Signing ‘Thank You’

Spearfish firefighter Brayden Ashworth receives a heartfelt thank you from a hearing impaired citizen he was able to assist during a recent emergency situation. Pioneer photo by Alex Portal

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SPEARFISH — Spearfish Firefighter Brayden Ashworth received special praise at Monday’s Spearfish City Council meeting from Tamra Trijillo, a Spearfish resident who is hearing impaired. 

On Aug. 19, Trijillo was involved in an automobile accident on Main Street in Spearfish. Fortunately she was unharmed, however, she was unable to communicate with any of the responders coming to her aid.

“I felt so overwhelmed,” she said via a sign language interpreter.

Trijillo said that Ashworth noticed she was struggling.

“He noticed that I was signing or using my hands and he came over to the passenger side and he asked me if I was deaf, and of course I replied ‘yes’, and I felt so much better,” she signed.

Trijillo said the most important thing to do in an emergency situation is to be able to communicate with responders, and is something the deaf community often times isn’t able to do adequately.

“It’s a huge asset that (Ashworth is) with the fire department, he needs to stay with the fire department,” she signed. “He really made me feel so much better, he knew the signs and I felt safe.”

Ashworth was on hand to receive the accolades and said he was very happy to have been able to help a citizen in need.

“She went from just kind of down to (being) happy that I could communicate with her,” he said as he also signed. “I’m just glad that I was able to help.”

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