Raymond V. Heter, a lifelong resident of the Village of Florida has received an honorary diploma from St. Joseph School for the Deaf.
Heter, 95, attended St. Joseph School for the Deaf from 1937 to 1941. Unfortunately, he did not return for his senior year as he had to remain at home to help his family with the incoming onion crop. His other brothers had left for military service.
At the age of 12, Heter contracted spinal meningitis, and the after effects left him totally deaf. Not having adequate learning facilities in the immediate area, he entered into St. Joseph’s School for the Deaf in 1937. The school is located in Bronx, NY and is presently celebrating their 150 year anniversary.
At the school, Heter became very proficient in reading lips. In 1945 he started the first trash removal business in the Village of Florida. He purchased a model-T pickup for $50 and within a period of time he had 50 customers. He charged $1.25 a month for twice a week to pick up. As his business grew, he was able to purchase a full-size dump truck and then ventured into the delivery of sand and gravel throughout the area.
In the early 70s he sold the trash removal business and purchased a large tandem dump truck. He finally retired at the age of 85 and tearfully sold the “red dump truck” with one condition – that if the new owner needed a driver, he would contact him first.
Heter is the son of the late Martin and Mary Heter, Sr. also residents of the Village of Florida. Presently, he resides at Valley View Nursing Home in Goshen, NY.