laryngectomee of the year   2001 - 2009

Casey Cooper Awards



Joe Casey

Passed - Sept. 1999

Award Bowl

Carter & Denise Cooper

Passed - July 2000



Due to the generosity of the late Charles Lamar of Tuscaloosa, AL, an early WebWhispers member, the we were able to establish an award which began in 2001 when the first award went unanimously to Dutch Helms, our founder. The cost of this award is now covered by WebWhispers.
The "WebWhispers Casey-Cooper Award", also called "Laryngectomee of the Year", is named for our first two presidents, both of whom died in office. They worked to make WebWhispers what it is today, and it is in honor to them that we select a recipient of this award to carry on their tradition.


Casey Cooper Award Winners

The following are the award winners from each year since this honor was first bestowed in 2001. We are very proud of these laryngectomees and what they have done to make life better for all of us.


2009 award winner

When we lost Dutch in 2006, it was a tremendous loss and it would have been even more difficult for us to deal with had Michael Csapo not joined us as a moderator six months before Dutch died.

Michael survived a hectic training for moderating by Dutch and had to learn how to deal with the list members. He was a fast learner and moved on quickly to start entering new members and changing email addresses for members as he received even more training to become List Manager, while others were joining us in training for moderators.

It was an unbelievable time and Michael had a tough road as he was being groomed to "help" and "fill in for" Dutch during his illness. As we now know and suspected then, this was to be permanent. Michael worked his heart out and came out of it, absolutely capable and ready, to take over the position of List Manager and, later that year, VP Internet Activities, which put him in charge of approval of all incoming members for their enrollment into the lists, all changes and problems relating to the membership, and of the operation of the list, including the moderating staff.

Michael has been willing to serve whenever he was asked, has helped in a number of departments, and has served on several committees, including Awards and the Election Committees. He has been a blessing for us to be able to carry on the list as it has grown and doubled in the past few years. He is continuing a major portion of Dutch's work and fills a critical position for WebWhispers.

Michael Csapo, the Casey-Cooper Award Winner for 2009, was selected unanimously by the Awards Committee. He has earned this award.



2008 award winner


Mike Rosenkranz had his surgery in January 1999, found and joined WebWhispers in October of that year.

He has quietly volunteered or accepted work on various assignments through these years. His answers were filled with humor and he has always had a way of making sense out of nonsense and smoothing out some rough roads!

"We all nose our nose is our best friend. It'll run for us till it drops. I nose the right way to call someone is the way the someone wants to be called. I will spell lary with an "r" or, if someone wants to use "rr", I nose I will still understand that it is a reference to our being a member of the hole in the neck gang. And if someone wants to use "rrr" that's okay with me, too, but I must tell you it would look noseitably redundant. BTW, I don't have a handicap. I just have a hole of distinction."

"Sure I nose who started this laryland business. The culprit told me it was a slow afternoon, so it seemed like a good time to start something. Worked, didn't it?"

"Liked your 'go with the flow' which we all do to some degree or other. And to clarify your statement about our being nuts, you do not, I repeat, do not have to be nuts to be a member in good standing. But this is in reference to a nutty sense of humor. So, everyone, take a deep breath, lighten up, and stay that way. We only come this way once. Might as well enjoy it.
Sheldon Mitchell Rosenkranz
The nut with the hole of distinction"

"When I went in for OP surgery, and I was lying on the table, with a filter over my stoma and my Servox in my hand (which I had demanded I be allowed to take to the OR with me), a nurse attempted to put the oxygen hose in my nose. When I used the Servox to tell her it wouldn't do me much good there because I breathed through my stoma, a completely
baffled look came over her face and she went to get a supervisor to tell her where to put it. I felt like telling her where she could put it but I was too much of a gentleman to do so."

"A few months later, we had the FLA Spring Fling, my daughter, Susan, wrote a skit which included the following lines:

In, March 2001, he accepted the back-up moderator position for whenever Dutch and Pat were not available.
"Dear Dutch, It is such a pleasure going to a new doctor with a 9 a.m. appointment (be here at 8:45) and finally staggering out of there 2 1/2 hours later. Just got home, checked my schedule, and the only two things I have scheduled that week are my New Voice Club meeting and a 9 a.m. doctor's appointment on the 24th with a doctor who is always prompt. Per your instructions, I pondered but there wasn't too much to ponder about. I'll be happy to fill in for you and Pat. Enjoy your cruise".

