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Deaf Davidson County residents request a county communications center@


Aubrey McLellan, who has a deaf daughter, urged Davidson County officials Tuesday night to help families like his by establishing a communications center for the deaf.

``I just want for her what I had, and that's the ability to be heard,' said McLellan, who helped found a similar center in Guilford County two decades ago.After listening to his request for $50,000 to hire a qualified interpreter and secretary versed in sign language, the Davidson County Board of Commissioners agreed to form a study committee made up of hearing and deaf people.

About 35 hearing-impaired people watched as Ida Brinkley, who interprets for the hearing-impaired at First Baptist Church in Thomasville, interpreted the meeting.

``I know there are at least 1,200 deaf people in our county, and they need help with interpreting when they go to the doctor, or to weddings and funerals,' Brinkley said.

Maurice Hodges, who has identified where deaf people live for the county fire service, said a registry is needed for emergency response.

He gave an example of an elderly Lexington man who died from injuries received in a fire because he did not hear the alarm.

Commissioners' Chairman Kenny Moore said he was flabbergasted to learn that there are more than 1,200 deaf people in the county.

Moore suggested providing interpreters for county offices to improve access to the courts, tax office and other human services.

That would help many deaf residents, said Jerry Potter, a Thomasville resident who directs the deaf ministry for the Baptist State Convention. Potter and Brinkley made similar requests two years ago after they heard Davidson County residents could no longer use interpreter services in neighboring Guilford and Forsyth counties.

The closest center Davidson residents have access to is a state-supported one in Charlotte.


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