On July 13, members of the Yakima Valley Association of the Deaf and their supporters joined together at the Veterans of Foreign Wars building in Yakima to celebrate a massive milestone for the local group.

This year, YVAD is marking 100 years of operation, which is remarkably impressive for a deaf-operated club. Members said organizations like YVAD usually don’t last very long, due to lack of support, insufficient funds, or just fading over time. But through the dedication of its members, YVAD has been able to stay afloat.

The event had food, dancing, history, raffles, and lots of love. Recollections were shared by former president Marcus Sauer and current president Dorian Welch. Official leaders at the celebration also included Dorian Welch, Ruthie Cyr, Cheryl Jones, and Jennifer Hopper. Trustees Samely Craig, Ricky Pinon, and Sherie Matthews were formally recognized for their work. Honorary board members Flo Lombness, Michael Sanders, and Margo Hillis were presented certificates and gifts for their dedication to the group.

The Yakima Valley Association of the Deaf has surpassed many expectations, and doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon.

That sentiment was expressed by Lombness, who has been a member since 1940. When she was given a moment to recall some of her favorite memories with YVAD, she signed the message: “Let’s keep going for another 100 years.”

Karlee Van De Venter is a 2019 graduate of Eisenhower High School who was a Running Start student at Yakima Valley College.