ROCK ISLAND, Illinois-- It looks like your average Christmas party: food, friends, and fun. 50 or so people packed into Rock Island's Elk Lodge Saturday night, December 10th, for a celebratory get-together.
Noticeably missing: Christmas music and verbal communication. That's because the majority of people at this party are either deaf or hearing-impaired. The president of the Quad Cities Deaf Club, Dirk Hillard, explained, "We really cherish our fellowship within our deaf community."
This is the club's 2nd annual Christmas party. The snow didn't stop members, and even non-members, from stopping by tonight. Scott Tinkham was one of the men in attendance. He says he likes the event because of the people it attracts. Tinkham explained, "This is our communication, this is how we have a good time, we all know each other."
Sign language interpreters-in-training attended the party, too. Scott Community College has an American Sign Language program, as does Pleasant Valley High School. SCC's sign language coordinator is thankful for parties like this, saying, "If there weren't deaf people, we wouldn't have jobs or future jobs."
But the interpreters didn't work tonight. They explained tonight is just a party, a time about getting together, socializing, and having fun because "by doing that we help support each other."