Lyon County Reporter

by Kathy Reinke

When Ardis Kiel graduated from West Lyon High School in 1969, little did she know what paths her life would take and the bumps in the road along the way.

Following graduation, the Alvord native took a position as a bookkeeper-receptionist at The Book Store in Sioux Falls and then moved to the job of proof dispatcher at the Sioux Falls Argus Leader in 1970.

Life dealt Ardis a cruel blow in 1971 as a result of a car accident in DeSmet, S.D. She was in a car with friends on a gravel road that was not familiar to them. County maintenance crews had not replaced a dead-end sign that had been knocked down by farm equipment. It was dark and the driver did not realize it was a dead end at a top of a hill until it was too late.

Ardis was rushed to a Sioux Falls hospital in very critical condition and not expected to live through the night. She did survive but lost her sight as a result of her injuries.

At this point she felt she had to rethink her career options and elected to take a course in food management. After completing the course, she was given the opportunity to manage a small snack bar utilized by employees in the Argus Leader building. After three years she moved on to other food service facilities in South Dakota and Iowa.

In 1984, Ardis and her family ‐ husband David Bazyn and daughters Gwen and April ‐ moved to Cedar Rapids where Ardis began operating a vending facility at the post office there.

Through the years, Ardis has volunteered in local churches and a variety of other organizations. Often she was asked to speak on different subjects and to work on writing projects.

It would appear that Ardis’ plate was full ‐ the wife of a husband with multiple disabilities, the parent of two pre-teen daughters, and working full-time in her own food service business ‐ however, she took on the additional challenge of going back to college.

In 1996, Ardis received bachelor of arts degrees in public relations and speech communications from Coe College in Cedar Rapids and, in 1998, she received her master�s degree in arts in teaching.

While volunteering, Ardis realized that she enjoyed helping others learn how to improve what they were doing and she wanted the necessary skills to become more accomplished in speaking and writing.

Therefore, the decision was made to leave the food services management business and to start her own business as an inspirational and motivational speaker and writer.

Following divorce from David, and April�s marriage in May 1999, Ardis decided that a change of scenery would be nice and made the decision to move to Burbank, Calif., an area she had visited and in which she had many friends.

Another deciding factor for the move is that California has many more blind residents and the organization for the blind was more active and more involved in advocacy there.

After moving to Burbank, it became apparent that there was demand for printed materials in the subjects on which she speaks. Since she had written many articles and manuals on a variety of subjects in the past, she felt compelled to start this new phase of her life.

All the hard work paid off this spring when her first book, BUILDING BLOCKS FOR SUCCESS: Does the Image of Your Church Attract Members? In
her book Ardis offers unique strategies for keeping members satisfied with the church.

For a sighted person to author a book is a challenge; for an unsighted person the challenges are multiplied many times over. Ardis uses a computer with speech synthesizer and she has a notetaker with Braille display and speech. When a book is completed, she gets assistance from her sister, Laurine Gerritsen, and a couple hired proofreaders.

Not wanting to stop with just one book, Ardis has also recently completed her second book that is at the publisher ready to be printed, BUILDING BLOCKS FOR SUCCESS: Does the Image of Your Organization Attract Members? She plans to offer her books on tapes and CDs in the future.

The first book is available at Crossroads Book and Music in Sioux Falls, S.D., or from the author at 866-476-8538 (toll free) or on her website,

In addition to her sister Laurine of Rock Rapids, Ardis has other close relatives living in the area: Gert Kiel Van Roekel, mother, Boyden; Gert DeVries, grandmother, Inwood; Barb Arends, sister, Lester; Russell Kiel, brother, Alvord, and Char LaFrenz, sister, who previously lived in Rock Rapids and now resides in Cass Lake, Minn. She remains close to her family and visits five or six times a year.

Gwen, 22, graduated from University of Northern Iowa and is employed in Cedar Rapids. April, 20, and her husband, Matthew Gallagher, and their nine-month-old daughter, Rebecca, live in Marion. April is pursuing her CPA degree.

It has been through the strong support of family and friends in good times and in bad that Ardis has been able to accomplish all that she has, and for that she is extremely grateful.

Through all the bumps in the road, she has discovered her own BUILDING BLOCKS FOR SUCCESS: Hard Work and Determination.

For Positive Inspiration, contact Bazyn Communications!
“Making the Impossible, Possible”
Ardis Bazyn
Email Ardis