Years ago, resources for the deaf in South Dakota were
meager. Many young deaf men, however, were employed
at meatpacking plants. One of them was Ben Soukup.
Work at the meatpacking plant was so grueling that
all employees took breaks at regular intervals.
Talk during break time revolved around making
life better for the deaf in South Dakota –
political lobbying, client assistance programs,
independent living programs, employment placement
One thing led to another and after getting grants
through South Dakota Association of the Deaf,
Ben became the CEO of the Communication
Service for the Deaf. Everything fell into places
and it snowballed into CSD becoming a million-
dollar non-profit agency, the largest and most
powerful among these deaf social service agencies.
For a number of years CSD was heavily involved
in just about everything – deaf relay services,
deaf athletics, deaf newspaper publishing,
interpreting services, deaf devices distribution,
CSD outgrew its original headquarters in
Sioux Falls, SD and relocated to Austin, Texas.