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The Eggert Sisters take on the Super Bowl!

Deaf, deafblind & hard of hearing people #CanDoAnything

2/2/2018 10:09:05 AM

ASL version

If you are DeafBlind or prefer to watch the video in a slow-paced, high contrast format, watch the DeafBlind friendly ASL version instead.

English version

Monday, January 22, 2018 was an unforgettable day. A snowstorm brought over 1 feet of snow around Minnesota and Vikings fans were recovering from a defeat the day before.

Jessica and Rachel Eggert carried their #BoldNorth pride and came over to MNCDHH's office in St. Paul, MN to be interviewed for our very first #CanDoAnything campaign. 

The #CanDoAnything campaign showcases people who are deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing at work, giving them an opportunity to share what they do at their jobs and explain how communication access works for them. This campaign will show what our community can do, which is... we can do anything!

Special thanks to filmmaker Melissa Jane (MJ) Kielbus' #BoldNorth spirit as well.

Hi! Please tell us your name and a little bit about you.

Jessica: Hello, my name is Jessica Eggert. I'm deafblind, raised in Minnesota. And I'm very excited to work for the Super Bowl soon, starting my first season this Saturday, Monday, and on Game day, Feb 4th. I'm looking forward to welcoming everyone to Minnesota.

Rachel: Hello, I'm Rachel Eggert, deafblind, I was raised in Minnesota. I work at the US Bank Stadium as a guest experience representative. And I volunteer for Crew 52. I'm motivated and looking forward to the Super Bowl. I will be volunteering for Crew 52 and also work at the Super Bowl game!

Congratulations! Tell us what you will be doing at the Super Bowl? 

Rachel: Okay. For Crew 52, my role is skyway host, I'll be available in the skyway, and if guests have any questions, I can answer them, for example, where the best restaurants are... local events... US information... and simple things like that. At my job, I would be working at Legacy Gate. It's a bit of the same stuff, from answering questions about seating, checking tickets, and answering questions of where things are, like where bathrooms are. And I have a list of different local food establishments. It'll be a very different experience from a regular Vikings game!

Jessica: My responsibilities, my role with Crew 52, I've completed my training, just last Saturday night with interpreter. I absorbed and reviewed quite a bit, yes. Since because I'm also majoring in CJ (criminal justice) at college and completing my degree. So it was good to review everything, and there was good new information. And plus, I met the committee too. It was nice! My role is skyway host, welcoming guests, making sure guests feel welcome, friendly, and hopeful - especially here in Minnesota. If guests have questions, relating to things like Super Bowl events. I'll also provide information as to where to find Super Bowl Life, NFL Experience, where the game is... Where the US Bank Stadium seating is... Which restaurants, whether they're open or not open... Which stores to go to... where hotels are... and whether there were lost children where I can help. I'll have a service dog with me to help me navigate my way around. And plus, if people are lost, I can help them navigate using an special app on my phone, and to distribute maps to workers. It'll show where places are. I communicate using a whiteboard to write back and forth. If there's a deaf, hard-of-hearing or deafblind guest, perhaps from another country, I can communicate and help using a little bit of BSL and I can help foreign hearing people using gestures and body language if we're unable to speak their language. For example, I can gesture using simple, clear gestures like "drink," "eat," or where they may need to go. Plus help supervise the area for any suspicious activity and to help reduce sex trafficking. I have to watch for any barcode tattoos on young kids and children. I have to watch out for that type of thing to prevent it from happening. I also watch for any odd or weird smells or objects to keep people and the area safe. I want to make sure everybody is safe and able to enjoy their time. And make sure everyone feels comfortable and welcome here.

What does Crew 52 mean?

Jessica: Crew 52 represents those that are part of the Super Bowl number 52. With the Crew 52, it's a large group of exciting, amazing, very cool, far out people. We all work together as a team, delegating responsibilities to each member. We're very unified in our teamwork. Next year will be Super Bowl 53!

How did you learn about and apply for the job?

Jessica: Well, I heard about that job, volunteering position, through my sister because she works at US Bank. She let me know about it, and I was pretty excited about the prospect. I went ahead and applied last August online, the first interview was in September I was waiting to hear back, rather impatiently, until I heard back and found out that we both were one of the very few lucky 10,000 picked out of about 30,000 applicants. Plus, they interviewed about 15,000. It was VERY exciting! I experienced no discrimination during this process, nothing. I had a good feeling throughout it all, with the committee. Everything worked out very well. Communication was very great and open. It all felt very positive! I'm VERY impressed. The committee worked very hard, I'm impressed with them, how they're very well organized, patience was very vital for when we received our uniforms - we couldn't wear them until the season started. We were excited, looking forward to the Bold North! Yea! [fist pump]

Rachel: Relating with US Bank, before opening in the Spring 2016, I knew I needed to get another job. So, I thought, why not go ahead and try something new, in a new environment. I checked the website, and decided to go ahead and fill out an application online. Then several days later, I got a screening callback. They asked questions about my customer service experience. So, I made it through the phone interview, and that they'll send an email with information to go to work - FTR. I went and interviewed in person, but the interpreters were a no-show, unfortunately, so... One woman who works there was willing to interpret some of the interview... But there were quite a bit of writing involved. Finally, I got hired! After I got hired, I had to take training and classes for the job. And when I finished all the training, then I could start working. My first big event that I worked on was an open house, lots of people. I remember in July 22nd, 23rd, and 24th. Lots of people came, the weather was nice. And, for Crew 52, as it happens, my friend posted some news that said Crew 52 needed 10,000 people to apply. I thought, "why not?" - it seems like a good match. I went ahead and applied about a year ago in March. It wasn't until the Summer that I finally set an interview date. Then, in the fall, I completed an interview. I recently completed training classes last Saturday with an interpreter. So - I was so very excited, got my uniform in a big, heavy box... But I'm very enthusiastic and motivated! 

