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Dear Mrs. Wynn,

Having been a long time fan of you and Steve and all the wonderful things you both have done for our Valley, I feel like I've known you most of my life.

One of my most cherished memories was an afternoon in the late 80s when my late wife and I had the joy of sharing a VIP Booth in the Ballys Showroom for three or four hours with none other than...Zelma Wynn and her friend.

We were there to draw caricatures of all the volunteers at the Arthritis Foundation Fundraiser as a "Thank You" for their willingness to come and share their talents.

When we arrived at the Showroom, we were escorted to that booth and Zelma was gracious enough to encourage us to join her and her friend. It did not take long before I found out who she was and how much fun she could be interacting with two cartoonists who were trying to create customized laughter on paper for some of the most recognizable people in Vegas.

We would decide who we were going to draw next and Zelma could hardly wait to tell us what she knew about each selected person. And it almost became a game as my wife would leave the booth to go hand deliver dramatically each picture to the person just drawn with all the captions and special graphic details that Zelma had suggested. We told her if she kept that up then we were going to take her on the road with us. Of course, she laughed.

Perhaps the one caricature we drew which seemed to get Zelma really interested was our special creation for KLAS' Gary Waddell. He was just working right along with all the other volunteers down near the stage and I told my wife that we had to do him next.

So then the fun began as all four of us began to brainstorm what we could create that would make Gary laugh and never forget the picture we presented to him that day.

With everyone chiming in to add a suggestion here and there, we finally came up with the picture of the day.

All of us decided that it would be fun to draw Gary as a Pit Boss at Whiskey Pete's. Back then just the mention of Whiskey Pete's at the Stateline would get a laugh. But the idea that this Gary Waddell dressed on paper in a zoot suit standing on a gaming table yelling some orders to crazy cartoon birds we had drawn to sit in the seats was a riot. And when my wife completed the banner headline on the 12 x 18 paper that said "Gary Waddell..Pit Boss at Whiskey Pete's", Zelma and the rest of us roared out giggling and anticipating how Gary would respond. Well, we watched from a distance as my wife opened it up to him and he loved it.

It was an afternoon of fun I shall never forget. My wife and I always had fun creating personalized artwork and gags. But that day was special because Zelma and her friend added more comments and lots of laughter.

I shared with Zelma that day that in 1987 my wife and I had heard about the special event Steve was holding down at the Nugget for the Eye Foundation. So I made the call to Joyce in the executive offices to volunteer our services. Joyce set us up at a nice table in the event's room and we got to draw quite a number of folks who were there. In fact, one of the first two that we got to do were Bobby Baldwin's wife and child.

The real unique thing about the event was that I believe the photo of the two of us drawing one of the gentlemen there was the only news photo that showed up about the event the next day in The Las Vegas Sun. Needless to say, we were thrilled since it was a wonderful surprise.

There are about five or six more situations where we were a part of some other functions that pertained to Wynn Properties or events. But I have always been amazed that my wife and I never had the pleasure of meeting either of you in person.


First, please let me thank you for all you have personally done to advance the future and quality of education in the Las Vegas Valley. In my opinion, there is no greater contribution one can make in life than to try and help others learn how to become more able to achieve their highest potential in reaching their goals.

My wife had been a public schoolteacher for almost two decades when we met. I encouraged her to also use her art talents in an entertaining way when we moved to Vegas in 1986. Working together making people laugh was a natural since I had been a performer up and down the Strip and downtown since my first gig working with Freddie Bell's old bass player at the Fremont back in 1968. Our adventures got us "invited to be guests" in New York on the Letterman Show and having our original artwork presented to celebs like Red Skelton, Lou Rawls and even Mr. Sinatra. We just had fun and because no one could figure us out, we were able to take advantage of all the opportunities to share our talents all over Vegas.

In 1989, a businessman offered us a chance to host and produce our own syndicated radio program up in the Bay Area. So we headed to Northern California and stayed until the Fall of 1997.

During the time of the radio programs, my wife did some teaching in private schools and we still used our entertainment skills at corporate and private events on the weekends.

In 1993 after we had done some volunteer tutoring for some children in the church we were attending, we both saw that the biggest problem most children were having was an inability to be good readers.

So we put together our scholastic and entertainment skills and began writing down ideas for a new curriculum that would realte well to children and adults.

