Class of 1966
The original idea and work for National Stuttering Awareness Week came from Paul Castellano, with the tireless help Barbara Hubbard, now Barbara Koval, both from Delaware. Paul conceived of the original idea in the mid-80's and working to the point of exhaustion with Barb, they made NSAW a reality. Despite having a relatively severe stutter, Paul had the courage and unbelievable determination to testify before several US Congressional subcommittees in tireless efforts to raise the public's awareness of stuttering. NSP members contacted their representatives.
Then in early April of 1988, Paul and Barb appeared at the US Capitol for a ceremony that established NSAW. Many dignitaries were on hand including Senator John Glenn whose wife Annie is a PWS and is known and loved by many who have met her at several NSP national conventions. Jane Fraser, President of the Stuttering Foundation of America made a speech at the NSAW dedication ceremony on Capitol hill. Russ Hicks has a videotape of that ceremony in Washington if anyone would like to see it.
In a letter from Paul, he related some of the story.
In 1985 I ran for state representative in Delaware, after having involved in my community for many years. During my door to door campaign, I became painfully aware of peoples' uneasiness with stuttering. Where I could speak to large groups of people, talking one on one terrified me. At the time I was already involved with the National Stuttering Project in Delaware with Barbara Hubbard Koral's Chapter. I determined what was needed was a broader understanding of stuttering, by the general public.
We begin in November of 1986 by recruiting our congressperson and senator to sponsor a Joint resolution to have a week proclaimed National Stuttering Awareness Week in conjunction with Better Speech and Hearing Month. It could not have been done without the help of the NSP membership. It took almost 2 years, but Barbara and I were determined to succeed. We wrote to every member of the Congress 4 times during 1987. Finally, the second week of May 1988 became the first National Stuttering Awareness Week in the United States. We had a feature article in USA Today on May 10, 1988 the day we went to Washington to commemorate the start of National Stuttering Awareness Week.
On April 13, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the first proclamation for the period of May 9th through May 15 of 1988 as National Stuttering Awareness Week by Public Law 100-263.
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