Dayton Dragons’ Heater: Expert in Communication

On 24 May 2013, Hunter Samworth, a seven-year-old deaf boy, attended a game featuring the Dragons, a baseball team in Dayton, Ohio. Hunter especially likes the Dragons’ mascots, Heater and Gem. It turns out that Heater is an expert in communication. Heater and Hunter were able to exchange names and talk about the Dragons in American Sign Language. Cheri Samworth, Hunter’s mother, said, “We were outside getting ready to go in and there was Heater and Gem so Hunter ran up. And so next thing you know, I’m telling Hunter, say, ‘It’s nice to meet you.’” Hunter’s father, Matt Samworth, videotaped the meeting. Cheri Samworth added, “You can see on the video, [Hunter’s] smile is like, he gets me, he speaks my language, he understands me. Just a completely different experience for Hunter.” Matt Samworth said, “The look on his face was just priceless.” Cheri Samworth said, “We always say it’s like going to France, and not speaking French. That’s what Hunter goes through every day. You know there’s a lot of people that do sign … we try. But for someone to come to him in that kind of venue and be able to sign to him is just unbelievable. It just makes his experience totally different.”

For More Information: Melissa McGlensey, “This Mascot’s Sweet Surprise For A Deaf Fan At The Ballpark Was A Grand Slam Of Awesomeness.” Huffington Post. 2 June 2014

For More Information: “WATCH: Deaf Boy Signs with Dragons Mascot, Heater.” WRGT-TV (Dayton, Ohio). 29 May 2014

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