At the time the "Hooked on Phonics" commercials were on all the time and people would ask us if our program was like "Hooked on Phonics". Because of my wife's extensive background in teaching primary grades, her expertise helped her in preparing excellent scholastic lesson plans that also included much drill and review. In college my goal was to become a public schoolteacher and the education classes I had taken came in handy at this point. But the icing on the cake was that both of us had professional entertainment skills in music and in art. I composed over 60 learning songs to go with the lesson plans and together we created dozens of games and fun activities that helped the students review the concepts presented in the daily lesson plans. In September of 1994, we held our first free reading class in a community meeting room at the church.

Only one parent had signed up for one child to attend. But to our surprise, there were a dozen or more students who showed up for that first class. The next week we had over three dozen students. By request we ended up over a two month period holding classes three days a week. Information about our free program via our radio show, newspaper stories and a couple of appearances on area TV shows increased the size of the classes to a couple of hundred students a week, ages 2 to 85. All of this was free and the people who came really, really needed the help and wanted to learn. So we continued.

Throughout 1994 and up until the end of 1996, we had grandmothers bringing their grandchildren from out of state to live with them so the children could attend these classes because the results were so amazing. We encouraged the parents to attend the classes with the children and everyone found out how important a phonetic based learning program really was for reading.

In late 1996 we began to receive postal mail and phone inquiries about sending out our free curriculum materials to locations all over the globe. Each of the three text books we were using in the classes cost us personally about $20.00 each to have them copied and bound at Kinkos. Since it was offered totally free to students and we were donating our time to teach the classes, there was no way we could afford to send out the materials requested. Yet our hearts knew how important the materials would be for these people who took the time to contact us.

So after a two week modification of the first two steps of our curriculum, we were able to make it user friendly for the internet. We prepared the lesson plans for students with supervisors who could read and follow instructions. At least we would be able to provide the materials for those on the other side of the world.

So at the end of 1996, we declared we would officially accept enrollments on Valentine's Day 1997. That would give it a chance for people to find us on the internet which was just really getting started with the masses.

Well, forget it! By the end of the first week in January we already had a hundred students requesting enrollment. The next two weeks it doubled. By Valentine's Day, we had over 500 students enrolled and already taking the classes.

The old statement,"Find a need and fill it", suddenly became reality to us.

Let me just say that it would take volumes to relate the individual interaction through email correspondence we had with people from all over the globe during the first six months. But the most important thing in all of it was the fact we were receiving awesome reports about students who were learning to read. It is hard not to stop here and share ten or twelve of the most exciting transformations in the lives of children who found that not only was reading now easy, but it was fun!

In the summer we had a request from a college in Ohio to use our three volume program as part of a mandatory course education majors had to take in order to attain a state teaching credential. We were getting requests to use the program from school districts, private academies, community volunteer literacy groups and from church groups wanting to follow the format we had started at our own church in California. We could not believe how it just took off and flew!

In the summer of 1997 the businessman who was sponsoring our radio programs sold his business and retired. Rather than try and find another sponsor, we felt it was very important to move forward with advancing our outreach to those who wished to improve English reading skills.

With both of our hearts having such a tender feeling about all the wonderful people we had known in the Vegas Valley, we decided that returning to Nevada would be an excellent place to headquarter our worldwide program.

We knew that to so many of those who worked in the hospitality industry English was not their first language. Most of these workers did not have the extra time or the financial resources to go and take ESL classes at the community college. Plus, more than likely their children also would tend to have some difficulties achieving success in mastering English.

So we came back to Vegas hoping to find support for us to be able to go to the hospitality workplaces and hold 30 to 45 minute classes for those who wish to attend. I have a special technique in teaching that I am able to use with a person who can at least understand some English. If the person is attentive and participates with me, I can generally teach the five long and five short vowel sounds to the person in less than 30 minutes. Once a person can master this ability, that person is able with only a few more classes to decode 60 to 70 percent of most three letter combinations as found in three letter words or syllables. This builds great self esteem in the student and a willingness to move forward quickly with ease.

When we arrived back in Vegas in October 1997, we still had hundreds of new students enrolling weekly. That took up many hours of each day in order to provide for their needs via email answering questions and making suggestions.

During the daytime we either called or met in person those who had the authority at major hospitality businesses to allow us to come in and teach their employees and their employees' families. But the city was in a major growth mode. Most of those in authority were mainly interested in getting all the new properties up and running. We were told by some folks that their business paid taxes so that the schools could teach reading. It was very difficult for me to hold my tongue at meetings with those types of people. But I knew it would do no good to argue.