When given instructions that first time he filled in as moderator, he responded:
"Pat. You had already touched on that a few weeks ago, when you mentioned no one knew you were moderating until in one instance you signed your name. So I guess what I will do is what you did, when in doubt, I'll sign your name. (lol) Mike"

This has gone on through the years every time he was asked to be on a committee or to take another job with us, such as managing and keeping control of our WW Forum with it's member list, bulletin board, and chat room, which he has done now for some years.

Mike's local club appreciates him highly for his contributions there and Mike has been a pleasure to work with at WebWhispers. He has held a steady hand and a humorous thought for us all and is someone our members could emulate. He is a leader by example.


2007 award winner


Frank Batten of Norfolk, Virginia became a laryngectomee in 1979 when he was CEO of Landmark Communications, an extensive multimedia empire with close to five thousand employees. He developed esophageal speech of such quality and intelligibility that Eric Blom, Ph.D. told him that a tracheoesophageal puncture and voice prosthesis wouldn't offer enough voice improvement to warrant the surgery. This was in 1981 when he and Dr. Blom met at a Mayo Clinic Seminar. Mr. Batten was persistent and called Head and Neck Surgery Associates in Indianapolis, Indiana and told Dr. Blom that he wanted to have the procedure because he felt his voice with a prosthesis would be more routinely reliable with greater volume in the many business meetings that were part of his life. He went to Indianapolis a short time later where Dr. Mark Singer performed the surgery, and he was fit for
a prosthesis by Dr. Blom. He has routinely used a prosthesis since that time.

In 1998 Mr. Batten received a Harvard Business School Achievement Award, and the following quote is from the Harvard Business School Bulletin. "Frank Batten has delivered hundreds of speeches on the media, philanthropy and education. The fact that most of these talks were given after the removal of his larynx is a testament to his courage and perseverance. Batten an entrepreneur who thrives on difficult challenges, says that coping with cancer was on of the biggest hurdles he has ever faced." No one could be a greater role
model for new laryngectomees who are wondering how they will face life and career post surgery.

Mr. Batten is a member of the Tidewater Lost Cord Club in Norfolk, Virginia where he became acquainted with the work of the International Association of Laryngectomees and the role its Voice Institute could play in the lives of recent laryngectomees. A large donation to the IAL established the Batten Fund which provides stipends to laryngectomees to attend a Voice Institute. Through the years many persons who would otherwise not have had the opportunity were able to improve their individual methods of speech and move closer to total rehabilitation.

Mr. Batten was a keynote speaker at two Annual Meetings of the IAL. When the IAL became independent of the American Cancer Society and its financial support Mr. Batten provided financial support to continue the publication of the newsletter. More recently, he donated generously again to support the production of the newsletter.

Although the International Association of Laryngectomees has been the recipient of Frank Batten's financial support, we must also recognize the broad effect these funds have had on many laryngectomees throughout the world. I believe that an organization devoted to assisting new laryngectomees, such as WebWhispers, should recognize not only the monetary contributions of Mr. Batten but also the kind of role model he has been.

Many of his philanthropic endeavors have been in the educational field and we applaud him for those choices.

The online Wikipedia comments: Frank Batten attended the Culver Military Academy as a young man. He later received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, and his MBA from Harvard in 1952. With a strong commitment to education, Batten became the first Rector of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. He has also served on the boards of the College of William and Mary and Hollins College, and was Vice Chairmain of Virginia's State Council of Higher Education.

We are pleased to be able to honor him in our small way.


2006 award winner



The winner of the sixth annual Casey-Cooper Laryngectomee of the Year Award for 2006 was our current VP-Finance and Administration, Terry G. Duga, from Indianapolis, Indiana.


Terry was one of the original founders of WebWhispers attending an informal meeting held at the IAL convention in Indianapolis, IN in 1998 and, in fact, was one of the first 50 members.  Since the early days Terry has been our Vice-President of Finance and Administration and as a lawyer, his knowledge, skills and research capabilities have been invaluable in WebWhispers' rapid growth.  He has been responsible, not only for the accounts, but for the major plans to make WebWhispers an official 501 3. (c) charitable organization thereby allowing contributions to be tax deductible. In addition he has set up our accounts and credit card services, plus files our tax returns and all other required official documents to permit us to conform with all laws.


Terry has served as a volunteer with Dr. Eric Bloom at his clinic and regularly serves as a delegate to the IAL Annual Delegates Meeting.  He has been employed as an attorney for the State of Indiana and was recently appointed by the Governor as Commissioner of the Indiana Board of Tax Review.

Terry is an extraordinary individual who is honest to a fault.  As a founding member of WebWhispers we would not have had the success that we have today without his extraordinary dedication and expertise.



