Archive for the ‘Past Articles’ Category

DEAF PEOPLE: The WTC and Pentagon Stories

September 11, 2007 13 comments

(9-11-07 Found some interesting stories *see below* at so they are important to our Deaf History. Almost everyone knows excatly where they were on Sept. 11, 2001. The tragic thing is that many people out there do not want to be reminded of that tragic and horrific day and it is appalling. May we never forget because if we do, then the next attacks will be ten-fold and often until they try and beat us into submission. We can’t afford to forget 9/11. When you forget, you repeat. Lest we forget, history repeats itself. – Fookem, Bug, and JFLMad)

These are stories and information about deaf survivors and the missing deaf persons that Deaftown received through email. If you have information on other deaf survivors or missing deaf persons, please send an email to

Updated: September 11, 2002

Letters received after September 11, 2001:

Sue Zupnik
(Survivor, WTC 1)

Hi everybody…..

I want to thank you all for being concerned about me and other people
who work at WTC….

I’m really emotionally drained and mentally exhausted ….. but most
important is that I’M ALIVE and am okay! Right now I’m at home sweet
home with my mother!!!

First of all, I know you are very anxious to hear how I got thru this
experience when it occurred…..

Got to work at my office at 7:15 am, excuse me, yeah that’s right
– early bird!!! heee… anyway, I was supposed to move my old office
to another office to be closer with my coworkers today — yet on the
same floor – 64th South of North Tower, or Building One where the antenna
was on top of that building…, so I was preparing…

At 8:30 am, I went downstairs to the 43rd floor to have bagels and
coffee… I was waiting for Carl Andreasen and Robert
to join me….

Around 8:45 am, I was sitting next to the East side windows, all of
a sudden, the whole building shook real bad, I jumped out of my seat
and ran away from the window. I was able to see the South side windows,
and oh my god, I saw falling heavy debris “raining” down, at that point,
I had my bagel and of course, I threw it down on the floor, and ran
toward the stairways. Carl saw me and grabbed my arm, saying calm down….and
I was so glad to see him and we both walked down all the way which took
about 45 minutes.

Finally got out of the building and walked across the block to Broadway,
and saw the fire on both buildings….. immediately, I told Carl to
go walk up north of WTC and we kept walking for another ten to twelve
blocks before we saw another explosion … Of course, we didn’t know
at that time that building two collapsed.

Got to a friend’s school for the deaf at J47 on 23rd Street to meet
my friend and stayed there for a couple of hours before, Carl and I
walked to 33rd street & Pier 11 to take the ferry to Hoboken.

Finally, I’m home safe and sound at 7 pm!

I was very concerned about Robert J but a friend paged me saying he
is safe, too…. thank god!

Thanks again …. and I really cherish you all my dear friends…..

Love you always,

Sue …. xox

Malcolm Husing
(Survivor, near WTC)

Hello. I am okay as not great cuz on tuesday i start at 7 am at Millenuim
Hilton on 55 church st cross street wtc and i heard something happen
my boss and i run to restaurt floor to window to see wtc and i saw what
happen by second palne to wtc 2.

My mind, oh damn and run to outside and run to broadway and keep keep
to William st look up so everything on street show and colthe abd also
i saw 4 or 5 people fell from window from wtc like burn as black over
body look like paper but it was as person i was shock and shake my boss
told me keep run to go home and i run to staten island ferry and bost
not even move till few min fanilly move and same time wtc collapse and
white dust as debirs and arrived to staten island safe i walk on bay
st to near hylan blvd from ferry cuz my firend who live there and they
drop me home thank god iam safe but i got some cough and lttle cut not
bad on left hand and near elbow let u know iam alright thank u very
much and i pray safe for me my name is malcolm husing i work millenium
hilton hotelfor almost ten year it was my second time 1993 it was bomb
and again 2001 plane to wtc.

Angela Kessler
(Survivor, WTC)

Dear Friends,

I want to share the news to everyone who are very concerning of what
happened to me. Yes, I’m blessed to be alive!!

I was very scared and shaky but stayed calm. We evacuated from our
building using downstairs ( No elevators runnings from 24th floors to
lobby, stayed on the lobby for a while then there were another explosion,
we had to get out of our building, ran and ran. Glass were shattered
all over with alot of pieces and dark clouded of smoke. I walked over
the Manhattan Bridge and saw Twin Tower collapsed.

I can’t find any words to tell you, its really unbelievable with my
own eyes!

I walked and walked on the Flatbush Ave with no cars on street allowed.
Impossbile for my husband, Mike to get me, I had to walk more further
to the Prospect Park area to meet him. Thank God we found each other
thru the pagers and took me home.

To be very thankful … I carried my pager to communicate with him
to find the whereabout of me to meet him. (Guess what He just bought
a pager for himself a couple of days ago… what a remarkable fate)

Angela Kessler

Nicky Pietrunti
(Deceased, WTC 1)
This is a picture of Nicky Pietrunti who is missing from # 1
World Trade Center Building from Cantor Fitzgerald on the 105th
floor; Please note that he is deaf.

If you see him please contact this e- mail address [
doesn’t have the email address] and/or please call his cousin,
Jillian D’Angelo at (561) 223-7268 or his brother John Pietrunti,
on his cell phone, at (212) 623-8853.

Thankyou so much!

Update! Someone said that Nicky Pietrunti is mentioned on TV’s
Dateline and he is “confirmed dead”.

Lois Lenderman
(Survivor, Pentagon)

Thank you for being concerned about me. Surely I thought I would die
or get injured in Pentagon yesterday.

My office is on fifth (top) floor in the side of Pentagon building
which faces the South Parking Lot where I park my car to work. It is
next to the side/wedge where hijacked jet crashed into. It is where
the Secretary of Department of Defense holds offices so it is obviously
that terrorists knew which side of building to crash a jet. It happened
while I chatted with my lady friend on TTY machine on my work desk.
I was told to evacuate immediately so I typed telling her I have to
go and hung up. I grabbed my purse and followed my office people toward
the stairway. I lipreaded my co-worker telling me,”The plane crashed
into other side of Pentagon and is exploding with bombs.” I didn’t feel
the vibration of the crash, but felt “bang” (not “boom”) twice from
the floor in my hall.

I could hear alarms shrieking. The stairway was full of people so
we turned away to follow other people into Concourse which has shops
and banks on second floor. Nearly all people I saw were not rushing
or running to get out of building. I could smell smoke a little there.
The doors were crowded so we followed a different crowd of people through
the first floor and finally got out of building. I feel that there are
not enough doors for all people to get out immediately. On South Parking
Lot I saw several huge black smokes spiraling from the side next to
my side of building. I drove my car out and got struck in bumper-to-bumper
traffic on a small road for two hours before I found other road to escape.
This is the most disaster happened to Pentagon. Pentagon is over 50
years old and is an tourist attraction as well as an enemy target. I
have worked there since March 1986 and never felt so scared before to
go in building to work tomorrow or when my office can open again.

The U.S. Intelligence points to Osama bin Laden and people who harbored
him for attacks yesterday. Laden has a sickening religion that he claimed
God told him to war on America. He doesn’t respect our right to have
a different religion or government. The religion should be just a personal
choice without harboring a violence toward peaceful people with a different
religion. I would like to see Laden himself join terrorists to work
and commit suicide. Guess he chickens out and is using his people to
carry out his mission.

