Merv Daniels has been ushering at his church, the First Baptist Orlando, for over twenty years. An essential part of his life, Merv wanted to continue this service to his church, even after he became hearing impaired. As an usher, Merv is responsible for various duties that can be challenging without access to all his hearing.
“I have a very difficult time understanding speech,” says Daniels, “You feel like you’re there, but you’re not there…you go through a whole array of different feelings when you’re hearing-impaired.”
Struggling alone with his hearing impairment, Merv faithfully continued to serve his church and community until seven years ago, when he believed God sent him someone to help. During one of the Sunday services, Merv saw a court stenographer setting up equipment in the back of the church. A stenographer is a trained transcriptionist who records the spoken word and translates it quickly into a written copy. In this particular instance, the stenographer, Jean, was at Merv’s church to practice becoming more proficient at captioning. While she was only there temporarily, the captions that Jean wrote for Merv were so cherished by him that she reached out to her fellow stenographer and court reporter Ninette Butler. Ninette, who worked with Jean at Phipps Reporting, volunteered to take over Sunday service captioning for Merv and dedicated herself to the job.
Generally, stenographers are typically recognized as working only for the courts. However, this profession has additional facets, such as captioning, that occur away from the courthouse. In this instance, at the First Baptist Orlando, these professional court reporters from Phipps Reporting could use their captioning expertise to assist someone in need.
“There are so many people out there who need to hear the word of God,” Says Merv, But I need to see the word of God.”
And see the word of God he did – through the dedication and kindness of stenographers.