“We Will Get Through This Together!”
By Virginia L.
Moore, Executive Director
This being the last newsletter of the year, it is time for
KCDHH to boast about all the good things that have happened and all the
good things that we have done in 2021. It has been a hard year for all of
us and, yes, there were good things, but we can’t get to the good things
without acknowledging how hard it’s been for everyone here in Kentucky.
We have been through another year of Covid,
with new strands and new variants appearing. We have watched as many of
our friends and loved ones have suffered from Covid,
and some have lost their lives – much to our sadness. During 2021, we
have endured ice storms and floods from those ice storms, and just when
we thought it was done….the tornadoes came in December! Many Kentuckians
lost their homes and treasured memories. Some lost family or friends and
some lost their children, which brings us all to our knees. The images of
destruction are heart wrenching, with so many displaced people, so much
loss, so much gone forever.
Through all of this, I have been emotional. On the third
night after the tornadoes, I was feeling particularly vulnerable as I
watched national news and heard the stories of the resilience of
Kentuckians, of how local folks poured out to help neighbors in their
time of need. I watched as the news showed neighbors placing American
flags on properties to show their strength in a time of weakness, of how
flags blown off during the storms were restored to homes to show their
American pride and “never give up attitude.” I watched as strangers
showed up to volunteer in Western Kentucky to help with clean up and how
those who have lost everything invited them into what was left of their
homes. I was particularly moved by one story of a man standing next to
what was left of his home, little more than a pile of rubble, cooking
shrimp on a barbeque grill and saying he was okay and glad to be alive
and he would rebuild. Many of these stories have been seen on TV and
their mission to “stay strong and rebuild again” is inspiring for us all.
I’m also struck by our Governor’s actions as he immediately
declared a state of emergency working with the White House to get an
emergency declaration from FEMA in record time. FEMA was on the ground
within 24 hours, helping local people put their lives back in order. The
Governor’s ability to show compassion and true emotion during his press
conferences has been inspiring with everyone feeling his empathy and
understanding. As he says, “we will get through this; we will get through
this together!” And we WILL if we
all stick together and think of others before ourselves!
When this disaster occurred, KCDHH immediately began working
with Red Cross and FEMA to ensure they understood the needs of the deaf
and hard of hearing community. We have been assured that every shelter
within Kentucky has a laptop with Video-Relay Services (VRS) and
Video-Remote Interpreting (VRI) capabilities. Every FEMA staff on site
has an iPad with the same capabilities, so deaf and hard of hearing
victims can apply for assistance immediately on site. As the Governor has said, cleanup will
take months and recovery and rebuilding will take years. The state and
federal government stands ready to back consumers throughout the
recovery, no matter how long it takes. If you are in need of assistance,
please don’t hesitate to contact KCDHH and we will use our resources to
help you get through this tragedy.
I would be remise if I did not take time to thank the KCDHH
staff. Their ability to think
outside of the box is amazing. During these trying times, they have
provided the best of themselves for all of Kentuckians.
As we move into 2022, let us all remember how each of us
could be in the same situation as Western Kentucky and let us reach out
to others to help when we can. Let us all be kinder, gentler people next
year and help bring America back to a place of respect and understanding
Whatever you celebrate at the end of the year, may it be
blessed, happy, healthy, and a place of renewal for us all. Together we
can do anything!
Happy Holidays to
all. May 2022 bring blessings to
each of us!
Team Western Kentucky Fund Relief
Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone impacted by
the devastating storms across western Kentucky this past weekend. To find
out how to help families and communities rebuild, visit TeamWKYReliefFund.ky.gov.
First Lady Launches Western Kentucky
First Lady Britainy Beshear also
launched the Western Kentucky
Christmas Toy Drive, a toy drive where Kentuckians across the state
can come together to make this Christmas special for as many kids and
teens as possible. Until Saturday, December 18, Kentuckians can drop off
new, unwrapped toys, games, books or technology in orginal packagin to 20
locations across the state. For more information, visit FirstLady,ky.gov/ToyDrive.