James Proctor
(Survivor, Pentagon)

Diane Edge wrote: “…I know that James Proctor of LaPlata, MD
– Deaf Black guy/amputee was sitting at his desk
when the plane hit the Pentagon…James’s boss grabbed him and told
him to get out… what angers me is there was no strobe lights for his/others
protection– what IF James had been in the bathroom? His boss would
have assumed James was out and maybe he would not have been so lucky.
Also- at our MD Assoc of the Deaf conference this past weekend in Columbia,
MD we all learned that Wynd Communications has passedout countless pagers
to fire fighters.police to communicate with because phones lines were
so screwed up- score one for a Deaf Company!!”

Alberto and Deidre
(Survivors, WTC 2)

Alberto wrote: “At begining happens? My friend name Deidre and
I re wrok on 44 floor for food service, honestly it 845am it crash at
1WTC as my friend hearing did not hear by bomb or something nothing
then we did not know second on 2 WTC at 9am and I just feel move for
moment, I saw the out of window it look like piece stuff, paper and
smoke as I look up at 1 WTC big black hole My manger called us to go
stairdown we say go on? I think it bomb on 1WTC but my friend hearing
told me it plane I just confuse in mind My friend Diedre ran and toward
me, she asked wht’s happens? I told her look at window, she shock then
we are went to stairdown as slow it not rush but what’s more we dony
know either crash on our building I walked from 44 to 25 floor somehow
I got dizzy to very danger because of little air and I just be positive
go out then finally I got 1 floor now I look at out of door inside building
and many people run wild then I follow my friend hearing but I saw the
hearing people got freeze and go on? but it look like again earthquake
worst then we ran other side, it finally we are got out of building
I look at rock and etc on the floor The firefigher and policeman yelled
us go out and hurry then next the block and I was stop ,turn around
and look at my build got crash too I am scared my friend want us go
walk away from twin tower Deidre and I are walked to far because of
train closed and stuck we follow my friend hearing and met my two manager
then walk to 54st other company we are stayed at there for while Before
my friend hearing told me our building collapse I dont believe then
and we re in company caferia and I watched the tv it true, just shock
but we are survivor and safe as god bless to us and Prayer for friend
and family and visitor.”

Missing Deaf Congregation
(Missing, WTC)
Jenna Ianelli
(Deceased, WTC)

Cindee B. wrote:

“I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I know of a deaf congregation
not far from the WTC. My understanding is that there are 13 people from
the deaf congregation that were out doing from door to door as the Witnesses
do, and they haven’t been heard from since the 9-11 crash.

We haven’t presumed they dead yet. We are waiting as some might have
taken shelter in a near by school when the debris spread and may not
have called in yet to let the congregation know that they are alive,
possibly due to some trama.

Personally, I only know of one dead “sister”. She worked
at the WTC and died of suffication. She was 29 years old and worked
as a photographer, putting photos of people on teashirts for souveniers.
Her name was Jenna Ianelli. This is all I know of. I still waiting
to hear from my friends. Waiting, waiting, waiting.”

Nov-25-2001 Update! Someone named DJ wrote:
“Dear sir or madem, I was ex Jehovah’s Witness. My good friend
who is J.W., told me that they were safety. That Congreation was near
WTC. I noticed the ad. of Missing Deaf Congregation (Missing, WTC) [on
here]. My friend informed that they were not missing. They are fine.”

Kelly Gilmore, Maria Vega,
Brenda Sue Murphy, Sherri Wise, Maribel Aponte

(Missing?, WTC)

Dawn M. Fucile wrote: “I am truly sorry for all the emotions that
every deaf/hearing americans are going through. The biggest concern
is that I,(we) could not find any informations through-out the American
Red Cross, they don’t have a TDD line for all of deaf people across
the nations. Is there’s a TDD line for us to search for their friends,
or loved ones?”

“I grew up in White Plains, NY( NYSD). I am searching for Kelly
, Maria Vega, Brenda Sue Murphy, Sherri
I WANT TO KNOW IF U ARE OK AND UNINJURED. I am desprate to HUG you all
AGAIN. My Email pager is [removed for privacy; email for
contact]. Please pass around and inform them of my message. Thank You

Update! Mee Ling Eng-Naturale wrote: “Maribel Aponte was
married to Joe on Sunday, August 11, 2001 and she moved to Maryland
with him. I hope that she is alive and is in Maryland.”

Oct-06-2001 Update! James D. Caouette wrote
that Brenda Sue Murphy, Sherri Wise, and Maribel Aponte
all are fine!

Oct-06-2001 Update! Sherri Wise-Keesler
wrote: “It’s me Sherri Wise-Keesler, I am very alive and don’t
live in NYC… Sorry and don’t know why my name appear in missing lists…
Brenda Sue Murphy current live in Downsville, NY and marry to Gary Brundage
(hope last name right spell)..

Oct-06-2001 Update! Brenda Sue Murphy
wrote: “Let you know that I married and my last name change to
Brundage, I am ok and i am alive. I dont live in nyc. I live in upstate

Oct-06-2001 Update! Debbie (Ratner) Cruz wrote:
“I got the deaftown information that Maribel was my ex roomate
and she got married with Joe on August 12, 2001 so a few days later
they moved to MD and by the way Maribel is still alive, she does not
work at WTC…”

Oct-06-2001 Update! Adrianne Jennings wrote:
“Last Sat. (Sept. 29th) I went to Maryland Deaf Festival and saw
Maribel there with her hubby Joe. She was all smiling and chatting,
She is alive. God bless America!”

Oct-09-2001 Update! Ira Rothenberg (former
New Yorker) wrote: “I was told that Maria Vega works as
a computer technician or specialist at the Lexington School for the
Deaf and she’s fine.”

Oct-09-2001 Update! Brenda wrote: “I
read about deaftown com receive email to me , i really dont believe
that Maria Vega , not in wtc . some one make up story , all my
freinds said cant believe it . why maria vega on report? they said she
not work in wtc, she is alive. she work at centre st near city hall.
i just let u know . okay May God Bless America ..”

Henry DeJesus
(Missing, WTC)

Al Quillia wrote: “All I knew that Henry DeJesus working
in the mail room at the WTC. I have no idea if he may be missing down
there. My wife and I had been trying to call him, but his phone never
be picked up several times. We still wonder about his wife Gloria,
who is residing in Allentown, PA. Henry’s age is fifty plus. We hope
if he may be found.”

Oct-01-2001 Update! Cynthia L. Hemmings wrote:

Henry DeJesus is safe. I want
to be honestly to everyone who had been very concerning about him. I
finally met him at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church yesterday for the Bingo
events. He was there and survivor. He and I was chatted a long hour
about that we were ex- work at WTC. He was very lucky that he just transferred
to other company that he worked as of Mail Room.”

“Thank God he is alive….God Bless him
and other who were safe too. Yesterday, he would like to mention everyone
who did prayer for him and other too…He said that “Thank you to all
his friend, families and ex-employee who have been very concern and
he is still thinking of other as of the firefighters, police, rescuers,
missing people… for his prayer and God Bless America”.”

David Cleary and Teresa Chiu
(Survivors, Pentagon)
Edwin King
(Survivor, WTC)

Submitted by Diane Edge, from NVRC (Northern Virginia Resource Center
for Deaf and Hard of Hearing) special report written by Cheryl Heppner:

David Cleary, who is deaf, was working in a section that was
not hit, but he felt the impact of the crash. Teresa Chiu, who
is also deaf, was working about 280 yards from the point of impact and
was protected by a concrete wall. “Perhaps you and I are all the
same victims and all the same survivors,” she wrote in a letter
to her friends, thanking them for their prayers and support to cope
with the pain and emotion she experienced. Edwin King, who is
deaf, also escaped from the World Trade Center. He was frightened by
the chaos and the sight of bodies falling from the building.”

