‘What an inspiration:’ Readers extend praise to deaf community leader

Arlon Nash leads the Global Education and Peace Network’s program at Wittenberg University on Thursday, Jan. 10. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

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Arlon Nash leads the Global Education and Peace Network’s program at Wittenberg University on Thursday, Jan. 10. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

A deaf instructor from Springfield led a program for the Global Education and Peace Network’s speakers series at Wittenberg University on Thursday.

Arlon Nash, an advocate for the deaf leadership, highlighted the significance of American Sign Language instruction to both the deaf and hearing communities.

“Without American Sign Language, we’d be lost,” Nash said through an interpreter when he was interviewed for Thursday’s story. “Deaf people can go on with life with it.”

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Nash has been an instructor for Springfield City Schools for 17 years. He has also taught at Wittenberg and Wright State University. He has served in organizations for the deaf, as well.

When the Springfield News-Sun published a story Thursday about Nash’s plans to participate in the series, people took to Facebook to express how much Nash meant to them. Here’s what some of them said:

  • "I miss his class so much," said Austin Biddle, a former student of Nash's. "Probably one of the very few classes I'd actually go back to high school for."
  • Heather Johnson's daughter was a student of Nash's for a few years. "She loved him and he was such a great role model for all of the kids who had him as a teacher," she said.
  • Mike Mindy, who knew Nash through his cousin, called him a "wonderful, caring" person.

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  • "What an inspiration you are Arlon Nash! Congratulations! You are awesome," said Lisa Pitt.

Although he has worked outside the area, Nash said he returned to Springfield to help the deaf community here.

“In my heart I wanted to come back to be with friends and family and use my experiences with the larger deaf communities and show deaf people can do everything the hearing can, except hear,” he said.

“Springfield is growing and there’s a lot of success out there for deaf people, and others can see how being trained to sign helps.”

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