Mayors honor Deaf-Blind Awareness Week

Betsy PickleSouth Knox

Two mayors turned out to help the deaf-blind community celebrate Deaf-Blind Awareness Week, the Helen Keller National Center’s 50th anniversary and the deaf-blind community in general at the Knoxville Center of the Deaf, 3731 Martin Mill Pike, on Wednesday.

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, squeezing in an appearance before rushing off to another obligation, recalled a hearing-impaired friend at West Hills Elementary School with whom he would have long, slow conversations using a sign-language chart his father had given him.

He said he would spare the crowd from listening to him read his proclamation since Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero had a similar one. He posed for photos and took a trademark selfie with Rogero and KCD CEO Terry Osborne before leaving.

Rogero finger-spelled “Madeline” to introduce herself.

“I’m very pleased to be here with you today to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the Helen Keller National Center and also 40 years of the Knoxville Center of the Deaf,” she said. “I really appreciate what you all do to really make sure that East Tennessee is more equitable and accessible to the people of our region.”

Rogero presented her proclamation to Osborne and also recognized Stephanie Brewer Cook, director of disability services for the city of Knoxville.

“She does a wonderful job, and she makes sure that we in the city of Knoxville are focused on providing opportunities for all people, regardless of their abilities or disabilities.”

Osborne announced that the center would hold its 40th-anniversary celebration on Oct. 21. Also, the center’s fundraising golf tournament will be held Oct. 6.

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