Deaf People on Plane
(related to the tragedy)

A group of about 27 deaf flew from Philadelphia on Tuesday morning
[September 11] about 8:00 on their way to the Minnesota Senior Citizen’s

Then the stewardess came and announced that they had to land at Detroit.


“National security.”

They imagined THEIR plane was being hijacked!

Then one of them got a message on his pager about what had happened
in New York.

They showed it to the stewardess and she was shocked! and took the
pager to show the pilot.

Interesting example of the deaf grapevine. In the end, they all got
a free bus trip from Detroit to Minneapolis. Nice bus, but it took 13

Maria Rennolds Wright
(Survivor, Pentagon)

To My Families, Friends, and CIDAA:

I have worked at the Pentagon in the Army Department for 26 years.
There are also few other deaf employees working for different agencies
on different floors. In my 26 years at Pentagon, I never experienced
such a horrible and scary ordeal in my entire life.

On September 11, 2001, I was at work. I took my usual break time at
9:15 in the morning, and I happened to watch the news about the horrible
terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, which was not captioned.
After I got back to work, at 9:40, I felt something very unusual like
“BOOM!”. I went to the other section where a panicked guy
yelled at me to get out quickly. I was stunned, but I went out into
the hallway and followed the stampede of people rushing up the narrow
stairway to the exit doors. I did not see any smoke, but I could smell
the smoke. We eventually all tried to swarm through the narrow doors
at the same time, and I thought that we were trapped. Luckily we managed
to squeeze through the doors. Everyone panicked as we ran toward the
Mall entrance. Everyone were shaking and crying. I was confused and
speechless. With my hearing aid, I heard someone shouting, and I saw
lots of guards yelling at us, telling us, “Go, go, go!” and
pointing at the door where we should evacuate immediately. Finally we
got outside, and I was shocked to see such black and heavy smoke, then
flames shooting out of the Pentagon roof between corridors 4 and 5 on
Heliport entrance section next to the Mall entrance section where I
exited. The smell was so strong.

I had never seen so many emergency crews swarming around with medical
bags and stretchers, along with endless numbers of ambulances, firetrucks,
police cars, and even helicopters. Numerous of Air Forces jets were
circling in the clear, deep-blue sky. I asked some people to tell me
what had happened, and no one bothered to answer my questions. I could
not find anyone from my department. There are 30,000 employees working
at the Pentagon, and they were scattered in many different directions.
Lots of people were running around, and I was dumbfounded. The policemen
kept yelling at us with megaphones, telling us to run farther and farther.
I had to walk for several minutes with some other employees that I barely
knew. Finally I saw a guy, who could sign a little, and he told me that
a plane hijacked from Dulles International Airport had attacked the
Pentagon. For 4 hours, I looked for a ride home, and finally a kind
stranger gave me a ride. The traffic was so bad that we only moved about
4 miles in one and a half hours. I finally got home at about 6:00 PM.
It was so good to be at my home, “Home Sweet Home”.

My roommate works in the other government agency in Bethesda heard
about the attack at the Pentagon and later went home. She tried to page
me several times. Unfortunately, I left my pager in my purse since my
pager doesn’t work inside the Pentagon. While I was shook up and wandering
around, I forgot all about my pager.

I am very thankful and truly blessed that I escaped safely and unhurt.
My agency is in between corridors 7 and 8, three corridors away from
the attack area in corridors 4 and 5.

During this terrible ordeal, I felt like the world had turned upside
down. Because of my deafness, I didn’t have the foggiest idea of what
was going on, and no one had time to explain what had happened. I am
lucky that I am able to lip read some people.

Now every time I take my Pentagon ID badge off and lay it on the table,
I remind myself that I have been serving my country proudly for 30 years.
From the bottom of my heart, I said “GOD BLESS AMERICA”

Maria Rennolds Wright
September 15, 2001

Jerlume Lampkin
(Missing?, Pentagon)

Someone (name withdrawn) wrote: “I was told by a deaf friend that
there is a Deaf black lady, who works at Pentagon. My friend is not
sure if she remains working there or not… Her name is Jerlume Lampkin
(think that her married name is White) She graduated from Alabama School
for the Deaf in late ’70’s… She graudated from Gallaudet Univ. She
hadn’t keep in touch with any Deaf Alabamians since then…. We have
no idea if she’s okay or not… Will appreciate to know what happened
to her… Thanks.”

Update! Freda Solomon (New Orleans, LA) wrote: “I just called Jurleme
in few min ago after I read Deaftown News re WTC and Pentagon
email… She is alive and okay. She does not work for Pentagon.. She
works for USDA… Please tell or email some people who concern about
her for me…. Thank you for thinking about her.”

Tom and Donna
(Survivors, Pentagon)

Ken Osborne wrote that Tom and Donna, a married couple
who worked at the Pentagon, both are fine.

Robert Jacaruso
(Survivor, WTC 1)

Hi. Its me Robert Jacaruso. I am one of deaf WTC Surivor. I worked
on 74 floor north at One World Trade Center where the first attack hit
the building. I was supposed go down by the elevator to meet Susan
and Carl Andreason at 8 45 AM on 43th floor (cafeteria).
But somehow I felt someone hold me to sit down on my chair at cubic
office same time the airplane hit our building (between 85 to 95 floors
but not sure which floor to hit). The floor was swiped up and down so
hard like big bang (where the fuel blew up by the top of our floor)
then the building moved so fast. I stood and see other co workers. We
ran to the stairway to go down from 74th floor to the lobby.I saw some
burn victims who worked above our floors to walked downstair. They had
skin peeled real horrible to see it. I and other my co workers walked
down together for abt 35 to 40 min (i dont remember) . On 44th floor
the door opened where many firemen went there . I realized that all
elevators there were on fire or damage no wonder why someone tried hold
me to stay in my cubic office. then walked down to 20th floor . Other
firemen came to there and the door open where water flow down. My shoe
got wet I had no choice. Finally I was at mezzaince area where see forward
WTC Plaza where the global fountain there. It was so so horrible to
see there many burned bodies and cut off some human bodies etc. I never
see in my life by in real world. We went down to the lobby and went
thru the mall. The water sprinle to wet us but we had no choice . And
went outside of the mall. We shock to see both buildings were burned
out. We walked on West Boardway to the north. We tried to call our relatives
but the line was so busy. By abt 45 min later i saw some people turn
their head to look back while i see them . I turned back i realized
i saw the Two World Trade Center building was collapsing and gave out
huge dark gray smoke. I felt so upset and disgust. Then we finally got
through to the phone to inform our relatives that we were surivors.
I walked abt 4 hours back to home in Queens cuz no subways service in
Manhattan. I would like say grateful to God but i felt bad for others
who cant make it their life.

David Culhane
(Missing?, Pentagon)

Wendalyn (Wendi) Lindsey wrote: “I would like to know if David
is survivor. He works for Pentagon. He is a friend of mine.
Please let me know anyone knows David Culhane is alive. I am very curious
to know if he is ok. If you happen to know him, could you pls have him
send me an e-mail on [email removed for privacy] Thanks a lot!”

Oct-09-2001 Update! Tom wrote: “Yes as
all i know he is living in florida peace ! he quitted at pentagon a
year ago.”

