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Remembering Virginia Moore

Beloved Kentucky sign language interpreter Virginia Moore has died.

On social media Governor Andy Beshear called Moore a rock of stability who taught Kentuckians about leading with love and inclusion. Beshear tweeted “She helped bring us all together in our most challenging times.”

During an interview with Virginia in the fall of 2022, she told me that when she first contacted the Governor’s administration at the start of the COVID pandemic to serve as an ASL interpreter during press briefings, the response was immediate.

“The very first time that the Governor put out his first COVID briefing, we knew right then and there that this was going to be something we had to get out to the Kentuckians. Over 700 thousand deaf and hard of hearing in the state of Kentucky and that information was not going to be clear to them.” Moore said, “Luckily to us the Governor Beshear’s administration and the Governor himself opened the door and allowed us in. Now once that door is open, we’ve been able to continue to help individuals access information as they need to.”

That access to information became especially critical to the deaf and hard of hearing community during the tornadoes that ripped through western Kentucky in 2021 and flooding that hit the western part of the state in 2022.

“When you’re in such a tragedy, even if a person does have a hearing aid, don’t always assume that they’re hearing you. Because when you are nervous and you’re scared, that’s one of the first thing that goes, is hearing a person, understanding what’s happening because your brain is just ticking off trying to figure out what to do. You can’t really hear a person.” Moore continued, “And if a person speaks to you and you see that they have a hearing aid, don’t just assume just because they can speak well that they can hear well. That’s a big thing that we all assume. So when they turn their back, they’re not hearing you.”

Moore was the Executive Director of the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hearing Impaired and was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2020. Amy Hatzel, board chair of the Commission said they were all in shock “Virginia's a fighter and had fought for a very long time.”

“If I had to sum up Virginia in one word it would be love,” Hatzel said.

Virginia told me her life’s mission was to make life better for the deaf and hard of hearing…mission accomplished.

Donations in Virginia Moore’s honor can be made to KSD Jacob’s Hall Museum or to the Knowledge Center on Deafness.

Karyn Czar joined the WUKY News team July 1, 2013, but she's no stranger to radio.