When Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente gives his COVID-19 update, there are two women signing alongside him, Vicky Stockton and Gloria Broadbent.
"I had contacted the office and just mentioned that it would be great to have an interpreter for all of the presentations so deaf people know what's going on, so that there's this equality that happens," Stockton said. "This is an emergency situation, everybody should know what's happening."
On March 15, Stockton and Broadbent got a call from the county about needing an interpreter. From there on out, they are there for every single briefing.
"It's been an interesting experience," Broadbent said. "I remember talking with Vicky and saying how I wanted to help out and I wasn't sure how I wanted to help out."
Normally an interpreter is a paid position, but both women decided to volunteer their time as a way to help during the pandemic.
"This came up very, very quickly," Stockton said. "Gloria and I made a decision, it's an emergency and we decided this was kind of our part of helping the emergency situation."
Broadbent says it something she's enjoyed.
"I'm glad I had this opportunity," Broadbent said.
Both women work for the New York State School for the Deaf in Rome. Stockton teaches music, Latin, and ASL. Broadbent teaches math and English.
Stockton and Broadbent have different paths when it comes to being an interpreter. Broadbent says she has been signing since she was little because both of her parents are deaf, so she knows how important her role has been.
"My parents both graduated from the Rome School for the Deaf and I always wanted to work there," Broadbent said. "My siblings and I all learned how to sign, it was our first language."
Stockton says it's important that everyone has equal access to information.
"That’s the biggest thing, it's not about the interpreter, it's about the audience," Stockton. "That they have that equal access to information at the same time that everybody else is hearing that information.”
Stockton says roughly 1% of the population has some sort of hearing loss.