Oct-11-2001 Update! Someone (name withdrawn)
wrote: “Dave Culhane no longer worked at Pentagon. He left
Pentagon in August 2001.”

Atheel Mary
(Missing?, WTC)

Carlos wrote: “I wonder that Alteen Mary is living or dead
? He worked at WTC since 1993 ? Let me know that. Thanks Carlos”

Oct-09-2001 Update! Sue Zupnik, a survivor,
wrote: “I think the name may be mispelled as I do know another
guy’s name – Atheel Mary who used to work in lower Manhattan,
not at the WTC. He is now living in MD/VA/DC area and works in
VA…. “

Oct-09-2001 Update! J Crouch wrote: “Are
you not sure that the name is correct! Because I know a guy named Atheel
who graduated from RIT in accounting. Are we talking about
same person?”

Oct-14-2001 Update! Julie Bezjak, a MDF committee
member, wrote: “Hi, I met Atheel Mary at the Maryland Deaf
Festival on the last weekend of September. He’s very much alive. He
lives in DC area.”

Oct-14-2001 Update! Atheel Mary wrote:
“I believe Carlos misspelled my name. I never worked at the WTC.
I used to work in the federal building near the City Hall for 7 years.
I usually went to WTC areas for eating with friends or shopping. …”

Alex Scott
(Missing?, Pentagon)

Wayne Sadler wrote: “Hi there ! I wonder if Alex Scott
is alive or deceased. He works for US Army dept. in Pentagon. He and
I went to the private school for the deaf in Tampa, Florida and we went
to Jesuit H.S. in the same town and he went to University of Mississippi.
I heard he worked for US Army Dept. in Pentagon as an accountant. Is
he alive or dead ?”

Oct-11-2001 Update! Alex Scott wrote:
“Hi whoever is concerned, I have never worked at the Pentagon.
I worked for Finance and Accounts Office, US Army for about 3 years
in another building in Washington, D.C. before I worked for FDA for
many years and I am now working for NIH in Maryland. I want to thank
you for being concerned and I hope that you all are doing as well as

Deaf & Disaster-related

(related to the tragedy)

Sam Serna wrote: “…the new TTY line that has been especially
established to assist the Deaf file Social Security claims. The TTY/TTD
number for your disaster-related claims is 1-866-545-7316. The government’s
argument for not setting up access to the deaf and the hearing impaired
is that there is not a need. But the reality is that there is limited
public knowledge of such tty numbers. So I was just trying to help as
a concerned citizen.” (Thanks, Sam!)

Eric Spanbauer
(Missing?, Pentagon)

“TurtleLady” wrote: “I would like to know if Eric
is alive or not. He works in Pentagon. Please let me
know cuz he and I used to go to Gallaudet University way back in 80’s.
Thank you!”

Oct-19-2001 Update! There were a few people
who wrote that Eric Spanbauer is fine. Then Eric himself sent
an email! He wrote:

Dear Deaftown editor:

As of today Monday, 15 October 2001, I just
learned from a friend that my name was posted (here), which indicated
that I was one of the missing deaf people at the Pentagon. I am happy
to say the basic fact is that I am safe and fine. There are three points
I would like to present to this website:

1) Spelling correction: My last name is spelled
as SPANBAUER, not “Spaunbauer” as it was dictated at the website. Smile,
that happens sometime when my esteemed friends misspell my last name.
Just wanted to make sure everyone understands the right spelling as
a matter of record.

2) I understand there was a female friend
named “TurtleLady” whom she said that she knew me at Gallaudet University
back in the 1980’s. However, I am so sorry that I do not recall her
real name associated with that nickname because time has flew since
I graduated from Gallaudet ten years ago. Dear “TurtleLady,” thank you
for thinking of me. There were several other friends who also thought
I was at the Pentagon at the time of the crash and emailed me these
similar concerns. Feel free to contact me at From
what I understand from all personal sources, all Deaf and HH individuals
were safe from the impact of the crash.

3) Here is my account before and on the 11th
of September 2001: I started to work at the Pentagon for the first time
in June 1991, and later transferred to Crystal City in April 1994, two
metro stops away from the Pentagon. However, my office was under the
Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Manpower and Reserve
Affairs, headquartered at the Pentagon. I frequently went to the Pentagon
on countless Army business errands until the end of December 2000. In
January 2001, I was transferred to the US Army Materiel Command to accept
a new job promotion to work as a disability program manager in Alexandria,

The terrorist crash at the Pentagon was exactly
where I first began my Army career in 1991 at the training office on
the E ring, across from the Hall. Later I made more friends who helped
to process my travel orders and vouchers a few doors down the hall.
Their windows could see the heliport and the rest of the landscape.
I have lost about three Army friends, while some others were able to
escape the crash or the flames. Unbelievably…I was at this GROUND
ZERO six weeks before the crash while on Army business at the Pentagon
the other day. On the day of the crash, I went to a Senator’s office
on Capitol Hill at the US Congress buildings in Washington, DC to deliver
some briefing papers from a Deaf and Hard of Hearing In Government organization.
While waiting to meet an aide, I saw the CNN television showing the
first burning World Trade Center, then saw the 2nd plane hit the second
tower. A couple of minutes later, CNN said the Pentagon was on fire…soon
then it was confirmed that a plane had hit it. Then word quickly came
from security through the building halls with an immediate order to
evacuate all buildings because another plane was planning to crash at
the US Congress building! I only had met the aide for a few minutes,
and had to immediately cancel the meeting and get out of the buildings.
I will never forget when I went out of the building, I saw terror on
people’s faces out on the streets. I quickly took the subway at 10:00
am, but it took me all day to get through the crushing traffic jam to
get home to be with my family again at 5:30 pm. Later, it turned out
the plane, which had planned to crash at the US Congress buildings,
had crashed in Pennsylvania because some passengers fought back the
hijackers. I consider them my heroes. Well, I think many of us take
our freedom and liberty for granted because we have never experienced
an attack on American soil since the old days of the Civil War. It is
now called a “Gray War” because this war can not be easily fought traditionally
at the battlefield with tanks, airplanes, artillery, etc. Traditional
battlefields usually had two opposing sides where the enemy could be
known and fought against. Today’s enemy could be anywhere, anyplace
or anytime, but it will require at some great cost of human lives and
resources the world never has known since the 20th century. I am optimistic
that we will overcome it with our proven faith and good works to God,
family, country and fellow Americans.


Eric F. Spanbauer

Gregory McDonald
(related to the tragedy) received a very nice email from Gregory McDonald of
Australia who gave permission to post it here:


I am shocked to see what happen in New York and Washington… Thank
God for send brave persons who fought with the terrorists to crash to
the ground instead crash into White House.

Of course I am praying for my own country Australia that had been confirm
3 deaths. but it could be more than that. My heart goes to Australia,
America and the rest of the world.

I am very sorry to hear just one deaf died at WTC as I am glad not
many deaffies died there. My pray for Nick Pietrunti that he
died for nothing. I thought I felt that all round the deaf world should
have to protest against the terrorists and Osama Bin Laden that deaf
people never went to the war. So let Osama read it or being heard to
let all the terrorists give up.

My heart… to America people where thousand of people died there include
airlines crashes that include one Australia died into WTC1 plus other
countries as well.

Let God pick up all the terrorists & Osama Bin Laden and put them in
his washing machine to clean them up.

May God trust America and the world.

My faith to Australia, my country! but luv to America and luv to marry
all America.