WKY Disaster Survivor Assistance Contacts
our Commonwealth was hit by a devastating tornado that caused intense
damage and horrendous loss of life. Recognizing that many of our
consumers, families, and friends may not have Internet due to the damage
done, we are sending out links for the sites that can offer assistance.
American Red Cross: Kentucky
Red Cross Phone: 270-442-3574 or 800-RED-CROSS or
text REDCROSS to 90999
FEMA Phone: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY
The Partnership for Inclusive
Disaster Strategies for disaster assistance for people with disabilities:
1-800-626-4959 or email
or visit disasterstrategies.org.
Deaf-Blind Web Pages Added to KCDHH Website
launched its new Deaf-Blind web pages on December 1. The new Deaf-Blind
tab on the KCDHH website, kcdhh.ky.gov,
provides access to a wealth of information and resources for Deaf-Blind
consumers, family members, educators, and service providers. Be sure to view our Coffee Chat
videos under the “Awareness and Advocacy” section of the Deaf-Blind
pages. These videos feature Deaf-Blind Kentuckians, as well as
representatives from the Helen Keller National Center, the Kentucky
Deaf-Blind Project, and the Kentucky Department of Education. See more
about the web pages by clicking on the photo below.
KCDHH Commissioner Featured in Book
Board Commissioner Gerry Gordon-Brown is featured in a newly, released
book, “A Celebration of Family: Stories of Parents with Disabilities,” by
Kentucky’s own David Matheis. The book contains
the stories of thirty families where one or both parents have
disabilities: physical, mental, sensory, and/or intellectual. Gerry
Gordon-Brown and her family are chapter 29, “Gerry The Matriarch.” You
can purchase the book at Amazon or on the Center for Accessible Living website.
Pictured below, left, is Gordon-Brown posing with her book, and right, is
a photo of Chapter 29.
KCDHH Announces Holiday Closures
staff wanted to let you know in advance that our office will be closed in
observance of the holiday season on Thursday and Friday, December 23-24,
and Thursday and Friday, December 30-31. During this break, we won’t be
available but we will be checking our messages. You may also visit our
website at kcdhh.ky.gov for
Wishing all of you health, happiness, and peace
during the holiday season and through the coming year.
Vaccination Boosters Available for All KY Adults
Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive
order on November 17 that qualifies every person 18 years old or
older and living or working in the Commonwealth to get a COVID-19
vaccination booster six months after their second dose of the Moderna or
Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, or two months after a single-dose Johnson &
Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. To find COVID-19 vaccines near you, go to vaccines.gov. You can also watch a
video about this by clicking on the graphic below.
There will be four vacancies on the Board of the Kentucky
Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (KCDHH).
KCDHH is looking for enthusiastic, creative individuals who are
eager to be involved in the next phase of advocacy, education, and change
in the government of the Commonwealth.
must be received by February 28, 2022. For more information, please click here.
KCDHH TAP Advisory
must be received by February 28, 2022
There are two vacancies on the Board of the Kentucky Commission on
the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (KCDHH) Telecommunications Access Program
(TAP) Advisory Board, which advises the TAP on assistive technology for
deaf, hard of hearing, and speech-impaired consumers.
Appointed by the KCDHH Board, the two Speech-impaired Consumer
Representatives’ four-year terms will be effective immediately
upon notification of appointment by the KCDHH Board. Applicants must be
speech-impaired as defined by regulation in 735 KAR 1:010: “A person with
a communication disorder such as stuttering, impaired articulation,
impaired language, or impaired voice that adversely affects the use of
telecommunication access lines.”
Persons interested in the Speech-impaired Consumer Representative
seat should submit a statement of interest and a current resumé to:
Jessica Endler, TAP Program Coordinator, email@example.com or view
more information here. You may also view the video by clicking
on the photo below.
