis Gaines.
A taped greeting from President George W. Bush, and a host of celebrity presenters such as comedian and film star Leslie Nielsen, TV actress Abby Dalton, NFL Coach Bud Grant, and others were also part of the galas successful program.
About The Hearing Foundation
Founded in 1978, The Hearing Foundation is dedicated to helping hearing-impaired people worldwide. Its mission is to promote hearing care awareness through the support of hearing research, education and charitable programs. On average each year the foundation provides more than 20,000 hearing aids to needy individuals, completely free of charge. Through donations of time, money, products and materials, the international outreach program has improved countless lives through better hearing.
In addition to its philanthropic endeavors, the foundation is committed to providing support and sponsorship of a number of industry-related public awareness campaigns.
About Starkey Laboratories, Inc.
Starkey Laboratories, Inc., is a privately held company engaged in the development, assembly, marketing and repair of hearing aids, related parts and equipment. Headquartered in Eden Prairie, MN., Starkey owns manufacturing and assembly facilities in 18 countries and employs 3,000 people worldwide, with annual revenues last year of $350 million dollars. The company is a recognized world leader in hearing aid technology and is estimated to be the largest hearing aid manufacturer in the world.
Visit www.americanawardsgala.com and www.sotheworldmayhear.org for more information.