Meanwhile, we began to realize that with all the students enrolled in the online program, we had a full time job. But, of course, it was offered free and because we knew the majority of the people enrolled could not afford tutors or special educational materials, our reading curriculum would remain free to all who asked for enrollment.

Before the incident with the ship in Yemen, the publisher of their English language newspaper asked us to break down our lessons into 750 words or less. Then he ran a weekly educational column that presented our basic foundational approach so his readers could teach their children how to read in English. He related that many of those in that country lived far away from electricity and computers. We were told that people would be able to take the columns and teach out in remote areas. Again, this just amazed us that our program could reach out so far and in such a unique way.

After the incident with the ship, the publisher wisely suggested that perhaps we should discontinue the columns because he was receiving so many violent letters to the editor that were anti-American. But he was kind enough to send us a number of copies of some of the columns he published. Of course, we all know what events followed the ship incident and much of the activity that led up to 911 was being organized in that very country during this time period.

Now we continued on offering the program and enrolling thousands and thousands more students before and after 911. Much of the support to keep the reading program going came from the corporate jobs we received in Vegas to perform our artwork and entertainment skills at conventions and trade shows. After 911, many corporate event planners made serious cuts in their budgets that no longer allowed for extra promotions like the services we had provided. And I have to be honest here and say that since that time period, things have never returned to those more productive days of opportunities.

In spite of that, we pushed forward with what we knew was important. And that was keeping the program available for all who wished to learn to read. If a person received the emails we received each week about how much the program had helped change the lives of children and adults, I do not believe a normal person could refuse anyone the opportunity to enroll. Every sacrifice my wife and I made to keep the reading program going was more than worth it because it had a direct effect on someone's life. When a person cannot read in this day and time, what kind of future can that person expect?

In 2003 I personally had a very serious health issue that pretty well limited me for almost two years to about 25% of what I had been able to do in previous years. The circumstances kept me in constant pain and that made it real hard to concentrate on moving forward. But together, my wife and I did find opportunities to use our talents at short-time events which assisted us in keeping the online reading school program available.

Finally in the Spring of 2005, I began to see some improvement in my condition. However, at the same time, my wife's health began to go downhill very quickly. She had suffered a fall on some loose steps when she was working at a private school in the late 90s and was convinced by the school officials that there was no real reason for her to go get it checked at the hospital. This became a major problem during the next several years with different related things showing up that were obviously caused by that fall. And, of course, the event had already happened and it was too late to bring it up years later.

By April of 2005, my wife was in a wheelchair and then unable to get out of bed even with a walker. Finally on May 13, despite the fact that she really did not desire to go to the hospital, I called the ambulance to take her there. I prefer here not to say a lot more about her three days in the hospital because of the type of treatment she received. The physicians in charge told me she was in the last stage of a fast spreading cancer and there was nothing they could do for her. And she was basically no longer conscious, unable to communicate even with me. So I did what I knew she would have wanted. She loved her animals all of her life. So I brought her home so that her animals could curl up next to her the way she always loved them to do. The next three days were possibly the worst of my life as I watched this woman who had done so much for so many slowly pass away into Eternity. Though I was heartbroken, I knew she would feel the pain no more.

We had discussed several times what would happen to the reading program if one of us passed away. We had each agreed to try to keep it going if at all possible. So despite the grieving, I knew that I had to continue to operate the school accepting new enrollments even on the day she died.

What was ironic is the fact that in 2004 we had decided that in 2006 we were going to go full steam into a fundraising program so that we could put the entire three volume curriculum on CD or DVD and manufacture a million copies. Our next goal was to distribute the CDs or DVDs to every library, school, literacy volunteer group, community center and church in the USA. And once those had been delivered, we would start sending the program out to these same types of groups in every country in the world. We had determined that we never wanted any person to ever be able to say that the materials for learning to read were not available because of a lack of finances or no opportunity to learn. Only a few months before she became terribly ill, we had begun writing down some of the details that needed to be accomplished in order to complete our goals.

