Amy: This important person has been around for years and is one of the people that must be interviewed. This person has so much to share, especially about NAD conferences, past and present. I will be asking him questions.
Merv: That will be fine.
Amy: Merv, I am wondering. You have been to every NAD conference and never missed one, is this correct?
Merv: Yes, I attended every conference since I went to my first one in St. Louis in 1957.
Amy: So you were not a member prior to that?
Merv: (laughing) That was the year I was “born”!
Amy: Wow! Okay, since 1957 to now, what do you see the difference?
Merv: The year 1957, things were awkward at that time. NAD was going through reorganization and just completed the change. NAD first underwent the change in 1956. That was the year when Fulton Tontine was first created. The 1957 conference was a little disorganized because of new structure being implemented. The 1960 conference in Dallas was better. New constitution was created as well as bylaws at that time. That concept of the conference remained the same to today. However, I see more young people now compared to when I first attended the conference. I am very excited about that! I also noticed more diversity…
Amy: (Smiling) Diversity, yes. I think the same, too.
Merv: Thank you.
Amy: My second question, what was your role within NAD?
Merv: I got deeply involved with NAD. I was a president-elect in the year 1974. Once you get elected, you must stay as an officer for six years, first two years as a president-elect, the next two years as a president and the last two years as a past president. After I finished my term, I became a vice president. Prior to those two officers’ positions, I was a secretary and a treasurer of NAD!
Merv: (laughing) So, I was in all officers’ capacity!
Amy: Okay, my third question, I JUST saw you on a TV, not too long ago, I think in March. The show was “Through the Deaf Eyes” on PBS channel. There was a beautiful house and you were sitting with your wife, telling stories. I am curious, how do you feel about being on a national TV?
Merv: It was quite an experience because of all the media equipment such as cameras, lightings, other equipments and people (hearing) so my house became a mess! They have to add other lightings, my furniture were moved out of the way constantly. When I started to share my stories I would unintentionally used my voice and they would tell me not to talk! So I had to turn off my voice and use an interpreter to voice for me as my voice was not understandable. It took a long time because they had to do several camera shots at many angles. I believe it took all day.
Amy: Oh it was wonderful to sit down and talk with you.
Merv: I enjoyed it also and to meet you too!