“Knowing how to read is the difference between night and day. It feels nice to get up in the morning and read the paper,” Ed Boucher says. Ed had been a non-reader for most of his 40-year working life. He was a heavy equipment operator who found clever ways to avoid reading things like instruction manuals. “I would go in at 3 a.m. to work with a [new] machine, so I would be proficient with it by the time my shift started at 8:00, which made for a long day,” Ed recalls. “When you can’t read, you hide it; you’re afraid to admit you need help.”
In the beginning, Ed was reluctant to reach out for help with literacy. But after working with tutor Joyce White for a while, a new kind of career was born. In the mid-1980s, he was invited to tell his story at a conference. He did such a great job engaging the audience that he went on to speak at state and even national events.
Ed spoke at Literacy Volunteers awards celebrations (1984, above). He was the first of a number of Literacy Volunteers members to receive Channel 2’s “2 Those Who Care” Jefferson Award.
He also wrote newspaper articles, spoke at national conventions, and advocated for literacy.
Ed believes in giving back. For many years before he got a tutor, his wife Janice had helped him with tasks that required reading. Now that she is ill and needs help with medications, Ed is the one who reads the directions.