WETA volunteers know that answering phones to raise much needed funds for public TV and radio means time well spent at the station, but rarely does one hear about finding true love at a pledge drive! Volunteering for WETA can truly change one's life, as it did for longtime members Michael and Deborah Chusmir.
Michael, a classical music devotee, met Deborah, a self proclaimed "child of Motown", at a WETA volunteer appreciation dinner in the summer of 1995. A very fast courtship led to a December engagement.
"We weren't kids," Deborah explained. "Our families were thrilled." As they alternately described their 1997 Oxon Hill Manor wedding, it was easy to forget that Deborah and Michael are no longer newlyweds. They often finish one another's sentences and nod in agreement when the other is speaking. They share affection for programs on WETA TV, such as the PBS NewsHour, Live From Lincoln Center and, of course, Downton Abbey.
Michael, recently retired from United Airlines, is a 30+ year volunteer aide for the visually impaired. After a career on Capitol Hill, Deborah gives back through her activities with the United Methodist Women in Alexandria, focusing on providing funds to women, children and youth in need. The Chusmirs also continue to volunteer at WETA and actively support the station as members of the Signal Society, Leadership Circle and Friends of Classical Music.
They believe that WETA fills a special niche that no other organization does or can. "WETA has done so much in this community" Michael explained. In fact, he and Deborah feel so strongly that free, quality educational television and classical music are vital for our region—today and tomorrow—that they included WETA in their wills. WETA is fortunate to count Michael and Deborah Chusmir as members of the Elizabeth P. Campbell Legacy Society and grateful for their commitment to giving back.