Rotary Hears From Bandelier Supt. Patrick Suddath And Hearing Loss Specialist Monique Hammond

Bandelier National Monument Supt. Patrick Suddeth addresses Rotary Club of Los Alamos members. Photo by Linda Hull

Vice President
Rotary Club of Los Alamos

As we come to the end of 2021, the Rotary Club of Los Alamos was pleased to welcome special guest speakers during the holiday season.

In November, when addressing Rotary, Bandelier National Monument Supt. Patrick Suddath recalled his first day on the job in Frijoles Canyon, the park’s center of activity.  He has maintained an unrelenting pace since then and is working closely with Valles Caldera Superintendent Jorge Silva-Bañuelos to “share resources, integrate management across the ecosystem, and improve coordination with stakeholders,” especially communication with the Pueblos.  Collaboration is a practical proposal because the two parks share a boundary.

A large part of Suddath’s guidance of Bandelier has already entailed critical strategic planning, and with so many visitors in 2021, a record 34,000 in October alone, setting a high standard for enhanced programming is an important part of the strategic plan.  This will include “engaging Pueblo peoples and evaluating the interpretive media about them.”  There will also be a focus on climate change, and there are expectations of partnering on different projects and activities with the Pajarito Environmental Education Center, the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, and other community groups.

In addition to these outreach plans, a number of improvement projects are underway. They include the Agoyo Road Project, replacing roofs in the visitors center area, rehabilitating the old Fire House, constructing a retaining wall to stabilize Alcove House with further stabilization work on the kiva, reconfiguring the parking lot at Tsankawi in coordination with the NM Department of Transportation, and anticipating a $34 million utility and infrastructure replacement project in 2023.

Suddath, who was born and raised in Albuquerque, often visited Bandelier National Monument and the Valles Caldera in his childhood, hiking and exploring.  He remarked that Bandelier “is a different park. There has been a dramatic shift in the ecosystem due to climate change.”  Accordingly, there are plans to accommodate these scientific observations in new interpretive exhibits in the park.

Before accepting the Superintendent position at Bandelier, Suddath was most recently the Deputy Superintendent of Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, home of the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.  He has also served as Branch Chief of Ranger Activities in Glacier National Park in Montana.  Suddath worked as a fire lookout and was a wildland firefighter at Mesa Verde National Park, and has held leadership positions in Joshua Tree and Grand Canyon National Parks.  

Although the next few years will not allow a great deal of spare time for Suddath to enjoy several of this favorite activities–hiking, biking, and skiing–his leadership and his staff’s teamwork will ensure that Bandelier National Monument, the treasure in our backyard, continues to provide relevant educational and outdoor opportunities for its visitors.

For more information about Bandelier National Monument, please go to; 505-672-3861

ourtesy photo

Monique Hammond’s book. Courtesy photo

“There was suddenly so much more to hearing loss than not hearing well,” explained hearing loss specialist Monique Hammond in November when she joined the Rotary Club of Los Alamos by Zoom from her home in Minneapolis.  Hammond elaborated, describing how she had enjoyed a successful career as a hospital pharmacist, but in 2005 experienced “sudden deafness” in her left ear at a church fundraiser where loud music was played.  Also known as sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL), it occurs as an “unexplained, rapid loss of hearing, usually in one ear, either at once or over several days.  It is considered a medical emergency.” 

The incident became a “life-changer,” Hammond reflected.  In just a matter of only four hours, she had lost all hearing in one ear.  For an accomplished pharmacist who had graduated with distinction from the University of Minnesota School of Pharmacy, she was devastated when she could no longer perform her job.  In addition to hearing loss, she had lost her ability to communicate effectively in a challenging position that demands precision. 

Hammond resolved then to research the broad subject of hearing loss.  After five years of study, she wrote a book on her findings called What Did You Say?  The Unexpected Journey into the World of Hearing Loss, now in its second edition.  The new editions contains information on noise-induced hearing loss research, assistive listening devices, aural rehabilitation for hearing aid and implant clients, and implantable hearing devices.  The book is available through Amazon and local booksellers. 

During her presentation Hammond discussed various aspects of hearing.  She stressed two points:  “Noise-induced hearing loss is permanent” and “Hearing loss affects people of all ages, including the very young.”  In fact, she stated that “most children over the age of 12 have suffered enough hearing loss to interfere with their studies.”

Hammond cautions her audiences to “be careful, not reckless, about exposure to loud noises,” stressing that jobs in many professions, such as highway and home construction, power plants, drilling and mining, and music can easily cause premature aging of the ears.  “Hearing aids are just that,” she reminded Rotarians, “aids.”

Hammond, appointed by the governor of Minnesota, has completed two terms as the vice-chairman of the Commission of Deaf, Blind and Hard-of-Hearing Minnesotans, and she is also the past president of the Minnesota Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America.   Hammond speaks regularly to employees and employers in vocations where loud noise is routine and is a popular speaker among members of the general public about hearing loss and the dangers of loud noise.  Hammond also is a safety consultant on noise-induced hearing loss education and prevention and has worked in health care in the United States, Europe, and Australia. 

Information about Hammond may be found at

The Rotary Club of Los Alamos meets in person Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00, in the Community Room, Cottonwood on the Greens, at the golf course.  A Zoom option is available by contacting Linda Hull, Rotary Club vice-president, 505-662-7950.  Hull is also happy to provide information about the Club and its humanitarian service.