Monday, June 13, 2011

For One Outstanding Volunteer, Reading is an Act of Love


Frank Williams’ love of reading was cemented at a young age. Late in the evenings, after he’d gone to bed, he would listen through the walls of his boyhood home as his father read aloud to Frank’s mother.

“I’ve come to see that as a tremendous act of love - to read aloud to someone,” Williams said.

Today Williams, a Tempe resident, shares that act of love with thousands of Arizonans who hear him read aloud each week at Sun Sounds of Arizona, a state-wide reading service for people with disabilities who cannot use print.

In May Williams received the Gold Mic Award, given to the Sun Sounds Volunteer of the Year for outstanding service. He accepted the award in his typical passionate yet humble style.

“I’m embarrassed to receive praise for doing what I feel is reward enough in itself,” Williams said.

Williams began his volunteer work at Sun Sounds in 2008, reading The Arizona Republic live each week, and pre-recording other magazine programs. In three years he has recorded more than 10 novels for the nightly book programs, “A Good Book” and “Bookworld.” He also serves as an Ambassador at monthly speaking engagements, educating the public and potential listeners about the service.

Williams cites an incident of temporary blindness as a young adult which solidified for him the importance of reading. As a Green Beret stationed in Okinawa, he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage which resulted in spending a week in a darkened room, unable to see.

“I was most scared by the fact that I wouldn’t be able to read, something I’d cherished all my life,” he said.

Once his vision returned he promised that sharing the gift of reading would be part of his life’s work.

“Reading to those who cannot is an act of love, mercy, and kindness – “holy work” that I am deeply honored to share with the volunteers of Sun Sounds,” Williams said.

Sun Sounds of Arizona salutes Williams and the 200 volunteers who give more than 22,000 hours annually to provide access to information for print-disabled people.

A service of Rio Salado College, Sun Sounds of Arizona broadcasts from the Tempe campus, as well as from affiliates in Flagstaff, Tucson and Yuma. 49,000 people in Arizona hear six daily local and national newspapers, nearly 200 magazines, books, circulars and newsletters read aloud over radio, cable systems, telephone and the internet.

For more information visit http://www.sunsounds.org/.

Article contributed by Heidi Capriotti, Sun Sounds of Arizona marketing coordinator.
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