Meet David Cowan, a trusted messenger for Georgians

“I’m deaf, and American Sign Language is my native language if you will.”
Updated: Mar. 25, 2021 at 6:46 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A talented public speaker and a face for the official message of the state of Georgia. And he’s by Governor Brian Kemp’s side at every press conference.

His name is David Cowan and he’s got an incredible story to share. You see, he can’t actually hear anything Governor Kemp is saying. Cowan tells us, through his interpreter Aaron Shoemaker: “So I’m deaf, and American Sign Language is my native language if you will.”

Shoemaker relays the Governors message to David off camera, so that David can send it out into the world.

“So there’s a hearing interpreter who works with me, and he will actually sign the message that is being spoken to me. I’m reading what the words are, and I’m changing it to the most accessible form for the deaf. Because I’m deaf, and the audience that we’re signing for is deaf, which means we understand one another. We have that shared rapport,” Cowan tells us.

Between the pandemic and Georgia’s role in the election, he’s had an incredibly busy year. “Yeah. You could say that. It has been a very busy year, but at the same time I feel honored they are recognizing our work. Recognizing the work of a deaf interpreter,” Cowan acknowledges.

And he’s gathered quite the following along the way. “I think it’s partly because of social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the social media platforms, that makes it easier for people. It’s always shocking to me to be out in the world and for people to recognize my face.”

So, the next time you see David with Governor Kemp, you’ll know some of his story. He does not hear but for thousands of Georgians, he makes the message clear. And David wants to make sure he got this message across: “Deaf and hard of hearing people in the Columbus area, come on out and get your vaccination.”

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