2005 award winner


The winner of the fifth annual Casey-Cooper Laryngectomee of the Year Award for 2005 was our multi-talented member, Leonard Librizzi of Smithtown, NY.

Len became a lary in 1990 and since that time he has devoted himself to aiding and assisting his fellow "hole in the neck folks".   He is the past president of the Anamilio Speech Club of Nassau County and has been editor of that club's newsletter since 1993.  Len is a volunteer with the American Cancer Society, Eastern Division, as a Cansurmount volunteer visitor, a Camp Adventure volunteer visitor, a Camp Adventure volunteer and Relay for Life.


Len holds an undergraduate degree from City College in Electrical Engineering and Masters degrees in both Computer Science and Management from Polytechnic Institute of New York.

It is certainly fortunate for WebWhispers and the IAL that he has acquired all this knowledge as he has been instrumental in producing fantastic brochures for both organizations and, of course, he is currently both the IAL Treasurer and Editor of the IAL News.

Len is a man of honesty and integrity and through all his volunteer activities in the rehabilitation of laryngectomees he richly deserves this Honor as Laryngectomee of the Year.



2004 award winner

The winner of the fourth Casey-Cooper WebWhispers Laryngectomee of the Year Award was Herb Simon, from Silver Spring, Maryland.

Herb Simon is a Lary of the class of 1995 and since his discharge from hospital he has donated an inordinate amount of time to take care of and assist his fellow laryngectomees.  Herb is an individual that believes that action speaks louder than words and that is why perhaps his name is not prominently known outside of WebWhispers, the IAL and Metropolitan DC (MD and VA).  However,  Herb has financially assisted laryngectomees in the U.S. and the Philippines.  

Herb is perhaps best known for his pre and post-op visits to patients which he has been doing since 1995.  He is extremely active with veterans at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  He is also prominent in anti-tobacco campaigns and speaks frequently and eloquently to many school children regarding this critical issue.  


As the President of the Laryngectomee Club of Montgomery County (LCMC) from 1998 to 2000 he was instrumental in increasing the membership considerably by virtue of his tenacity and caring manner.

In addition to all his work with laryngectomees, Herb was treasurer of the LCMC for seven years and produces the Clubs' newsletter.  Herb is also an active participant of WebWhispers and the IAL.  Herb Simon is a kind and gentle man who epitomizes all that is required to be named WebWhispers Laryngectomee of the Year 2004 and be awarded the Casey-Cooper trophy.


2003 award winner



The winner of the third Casey-Cooper WebWhispers Laryngectomee of the Year Award was our long valued member, Mary Jane Renner, from Indianapolis, Indiana.

Mary Jane's numerous outstanding contributions toward the rehabilitation of laryngectomees made her another superb choice to receive this prestigious Award.

Mary Jane, a laryngectomee and a Blom-Singer voice prosthesis user since 1980, has for years been active in the IAL, as a supporter, as a Board of Directors member and as an

officer (a Past President).  She has published and lectured extensively here and abroad on laryngectomee rehabilitation and cancer survivorship  and is a key motivating member of the Indianapolis Lost Chord Club, the Leukemia Society of Indianapolis, and the Wellness Center.  She also holds a Masters in Social Work from Tulane University.

Along with now being a valued contributor on WebWhispers, Mary Jane's efforts also focus on her service as the Executive Secretary of the Head and Neck Cancer Rehabilitation Institute in Indianapolis which sponsors the "Information Hotline for Laryngectomees & Head and Neck Cancer Patients".  Additionally, she serves as a counselor for the Head & Neck Surgery Associates, also located in Indianapolis.   This is ONE VERY BUSY LADY!!


2002 award winner


The winner of the second Casey-Cooper WebWhispers Laryngectomee of the Year Award was our VP for Web Information, Pat Wertz Sanders.  Pat's outstanding service over the years to aid in the rehabilitation of laryngectomees made her another natural choice to receive this prestigious Award.

Pat, a laryngectomee of the class of 1995, was an early member of Dutch's Larynx Cancer Group that grew into the WebWhispers that we all know today.  Her stamina, leadership, and selfless efforts significantly contributed to the club's success.  She accepted the office of Vice President in 2000 when the new President, Murray Allan, asked for her help after the loss of Carter Cooper, one of the previous presidents, for whom this award is named.  She stepped in and set up the WW Dinner, coming up in just a month, and continued that for the next year.  She contributed most of the text for the first WW brochure and some of the design while being responsible for the informational section of the web site and selection of personnel and editing of the group newsletter.


