Our favorite unofficial ambassador, Leon “Jigger” Sirois (see Summer 2007 SFA Newsletter) continues to tirelessly heighten awareness of the Stuttering Foundation and the resources and help that are available.
Jigger shared with us that, “Stuttering has evolved into a major gift for me. I wouldn’t change it now even if I could go back.” However, until some years ago, it was a difficult and sometimes distressing burden. He likened the struggle to speak to trying to get “water out of a faucet with the pump turned off! I finally learned, the more ‘tricks’ you try in order to work around the stuttering, the more undue pressure you put on yourself.”
Jigger is particularly passionate about getting SFA resources into public libraries. Currently Jigger has made a donation to the Foundation to supply a complete set of SFA books and DVDs to the Enoch Pratt Free Library in honor of Theodore L. DeWeese, M.D., Professor and Chairman, Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, and his staff.
(Editor’s Note: See this historic library, which houses the H.L. Mencken Collection among many other fascinating resources, at www.prattlibrary.org)
He also recently donated updated resources to the Summers County Public Library in Hinton, West Virginia, and the St. Joseph County Public Library in South Bend, Indiana.
In addition, Jigger is enthusiastic about talking to people in everyday life, wherever he meets them. And Jigger, the most down-to-earth and personable guy you’d ever want to meet, doesn’t know any strangers. In a sort of “pay it forward” way, he will give resources to his swimming coach, the clerk at the electrical supply store, fellow Toastmasters, or his physician. And they, in turn, tell others.
Jigger won’t take one ounce of credit for being an ambassador. He says, “Stuttering is a complex affliction that makes people uncomfortable sometimes.” Perhaps that insight into others, sort of a heightened sense of others’ needs, is what drives him, now that he can, to keep talking and helping. “Knowledge is the antithesis of ignorance,” Jigger said. Keep talking, friend!