Author: monette | Category: Astrodome, CART/captioning, Certify NCRA RPR Test Prep, Deaf, Deaf Link, HOH, Hurricane Katrina, Kay Chiodo, Mike Houston, Remote Interpreting, San Antonio, SHHH, Sign Interpreters
Hurricane Katrina – Deaf Link, Remote Sign Interpreting
– Drop, Roll, Run Forward, Part III
By Monette Benoit
Copyright by Monette Benoit, All Rights Reserved.
Hurricane Katrina continues to dominate the news. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Kay Chiodo, Deaf Link personnel, and I kept our heads down as facts were initially broadcast 24/7.
We listened, working to help others, incorporating new technology, working with emergency national, state, local agencies and volunteer organizations – all grouped overnight in numerous locations – to include abandoned facilities.
Sometimes the only thing one can do before jumping into a new trench is listen – unless that person is deaf or hard of hearing.
As 2006 began, writing this article in February, we continued to sort facts with what was shared, what could be shared …
I am still humbled by what we learned — what could have, should have and might have ‘been’ done – to help more, to do more.
Now we know. Now we know. Yes?
Deaf Link installed remote sign interpreting setups within multiple San Antonio, Houston and Dallas shelters – sometimes without cooperation of all people involved.
In some cases, no one seemed to be in charge; many ‘real-time’ decisions were precedents.
Sometimes, after Deaf Link had worked with people in charge explaining the need and technology, a new group or person was in charge only hours later, and we would be back to square one.
Deaf Link created 24-hour remote sign interpreting as approximately 750,000 people arrived in Texas. Many of us watched TV late at night to see what was unfolding – what was being shared. Many of us were on the phone with each other to ‘hear’ and document what was unfolding.
(Part I and II may be found at www.CRRbooks.com and www.monettebenoit.com with direct links included below.)
Kay and Deaf Link were on the road six days, “Your own time; your own dime.”
Converged Technology Application Partners assisted Deaf Link’s installations. CTAP, Deaf Link’s tech support, met Kay, installing Deaf Link’s equipment. Yet Kay still wishes she could have done more.
Kay Chiodo, Deaf Link’s CEO, is the consummate person to drop, roll and run.
Deaf Link helped HOH, hard-of-hearing, who lost hearing aids.
Many HOH lost their hearing aids when batteries became wet or ran down. Often HOH sat alone, waiting, not asking for help. They sat, waiting.
Announcements blared: “If your social security numbers ends in –, go to –.”
Hard-of-hearing individuals (with good aids) heard garbled announcements.
Those who are deaf, of course, didn’t hear the messages at all and did not know information was being shared within each facility.
Deaf individuals volunteered to help deaf evacuees communicate, and deaf volunteers used Deaf Link’s technology to talk to (hearing) people in charge.
When Kay hit Dallas, Deaf Link’s lines initially were in medical areas. Then FEMA requested a location near Deaf Link. FEMA realized deaf were not receiving housing and social security services.
“There were many other services people needed access to other, in addition to medical.”
Security also utilized Deaf Link, 24/7.
In a few instances, after lines were dropped and Deaf Link had helped people and continued to serve new arrivals, without notice – deaf were moved, relocated.
Each time, deaf and HOH (hard-of-hearing individuals) would have to be found and the process had to begin again.
One day, deaf were organized to be sent to another facility where higher medical care was needed.
Deaf, however, wanted to stay in public arenas to be near children, families and – their quote – “normal” people. Deaf didn’t need higher care or want to be segregated.
Within the KellyUSA facility, some thought it would be great to have deaf only in one area. Many of the deaf adults and children had endured traumatic experiences with hearing during the storm and travels – people they became attached to – and they requested to remain with those new friends.
Deaf evacuees, already traumatized, were often separated from family or friends prior to arriving at shelters.
Facts shared, too, that that blind with working dogs were separated from their ‘ears’ when the dogs were not allowed on the bus after mandatory evacuations. (One incident documents, fact, that a working dog was shot when the blind person would not leave the dog.)
Kay went to KellyUSA’s security, explaining their communication mode is here.
