FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Nov. 20, 2010) — Family members often turn out in large numbers for graduation ceremonies of trainees, but that’s difficult for family members who can’t hear what’s happening.
According to Anne Marie Laredo, Fort Leonard Wood’s school liaison officer, a trainee recently graduated from basic training without his family being present because she couldn’t find a sign language interpreter to help.
That shouldn’t have happened, Laredo said, and she’s asking for help so it won’t happen again.
“I felt horrible about that,” Laredo said. “I had a unit that was having a graduation and a family day. I looked, used all of my contacts. I have one school counselor and I have a chaplain’s spouse who had in the past had been able to support, but unfortunately for this particular occasion, they were unable to, so we had a servicemember’s family who opted not to attend their son’s graduation because there was not going to be a sign language interpreter available.”
Volunteers need to know American Sign Language and be available for such events as graduation ceremonies and family days. That typically means a total of two to three hours interpreting while attending a graduation on Thursday or Friday, with a family day the previous day, Lardedo said.
A rehearsal for the graduation event is conducted to help the sign language interpreter know what to expect.
“If you know of anyone anywhere doing it, the units will provide them a script ahead of time so they know and can practice,” Laredo said. “They will go through a rehearsal with the volunteer so they are not going up there doing it cold turkey.”
Laredo said those interested in serving as volunteer interpreters can contact her as the Child and Youth Services office on Fort Leonard Wood.
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