God bless u all America and the rest of the world

Luv Gregory McDonald

Bernice Good
(Survivor, WTC)


Ian and Maria Gray
(related to the tragedy)

A lovely couple from England sent a very touching email!
They said:


We are a british deaf couple living in Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK –
and when I was at work (around 2.30pm british time) and there was an
email being circulated at work informing us that a plane hit the first
WTC tower.

Not realising that it would be the first in a series of attacks, I
sent an email back saying please don’t send emails like that as some
of us had relatives and friends out there in US on holiday or live there
and I was starting to panic – feeling out of control not being able
to know what is happening – Now to this day, the email which I had sent
has haunted me as I wish I had never sent it.

Anyway I sent an SMS message to my husband to tell him what happened
as he had been at the WTC as a child and he sent one back saying his
workmates heard on the radio that another two aeroplanes had attacked
the second WTC and the Pentagon.

I relayed the message to my co-workers via email and that was the beginning
of a very subdued afternoon not knowing what was happening, and I ended
up going home early at 4.30pm to watch the news as my husband and I
were concerned for two reasons.

We were still unsure if our parents were fine until about 9pm in the
evening when we got a call from my sister in law saying they were ok.

Sadly we had heard horrific experiences, one from my husband’s workmate’s
wife’s close friend’s sister’s son who was actually working in the WTC
on a visit and the son’s friend was a manager in the WTC.

The manager suggested to the ‘son’ why not he go downstairs and go
outside to take photos of the WTC as tourists do while the manager did
some things – so he decided it was a good idea and went – and he saw
the first plane hit the tower outside and sadly saw everything – Unfortunately
the manager never survived the attack but somehow he felt it was strange
the manager told him to go out and enjoy the view when unbeknown to
them the attacks were about to happen.

My friend’s parents, who were in NYC on holiday and were due to return
home the following day. It was her Dad’s birthday and they saw everything
from the first plane attack to escaping the debris and had to walk the
long way back to their hotel.

As for my parents in law – my father in law is a vicar (retired now)
and before that he was an aeroplane pilot – which entitles him and his
wife to get free tickets each year for travel – as they are the retired
airways staff payroll – Therefore they often have to take flights when
they are free (on standby) at the last minute as the paying customers
come first come served. Anyway while being stranded during the days
after the attacks (understandably they wanted to be back home with us
safe and sound) they experienced wonderful hospitality in California
and people were readily happy to help them out or even put them up if
they had run out of money for motel etc.

They managed to get home some 10 days later and now my father in law
is uneasy about flying despite being a pilot for 16 to 17 years and
has wondered how the evil men managed to fly into the towers – which
is pretty easy he says – not very nice for someone so experienced to
try and analyse the flight path in his own mind.

We really do truly sympathise with you, and have been with you throughout
the awful aftermath afterwards – All the words come upon our lips ‘WHY,
WHATEVER FOR, and HOW DARE THEY’ But out of the disaster, a lot of good
has come, via people being so patriotic, so helpful, so supportive,
and resilient.

May you have strength in returning back to normal in the long term.
And we are constantly thinking of our American friends.

Ian and Maria Gray

NBC Dateline
(related to the tragedy)

NBC’s Dateline has aired the interview with
three deaf survivors [Carl Andreasen, Robert Jacaruso, and Sue Zupnik]
on November 20th, 2001! If you missed it, you can “see” it
again by reading a transcript of it. Click here
to see it.

Steve Sandy
(related to the tragedy)

A deaf man, Steve Sandy, wrote to with a story of
how he felt during September 11th. This is his story.


Would like to convey my experiences from Columbus, Ohio. As a 17 years
Federal Government worker, located at Defense Finance and Accounting
Service, Columbus, Ohio.

The day I arrived to work was a typical day. Arriving to work at 0845
or a bit later, my deaf associate informs me that a plane hit the building
and I find it hard to believe. So I turned to my hearing lead which
she has a portable radio which is permitted at work.

The instant I click the web page as any as I can, several of them
I was unable to get through, I got one at but it was slow
to open, it mentioned plane hitting the building.

So I took the elevator to the first floor out what I saw was many
people looking at the TV, in one class room there is a extra large screen
that broadcast the news about WTC, burning building is what I first
saw, the second plane already hit the second one, oh by the way it was
not captioned. Quite a few other deaf came and witness what they see.
Everyone started mentioning that they have friends working in WTC and
Pentagon. I knew a fellow who works there. My mom worked there back
in the early 1960’s, and interesting enough when President John F. Kennedy
was assassinated, she was ordered to keep on working and no one went
home when President Kennedy died.

I tried to call my wife, but the line wasn’t working or functioning.
I used my email, no way jose, so I used my pager it wasn’t even working
at all. But somehow my email began to work and I was able to send a
message to her informing the situation. She was also confused as well
but she was aware of the situation of the planes hitting buildings and
the land (in Pennsylvania)

There was mentioning captioning TV in one of the other floor, so up
I went. (7 story building with 3 pods) Arriving to the assigned room,
there was no captioning, miscommunication among the interpreter which
they were informed and not realized there was no caption. So someone
mentioned another room has captioned TV, so we went over there to see,
sure enough the TV was captioned now I can be abreast of the news.

Everyone of the deaf associate started talking about their friends
who may have been killed or injured either at WTC and Pentagon. I tried
not to think of that. Quite someone them has been getting misinformed
news of what cause more of the problems at the WTC, but I disregard
that since what they heard and will find out they were incorrectly informed.

Then our interpreter informed me that everyone was to go home as the
Director informed her through connection perhaps by cellular or something
via the hearing associate. So many of the deaf associate started going
home in a haste, I stayed where I was since the traffic will be jammed
so played smart and wait a bit. Then our interpreter mentioned that
she found out that we were; supposed to go home, drat, many already
left and there was no way to get them back, then again among the superior
associate, they said yes. Then a flash announcement with many of the
deaf associate already left, stating that floor 1 to 3 to leave at 11
and floor 4 to 7 to leave at 1115, but too late with the mass confusion
everyone is leaving regardless what time they leave.

With the building almost completely empty, one of the hearing associate
went ahead and turn off the TV, I didn’t say anything since she asked
if it was ok so that many were leaving.

So once the TV was turn off I left the room and went back to my desk,
sorting my files and wait till the traffic cools down, my supervisor
came to me and asked me to go home, I wanted to stay and finish, but
she stated that if one is here she can’t go home since the entire section
of our area is gone except my supervisor and me.

Oh well, so I closed up and walked to my car, the lot was void of cars.
But the line of cars is slowing leaving the installation. I was informed
before I left the room that is we call the special assigned number to
see if we should report to work the next day or not. Sadly it wasn’t
a TTY number at all. I arrived home sometimes after 12 and hug my wife
informing her that I am safe, she wasn’t worried but at least I wanted
to inform her that I am safe as we were expecting a baby in 2 months
for the first time I would become a daddy after 8 years of trying.

It may be nothing of any terrorist that would even go that far to
Columbus, Ohio, but according to the Sunday newspaper, The Columbus
Dispatch, September 16th, page A2, “Several area sites potential targets”,
number 9 Defense Supply Center, 500 acre complex. So, I can express
my understanding and feeling for any Federal Government workers at the
Pentagon and any employees working at WTC is the same thing. But my
highest respect and honors goes to the people who have died in the Pentagon.
The firemen of the New York City, you have my respect. Anytime I drive
pass the fire department, I either honk my horn or wave at them which
I have been doing after the attack of the WTC and Pentagon.

This is for you.