“It’s important they remain with people they bonded with. KellyUSA understood. Whoever was trying to move deaf, dropped it.”
“At the Astrodome, some felt deaf should be gathered and herded.”
Kay can see how that “may be logical to some, but unless they could take hearing people deaf were attached to with them, it would be a challenge. They did move deaf – to another location away …”
“Everyone had good intentions, but it came down to asking the person. No one can make a group decision like that; it’s an individual preference. People were giving their best to everybody. Once services were established and deaf knew where everything was – all deaf had to do was sign they were deaf – using our technology, they instantly had equal access!”
“Deaf, HOH, deaf/blind, people non-English-proficient taught us to be prepared. Through their suffering, they paved the way for a nation to be better prepared. We learned, and Monette, sometimes the hardest lessons are the best learned.”
“Deaf Link was communication accessible alerting Texas deaf and HOH, a first in the nation, for Hurricane Rita, almost three weeks after Katrina.”
Writing these articles on Hurricane Katrina and Texas volunteers, I confirmed Deaf Link never received compensation for their services in any Texas shelter. Reluctantly, after three months, they removed all equipment in December 2005.
When Hurricane Katrina yellow buses originally rolled into Texas, I assisted with information-coordination.
Many court reporters, professionals, HOH (hard of hearing) contacted me asking what they could do.
I worked with sign interpreters gathering facts, stats, listing new shelters within Texas as they were created in real-time.
I continued to phone Deaf Link’s San Antonio office asking, “Now what? What’s next?”
Hours were devoted to which mayor was having a press conference, which group, company, church or agency would or would not be assisting – Who was really in charge?
Sometimes we heard things we could not repeat – (and still can’t).
Often we kept our head down, just as we started, working to help. Sometimes we just listened to each other.
Volunteers were having nightmares. Many felt guilty for not being able to do more. We were having sleepless nights; we needed to eat before accepting new Katrina assignments.
We did not discuss each was turning down ‘real work’ (compensated jobs) to help – many were passionate in their need to volunteer.
After weeks, sometimes numb and stunned, we continued to volunteer, listening, sharing time with each other – while thousands continued to stand in lines seeking food, their family and their loved pets.
After listening and sharing, we would focus back to our task, moving forward with our next Katrina request.
One night Kay phoned, “We’re having a sleepover. Bring your pillow, Monette. Really.”
Running remote services in each shelter, volunteers slept on the floor in her office. Not one complained; each person was thankful to put in more hours.
I gathered detailed information to send donations to deaf/HOH in each Texas city including shelters, churches, deaf volunteers, HOH, special-needs patients.
Most requested items were Bibles, toys, batteries and shampoo (in that order). Socks, underwear and bras sold out in San Antonio, the 8th largest city in the United States.
Eleanor Mitchell, RPR, of Washington emailed me, then typed a sheet asking for donations, which she distributed in her neighborhood. Eleanor mailed her neighbor’s donations to Texas.
Jean Melone of New Jersey wrote asking how she could help. Students in her school, Steno Tech Career Institute, gathered items, then shipped their donations to Texas.
Jeff Hutchins (the man who helped to invent broadcast captioning, and in my opinion, did more to tip our entire occupation) sent an email to me, “How can we best help?”
Jeff forwarded my reply to Accessible Media Industry Coalition.
Jennifer Tiziani of SHHH, now HLA (Hearing Loss Assocation) in Northwoods, Wisconsin, and many SHHH members responded, mailing items “from their closets and homes.”
One deaf woman responded to an email I wrote Jeff. She wrote me offering to share her small New York City apartment with a deaf family.
Many, many emailed me that sitting in their dry home, dry town, listening, they had to do something.
Some wrote me that all they could offer was prayers.
You need to know: You did make a huge difference. Deaf Link did pave a new path. Our work is not yet done. Bless each of you who donated your time, your passion, your hearts and your ears.
“There but for the grace of God go I.”
Kay Chiodo may be reached through www.Deaflink.com, 210-590-7446.
