UPDATE: Meet the Sign Language Interpreter for Governor Whitmer
You've seen her on a regular basis on your TV, but you don't know her name and you've never heard her speak! She has been at the side of Governor Gretchen Whitmer during the COVID-19 pandemic updates. Now we know who she is!
Meet Stacey Hachey!
It took a lot of searching on the internet, phone calls, social media posts, and emails -- but I was finally able to identify who the interpreter is -- She is Stacey Hachey.
I requested an interview with her -- to get to know her better --but she declined. Her response was: "I'm not doing interviews with anyone while I'm still on the job." (I'm still hoping to get an interview with her in the future.)
According to the information I could find about her, "Stacey attended American River College in Sacramento, CA for her interpreter training. Stacey moved back to her home state of MI in 2004, immediately started working as a professional interpreter, and has enjoyed every minute of her journey since! She is nationally certified and endorsed by the State of Michigan to work with DeafBlind consumers, and in legal, medical, and mental health settings. When she is not working, she enjoys spending as much time as possible with her family."
I did find an interview she did about a month ago with a podcast based out of Detroit called ML Soul of Detroit. You can hear that podcast here. (Stacie's interview starts about 15 minutes into the podcast.)
A few questions that she answered in the interview:
She is at least 6 feet from the Governor, keeping her social distance. The camera angle may not show that on TV, but there is actually a mark on the floor she stands on to maintain that distance.
A lot of people haved asked about her facial expressions. Yes, they are an important part of sign language. The expressions show intensity and are part of the grammar and understanding.
I found it very interesting that the sign language we use in the United States is not universal. Different countries have different signs.
Stacey works through a company called Signing Pros.
A big THANKS to Paul Baker, Deb Attwood, and Linda Vander Leek for helping track down Stacey and her information.
And an even BIGGER THANKS to Stacey and all the other sign language interpreters for all the work they do. It is an incredible talent and I am always amazed at watching their craft.
If you want more information about American Sign Language, here is the website for the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
Locally, information can be found through Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services.