Annual Deaf Culture Week Celebration and Award Ceremony Bookmark and Share

September 13, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 13, 2012 CONTACT: Nancy Melanson 623-7958 (voice); TTY Users call Maine Relay 711

AUGUSTA –In celebration of Deaf culture and the heritage of American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf literature, art and folklore, Gov. Paul R. LePage recently issued a proclamation designating the week of Sept. 23 through 29, 2012, as Deaf Culture Week.

The Commission for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened will hold its Twenty-first Annual Award Ceremony and Tea on Sept. 20, 2012, from 2–4 p.m. in the Hall of Flags at the State House. This year, eight awards in six categories will be presented to individuals who have contributed to Deaf Culture in Maine. They are as follows:

Clifton F. Rodgers Award ~ A Lifetime Achievement Award — Alice Crandall Johnson, Augusta

Ginny Hewes Award ~ Advocate for the Needs of the Deaf Community Award — Nancy A. Melanson, Augusta

Special Commendation Award — (2) Mike Cousins, Westbrook, and Lt. Janine Roberts of the Portland Police Department

Promoting ASL, Deaf Culture and Deaf People Award — (2) Laurel J. Kelly, Dixmont, and Paula E. Matlins, Bangor

Outstanding Citizenship Award — Alice Tuck, Portland

Citizenship Youth Award — Emmaleigh Hardy, Portland

The keynote speaker will be Sammy Hargis, last year's recipient of the Promoting ASL, Deaf Culture and Deaf People Award. He is also an instructor of American Sign Language and a retired teacher from the Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

The Division of the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened, part of the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) in the Department of Labor, works to bring about full access to employment, independence and community integration for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. The LePage Administration encourages employers to diversify their workforce by including people with disabilities, and BRS can facilitate that through vocational rehabilitation, training assistance and advice for employers.

For more information about hiring people with disabilities or identifying job training resources for people with disabilities, visit your local CareerCenter, call 1-888-457-8883 (TTY users call Maine Relay 711) or visit