‘Hurricane Katrina – Deaf Link, Remote Sign Interpeting; Drop, Roll, Run Forward, Part I,’ March 2006 may be accessed on http://crrbooks.com/newsdesk_info.php?newsdesk_id=53
‘Hurricane Katrina – Deaf Link, Remote Sign Interpeting; Drop, Roll, Run Forward, Part II,’ April 2006 may be accessed on http://crrbooks.com/newsdesk_info.php?newsdesk_id=54
Monette, Court Reporting Whisperer, may be reached: Monette@ARTCS.com and Monette@CRRbooks.com
Monette Benoit, B. B.A., CCR, CRI, CPE, Paralegal
Tutor, Motivational Management & Career Coach,
Multiple-Title Author of Books & Test Prep for the Court Reporting and CART Captioning Industry
Realtime Court Reporter, Instructor, Consultant, Columnist
Court Reporter Reference Books & CDs: www.CRRbooks.com
Blog: Monette’s Musings, www.monettebenoit.com
* Educational/Career Advancement; Private Tutoring/Customized Coaching
Have you failed NCRA’s RPR, RMR, RDR, or a state court reporting exam?
“Get ‘ER Done In Just One” – as evidenced by the many students and professionals who study Court Reporter Reference Books to pass their RPR, CSR, and RDR exams on the first test. Testimonials are listed online, www.CRRbooks.com.
** Pedagogically sound covering a wealth of material with facts, tips, and comprehensive information.
The “Complete NCRA RPR, RDR, and CSR Test Prep Textbook, 6th Edition” has greatly expanded testing tips, testing focus, NCRA COPE Ethics specific details, grammar sections, plus — legal, Latin, court, English, grammar, vocabularly, medical, and computer chapters. www.CRRbooks.com
The “Test Prep Set” includes four volumes – each listed on www.CRRbooks.com
Monette will help you to pass your test and to exceed schooling and career goals. http://crrbooks.com/index.php?cPath=61
Did You Know: You can accelerate your career with private tutoring and career coaching? Court reporting veteran Monette Benoit can help you achieve your goals.
Tutoring and career coaching topics include:
• Motivational skills to keep you moving forward,
• Time-management skills,
• Process learning for more effective retention,
• Development of skills to author your book, your blog, and how to publish,
• Communication skills, daily interaction improvement skills, and much more.
Who comes to Monette for tutoring and career coaching?
• Professionals who want to achieve their goals, create new possibilities, advance their career, author their book, and to develop the dream within,
• Veteran and novice court reporters, CART (Communication Access Real-Time Translation) providers, and broadcast captioners brushing up on their skills for test-taking requirements,
• In-class students who feel they’re “stuck” and falling behind, or aren’t ready for the required tests,
• Students and veterans who struggle with focus, goal-setting, time-management or other life skills that might be interfering in their upward success,
• At-home students who want to ensure they’re on track for their exams and for their career goals,
• Veteran court reporters, CART Captioners expanding their career options in related fields,
• Students and veterans alike who find they’re struggling with key areas of daily practice,
• Students or veterans who have begun to question their career or whether they’re on the “right track” …
Check out: Reach Your Goals with Tutoring and Career Coaching
Monette Benoit, the Court Reporting Whisperer, can help you achieve at much high levels.
Where do you want to go? ** What have you ‘really’ wanted to do with your career, and ultimately, your life?
* No two are alike. Specific custom-designed guidance efficiently assists you!
About Monette Benoit:
As a 25+ year court reporter, CART Captioner, author of NCRA test prep material, and an instructor, public speaker, Monette Benoit has taught multiple theories, academics, all speed classes, and the 225 homeroom within NCRA-approved schools and a community college. She understands the challenges many adults now face in our industry and schooling.
Monette Benoit has worked with thousands of professionals, court reporters, CART Captioners, students, and instructors.
She has also helped to create new court reporting training programs, worked with federal grants, and assisted instructors in developing curriculum for both in-class and at-home students.
Her one-on-one tutoring, private coaching, has greatly assisted thousands of students, novice and experienced professionals to privately reach the next level.
Monette’s Musings is a blog containing information for busy professionals, students, and individuals who are fearless and seek to create their success each day. Reach up. Bring it. Bring it. * Bring it today!
25 Jul 2008