Steve Sandy

Anthrax Scare
(related to the terrorism)

An email was sent by a Gallaudet provost to students and staff about
rumors of anthrax scare. The letter says that the rumors are false. was forwarded this letter by Steve Sandy and wanted to
share it with all of you:

From: Jane Fernandes []
Sent: Thursday, November 01, 2001 11:26 AM
To: Jane Fernandes
Subject: Rumor Control


There is a rumor circulating on the Internet related to Gallaudet.
This “anthrax scare” rumor is false. No one directly or indirectly associated
with Gallaudet is being treated for any form of anthrax. On the contrary,
the five Gallaudet employees who operate our Post Office were given
a prophylactic course of antibiotics solely as a preventive measure.
They are all fine, our interpreters are fine and our mail service is
back to normal. We are proceeding with our business of teaching and
learning as always.

During this extremely difficult time for our nation, obtaining knowledge
and facts about the situation are ways to remain in control of ourselves.
Spreading rumors only serves to heighten anxiety needlessly. If you
receive questionable information, please do not forward it to others
and please do not repeat it. Stop it right in its tracks. Check it out
with me. I will respond as quickly as possible.

Related to the email rumor in question, many of you did just that.
I am extremely grateful to you for doing so and I urge you to provide
the facts to all people who have received it. As I mentioned at the
noon presentation in the Atrium yesterday, if you hear questionable
information about Gallaudet University via email or in any other form,
please feel free contact me at any time at JKFonline@Gallaudet.Edu

Thank you for your help and cooperation.

Jane K. Fernandes

Leon Lebor
(deceased, WTC)

An article about a deceased deaf man was sent to by
“BabyBear”, KSRothchild, and WordOfHand (thanks!). This article
originally appeared on The Jerusalem Post website and also was posted
in the deaf newsgroup on Yahoo!.

From the newsroom of The Jerusalem Post, Jerusalem, Israel, Tuesday,
November 6, 2001….
“Twin Towers victim to be buried in Jerusalem today”
By Greer Fay Cashman
JERUSALEM (November 6) – In one of the tragic ironies of the Twin Towers
disaster, the family of Leon Lebor, 51, sat shiva for
him three weeks before his funeral. The decision to observe the mourning
period came after rabbinical experts reached the conclusion there would
be no more survivors. The family had given up hope that Lebor’s body
would be found. On Sunday, however, Lebor’s brother, David, a Philadelphia
lawyer, was notified by police that they had recovered the body and
that there were fingerprint and DNA confirmations of his identity. Lebor’s
parents, Philip and Bessie Lebor, live in Jerusalem, as does his sister,
Rina Kaufman. Lebor will be buried in Jerusalem today [Nov. 6] at Har
Hamenuhot Cemetery, following a 9:30 a.m. service at the Shamgar Funeral
Parlor. The family will not sit Shiva again. Leon Lebor was born in
London, where he attended the Jewish Deaf School. He trained as a furrier
and worked in his profession in England before moving to the United
States in 1970. His parents settled in Israel in 1971, and Lebor followed
them in 1980. By that time he had changed professions, and had become
a florist. He worked for a time as a flower arranger at the King David
Hotel, but he couldn’t cope with the language problems. Sign language
in Hebrew is not the same as in English. He returned to the US, and
worked for a while in a hotel at the World Trade Center. Then he switched
professions again and went to work for a major maintenance company.
At the time of his death, he was working for the maintenance company
at the World Trade Center. His body is the third of those recovered
to have been brought back to Israel for burial. For his family, it is
the closing of a circle.”The pain is still there, and it will be there
for a long time” his father said yesterday, “but we have the consolation
that we were able to bring him to Israel and that we have something
of him instead of a pile of ashes.”
Copyright © 1995-2001 The Jerusalem Post

Richard MacLean
(related to the tragedy)

Richard MacLean, a Canadian, wrote about his experiences
on the day of September 11th:

Hello All,

I have read all your heartbreaking stories and thoughts about the
tragedy in New York City, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. I hope you
all will listen to mine:

September 11, 2001, I left my home to go to work in downtown Toronto
for the Royal Bank Plaza (in the financial district), having know idea
what was taking place in the United States everything seemed normal
until I arrived at work. I seen a big crowd around the front door thinking
the stock market crashed. I looked at the stock board and seen that
Don Jones (NYSE) dropped to 0 and our TSE dropped to -200 points at
10’o clock in the morning which closed soon after the attack. I turned
to look at the television and couldn’t believe my eyes throwing me into
an instant shock worrying about my friends and other people that was
involved in the World Trade Center. As my eyes started to water I seen
people sobbing and going home, I went upstairs in shock and asked my
assistant boss if she knew what happened in New York City and Washington
D.C. and she replied yes so we borrowed the television from the service

We watched while we worked but there wasn’t much work because of the
tragedy. Later we found out nobody had been killed from the New York
branch of Royal Bank located at the Liberty Plaza. I was compelled by
the effort that Royal Bank made to help the people of New York giving
1 million dollars US immediately after they had found out.

I was very proud of the efforts made by the NYPD and NYFD worked like
hero’s to help the deaf and hearing people escape the disaster. I was
very upset about all the people killed the some deaf people got killed.
I heard around 30 Canadians got killed in the World Trade Center, also
I seen and was happy to see that some of our firemen drove over to help
the NYFD. I know Robert Jacaruso since I met him in Toronto in early
1990’s and happy to find out he is okay thanks to if you
read this e-mail me. [Robert Jacaruso, please email to
to get Richard MacLean’s email address]

My heart goes out to everybody from New York, Washington D.C. and
Pennsylvania or who was related to the tragedy. I hope the catch and
torture Osama Bin Laden and his army of terrorists. God care and look
after the victims and the victim’s families.

God Bless America. The United States who’s strong and free country.

Your friend: Rick MacLean

“En Otras Palabras”
TV Show

(related to the tragedy)

TVE Internacional’s “En Otras Palabras”
(spanish for “In Other Words”) is a spanish TV show that has
a segment for the deaf viewers. It will show an interview with Alberto
Maldonado on Saturday, December 8th at 7:30am EST. Only Direct TV or
Dish TV subscribers will be able to see it.

Letters received around September 11, 2002:

Ian and Maria Gray
(they wrote a letter last year
shortly after 9/11/01)

Hello to all of you,

We have been thinking of you on this very sad day today, and cannot
imagine what each of you must be going through.

I hope that the past year has helped a little to help you pick up
pieces to start re-living again, whilst keeping the dead in your memories
and hearts.

Our country, United Kingdom, have had lots of news and documentaries
for the past 2 weeks, about the 9/11 and currently this minute, we have
a news programme specially about 9/11 and war on terrorism.

Television has not been alone, in commemorating this day, as shops
and offices, have been giving 2 minutes silence at 1.46pm (8.46am your
local time) and our papers have been remembering those who lost their
lives. There was a church service at St Paul’s Cathedral in London attended
by the diginarites, royal family and those of who lost their relatives
which was very moving.

We have not forgotten you at all and do truly hope that you are able
to get on with your lives, and have happy memories of special moments
you shared with the friends/parent or child to treasure forever – A
thought struck me yesterday as we had beautiful weather and I realised,
we never took the time this summer to enjoy this weather and now it
is fast becoming autumn soon – so we must do truly learn to treasure
the life and appreciate what we have.

Always remembering you all. Do take care of yourselves and our thoughts
are with you today.

