Beautification Day is very important to Lori. But as her hearing loss worsened, she worried she was a hindrance and should leave the committee. That all changed after her first Cochlear Implant when she was brought back into the world of sound.
Every May for forty years the community of St. Charles, Michigan holds a Beautification Day to landscape and beautify their surroundings. A committee of volunteers works with the St. Charles High School students to educate and inspire “through hands-on experience to appreciate, beautify and protect their community and the world.” Lori Orr, Cochlear recipient, is one of the most dedicated volunteers.
Lori has been involved with the Beautification Day committee for 31 years. She has worked with classrooms, has served as a photographer, helped document contributions to the annual event, and worked on financial reports as well as other projects.
Beautification Day is very important to Lori. She loves working with students, participating in her community, and sharing her love of perennial flower gardening with others.
A growing need
But as her hearing loss worsened, she worried she was a hindrance and should leave the committee. “Many students and those on the committee didn’t understand my need to have them face me, speak clearly, or get my attention if they wanted to have a conversation with me,” said Lori.
That all changed after her first Cochlear Implant when she was brought back into the world of sound.
“My first meeting after activation was filled with joy. Not only could I hear everyone talking and participate in conversations, I could understand the multiple conversations going on at the same time!” she said.
Blooming once again
Lori felt like her shell opened up and she was finally able to be the social person she actually was. One of her fellow volunteers says, “Lori Orr is the glue that holds our Beautification Efforts in the Village of St. Charles together.”
Lori said, “The chairman of our committee also told the students, staff and volunteers in our assembly of how I had gotten Cochlear Implants and would be able to hear them. One of my WOW moments of actually hearing was at a high school assembly.”
Lori sees her flowers blooming every spring through fall, especially irises passed down through several generations from her mother’s side of the family. She has donated at least a thousand of her perennials to Beautification Day.
Now Lori can participate on a whole new and different level with her Cochlear Implants. She no longer has a difficult time participating in meetings. The world has changed for her.
“There was quite a thunderstorm the night before my first meeting after activation,” said Lori. “During the time of my hearing loss when everyone described storms I would always say ‘Awesome light show.’ I WAS able to hear that storm and be a part of that conversation.”