November 30, 2023

Our hearts are with Maine

This update is shared with permission from a message posted to the NCIHC listserv by Malvina Gregory, Director – Interpreter & Cross Cultural Services at MaineHealth:

You may have heard how Maine’s Deaf community has been shaken by the recent Lewiston, ME shootings. There was a group of Deaf community members who were participating in a cornhole tournament at one of the bars where the shootings occurred and many were injured. Four members of the Deaf community were killed: Billy Brackett, Brian McFarlane, Steve Vozzella, and Joshua Seal.

Joshua Seal was a prominent Deaf Interpreter and the Director of Pine Tree Society, one of Maine’s ASL Interpreting providers. He was a strong advocate for language access, both in his professional role as well as in his free time. During the pandemic, Josh served as the primary interpreter for the CDC and partnering with Dr. Nirav Shah to provide regular news updates, earning him praise and national recognition for his skill and unflappably professional interpretations. He was active and well known in his Deaf community, serving as a member of Maine Medical Center’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Patient & Family Advisory Committee more importantly mentoring many youth as the founder of Pine Tree Camp Dirigo Experience, a summer camp for deaf children. Josh is survived by his wife and four young children. He meant so much to so many, and we will feel his loss for a long time. Maine’s interpreting community is in deep mourning, having lost not only many of our patients and friends, but also one of our best and brightest.

People have asked what they can do to help. Here are a few ways:

  • If you are an ASL interpreter in the Northeastern part of the USA, you can sign up to assist with interpretation needs that are arising as a result of the shootings. There are paid and volunteer opportunities. Three companies (Pine Tree Society, Mary Jane Grant Interpreting, and Partners Interpreting) have joined together to create a website to coordinate the many interpreting needs: news interviews, counseling sessions, relief shifts to cover for mourning interpreters, and more. Sign up hereàMaine Deaf Community (
  • Contribute to one of the GoFundMes established to support the victims’ families. Maine Association of the Deaf’s website lists the current fundraisers: Contribute – Maine Association of the Deaf (

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