Our love
Maria and Ian Gray
Portsmouth, Hampshire, England

Jon L. Arntzen
(Pentagon Survivor)

(This was sent in months ago, but the email got lost and was found
again recently. apologizes!)

Wow this is the first time I see this [this page]…guess the little
bird got lost before sharing the info about this link. Oh well heres
my story…

I was employed in the U.S. Air Force Media Services at the Pentagon
since September 11th 1991… little did I know the nation would be under
attack 10 years later. Especially when the terrorists caught me with
my pants down because I was in the restroom at the moment of impact….
approx. 200 yards away. Nope I didnt feel a thing which many people
find it hard to believe. When I first came out of the bathroom I was
surprised to see a mass of people flying for the stairway nearby…
my first thoughts were maybe a crazy madman with a gun was shooting
at people nearby. “Heck I aint going back to my office!”, I said to
myself, “Im getting the hell out of here too!” so I joined the others
for stairway too. Upon exiting the building I was in awe to see how
many people scattered in all directions in the parking lot like squarming
ants. I looked up and there were thick black clouds hovering above.
I found some of my co-workers and one of them is also deaf, Lois
(she also wrote her story here too), she told me that
the WTC in NYC were attacked by planes. And now this at the Pentagon
too. I saw alot of people talking into their cell phones to let their
loved ones know they re ok. So many Firetrucks, ambulances, police cars,
and FBI cars etc came from all over like crazy… trying to get thru
all stunned, shocked people in the lot. Mind you…. 23,000 people work
in the Pentagon so it took like half hour for everyone to get out of
the building. I can still remember seeing people pouring out of the
building. A fighter jet flew over and I recognized it instantly out
of the corner of my eye, it was a F-16 ‘falcon’ jet and it all of a
sudden banked a sharp left turn towards Ronald Reagan National airport
just across I-395 from the Pentagon.

I couldnt get my car out of the lot til about 530-6pm and drove thru
DC to get to Md (I lived 38 miles away, just few miles south of Baltimore)
and it was like a ghost town in DC, everyone were long gone home and
the only cars I saw were the police and miltitary. Upon I-95 northbound
I discovered many overpass bridges have America flags and “God Bless
USA” signs hung up…that was where it begin to hit me like a rock.
I was amazed at how united we all are for our country. I weeped some
of the way home.

This action prompted my waaay early retirement on disability cuz I
fell to a life-threatening massive stroke a week after the attacks that
left me with only 10% chance to live. Ive lost the ability to breath,
speak, eat, and move. I was totally paralyzed from neck down the first
two weeks (spent 16 weeks in the hospital…lost total of 43 pounds).
Of all the doctors involved, the chance to make a comeback was very
slim, one doctor thought I would just lay in a bed in a nursing home
til I ‘expire’. I fought long and hard to prove them wrong…right now
Im walking again very little with the help of a walker, spending most
of the time in wheelchair. My speech is impaired at this moment, with
a hole in neck where a tracheotomy used to be first 26 weeks. Im eating
like a pig again…And my right arm/hand probably wont recover 100%
as Im typing all of this with one hand. This is something I’ll have
to deal with for the rest of my life. Ive faced the death door THREE
TIMES (heart attack in July 2000) but God decided it wasnt my time to
depart this green earth. Im now living in Florida with my folks until
I get on my feet again. For those who want to see my homepage, heres
the link: United We

Im thankful for everyone’s prayers and supports…Thank You. God Bless
You All!


Deaf homeless man pleads guilty to church fire

August 2, 2007 Comments off

25-year-old entered building to make himself dinner

By Liesel Nowak  / | 978-7274

December 20, 2006

A deaf homeless man who broke into a Charlottesville church to cook himself dinner has pleaded guilty to accidentally torching the church.

City prosecutors say Jason Scott Santos did not intend to burn the Charlottesville Church of Christ on May 4 when he broke in to find food. Now, the 25-year-old faces up to 20 years in prison for burning the building.

After an unsuccessful attempt at having the charge against him dismissed, Santos decided to plead guilty in Charlottesville Circuit Court.

Santos’ lawyer, Mike Hallahan, had said his client “broke and entered with the intent to eat” and that the indictment against him – breaking and entering with the intent to commit burglary – should be dismissed.

Judge Edward L. Hogshire ruled the indictment should stand.

Santos agreed to plead guilty to the breaking and entering as well as petty larceny and the negligent burning of the church.

“We don’t believe that he had the intention to burn anything down,” said Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Claude Worrell.

According to the prosecutor, Santos broke through one of the windows of the church at 990 5th St. because he hadn’t eaten in a couple of days and was looking for food.

Santos went into the refrigerator then turned on the stove to cook hamburgers, Worrell said. He placed a dishtowel near the stove then left the kitchen to find a television.

Upstairs in the church’s audio-visual room, Worrell said, Santos found only a television monitor and made his way back to the kitchen where the fire had already started.

Santos left the church, Worrell said, went across the street and watched the fire for a while before going to the University of Virginia Medical Center to be treated for a cut on his arm, sustained when he broke into the church.

Police tracked Santos down at the hospital, where they questioned him. They learned that he had traveled to Charlottesville from Roanoke and that he was using crack, Worrell said.

The church sustained $1.5 million in damages, $1.2 million of which will be covered by insurance.

The congregation has been worshipping in its former church on Commerce Street NW while the damaged church is being rebuilt.

According to Bishop Rufus Hayes, construction could be completed by mid-April.

“It’s coming along, it’s coming back,” he said.

As for Santos, Hayes said the case is in the hands of prosecutors, but he doesn’t think a long penitentiary sentence would help him.

“I feel sorry for the young man. As a clergyman, my business is to try to convert,” Hayes said.

Hogshire denied Santos’ new request for bond. He is being held at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.

He is scheduled for sentencing in March.!news

Deaf cornerback inspires OSU

July 30, 2007 1 comment

By Tully Corcoran

The Capital-Journal

Published Thursday, July 26, 2007

Martel Van Zant


Coach — Mike Gundy, third season (11-13 overall)

Returning starters — 15 (offense 8;

defense 7).

2006 record: 7-6.

Quick kick: Oklahoma State boasts one of the Big 12’s most explosive offenses. OSU averaged 35 points per game last season and was one of two teams in the country to average 200 rushing yards and 200 passing yards per game.


September — 1 At Georgia; Florida Atlantic; 14 at Troy; 22 Texas Tech; 29 Sam Houston State.

October — 6 at Texas A&M; 13 at Nebraska; 20 Kansas State.

November — 3 Texas; 10 Kansas; 17 at Baylor; 24 at Oklahoma.

SAN ANTONIO — Oklahoma State cornerback Martel Van Zant thinks OSU’s Boone Pickens Stadium is the loudest venue in the Big 12.

However — and this is important — Martel Van Zant is completely deaf.

“I can feel the vibrations in the stands,” he said through an interpreter Wednesday at Big 12 Media Days in San Antonio. “Texas, they get pretty loud down there, too. We’ll see what happens in Georgia and Nebraska.”

Van Zant is a deaf football player, which means he does a lot of guessing. The only things Van Zant has ever been able to hear are the starting guns at track meets, and those were hit-and-miss at best. He wasn’t starting on the sound, he was starting on the smoke, a decided disadvantage. Van Zant doesn’t play to the whistle, he plays until everybody else stops playing. The bonus is, he never jumps offside. The bummer is, he’s guilty of the occasional late hit.

“Sometimes it happens,” he said. “All deaf players play like that.”

