Message from NRA President Doris Illies about Hurricane Harvey

Groups audience: 

Hello NRA members,

We need your help and update on the upcoming NRA Annual Conference.

I am sure that all of you have seen the unbelievable photos on the national news coming in from the continued effects of Hurricane Harvey.  The devastation is unprecedented and beyond what most can comprehend. My heart goes out to all who are affected by Harvey.

In the past few days I have been getting many emails about whether or not the conference will continue as planned or if we should cancel.  To that I want to say, the show must and will go on.  I just got off a call with several members of the planning committee and they are saying our hotel and Corpus Christi will be ready for us.  One of the worst things we could do now would be to "pull out" of the conference.  Texas residents are going to need people to visit, eat, stay and shop to help the local economies. When we signed the contract with the Omni for the 2017 conference we chose October so that we would be past hurricane season and never in our wildest dreams did we image a storm of this magnitude or duration would hit Texas.  We made a commitment to them and we will honor it!  If you have already registered, thank you.  I am hoping NRA members, non-members and exhibitors continue to register and if you are on the fence because of cost or other reasons, I would ask that you reconsider; NRA, TRA and Texas need you in Corpus Christi.  We are continuing the early bird registration until September 15th.  We have been made aware the website has changed to the higher rate and the web administrator had to evacuate, we will be reimbursing people so that we honor the early bird rate. 

One comment that was made by TRA President that I want to share with you is: "Our folks are in trouble and will be for some time."  This hit me particularly hard, as over the past year while working with the TRA conference committee, I have gotten to know and respect this group of NRA members.  They have been there doing their part and then some to ensure that the NRA conference 2017 would be an awesome training and networking event.  They have become like family and now that family needs help.

Many members of the conference committee have been directly affected by this horrible storm.  I am sure we can all appreciate that at this time they will need to focus their energies on their families, homes and community.  That's where the NRA family can help, we need volunteers to serve on the conference committee in many capacities.  I am including the contact information for conference co-chairs Sara Sundeen and Lori Lawson, they will connect you to the conference committee and how help is needed.  Sara can be reached at:  Lori can be reached at:

TRA members: If you have any questions, feel free to contact Marilyn Padgett at or Linda Cox at

This morning I contacted my state chapter President Katie Hartl and am asking the Minnesota Rehabilitation Association members to help MRA to raise funds which we will give to TRA so that they can help members directly affected.  Our donation may not be much, but I have been told every little thing helps.  I am asking our other state chapters, regions and divisions to help with fundraisers as they can.

Thank you all for the work that you do.


Doris Illies, NRA President 2017