Deaf and HoH Services

Welding talent with employers

Jerald Grimes is a welder at Kobelco Construction Machinery in Moore, SC, where he helps to assemble the upper and lower frames of the 20 ton hydraulic excavators the company produces for worldwide distribution.

“I like welding, any kind of welding,” he says, excitedly. “I’ve been doing this for 31 years and love it.”

The components that Jerald welds fit together are big and require from three to six passes to weld.

“He’s one of my best welders,” says Jason Martel, Production Fabrication Supervisor at Kobelco.

The fabrication area where Jerald works currently produces one and a half frame assemblies per day and are ahead of their schedule.

“We ship one thing out of the plant and that’s a fully assembled excavator,” says Eric Holland, Human Resources Manager at Kobelco. Eventually, the company will produce eight different types of excavators ranging in size from 17 to 50 tons. “Right now, we’re producing one every two days. The next production goal is one a day. The capacity with one shift is 1,800 per year. That’s upwards of nine a day, or one an hour.”

Famed SC interpreter visits Whale Branch student praised by Obama

One has been called a “rock star.”

The other was recently praised by someone millions consider one.

On Thursday, certified deaf interpreter Jason Hurdich — who became a sensation around the country for the enthusiastic manner in which he signed for former Gov. Nikki Haley during her televised Hurricane Matthew news conferences — drove from Charleston to Seabrook on Thursday to visit Ambriance Lamar, a senior at Whale Branch Early College High School.

The 18-year-old student, who is not deaf but is unable to vocalize because of a medical condition, got a great deal of media attention after former president Barack Obama wrote her Jan. 9 in response to the letter Lamar had written him three months earlier.

Pilot program at Evaluation Center for Deaf clients

Fourteen Deaf and hard of hearing clients attended a two-week pilot program at VR’s Evaluation Center in West Columbia in January. The clients engaged in team-building exercises, practiced interviewing skills, learned about Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), participated in assessments and vocational evaluations.

“We started them off on the ropes course at Wil Lou Gray because we wanted to see what they were capable of,” says Shonna Magee, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Coordinator. The group quickly bonded as they worked together and encouraged each other while climbing the catwalk, balancing on platforms and zip lining.

Resource event for deaf and hard of hearing in Rock Hill

The Rock Hill Area Office hosted a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Resource event on June 20.

Gina Viruso Kitts, a current VR client who recently graduated from Winthrop University with a Master’s Degree in counseling, spoke about how to be a good advocate in an academic setting. Gina lost her hearing when she was three years old and her story resonated with other deaf and hard of hearing participants.