Cross Roads grad provides deaf interpretation for VP debate

Posted by : admin | On : October 19, 2012

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

Interpreter for the deaf Lisa (Rakestraw) LeDonne was already facing her greatest professional challenge before she saw her partner being escorted away in Danville, Ky. last week.

She was understandably worried about her friend and concerned about what might be happening, but she had to quickly put all that behind her and concentrate on the task at hand: Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan had just walked on the stage.

LeDonne, a 1985 graduate of Cross Roads High School, provided sign language interpretation for the Vice Presidential Debate Thursday, Oct. 11, handling both candidates, and moderator Martha Raddatz alone.

“It was a very surreal experience,” she told The News about an hour after the event.

As she has in the past, she relied on her faith to help her through.

“There were several friends and people from church who were praying for me,” she said. “During those 90 minutes alone, I had a composure that was surely the result of all those prayers.”

After the debate she learned that the father of her partner, Rita Zirnheld, had passed away unexpectedly.

“I’m just kind of reeling,” LeDonne said. “I was worried the whole time that something like that had happened.”


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