Pat is an active and knowledgeable participant on both ListServs and within the WW Forum.  She originated the WWHealthHelp List and moderates it, while still acting as back up on the WebWhispers List   Her advice and counsel is constantly sought out, lauded and valued by our membership across the board.  Her extensive laryngectomee support activities outside of WebWhispers are also well-known and well-appreciated.  Writing for and editing "Headlines", which became an International newsletter for laryngectomees has earned the respect of many.  She has been chair of her local support group and handled visitations for new larys at UAB/Kirklin Clinic.  It was her idea to set up cruises for a yearly trip for "WebWhispers and Friends" and her talent for "laryngectomee cruise management" will make for many pleasurable hours spent with others of our group.

She has also introduced a number of laryngectomees to being able to swim again and be comfortable in the water by learning to be very careful and knowledgeable in taking care of themselves.


2001 award winner



The winner of the first WebWhispers Casey-Cooper Laryngectomee of the Year Award was our WebWhispers Founder and Webmaster, David L. "Dutch" Helms.  His outstanding efforts over the years to aid in rehabilitating laryngectomees made him the only choice to receive this first Award.

Dutch Helms, a laryngectomee of the class of 1994, was frustrated that he could not find one definitive site on the Internet that dealt exclusively with laryngeal cancer.  After his surgery, he had a long road to recovery with no help from support groups, books, or other laryngectomees.   He had to teach himself how to use a computer and by 1996, he was able to build a small web site for people who were larynx cancer survivors and, on that site, he put a notice for other larynx cancer patients to get in touch with him so they could communicate through emails and learn from each other.

By December of that year, he had gathered a dozen other "members" and then word started to spread.  From those beginnings, Dutch led us through additions of services, a Hint section for sharing, informational links to other sites as they were developed, and a listserv to facilitate the ever growing club's method of communication.  He learned how to set up and run each of the additions of services and put it all together.  The website became "THE" place on the Internet for rehabilitation information and the only place where conversation with others, who had the same surgery, became possible.  WebWhispers is the site that Dutch built and it eventually became the largest Internet site for laryngectomees in the World.


Dutch is a dedicated, kind and caring gentleman who has given selflessly of himself to continue to operate WebWhispers on practically a 24 hour per day basis.  His efforts through the website have aided and assisted countless numbers of laryngectomees through what is no doubt the most difficult period of their lives.  His work and his creation have provided the knowledge to make the transition easier for all future laryngectomees.  Those of us who were able to find his site no longer had to walk alone and those who came here carried back to their home towns, clubs and professionals new information gained through WebWhispers.  He is more than our Laryngectomee of the Year.  We would not be together here without him. 


awards committee


Our rules for the awards committee.

The Awards Committee shall consist of the four previous winners of the Casey-Cooper Award with the Committee Chair being the longest standing award winner serving on the committee. The WW President shall be an ex-officio member of this committee, shall not be eligible to receive this award while in office, and may vote only in the event of a tie.

The past winners of the Casey-Cooper Award are listed below with the year the award was received. This section will be amended annually as a new member receives the award and joins the awards committee. The Chair will drop off and the next in line will become the new Chair.

Should four qualified members not be available, the President shall appoint a WW member(s) who has been on our active rolls for a minimum of two years, to serve whatever term is needed.

2001 - David (Dutch) Helms (deceased)
2002 - Current WW President - Pat W Sanders (Ex-Officio member of committee)
2003 - Mary Jane Renner
2004 - Herb Simon (Chair for 2008)
2005 - Leonard Librizzi
2006 - Terry G Duga
2007 - Frank Batten
The guidelines for selecting the winner of this annual award are listed below and we will always be interested in hearing suggestions from the committee, should they see needed changes or clarifications.

The Casey-Cooper award shall be presented to the WW member who has been chosen by the Awards Committee. Nominations will be from the membership who will be asked by the Committee Chair to write an email with their nomination and send it to the Awards Committee. This nomination must include detailed information as to why this WW member should be considered for this award. To be considered by the Awards Committee, a member might have performed a combination of such services as work for WebWhispers and larynx cancer patients, assistance to local and regional support groups, providing help to individuals through visitations, educating people through speaking engagements, volunteerism to ACS, the IAL, or other national or international organizations and other services to the community. The Awards Committee shall have the total responsibility for and complete independence in selecting the annual recipient of the Casey-Cooper award.

The award shall be an engraved pewter bowl, 10" or 12", suitable for display. The presentation shall be made at the WW Dinner associated with the IAL convention each year. Some of the other qualified nominees shall be awarded certificates of honor or appreciation at the annual WW Dinner and the Awards Committee shall make a recommendation on these honorees, depending on the quantity and quality of the nominations received.

WW Executive Committee

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