Not many play major college football, however. Van Zant doesn’t know any other deaf college football players. The only one he’s ever heard of was former Nebraska All-American Kenny Walker, who was deaf since age 2.

Van Zant has been deaf since birth.

“My mom got sick when she was pregnant with me,” he said. “Chicken pox. That’s what made me go deaf.”

It took him a few years to grasp his condition. As a kid, Van Zant would see a group of kids playing and try to join.

“I noticed the kids would stop playing,” he said. “But I didn’t know why.”

He has dealt with a lot of that. And not just from kids. Growing up playing youth football, he got the sense he was a part of the team in name only.

“They weren’t trying to coach me,” he said. “They just wanted to make sure I was involved.”

It wasn’t long before everybody wanted to coach him.

Van Zant never went to deaf schools because wanted to play football and he wanted a normal education. At Tyler, Texas’ Lee High School, he recorded 21 career interceptions. He was all-East Texas. Colorado, Texas A&M, SMU, TCU and Arizona came calling. But when college coaches found out he was deaf, many of them lost interest.

“I feel like a lot of the colleges were not really discriminating, they didn’t know what to do,” he said.

Former Cowboys coach Les Miles, who has a deaf brother, did. He came with a pen, paper, and some limited sign language.

“He knew a few signs,” Van Zant said. “We wrote notes back and forth. That’s just the tendency of what deaf people have to do. I could understand what he was saying.”

Van Zant brings an interpreter everywhere he goes, from the classroom to the practice field. Hilarity ensues when coach Mike Gundy yells at Van Zant, which means he’s really yelling at Ally Lee, Van Zant’s interpreter.

“Oh, yeah, he’s really loud,” Van Zant said. “If the coach is yelling at me, Ally has to give me the signs and the expression the coach has.”

Some of Van Zant’s teammates can throw some signs back at him.

“Some of them have learned sign language,” Van Zant said. “A lot of them want to learn the cuss words first.”

Van Zant teaches them. But the relationship runs deeper than silent F-bombs.

“He’s a special guy, man,” receiver Adarius Bowman said. “Special guy. You almost forget that he’s deaf. I talk to Martel same as I’m talking to you right now. It’s been a great experience. He’s a great inspiration to our team.”

It is, in many ways, an upset that Van Zant is a starting cornerback in the Big 12. If it wasn’t the kids avoiding him or the coaches not coaching him, it was Van Zant’s own mother, Alice, impeding his football development.

“My mom didn’t want me to play football,” he said. “She was worried about me getting hit.”

People have learned to quit trying to stop him.

“Now,” he said, “they’ll let me do whatever.”

Tully Corcoran can be reached at (785) 295-5652 or

Categories: Past Articles, Sports

Government agency funds adult content programming for the deaf

July 26, 2007 1 comment

A government body has granted an adult broadcaster a subsidy to provide sign-language translations for a news program in which the presenter doubles as a stripper, stirring controversy among handicapped people and others.

The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), an affiliate of the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, provided about 150,000 yen in subsidies to Paradise Television Inc. to help pay for its sign-language translations for hearing-impaired viewers of “Hadaka no News Station” (Naked News Station) from October 2006 to March this year.

“Since the broadcaster is providing sign-language translations, we had no reason to refuse the subsidy application,” an NICT official said.

The female presenter of “Hadaka no News Station” gradually takes off her clothes while reporting the news, with the last five minutes delivered completely in the nude.

The broadcasters say they appreciate the subsidy. “We air the program to ensure both handicapped people and those who are not disabled can lead and enjoy the same level of life. Our purpose has been understood.”

However, not all handicapped people are hailing the decision, and a high-ranking official of the Japanese Federation of the Deaf raised doubts about the subsidy.

“It’s my personal view. I generally welcome sign-language translations for TV programs, but it’s questionable to provide a subsidy for this particular program,” said Mitsuji Hisamatsu, secretary-general of the federation headquarters. “There are many other programs for which we want sign-language translations.”

Kaori Kawai, author of “Sex Volunteer,” a book about handicapped people’s sex lives, hopes that the subsidy will trigger discussions on the quality of life of handicapped people.

“Japan tends to avoid discussions about how handicapped people should deal with their sexual desire. Handicapped people should have freedom of choice of TV programs, including adult programs,” she said. “I’d like people to take this opportunity to consider how to improve quality of life for handicapped people.” (Mainichi)

(NOTE FROM FB…..this is an orignial Japanese story *below* ) 

アダルト番組:障害者向け字幕や手話に助成金 CS放送






 ▽字幕番組等制作促進助成金 身体障害者のための通信・放送身体障害者利用円滑化事業推進法に基づき、93年に設けられた。手話や字幕にかかった経費の半額を上限に助成。交付元は、郵政省所管の通信・放送機構だったが、04年からは同年にできた情報通信研究機構。機構には政府が出資している。昨年度までに7万5828本の番組に対して、計41億7961万円が交付された。


 ▽放送評論家、松尾羊一さんの話 視覚・聴覚障害者も楽しめる番組編成は重要だが、CSのアダルト専門放送という限定的な番組にどれだけニーズがあるのか、把握したうえで助成を決めたのか疑問が残る。「障害者への理解」を極端に強調する行為は、裏返せば障害者への差別意識の表れ。(機構が)「助成するのはお堅い番組だけではない」とアピールするため、点数稼ぎを狙ったとも勘ぐりたくなる。


 ▽障害者の性を扱った「セックスボランティア」の著者、河合香織さんの話 健常者と同様に障害者にもある性欲とどう向き合うかについて、日本は欧米に比べて避けたがる傾向が強い。番組に対してどのような感情を抱くかは個人の問題であり、アダルト番組であっても、障害者に番組視聴についての選択の自由があっていい。今回の助成をきっかけに、真に障害者の生活の質を高めるにはどうすべきかを考えてほしい。

Postman kicked deaf dog then fought owner

July 25, 2007 1 comment

 By Gina Bebbington

A POSTMAN has been sentenced for kicking a dog and fighting with its owner.

Michael Crowley, of New Road, in Anderton, faces a curfew after being found guilty of assault by beating and causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

The 33-year-old appeared at Vale Royal Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday after the incident, which happened in December last year, and was convicted after an earlier trial.

Catherine Whincup, prosecuting, said: “The defendant attended an address to deliver mail when he seemed to turn and deliver a savage kick to the 14-year-old dog of Mr Andrew Town who was angry, confronted the defendant and was grabbed and punched repeatedly around his head.”

He lost his temper and in the circumstances, although it doesn’t make it justifiable, it does make it easier to understand.
Karina Champion, defending

Ms Whincup said the dog was nearly deaf and slow to respond.

Crowley, a father-of-two, told police in interview that the animal was aggressive and growling at him so he kicked it in self defence.

He also told police that he hit Mr Town in self defence.

Karina Champion, defending, said Crowley was initially suspended by Royal Mail but later reinstated despite his conviction. He showed remorse for the incident from the outset.

“He notified his employers of the incident immediately after it happened and acknowledges that in relation to the assault that matters did become heated.

“He genuinely felt he was in some danger and accepts what he did was wrong.

“He said it was two people in the wrong place at the wrong time and has said he wishes he could turn back time.”

She added: “This is not a man who is going to trouble these courts again.

“He lost his temper and in the circumstances, although it doesn’t make it justifiable, it does make it easier to understand.”

Crowley was given a three-month 8pm to 4.30am curfew for each of the charges, to run concurrently, and was ordered to pay costs of £455 and compensation of £50.

12:00pm Sunday 15th July 2007

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