Angela Lee, who last year opened Riverside Coffee Shop — dedicated to training and employing young adults with special needs — received a brand new set of hearing aids from the Beltone Foundation at the Beltone Knoxville offices Monday, Nov. 7.
Accompanied by her husband, Bill Lee, and son, Tristan — who has Down syndrome and inspired the coffee shop’s very existence — Angela was fitted by hearing specialist Michael Murphy in Beltone Knoxville’s Renaissance | Farragut offices.
“It has been amazing, and I am so grateful,” said Lee, who had residual hearing loss believed to have been caused when she worked for an oil refinery during military service.
She received her first set of hearing aids about five years ago and knew she needed replacements, and had visited the Beltone Knoxville office due to its proximity to her home and the coffee shop, hoping for a repair.
It was her first experience working with Murphy, who fixed her old set “at no charge,” said Lee, even as they discussed her need for new ones right away.
Unfortunately, the cost would have been more than $7,000, as Beltone is considered out of network with Lee’s insurance, and she also noted she had put all of the family’s available resources toward the coffee shop.
“She is dedicated and at the coffee shop daily, dealing with customers and training her student,” stated a Beltone press release. “She is at a great disadvantage without having a decent set of hearing aids.
“However, Angela does not complain and continues to do everything she can for her shop and her community — taking care of everyone but herself,” Murphy said.
Inspired, Murphy and Beltone’s patient care coordinator Misty Blaylock decided to look into providing the hearing aids, if possible, through the Beltone Foundation, “which exists to help those who otherwise would not be able to afford hearing help,” a company press release stated.
“Beltone is committed to the hearing impaired, and we congratulate the work of our Beltone Knoxville team, (Murphy) and Misty Blaylock for their dedication and commitment to making this donation possible,” Beltone CEO Perry Ebel said.
“We are thrilled to be able to help Mrs. Lee experience a new outlook on life with better hearing while helping her community,” Murphy said.
“I started crying in disbelief when they called to give me the news,” Lee said.
“It has been such a blessing, and I am so grateful,” the local businesswoman added.
“I also feel like God keeps giving me signs, encouragement and support, letting me know I am doing what He wants me to be doing, and I am following His instruction.”