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Dave Hammel - President

I graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a BS in Chemical Engineering. I went to work as a Metallurgical Engineer for a Brass Company for 5 years then for 30 Years with U.S. Steel. I retired in 2009. I moved to Des Moines in 1993 where I met my wife Barbara and we were married in 1998. Barbara is a native Iowan and graduate of the Braille School. She also went through the program at the Department for the Blind. In 2005 we adopted Jesse and Paul from China. They are twins who were born blind. We are members of the NFB. I am Treasurer of the Iowa Parents of Blind Children. I am also on the board of the National Parents of Blind Children. With my retirement I have more time to do volunteer work.


Cindy Ray

Cindy Ray- Secretary

 I am Cindy Ray. I have spent most of my life in Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa. I was a student at the Iowa Orientation and Adjustment Center for the Blind when the library was very new—1964-1965--and Florence Grannis was the librarian. I have always been an avid reader, and I love Braille.

Music is my love, and I received an organ performance degree from the University of Kansas. Then in 2001 I went to seminary to become a Presbyterian pastor. I have done a number of things such as chaplaincy at Broadlawns, preach in pulpit supply, studied spiritual direction and Stephen Ministry. Currently I write quite a bit of the liturgy used at our church, Windsor Presbyterian.

I am studying the NLS Braille Proofreading Course and look forward to its completion.

I am very happy to be a part of Friends

Marilyn Garvey – Vice President

 In 2006, I was recruited by Karen Keninger, then the Director of the Library, to volunteer for narrating books for the blind. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in English and secondary education from the University of Iowa, I worked for five years in education. Then, I completed my master’s in Communications from Drake University to further my business career in public affairs with Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa working with providers. I retired in 2008 and became editor of the Among Friends newsletter for The Friends. I also currently serve as the Secretary for the Board. 

I enjoy recording a variety of books for the blind and have read everything from recipes to romance novels.  I also enjoy long walks, good books, singing in several choirs, and traveling.