Moore Participates in
2021 LEAD Panel Discussion
KCDHH Executive Director, Virginia
Moore, participated in a panel discussion during the 2021 Governor’s
Conference on Leadership, Equality, Accessibility, and Diversity (LEAD)
on November 18. The panel discussion addressed physical, technological,
and attitudinal barriers in creating a disability-inclusive workplace.
Other panelists included Anne Hirsh, Associate Director, Job
Accommodation Network (JAN); Nicole Larson, Instructional Designer,
Learning Solutions Division-TEKsystems, Inc.;
and Trina Koontz, Benefits Branch Manager, Kentucky Employee Assistance
Program (KEAP), Kentucky Personnel Cabinet. Pictured below, Moore, on
right, addresses actionable, supportive steps employers can take to
increase compliance, employ accommodations, and foster a more inclusive
Hamilton Relay Offers Scholarship for 2021-22
Telecommunications Relay and Captioned Telephone Service provider for the
state of Kentucky, is offering a $500 scholarship to a graduating high
school senior who is deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or has difficulty
speaking. The applicant must complete a questionnaire and include a
response to an essay question and letter of recommendation. Deadline to
apply is January 30, 2022. Click here to apply.
The Deaf and Hard of
Hearing Infants, Toddlers and their Families: Collaboration and
Leadership Interdisciplinary Certificate Program at Gallaudet University
has a scholarship opportunity available for the 2022-2023 school year.
The deadline is March 1, 2022. For more information, contact Suzanne
Mattox, Director, Regional Early Acquisition of
Language at Alabama Institute for
Deaf and Blind, firstname.lastname@example.org
or 256-474-0614 (VP/Voice).
KCDHH Needs You…
The Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of
Hearing, a state agency within the Education and Workforce Development
Cabinet, is seeking applicants for Executive Administrative Secretary.
The position is located in Frankfort, Kentucky. This is a wonderful
opportunity for someone who wants to be immersed in Deaf culture, hone
their signing skills, educate and advocate for the deaf and hard of
hearing community, and work with a dedicated team of individuals. Click
on the photo below to watch the video. You can also click a link to the
job opening announcement here
and a link to apply for this position here.
Deaf Women United Opens Registration
Deaf Women United has opened registration for the 2023 conference
that will be held in Chicago, July 26 to July 30. The early-bird rate is
available through February 28, 2023. For more information, click on the
December’s KCDHH Spotlight Q&A
is with Alexander B. Ansley, who is an Alexander Graham Bell
representative on KCDHH’s Commission Board. Alexander’s hometown is
Lexington where he attended Henry Clay High School. He is currently
pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Western
Kentucky University, Bowling Green. Read more here.
Gallaudet University and AppTek Launch
The GoVoBo application aims to provide
optimized access to online digital audio/video media for deaf and hard of
hearing people and for society-at-large with a simple solution to view
live closed captions and translations irrespective of the conferencing
platform. It also delivers more control of the user interface (UI),
allowing users to enhance the readability of real-time conversation
transcripts and enjoy a more meaningful flow of spoken content. Read more
PLEASE VISIT KCDHH’S
IF YOU HAVE AN EVENT YOU’D LIKE TO LIST
ON THE CALENDAR, PLEASE EMAIL US AT:
COVID-19 Vaccine Resources
Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC)
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and
Other EEO Laws
The official Team Kentucky source for Vaccine
Kentucky Registry of Vaccine Location
COVID-19/Vaccine Important Links for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
KCDHH Facebook Page
For those who have deaf family members who use sign language,
consider downloading Sorenson Wavello and/or the ZVRS Sivo app on your smartphone. This app makes
it possible for you to see your loved ones on your screen next to your
Other KCDHH Resources:
Telecommunications Access Program (TAP)
Landline or wireless equipment for
Kentucky residents who are deaf, hard of hearing, speech impaired, or
have both a hearing and vision loss.