In the summer of 2005 I was then faced with all the medically related expenses which had just arisen. But I knew I had to keep the school going. I refused to deny anyone enrollment as long as I could answer email. It was a long, hot summer that ended with all the Katrina events. My heart really yearned to help all those folks on the Gulf Coast since I had worked so closely with them many times in my travels during the 70s. I soon found that because of such an emotional effect this tragedy had on people in this country that the corporate jobs I might have been hired for even a year before were all history. I understood why this tragedy had such an effect on people, but I still had to keep going also. And only by a miracle was the online enrollment for the reading program able to continue. No matter what tragedy strikes, children and adults still need to learn how to read.

I convinced myself that the holidays of 2005 would bring a large number of company Christmas parties and that would even me out financially for the year. WRONG! Businesses were telling me that because of all that happened with the Katrina situation that they were either not having a party that year or were donating the money to special agencies to help those folks. Well, I could not argue with that. In fact, I only wished I could have helped them out financially also. But the miracle was that the online reading program still was available even if only by a thread. No one was turned away. I even had some enrollment requests from families who had lost their homes in New Orleans and were forced to move to another part of the country. Even in all that confusion, those parents realized that their children had to learn to read.

2006 and 2007 both have given me definite challenges that I would not desire to revisit. But no one has been turned away and the reports from the success students are having after taking the online program keep getting better and better. How can I stop now? I can't and I won't!

Since 1994 we have been through seven computers and the eighth is not long for this world. Even though we really were not able at time, we still had situations when the only way the student could learn was to hear what was to be taught by phone. So year after year we did contact quite a number of special students all over the country because they needed that direct instruction taught only by the human voice. The program is user friendly by any supervisor who understands and can speak basic English. But sometimes that is not possible and the extra help on the phone is needed.


Many people say they are concerned about education. But YOU have proven your concern by your actions. And actions do indeed speak much louder than words.

My wife and I began our adventure with this project knowing it would not be a cake walk. But we knew we had something that could actually make a major impact in the lives of individuals who wanted to make something of their lives. So we did it! We did not have any board meetings. We did not go out and do surveys to see if people might think kids and adults needed to learn to read. We just DID IT!

And because we did it, there have been since 1994 over 50,000 students worldwide who have benefited from our original three volume curriculum teaching the basics of English language reading skills. And it was all done free of charge to the students. I am not taking any bows. In fact, I can hardly believe that it has been going on for so many years. And if we had stopped in 2003 or even last week, what difference might it have made in the future of one child on the other side of the globe? We'll never know. But it only takes one person to make an impact that the world can never forget. I want to have that opportunity to offer what I have to share with one more person because that person just might be the one who makes this world a better place to live for all of us and our future generations. But if the person is denied the opportunity to learn how to read, chances are that the world will never experience that personal impact that could have happened!

Along with my wife, I want that dream to come true with a million or more CDs or DVDs distributed every place that can benefit from the program. The impact on the world I spoke of could be from one person who is now living on the other side of the planet. Perhaps that person is living in CHINA. (Yes, you heard the shoe drop.)

Obviously, I admire and respect all that you and your husband have done not only for educational advancement in Clark County but for the total restructing of this wonderful Valley that I love so much.

What better place in the whole world for people to receive an opportunity to improve their futures than Las Vegas, Nevada?

I realize that our dream and the chance for millions more to learn how to read are not going be achieved by myself as "An Island". I have one heck of a lot of motivation and am a proven trooper which you can see by reading just part of my resume at or

But a wise person knows that when help is needed to accomplish a large task, it is necessary to simply ask.

Your knowledge and expertise in areas like this are far beyond mine. My goal is not to be a hero or king of the hill in my great accomplishments. I just want to see everyone on the planet who wishes to have a chance to learn even basic reading skills be able to partake of what I am offering freely and without strings.

I can truthfully say that knowing this goal has been reached will be sufficient reward for me.

But as humbly as I can, I am requesting your expertise and help in seeing this worldwide project become reality.

Although I can certainly not compensate you anywhere near the value of your time, I will gladly be willing to offer to you in return for your help any of my talents and services as a musician, comedian, emcee, professional graphologist, broadcaster, spokesperson/speaker, journalist/writer, public relations consultant, cartoonist, seminar instructor and chief bottle washer.

Thank you so very much for being so gracious in taking the time to read my very lengthy letter. I would have gladly made it much shorter but I included what I hope is the key information you will need to understand my urgent request for your help.

All of my contact information is found on the webpage at:

With Sincere Appreciation For Your Time,

Bill Cooksey