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Deaf in the Military

In: People

Submitted By ggarcia39
Words 737
Pages 3
Public Speaking
September 19, 2011
Keith Nolan Three out of Fifteen soldiers lose their hearing as a result of war. One out of those three are returned to Non-combative positions within the Military after their injuries. Now I’m going to share with you why Keith Nolan should be honored as an accomplished Cadet Private and an accomplished Teacher. As a young boy, Keith always had the dream of any other little boy in the world, to be a Soldier, possibly fight in a war and have many stories to tell such as his Grandfather and Great Uncle had. But there is one reason this dream could not become a reality, Keith Nolan was born deaf, therefore does not according to current Military standards qualify to do so. Keith has spent a decade applying repeatedly to the Army's ROTC program. After many letters and responses back telling him no, he finally received a yes. This positive response was given to him by the Bravo Company at California State University at Northridge. Keith not only passed all of the required academic tests and studies, but he also surpassed the physical requirements as well. And although he was told at first that he would only be able to participate in only the learning aspect of the program and not be given a uniform like the other cadets, he was given a whole gunnysack of equipment for showing such respect and heart for the Army. He had in fact become one of the top performers in his class. That’s why in May of 2011 is his dream was brought back to reality, and he was instructed to turn in all of his gear and say goodbye to his fellow cadets and commanding officer. He could advance no further under the military's current policy that requires cadets pass a hearing test to be commissioned. Nolan has contacted the Army and is waiting for a response as to what the difference is in allowing a soldier who has lost their hearing in combat to return and allowing an already deaf person to be admitted into a non-combative position, within the Army as well. Congressman Waxman’s office said their inquiry to the Army got an "unfavorable" response. But is still interested in seeing what he can do for Keith and possibly future Deaf or Hard of Hearing individuals with the same passion, to be in the United States Military. Meanwhile, he will wait and figures if African Americans and women were eventually allowed to serve our country after being told no, why can’t deaf people as well? After being told he couldn’t become a sailor in the Navy, Keith received a Master’s degree in Education. He teaches deaf students, and shares his stories with them about the dreams of him becoming a part of the Military. He encourages them to follow their dreams no matter how many no’s they may get, he tells them that just because they have a disability, doesn’t mean that they cannot improve their abilities. He continues to teach at the University and rally for Deaf in the Military. He no longer tells his students to forget about being soldiers, but encourages them to speak for themselves and stand up for their beliefs. He teaches honor and history of the Deaf culture and makes sure he and his students are “heard”. He believes in our country and believes we should too, hearing person or not. Keith Nolan has changed many lives of his students with the accomplished teacher he has become and his desire to pass on his avid love for life, education and the Military. He has also proved time and again that he has earned his title of Cadet Private in the ROTC program at California State University at Northridge. Not only by having the determination, but the heart, love and respect for the United States Military and life. I believe that Keith Nolan is deserving of such an Honor for his present passion and work towards the allowance of Deaf in the Military, but also what he will accomplish in the future. He is a true inspiration and admired my many, both hearing and deaf alike. And if an already enlisted soldier can be given a Non-combative post after losing their hearing in war, why can’t an already deaf person as well?

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