Legacy Stories

RID’s 50th anniversary is about each of you and how your own individual story contributes to the greater legacy of RID. Leading up to the 2013 RID National Conference and through the following year, RID will be featuring Legacy Stories in VIEWS, online and at the conference. Information on how to participate is below. RID is the members and the members are RID. Without your legacy, there is no RID legacy. These are your stories.



Dr. Alan Hurwitz, President of Gallaudet University
(Featured in the winter 2013 issue of VIEWS; photo credit: Matthew Vita, Gallaudet University)


When RID invited me to share my legacy story, I assumed it was for two reasons: first because I and others, including Anna Witter-Merithew, worked together years ago to set up the country’s first educational interpretation program at NTID; second, because I admire and respect the field of interpreting. But as I began to put down my ideas for this article, I realized that there is a third reason I was asked to share. It’s because…I’m old. … Read more (PDF)


David Myers, RID Associate Member


As RID approaches its 50th anniversary, it is becoming a well known fact that the organization was established on June 16, 1964, at the first-ever national “Workshop on Interpreting for Deaf People” at Ball State Teachers College, in Muncie, IN. This workshop was organized by the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration (VRA), Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW), under the leadership of Dr. Boyce R. Williams, the agency’s consultant to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. He had formed a Planning Committee of 14 individuals, of whom four, including Dr. Williams, were Deaf leaders.Dr. William J. McClure, Superintendent of the Indiana School for the Deaf and President of the Council on Education of the Deaf, was the Committee Chair. The Committee met at Ball State, November 16-18, 1963, to iron out program plans for the workshop and to select presenters, interpreters and participants, which came to a total of 73. … Read more (PDF)



Jo Ann Dobecki Shopbell, CSC, SC:L, NAD V


One of the things that I most resented and was constantly worried about as a coda was that there were no rules, no boundaries and no one to guide me. Should I “interpret” for Mr. Lane in a business setting and then advise him what to do when he asks me? Should Mom buy the expensive vacuum that the door-to-door salesman was demonstrating? The Elwoods were putting a new roof on their house. Would I interpret? Sure. Did I advise them of my opinion about which roofer was the most qualified and reputable? Sure. The rationale was always the same: “You can hear; you know about these things; you are such a smart girl.” Stories such as these were part of my life in the 1940s and 1950s. Only as an adult many years later did I realize the immense power that I had. I thank my angels for making sure that I used that power sparingly and wisely, albeit unconsciously. … Read more (PDF)



“All I ever wanted to be was a veterinarian.”
Bonnie Kraft, M.A., CSC, CI and CT


I never wanted to be an interpreter. In fact, in my heart I was convinced I would never become a professional interpreter and even wondered why anyone would choose such an occupation. I’m an only child, coda, who was responsible for several generations of Deaf family and friends, and I had had enough. My first interpreting experience was recalled by my mother; I was three and told her that President Kennedy had been shot. We got our first telephone when I was four, and after that, I never went very long without someone wanting a phone call. Most of these calls were too difficult for a child to manage, never mind a pre-schooler. Yes, I was born before interpreters and TTYs were invented, and by the time I was 7, I knew that if I never saw a telephone again, it would have been too soon. All I ever wanted to be was a veterinarian. Read more (PDF)



Submitted by the Texas Society of Interpreters for the Deaf (TSID) Trilingual Interpreting SIG

Video Directed by Sharon Ferranti – Video Produced by Everett Puckett and Chris Grooms


Watch this video



(Featured in the fall 2012 issue of VIEWS)


Lloyd Wayne Bridges and Margie Lee Johnson met, fell in love and married in a small church in Guthrie, Oklahoma and then set forth in their young lives. Although graduates of the Oklahoma School for the Deaf, they would in time call Texas their home and their path would ultimately lead them to Austin. Through life long friendships and a passion for serving, the Bridges would help to change the culture of injustice and oppression toward deaf and hard of hearing individuals in Texas. This is their story and it is our history of how Texas became a model for equal access and deaf rights. … Read more (PDF)

RID’s Legacy is our members.  Our members have stories worth telling.


Members of all ages and experience levels are invited to share your professional journeys, favorite RID memories, stories honoring personal mentors and leaders in the interpreting field and deaf communities, or any other piece that is reflective of our history.

Submissions may be featured in VIEWS, online, or at the National Conference.

Video submissions welcome.

Contact views@rid.org to participate.