The Larry Kolasa Founding President’s Award is presented to an individual whose leadership and service have contributed in so many ways and shaped the direction and future of our organization.
At the closing dinner of our 2023 Symposium, Past President Charlie Womble presented the Larry Kolasa Founding President’s Award to Charlie Reavis. For over 20 years, Charlie has served the organization with strong dedication, commitment, and hard work.
Charlie Reavis shared, “I was completely surprised and very humbled by the award. It is a great honor for me to receive this special award named in recognition and memory of my dear friend and ‘Brother’ – Larry Kolasa! The award has even more significance since it was presented to me in the presence of Larry’s wife, Pam and their sons, Lawrence and Stephen. My commitment to our organization is to help us grow and be viable in order to improve the lives of more people with voice disorders. I am blessed for the opportunity to work with some of the most incredible people I have ever known. Thank you!”
Larry Kolasa, the award’s namesake, passed away in November of 2022, but Larry’s family was in attendance to help us continue honoring his legacy through this award. His son Lawrence, Jr., shared on behalf of the family, “We are deeply grateful for having been invited to this event, which honored my father. It meant a lot to all of us to share in the life of my dad from the perspective of Dysphonia International. We know he gave so much of himself to your organization, but it was another thing entirely to hear from your members directly. As we grieve his passing it is comforting and healing to know how much he was loved by others.”
This is the third time in the history of the organization that this award has been presented. Previous recipients include Stephie Mendel in 2015, and Dot Sowerby in 2019.
ABOUT CHARLIE REAVIS
Charlie Reavis is a retired executive in the telecommunications industry. He stated that he joined the Board of Directors in 2002 because he “wanted to help lead the efforts to get the message out there that there is an organization that cares about people with spasmodic dysphonia and related voice conditions and is working to increase the level of awareness and understanding in the medical, research and pharmacology communities.”
Charlie Reavis has served as President of Dysphonia International, formerly NSDA, since 2010. His vision is to “ensure the ongoing viability of the organization that will continue to lead the effort to eradicate spasmodic dysphonia.” He is convinced that by working together with one loud and clear Dysphonia International voice that his vision can become a reality.
Charlie Reavis played a critical role in two major transformations of the organization. In 2004, He, Larry Kolasa, and Charlie Womble initiated discussions regarding a change in the management of NSDA, and in January of 2005, the NSDA found independence and a new home in Itasca, IL. Charlie Reavis also drove the change of the name of the organization to Dysphonia International and led the effort to include “related voice conditions” in our mission statement, thereby allowing us to include and support a much wider range of people regardless of their voice condition.
In addition to his role as President, he represents Dysphonia International annually at the Fall Voice Conference and has been invited to speak to the laryngology fellows in attendance. He’s had a mayoral proclamation issued for World Voice Day in his hometown of Alpharetta, GA. He served on the Guideline Update Group on hoarseness (dysphonia) with members from the AAO (American Academy of Otolaryngology). And most recently, he was invited to be a panelist for an NIH-sponsored workshop on Artificial Intelligence and Voice as a Biomarker to provide the patient perspective to the discussion.
Charlie Reavis is compassionate and caring with everyone – our Dysphonia International staff, Board members, his Atlanta support group community members, and healthcare professionals who treat and research spasmodic dysphonia. Charlie wrote an article entitled, Feeling Good with A Broken Voice. In it, he stated, “Someone out there traveling the SD and related voice conditions journey will be drawn to the beacon of your platform. Your platform will call others to the wisdom and experience only you can offer. You are eminently able to help others find good, no matter what has happened.”