You must be excited! What are you most excited about?

Rachel: I was excited about Minneapolis having the Vikings vs. Saints game, but... the Vikings had lost last night! But whichever team makes it to the Super Bowl, doesn't matter which team. I'm still excited that Minnesota has the world looking at it. And that people can see that Minnesota can be everything. Last time the Super Bowl was here 26 years ago, it'll be a VERY different experience! Especially from my time at the regular National game work days. It'll be very, very different! It'll be very, very exciting!

Jessica:  I really think it’s exciting and am looking forward to do some "people-watching" as well. There must be so many different people, and there should be a lot of purple colors. It doesn't really matter which teams get in, now that it's New England and Philadelphia Eagles, I hope everyone enjoys the game, they're welcome here, and I'm thrilled for my first experience at a Super Bowl. I've never worked at one before, and the last time the Super Bowl was hosted here it was 26 years ago! I had no idea about that, and now I have the opportunity to work at Crew 52 and represent Minnesota, the Bold North!

How do you communicate with your coworkers and with the public?

Jessica: How do I communicate with my other coworkers? We do write back and forth, some of them know sign language which is good. Some will be coming from another country to work with us, such as Hawaii, Australia, the UK, and all over the world. It's all very exciting. We also can use texting, talk to our team captains, who will be wearing purple, and we volunteers will be wearing blue.

Rachel: As for me, my way of communicating at the US Bank Stadium, I use the whiteboard to write back and forth. Some people already know sign language, and some gesture, some of them are already Deaf. I think there are 3 or 4 DeafBlind people working there. Sometimes people show me their tickets and I just show them where to go on the map, and point the directions. And for the Super Bowl with Crew 52, we have whiteboards ready to use, maps, and I know some foreign languages, I know some Spanish but I'm a bit rusty so I'll try my best.

Do you know if other deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing people will work at the Super Bowl? Or work at U.S. Bank Stadium?

Jessica: Yeah, we have a few deaf workers that are also in Crew 52, I've met them during training and orientation last November. I really enjoyed that, and last Saturday night we had a Crew 52 volunteers kickoff party. I met the same deaf people who will work during the Super Bowl from orientation. It's really cool, fun and am super excited! I know about the US Bank Stadium because I was raised in Minnesota, and I know who the deaf workers are. My sister is also working with Crew 52 as well!

Rachel: For the US Bank Stadium there are deaf workers in different departments, some work at the janitorial department, some in food preparation, but it seems like most of us are in guest services, and there are deafblind individuals working at guest services, about 3 of us. Me and two other deafblind men, so three of us.

Do you have any advice for other deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing people who want to find new opportunities such as work or volunteering? 

Jessica: My advice? Go for it. If it happens in your state next year, check online to become a Super Bowl Volunteer. I can do it, and I'm DeafBlind, it might be challenging, yeah, but I'm really excited about it. I can do anything, there are no limits to my ability except to hear and see. There are other ways to use my skills. Besides, my guide dog will be the first guide dog to represent Minnesota for the Super Bowl from the Guiding Eyes for the Blind, who interviewed us too. I'm very excited!

Rachel: I encourage Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing people to do what they like to do, for example, I like sports, so I found a job that fits my passion. And don't let people put you down, tell you that you'll work at McDonald's as a fry cook forever, or work at Walmart or something like that- don't believe that. You can find a way out and look for new experiences. I worked in the government for many years and felt that it was time for me to do something different. So I discovered that you shouldn't let yourself down and it's important to be motivated and show people that you can do it. I can do everything except hear and see some.  

Any final words?

Jessica: Oh yes, we braved the blizzard to come here, my guide dog couldn't come here because of that. It lasted all day and that's ok, we are able to come and do it! Show everyone that we're the Bold North! 

Rachel: The Bold North hopes that whoever the best team wins, the Eagles or the New England -- should know that I don't support any teams, I'm completely neutral! And I hope the fans behave themselves at the game, not like last night with all the beer throwing!

[Photo: Jessica’s selfie, wearing blue and purple.]

[Photo: A Crew 52 volunteer headquarters sign]

[Photo: Jessica and Rachel, wearing Vikings attire and standing in front of a number 52, with Jessica’s guide dog, Matt.]

[Photo: Matt, wearing a black & white referee shirt.]

[Photo: Jessica and Matt, next to a huge Vikings helmet.]

[The following text is displayed, “Special thanks to Jessica Eggert and Rachel Eggert for letting the Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing Minnesotans interview them about their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work at the Super Bowl. People who are deaf, deafblind & hard of hearing can do anything. #CanDoAnything”]  

Correction: An earlier version of this newsletter listed Jessica's guide dog's name as Nan. It has since been corrected to Matt.



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